Audioengine’s HD3 Wireless Speakers are some of the best around — though, at $399, they should be. It’s a two-way powered speaker system with 2.75-inch Kevlar woofers and three-quarters inch silk dome tweeters. Bluetooth set-up is easy, and there’s a Bluetooth antenna to keep your stream of tunes from dropping.
Wireless setup takes about a minute. There’s no software to install, no apps to download, and no Wi-Fi passwords to enter. The HD3’s Bluetooth connectivity is impressive. I was able to use my iPad Pro and stay connected up to about 50 feet away, even with a couple of walls between. And the speaker system can even “remember” six different Bluetooth connections.
The HD3 is a fine wireless speaker; however, it’s a desktop speaker system that it really shines. Connect to your Mac with a USB cable (which means, of course, that MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and 12-inch MacBook users will need an adapter). The USB input bypasses your computer’s built-in headphone jack for a high-end listening experience.
Built-in power amplifiers means you don’t need to connect the HD3 to a stereo receiver or external power amp. Just plug the left speaker into a power outlet and connect the included speaker wire from the left to the right speaker. All internal components are designed and tuned together.
USB connectivity is the best way to go, but the back panel of the left HD3 speaker sports several connection options. There’s a left/right set of RCA audio inputs and a mini plug audio input (with a high quality, two-meter, gold-plated audio cable included). There’s also a set of audio outputs for connecting connect a subwoofer. If you’re doing to spend 400 bucks for a speaker system, I’d go ahead and spring for this to take full advantage of the HDR 3’s audio.
The speaker system also has a bass reducing toggle switch. It cuts off the deep bass if you’re going to use a subwoofer with them. If you’re not, and like deep bass, leave the toggle switch on.
If you’re going to use the Audioengine speakers on a wooden desk also spring for the optional $29 DS1 stands. Made of a silicon rubber, they help dampen vibrations between the speakers and desk. This results in cleaner, more accurate, low end response. The DS1 stands also bring the tweeters closer to ear level, and reinforces the frequencies that make up your music's sound stage.
However you use the HD3, the speaker system looks marvelous. It comes in a choice of three gorgeous finishes: walnut (my favorite), cherry, or black. A black grill attaches magnetically to the front of the HD3.
Is the HD3 for you? If you have puny, tinny computer speakers, yes. If your computer system has good speakers — and the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display has a surprisingly good audio system — perhaps not.
The good thing is that you can listen to the HD3 for 30 days and return it for a return if you’re not pleased. (Note that this is only available for product purchased directly online from the Audioengine store.)