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Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 is the third out of five versions of a highly appreciated Onyx Studio line by Harman Kardon. Compared khổng lồ the version 2, this one has a new bluetooth không dây version (Onyx Studio 2 had công nghệ bluetooth không dây 3.0 while Onyx Studio 3 has công nghệ bluetooth 4.1) and all the other improvements are closely related khổng lồ capabilities of bluetooth không dây 4.1 (daisy chaining & multi-host features). The regular price of this speaker is $450 but you can often find it on Amazon for $200 or less. Since you can also find Onyx Studio 4 và Onyx Studio 5 for less than $200, you should probably kiểm tra out those speakers, too. The difference between the third và fourth version is minimal (upgraded battery), while the fifth version is the first one with a modified shape và a few more improvements.

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Onyx Studio 3, just like all the other Onyx Studio speakers, is one of the best sounding công nghệ bluetooth không dây speakers on the market. The manufacturer made all kinds of changes since the first version was released (Bluetooth upgrades, battery upgrades, additional features), but until the version 5, Harman Kardon has never changed the drivers & driver configuration. So, all the speakers starting from version 1 khổng lồ version 4 have very similar, recognizable sound signature và deliver an incredible sound quality, very close lớn audiophile standards.

Recommended Reading : HK Onyx Studio 6 Review

Besides the sound quality, which is probably the greatest highlight, Onyx Studio 3 features unique, very elegant, and visually pleasing design. You can see that all the parts were carefully put together. This speaker also has a built-in battery and doesn’t have to lớn be plugged in all the time (can be used on the go). It features Bluetooth and AUX input so you can connect it to lớn Bluetooth-enabled and non-Bluetooth devices. It can be paired with 3 devices simultaneously (multi-host) & it can be paired with another Onyx Studio 3 speaker (dual sound).

We don’t recommend using Onyx Studio 3 outdoors. It is technically portable, but it looks too delicate for outdoor use. The playtime is probably the only thing we didn’t like. 5 hours at một nửa volume is simply too short for a $200 speaker, but if you are going to lớn use it indoors only, you don’t even have to lớn care about the playtime.

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UPSIDES

Luxurious and refined designBluetooth connectivity + AUX inputMulti-host & dual sound featuresPortable (built-in battery)Built-in mic with noise canceling technologyGreat audio performance close to lớn audiophile standards

DOWNSIDES

Short playtime

VERDICT

If you need a great sounding công nghệ bluetooth speaker for your home, Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 definitely deserves your attention. If you need a speaker that you can use outdoors, try something else, preferably something rugged and waterproof.

Official videoHarman Kardon Onyx Studio 3

What’s in the box?

Like all the Onyx Studio speakers, Onyx Studio 3 comes in a simple but classy packaging. Inside the packaging, you will find your speaker, power nguồn cable with power adapter, quick start guide, safety sheet, & 1-year warranty.

None of the Onyx studio speakers come with a carrying case or any other additional equipment and you have khổng lồ pay extra for all that equipment.

Specs

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 Specifications
DIMENSIONS
Width6.4in
Height11in
Depth10.2in
Weight4.6lb
DRIVERS
Woofers3-inch x2
Tweeters¾-inch x2
ENCLOSURE TYPESealed with 2 passive bass radiators
BATTERY
TypeRechargeable, Li-ion
Capacity2,600mAh
PlaytimeUp khổng lồ 5 hours (at 1/2 volume)
Recharge timeApprox. 5 hours
OTHER POWERING OPTIONSDC input
CONNECTIONSBluetooth, AUX
BLUETOOTH DETAILS
Bluetooth version4.1
Supported bluetooth không dây profilesA2DP, AVRCP, HFP
NFCNo
Bluetooth range33ft
Multi-host featureYes (up to 3 devices)
Daisy chainingYes (pair up to lớn 2 speakers together)
OTHER TECHNICAL DETAILS
Frequency response50Hz lớn 20,000Hz
Peak đầu ra power60W (plugged in)/30W (battery mode)
MAX SPL95dB
SNR ratio80dB
ADDITIONAL FEATURESBuilt-in micControl panelMicro USB port (for updates)

Design

All the Onyx studio speakers, starting from Studio 1 lớn Studio 4, have a very similar, equally sophisticated and classy design. Compared to lớn the previous (second) version, there are some minor cosmetic changes (different material for the grille, removed bronze details), but the kiến thiết is still very unique & very familiar. The speaker is available in two colors (black và white), but there were also two limited editions – blue and purple. Purple version looks particularly interesting but it’s really hard to find.

The front panel looks very simple yet very stylish. It’s completely covered with a grille with the Harman Kardon hình ảnh sản phẩm in the center.

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Front panel

On the back, you will see a carrying handle, silver passive bass radiator with the Harman Kardon logo, input ports, và two rubberized feet.

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Rear panel

Panel with inputs looks basically the same on all the Onyx Studio speakers. The inputs may be arranged in a different order, but you will always see those three inputs – micro USB port, 3.5mm input, and power/charging port. The micro USB port is used for firmware updates only. You cannot use it for charging or for connecting your phone or mp3 player to lớn the speaker.

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Inputs

The control panel looks exactly the same as the control panel on Onyx Studio 2. It’s located on the top. There are 5 control buttons. Volume buttons (+ và –) are in the center. The power nguồn button is on the right side, and the speakerphone and Bluetooth buttons are on the left. The power button & Bluetooth button are backlit.

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Control buttons

Features

As we have previously mentioned, công nghệ bluetooth is the only thing that’s upgraded compared lớn Onyx Studio 2. Harman Kardon went from bluetooth 3.0 to công nghệ bluetooth không dây 4.1 và this nâng cấp enabled a few more improvements. The công nghệ bluetooth range remained the same (33ft).

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Bluetooth connectivity – bluetooth 4.1 with 33ft range

Just like the previous Onyx Studio 2, Studio 3 tư vấn multi-host feature, but there’s a small improvement here, too. You can pair 3 devices simultaneously with the speaker (with Onyx Studio 2, you were able khổng lồ pair only 2 devices simultaneously).

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Pair multiple devices (up khổng lồ 3) with the speaker simultaneously

Another improvement is the ability lớn pair two Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 speakers together và get a louder sound. Bluetooth upgrade enabled this improvement, too. Unfortunately, you cannot pair multiple speakers together & you won’t get stereo playback and better stereo separation. Only dual mode is available (both speakers play the same audio). If you really need those additional features, you should go for Onyx Studio 4.

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Pair two speakers together for louder sound

Unfortunately, there’s no app that you can use lớn control the playback and adjust EQ settings. Onyx Studio 4 is the first Onyx Studio speaker that comes with the HK Connect app, but the ứng dụng is kind of crappy so you might be better off without this app.

We have really hoped that Harman Kardon is going lớn upgrade the battery, but sadly, Onyx Studio 2 and Onyx Studio 3 have the same 2,600mAh battery and deliver the same 5-hour playtime at 1/2 volume (less than 3h at 80%). Recharge takes 5 hours. Onyx Studio 4 has a slightly larger battery (3,000mAh and 7 hours of playtime), but that’s still insufficient.

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5 hours of continuous playback at 1/2 volume

Just like all the other Onyx Studio speakers, Onyx Studio 3 has a built-in mic with noise và echo canceling technology.

Performance

The control buttons are simple và intuitive. The buttons are very responsive and have a nice tactile feeling. It would be even better if all the buttons were illuminated so you can see them clearly in the dark. Speakerphone button can be used to play/pause the song, but there are no dedicated track buttons và you will have lớn use your phone to lớn change the song.

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Simple & intuitive controls

Pairing is a standard procedure and takes about 5 seconds (quick pairing through NFC feature is not supported). The công nghệ bluetooth range is close khổng lồ advertised và we have no complaints regarding that. You can pair 3 devices with the speaker simultaneously (we have tried two) và take turns.

In order lớn pair two Onyx Studio 3 speakers together, you just have lớn pair one speaker with your device, turn on the other speaker, và press the công nghệ bluetooth không dây button for 5sec on both speakers. Unfortunately, you won’t be able khổng lồ play the music in stereo mode. There is only dual sound mode.

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Pairing two Onyx Studio 3 speakers together

The battery is the only feature we have to lớn criticize. The playtime is pretty much the same as the playtime of Onyx Studio 2, & that’s only 5 hours at một nửa volume. You will really get those 5 hours so it’s not falsely advertised, but 5 hours is not good enough for a speaker at this price point. Onyx Studio 4 and Studio 5 have slightly upgraded batteries, but we were praying for something much stronger. A new Onyx Studio speaker with 10,000mAh battery and 15-20 hours playtime would be an amazing speaker.

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The mic offers almost flawless performance. Your voice will be loud & clear on the other end. It will muffle your voice a little bit in a noisy environment, but it’s still better than most of the speakers under $200.

Sound Quality

The sound chất lượng is the thing we loved the most about this speaker. Onyx Studio 3 follows the tradition of great sounding speakers from Onyx Studio series. This one is neither better nor worse than its predecessor (Studio 2) when it comes to sound quality. The number và the form size of drivers (2 3-inch woofers, 2 0.75-inch tweeters, và 2 passive bass radiators) remained the same. The driver arrangement is also the same. After all, there’s no need lớn change something that’s already been highly praised.

Onyx Studio 3 can really pump some serious bass, but not the kind of bass that’s boomy, distorted, or overwhelming. It’s perfectly balanced, punchy, and controlled. Some sub-bass frequencies are not covered, but it would be unreasonable khổng lồ expect that from a speaker of this size.

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Midrange reproduction is truly sweet. There’s a lot of detail and dynamics in the midrange, and the vocals are perfectly clear.

The treble is almost sparkling. High frequencies will sometimes (when a treble-heavy music is played) sound a bit too intense, but most of the time the treble is clear and very pleasant.

As you probably know, you cannot expect a great separation from a bluetooth speaker and this one is not an exception. You won’t get better separation even if you pair two since there is only dual sound mode.

The Competition

There’s a lot of competition when your limit is phối at $200 và it all depends on what kind of speaker you need. If you want something as sophisticated và as good-sounding as Onyx Studio 3, the competition is much smaller, but you should definitely check out those upgraded versions. Studio 4 looks exactly the same but has công nghệ bluetooth 4.2 và a slightly larger battery. Here are 3 more interesting options.

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 5
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HK Onyx Studio 5 is the 5th version of the Onyx Studio speaker và it’s the first one that doesn’t look the same as others. The speaker is still circular but those legs were removed & the handle is located on the top (not at the back). In short, Harman Kardon tried to make the speaker more portable without destroying the overall visual impression. Both versions, Onyx Studio 3 & Onyx Studio 5 are similarly priced (under $200).

Onyx Studio 5 features upgraded battery (3,280mAh compared to 2,600mAh) and delivers longer playtime (8 hours compared khổng lồ 5 hours).

HK Onyx Studio 5 features bluetooth 4.2 but there are no other improvements. Both speakers tư vấn multi-host feature & they both tư vấn daisy chaining, but you won’t be able khổng lồ pair two Onyx Studio 5 speakers and play the music in stereo mode. Also, you won’t be able to lớn pair multiple Studio 5 speakers together.

Onyx Studio 5 also has a different sound signature since this is the first version with different drivers. Studio 5 delivers stronger bass, while Onyx 3 delivers more balanced & slightly louder sound.

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Bose Soundlink Mini II

Soundlink Mini II, just like all the Bose products, looks really nice, but still not good enough khổng lồ win the battle against Onyx Studio 3. They are within the same price range, but they are definitely not from the same league. Bose tends to put unrealistic price tags on their products, so it’s maybe unfair to lớn compare these two speakers, but we are going to bởi it anyway.

Soundlink Mini II is definitely more portable & more suitable for outdoor use. It looks a bit sturdier, but it’s still not IPX-certified.

Soundlink Mini II delivers longer playtime. You will get up khổng lồ 10 hours of playback per one charge.

The difference in sound quality between Soundlink Mini II và Onyx Studio 3 is huge. Soundlink Mini II sounds tiny & more mid-centric (that’s expected from a mini công nghệ bluetooth speaker). Onyx Studio 3 delivers much fuller, richer, more detailed sound with much more bass. Soundlink Mini II delivers a decent amount of bass for its form size but it’s not comparable khổng lồ Onyx Studio 3.

Marshall Kilburn
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Marshall Kilburn is the largest portable công nghệ bluetooth không dây speaker made by the famous guitar amp manufacturer. It features a very chất lượng design inspired by the old-school Marshall guitar amps. It’s as unique and as beautiful as Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 but in a different way.

Just lượt thích Onyx Studio 3, Kilburn is technically portable but looks too delicate lớn be used outdoors.

Marshall Kilburn features smaller battery (2,200mAh compared to 2,600mAh) but delivers much longer playtime (20 hours compared khổng lồ 5 hours) due to lower nguồn consumption.

Kilburn cannot be wirelessly paired with other Kilburn speakers và doesn’t support the multi-host feature.

Kilburn features bass & treble knobs so you can adjust the sound to your liking.

Both speakers, Marshall Kilburn và Onyx Studio 3, deliver very pleasant & balanced sound, but Onyx Studio 3 is significantly louder và it delivers more detailed sound.

Comparison Table

SpeakerPlaytime (50% vol.)Frequency response
HK Onyx Studio 3Up to 5 hours50Hz to 20kHz
HK Onyx Studio 5Up to lớn 8 hours50Hz lớn 20kHz
Bose Soundlink Mini IIUp to 10 hoursN/A
Marshall KilburnUp to trăng tròn hours62Hz lớn 20kHz

Final Thoughts

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 3 is an awesome speaker for indoor use and not so great for outdoor use. It looks very sophisticated, it’s battery-operated, it features some nice additional Bluetooth-related features, and it also features a built-in mic. The most important thing is that it delivers great audio performance. It’s definitely one of the best sounding bluetooth không dây speakers under $200. Since there are similarly priced upgraded versions of this speaker, Onyx Studio 3 would not be our first choice, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. One thing this speaker is not suitable for is outdoor use. Technically, this is an outdoor/portable công nghệ bluetooth speaker, but something waterproof & more rugged would be more appropriate for outdoor use.