Audioengine HDP6 Passive Speakers

A good solid read of my detailed review of the powered version of this speaker may well be instructive. 

The new passive version from Audioengine maintains many of the qualities from that fabulous little gem of a speaker, with the new one, allowing for your own favourite type of amplification. 

The HDP6 is a retro version, stripped of all the powered guts and gizmos. It retails for $499.00 at Audioengine retailers or online.

Audioengine has maintained the exceptional build quality -- parts are bespoke not thrown together from a box of import mix and match. 

Top drawer engineering includes:

  • Proprietary Audioengine 5.5 inch woofers are built on a solid diecast aluminum foundation. Their advanced underhung voice coils drive the motors, and are appointed with flared kevlar cones and supple butyl rubber surrounds, which dissipate unwanted cone resonances.
  • Ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters are driven with neodymium magnets. These tweeters hold up well under high power and give a very smooth response thanks to their edge-driven design.
  • Heavy duty 20mm MDF is used throughout the construction of our rigid braced cabinets. They’re engineered with the proper stiffness, mass and dampness to clearly and accurately reproduce sound without creating parasitic resonances.
  • Beautiful furniture-grade hardwood veneer cabinet finishes with sleek aluminum trim accents, available in Walnut and Cherry. For a look that blends more deeply into the background, choose a Satin Black automotive finish. Stylish grills magnetically attach to protect the drivers without diffracting or diffusing the sound.
  • Innovative slotted rear bass venting ports eliminate wave turbulence, easily transitioning the low frequency energy from the speaker cabinet into your room. With this design, HDP6 delivers smooth, natural and surprisingly deep bass from such a small speaker.

The price ratio for build quality is pretty stunning. I've had a ton of top end kit in the house for review and not much much beats Audioengine's fit and finish. They are little statements. They'll fit into any lifestyle system or take centre stage as your new two channel reference. Yes, that good. 

As a passive speaker, the HDP6 is shorn of its magical guts, and what's left is the original Audioengine ingenuity, voicing and parts control. 

The drivers are good enough to replicate the distinctive sounds of my reference kit, the amazing Jeff Rowland Continuum 2 Integrated Amplifier. Maybe you're a tube fan? The HDP6 will solve all sorts of musical equations for you. That's the magic, here. But, there's also serious alchemy with the original. A no nonsense approach to your stereo system.  

The original amplification used is quality but can't match my reference for powering up Bruckner and Mahler. Wow, can these little beauties rock an orchestra. They got the balance just right. Strings find their place and wind and brass punch through the soundstage with gusto. And from such a small footprint. 

This sound, however, is heard when the speakers are set atop appropriate stands. A bookshelf solution can cloud issues a little.  

The HDP6s throw a good soundstage, wide and typically deep for a good bookshelf. Dudamel's DG Mahler 9 with his LA band sounded spectacular, with deep bass and real power on the bass drum. You'll feel it. It's here where the superior control of my superb Jeff Rowland integrated came in handy. But, of course, that's over kill. A good amplifier commensurate in price will do the job just fine and give you the flexibility you need. 

Have fun with cabling. You can bump up the quality compared with the cheaper cables used on the active set. I used Transparent and Wireworld in comparison -- both wonderful -- but my Antipodes Audio Reference Interconnects and Speaker Cables are my reference for many reasons. I love them and they're sound and value was heard easily on the HDP6s. Yet again, you'll need at lot less firepower to have the Audioengines sounding fantastic. But what a treat to hear them with such wonderful ancillaries. The fun of a reviewer. 

Vocals and piano sounded excellent, too. Warm and detailed, powerful and dramatic when called. Our recent reviews of Michael Bublé and Daniel Barenboim were completed partially with the Audioengine's in place. Clarity personified. And the real trick was with Barenboim's 'new' grand piano and trying to hear the differences between his regular Steinway and the newly strung model. Have a read to hear if I could! 

So, a bit of a conundrum for Audioengine fans. The younguns'll go for the complete solution, I think, especially at the same price, but older audiophiles may want the choice. And what fun it is choosing when they all play so well together. Once again, highly recommended.

 

Specifications  

Sensitivity88dB (2.83v@1m)

Frequency response50Hz-22kHz ±1.5dB

Nominal Impedance4 Ohms

Crossover Frequency2.8 kHz

Amplifier Power10-150W per channel

Drivers5.5" Kevlar woofers 1" silk dome tweeters

Enclosure20mm thick MDF cabinets

InputsGold-plated, 5-way binding posts

Environmental requirements

Operating temperature: 32° to 95°F

Non-operating temperature: -4° to 113°F

Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing

Weight (each)5.5 kg (12.5 lbs)

Total shipping weight14.5 kg (32 lbs)

Dimensions (each)300 (H) x 185 (W) x 250 mm (D) (11.75 x 7.25 x 10")

Shipping box dims430 (H) x 510 (W) x 380 mm (D) (17 x 20 x 15")

Finish Options: Satin Black, Walnut Veneer, Cherry Veneer

Wall or Ceiling Mount

Further information: Audioengine  

 

Congrats to Ryan Scullen of Calgary on his AudioengineUSA HDP6 speaker win. Your speakers will be shipped shortly.

 Thank you to all those readers who applied. Many thx.