The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System goes above and beyond standard wireless speakers thanks to unique looks, wired or wireless connectivity, great sound, and a quality built-in microphone.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Review
Harman Kardon’s Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System uses two 75mm woofers and two 20mm tweeters to deliver a remarkably robust, full-range audio experience that isn’t easy to come by in the world of portable wireless speakers. The bass is low and rumbling while the treble rings true and crisps. The middle notes are rich and full-bodied, rounding out the acoustics nicely.
The Onyx Studio 3’s built-in microphone features echo and noise cancelling technology, making this wireless speaker system the perfect companion for conference calls when you’re away from the office.
Can be used wireless or wired
Thanks to the combination of Bluetooth 4.1 and a rechargeable battery, wireless audio playback is snap. This Harman Kardon offering, however, also features a wired mode, where you can continue your listening experience via the AC adaptor. Because a lot of wireless portable speakers don’t offer a wired option, this is a standout feature.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System can blast music for five straight 5 hours on a full battery charge. While 5 hours playback may be a detriment to other wireless speakers, the Onyx Studio 3 can be plugged into an AC adaptor for continued listening.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System makes a unique first impression on looks alone, thanks to its traditional round speaker style, which is a drastically different look from most of the other portable Bluetooth speakers on the market today, which tend to all be roughly the same rectangular shape. Looks don’t matter as much as function, but it’s worth noting the difference compared to the rest of what’s out there—especially for those who value style and aesthetic.
As for functionality, the larger size, from my hobbyist/layman’s point of view, helps acoustic quality quite a bit. Think about it. Small rooms tend to lead to poor acoustics, and, generally, the same can be said for small speakers. But by being slightly larger than size—this is just my theory and not proven—it could be that the Onyx Studio 3 gives the soundwaves more to bounce off of, as it were, creating an overall better acoustical environment, which is only helped by the quality construction of the device, which is evident as soon as you hold it in your hand.
Of course, the size isn’t the only reason why the Harman Kardon offering sounds great. It could be the woofers and tweeters themselves. There are two 75mm woofers and two 20mm tweeters. They all work together to create a rich tapestry of sound. Music sounds more like it’s supposed to when you compare it to a lot of the wireless Bluetooth speakers out there, and since that class of speaker is improving all the time, that says a lot. Highs ring with clarity, mids are smooth and strong, while the bass is torrential and thunderous, with a nice, heavy feel. Audiophiles who normally scoff at compact portable speakers might want to give the Onyx Studio 3 a second glance, because it’s definitely a standout when it comes to high quality audio.
And that audio quality is only helped by the fact you can pair multiple speakers together. Naturally, it enhances the sound—simple law of physics. While it’s not necessary for casual use, this is a great idea for outdoor barbeques and pool parties, events where you want your guests to actually experience the soundscape you’re trying to create.
Speaking of pairing, thanks to Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, pairing with your favorite Bluetooth devices is not only easy, it’s both reliable and fast. You don’t feel like the connection can drop at the drop of a hat (no pun intended), which is the case with some of the older wireless speakers still on the market. The solid connection makes you want to use it in wireless mode more often.
The built-in microphone is definitely worth taking note of; a lot of mics make claims of noise cancellation—most do—but this one actually seems to follow through. My very picky friend on the other end of the line said my voice came in loud and clear. He’s hard to impress, so I’m inclined to believe that is the case.
All in all, I see myself getting a lot of use out of this speaker, and I like the classic, round profile.
The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System offers great sound and a quality microphone to boot. Though it may be bigger than some of the other portable options, its robust bevy of high-quality features can’t be ignored.
- Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity
- Bluetooth transmitter modulation
- Can be used wireless or wired
- AC adaptor included
- 5-hour battery life during audio play
- Two 75mm woofers
- Two 20mm tweeters
- Full-bodied sound
- Multiple Onyx Studio 3 speakers can be paired together for a more intense sound
- Built-in microphone with noise and echo-cancelling technology
- The battery life is only 5 hours—that’s the bad news. The upside is that it comes with an AC adaptor, so you can easily transition to wired mode and keep listening while it charges.
- The Onyx Studio 3 Wireless Speaker System weighs in at 4.6lbs, which is a bit heavier than other wireless speaker options, but the tradeoff is a full, robust sound, so it’s really all about balancing your sound and portability needs.