Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 Review
We all have different tastes in music, but we all have one wish for the sound system; we want it to be perfect for playing our favorite songs.
Perfect doesn’t mean to be the best made, but to be the best that fits our needs and lifestyle. A portable Bluetooth speaker has become one of the most desirable options for many customers, so you need to know what to choose from the wide range of selections offered on the market.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio line of wireless speakers by Harman Kardon is good, and Studio 2 has received high praise since its launch. In the beginning, Studio 2 was with a high price tag, but now it is more affordable.
- Good looking
- Built-in mic
- Great sound with punchy bass
- Short battery life
- No battery status indicator
- No IPX rating
In 2014, the first version was released, and in today’s review, we will discuss the second iteration. There are also available Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Harman Kardon is a part of the same company as JBL but targets a different type of customer. JBL produces outdoor Bluetooth speakers rugged and waterproof, while Harman Kardon’s speakers are more elegant and stylish.
The design of Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 is the first thing you notice when you see the speaker. They are large and cumbersome, with a circular body supported by two hind legs. The design is attractive, but the downside is that you must have a flat surface to position the speaker. The Studio 2 comes in two colors, black and white, with bronze details such as logos, passive bass radiator on the rear side, and the feet.
Onyx Studio’s speakers are more indoor speakers, and although they are portable Bluetooth speakers, you can’t drag them to the beach, for example.
The speaker’s dimensions are 6.3 inches in depth, 10,2 inches in height, and 11 inches in diameter. The weight is about 4.5 lb.
Along with the speaker, you receive a power adapter with a power cable, manual, and a one-year warranty.
The materials used to build the speaker are of top quality, which gives them a premium feel to the touch.
The front grille is robust and easily removable. The grille is made of hard plastic and covered with a tick cloth. Under the grille, there are four drivers and a passive radiator, with another passive radiator on the back. There are two woofers (3 inches), two tweeters (0.75 inches), all rated with a power of 15 watts. So the speaker runs at 60 watts total, but only when wired. When a wireless connection is used, then the total power is in half.
On the backside, there is a carrying handle at the top, a bronze passive bass radiator in the middle, and input ports at the bottom.
The speaker’s rim is of rubber and on the top has five control buttons, for power, 2 volume buttons, speakerphone, and the Bluetooth button. The power and Bluetooth buttons are backlit, and the others are not. There are no play/pause and track buttons, so you need to use your phone for that.
In addition to the Bluetooth, Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 has an Aux port for lining in audio from compatible sources. The micro USB port is for firmware updates. It also has a built-in speakerphone for hands-free calls, with noise and echo cancellation.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 doesn’t have dual sound capability, so you can’t pair two of these speakers. The Bluetooth technology used is 3.0. The range of the Bluetooth is about 33 ft, and you can connect two devices simultaneously. There is no app that you can use to control or adjust the EQ. That being said, you can’t use the HK Connect app with Onyx Studio 2.
The main problem is the short battery ( Rechargeable Li-ion, 2600 mAh) life. The industry standard for wireless speakers is at least eight hours, while Onyx Studio 2 has only five hours of battery life. And here is the worst part. If you listen to your music at louder volume levels, the battery will be gone even faster. The speakers can play only for about 30 minutes at maximum volume. The lack of a battery indicator on the speaker makes it difficult to know how much battery juice has left.
Also, there is a lack of IPX rating, which makes the speaker less suitable for outdoors.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 sounds fantastic and feels like a 2.1 configuration, although there is no added subwoofer. The bass is mighty compared to what you would generally expect from a wireless speaker. It is punchy, controlled, and present even at low volumes.
The mids and the treble are excellent without overshadowing between the frequencies. Vocals are clear and elevated. Highs are sparkling without being harsh. Even experienced audiophiles would not have much about what to complain about when it comes to sound, which is not usually the case with wireless speakers.
Take a note that if you plug the Onyx Studio 2 while playing a song, the transitioning between the wired and wireless modes won’t be seamless. The Studio 2 will go mute, it will shut down in the middle of laying, and you need to restart it to work again.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 2 is a stylish and elegant Bluetooth speaker with powered bass, clear vocals, dynamic mids, and sparkling highs. It is perfect for home and indoors, where it can be used more as a wired desktop speaker. Onyx Studio 4, 5, or higher upgraded versions are better choices but more expensive as well.
But if you only care about the sound quality, then Onyx Studio 2 is still a great speaker.