Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 5 Review
The Onyx Studio 5 may be the latest in Harman Kardon’s type of studio speakers having landed by the end of August this past year. While previous models have all represented an iterative method of design, this latest installment includes a number of more notable changes that are worth your attention.
Many of these changes are in response to comments from customers. As the previous models were all great within their own ways, there’s always room for improvement – which is something that the business appears to understand.
In short, the effect may be the most exciting and impressive Onyx Studio for some time, and that may only be very good news for audiophiles! Continue reading and let’s discover more about what sets the Onyx Studio 5 apart, and whether it deserves a location in your hardware setup.
As stated, previous Onyx Studio speakers experienced a somewhat similar design. Almost the complete body of these devices comprises of one massive speaker, which would lean back on two small feet. The effect was like having an enormous black disk sitting on your own table (though in addition, it came in blue and white).
This is the essential thing that’s different about the 5th generation: your toes are gone! That is a good decision inside our book, as it signifies that you will need slightly less space to stand it, and it doesn’t matter if the ground is just a little uneven. What’s more, is that it prevents rattling when you turn the quantity right up.
In place of your toes is a larger flat work surface area down underneath, and a carry handle along the most notable. This makes the entire visual effect similar to a kettlebell. It’s still smart and minimal though, and we just like the overall effect.
Another change is that the buttons – that have been previously hidden from leading of the machine – are now put just along the most notable, just above a tiny LED power indicator. They’re very subtle in order never to ruin the clean look, but this makes them that much better to locate and use. The logo has been moved further down leading as a way to accommodate this change.
Overall, the Onyx Studio 5 is an extremely premium looking Bluetooth speaker that’s still compact and simple to transport (even moreso now because of the handle) and that advantages from an extremely minimal look.
The Onyx Studio 5 certainly looks the part then, and the refresh will be welcome for anybody that is sick and tired of simply the same speaker sitting within their front room each year.
That said though, the look only extends up to now and you may still find some components missing that people would genuinely have liked to have observed. For example, these speakers aren’t waterproof or shockproof. This is missing from the prior models too, but we’d genuinely have liked to have observed it implemented here. Among the best lightweight speakers are kinds you may bring with you to the beach or even to a pool party. That’s false here, but in the event that you aren’t likely to be using it by doing so, then that is unlikely to be a concern for you.
The other shame is that you can’t pair this with previous Onyx Studio speakers. You can pair it with other Onyx Studio 5 speakers, that is a fantastic way to create some really amazing surround sound with totally lightweight speakers. You can only just pair two at the same time, but with taht you can absolutely fill an area (thanks too compared to that amazing bass) and you will create a wall of sound which will appear to be via all around. This is exactly what Harman Kardon identifies as “Dual Sound.” Does what it says on the tin!
BUT it would likewise have been really nice to have observed some backwards compatibility. Device loyalists who’ve used Onyx Studio 4 and 3 speakers previously won’t manage to add this one with their collection and also have it supply the low end as the others fill out the bigger range. Oh well.
The battery life alternatively is excellent and is something we’d no complaints about. The capability is 3,280mAh, which for reference is roughly the same battery you’ll find in the typical cellular phone. The difference here being of course a mobile phone is named after for photos, finding signal, making calls, and powering an enormous screen and power-hungry SoC (system on a chip). With just one single job – music play back – this battery is quite generous for the Studio Onyx 5. Hence finished . can last for approximately 8 hours of solid playback at 50% volume (which is enough loud). This is a complete working day basically, and which makes the longevity correctly enough for practically any use-case.
That said, this can be the same battery within previous models – so it’s very good however, not outstanding or unexpected.
The only downside perhaps may be the insufficient any quick-charger – another feature that’s common in smartphones today. Since it stands, the Onyx Studio 5 takes 5 hours to charge (perhaps that’s where in fact the name originates from?). This may mean somewhat of waiting around, looked after signifies that you can’t count on these devices in a pinch if you haven’t remembered to charge it. But having said that, it’s no problem for most circumstances as possible simply charge instantly or while you’re doing other activities.
Bluetooth here’s excellent and includes a lot to write home about. The Onyx 5 features Bluetooth 4.2, which includes the typical 33ft range. While that’s not the most recent Bluetooth, it’s still plenty sufficient for what we’re trying to perform here and you could safely leave from the foundation without losing signal. What’s more is you could actually go a good bit beyond that. We tested the connectivity from over 50ft away but still had no issue at all.
Connecting to Bluetooth can be extremely swift and easy, and the bond is stable and reliable. The opportunity to pair two speakers (as stated) is also an excellent addition.
This is actually the only kind of connectivity though, without option to hook up via WiFi or by NFC. That is something you’ll often find with other speakers in this cost range, so it’s a shame never to view it. And truly, it’s always an excellent feeling to be able to pair a device simply by tapping it on your phone. But it’s not really a deal breaker, and particularly if you’re an iOS user.
Much like most Bluetooth speakers, the Studio 5 will continue to work with practically any operating-system. Whether you’re connecting with a PC, Mac, Android, iOS device or other things, the Onyx is all set! Having said that, it’s shame that none of the HK software will continue to work with this model.
Additionally it is possible to play via the AUX cable. That is good news for all those that don’t want to use Bluetooth, or who wish to ensure the most effective music quality and stability. With physical ports falling out in clumps of favor increasingly more, it’s always refreshing to visit a device that still opts to add the option – specifically for true audiophiles.
As stated, the buttons have already been moved slightly up your body of the machine, which places them in an area that’s very convenient to access. You have your usual culprits here, nothing that unusual. Besides that, it’s just a tiny LED indicator showing when these devices is fired up. This may also blink when battery is low, that is a good way to learn that you’re have to to plug in soon. It’s a shame that there’s no fully-fledged battery indicator to inform you precise percentages, but that is mitigated by the actual fact that a lot of devices will let you know just how much juice is left in a couple of linked speakers nowadays.
Exactly what is a shame is the lack of a microphone, that was contained in the Onyx 4. The Onyx 4 also supported Siri and Google Now as a result of this, rendering it a potential smart speaker. We shouldn’t understate the quantity of added value that feature brings, and it’s a major shame to view it missing here: actually, it is one of the primary drawbacks that holds these devices back from being perfect. Why this is omitted from the newer model, we have no idea.
Overall, the Studio 5 is easy and enjoyable to connect to, and selecting controls gets the work done.
What really matters most though may be the performance and the sound. Thankfully, Harman Kardon hasn’t skimped here either. Again, we see significant improvements over predecessors, with the last device boasting four drivers. Those were two woofers and two tweeters, along with two passive radiators.
The Studio 5 ups the ante however by including one large 5-inch woofer (the 4 had 3-inch woofers), one tweeter, & most likely two passive radiators. All of this ensures that the Onyx 5 should give you a much bigger bass, and that’s certainly everything you notice here immediately.
Having said that, it’s also true that the bass isn’t too overbearing to the idea that it drowns out the vocals or melody – it’s all perfectly balanced but with that added kick that may make a whole lot of difference. The bass can be adjusted via the bass boost – transform it up and you’ll get more bass without losing those midrange and vocal notes. An excessive amount of? Then just transform it back off!
That is something to be applauded. People love lightweight Bluetooth speakers because they’re so simple to create and use, and because you may bring them everywhere. What most users don’t love may be the tinny sound that often includes that portability. If you’re sick and tired of lightweight speakers that sound almost totally treble, then you should certainly benefit from the Onyx Studio 5. Those big beats really can be felt in your gut, and it’s an extremely loud and strong sound. This again helps make clear the increased loss of those feet.
The speaker is evidently suitable for bass lovers, nonetheless it can make any music sound a lot more as though it had been appearing out of something considerably larger and better.
One negative is that the stereo separation is relatively underwhelming. This could be improved somewhat using the Dual Sound feature, but since that will require the purchase of another speaker, that’s not necessarily enough. That is further improved by the actual fact that whenever you do pair the speakers together, there is absolutely no stereo mode. It will be possible to attain a stereo effect, but it’s incorrect stereo. This is a genuine shame given the chance.
Frequency response here’s fairly flat, and overall, the performance is very rather excellent. Actually, it’s true that model performs a good bit much better than some drastically