Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 | Review and opinion

In this new review, we take a look at the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8, the latest generation of the American company’s most popular speakers. This Ony Studio series has evolved in design, and when you see it for the first time, it’s quite striking. In fact, almost nothing has changed since the seventh generation, but it is still quite distinctive with its unique design that features a ring for easy installation.

As this review shows, however, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is more than just a great design. If sound quality is important to you and you want a wireless speaker for your home, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is an excellent choice. In addition to its beautiful design and eight-hour battery life, this speaker has excellent sound, although there is always room for improvement, as you will see.

It’s available in three colors: black, dark blue, and champagne. We’re not going to list the prices of the different versions below for now, as they can vary depending on the color you choose.

Is the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 worth buying? We’ll try to answer that for you and see what conclusions we come up with after a thorough review.

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 review
8.9
Price on Amazon
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8

ADVANTAGES
  • Powerful sound
  • Strong bass at volumes below 75%.
  • Sharp treble
  • Stylish design
  • Carry handle
  • Auxiliary jack
  • Playback controls for advancing, delaying, and playing/pausing songs
DISADVANTAGES
  • No options for custom equalization
  • No water resistance
  • Limited Bluetooth codec compatibility
  • High price compared to Onyx Studio 7 version

Main features Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 loudspeaker

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8
Speakers1 120 mm woofer, 2 20 mm tweeters.
Power50 watts
Frequency responseFrequency response 50Hz-20kHz (-6dB).
BatteryUp to 8 hours of battery life (depending on use).
Charging timeAbout 5 hours
Connections3.5 mm auxiliary jack, USB-C jack
BluetoothYes, version 5.2
HandsfreeYes
Dimensions312 x 275.8 x 163.8 mm
Weight3.52 kg
Price
Table of features Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 speaker

Design

Often when something is done well, the best option is not to touch it, and this must have been what the American brand thought with the Onyx Studio 8. And the design has hardly changed from the previous generation Onyx Studio 7, retaining its striking aesthetics and looking very elegant thanks to the colors and materials chosen. The rounded body is covered with a fabric made of recycled polyester yarn, and the handle is made of anodized aluminum.

The circumferential ring acts as a handle and a support for placement on a table, floor or shelf.

Onyx Studio 8 portable speaker designOnyx Studio 8 Portable Speaker Design

In terms of size and weight, it measures 312 x 275.8 x 163.8 mm and weighs 3.52 kg. The Onyx Studio 8 is slightly larger and heavier than its predecessor, the Onyx Studio 7, although the difference is not noticeable to the naked eye. Because of its size and weight, it is not the most comfortable wireless speaker to carry around. If you’re looking for a speaker that you can take with you whenever you leave the house, you might want to consider something like the Onyx Studio 8. JBL Xtreme 3. Also, the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is not waterproof or dustproof, so keep it away from the beach or pool.

On the top, there is a row of buttons to activate Bluetooth mode, volume down, power on/off, volume up, and hands-free. The same speakerphone button is used to pause and play when pressed once. Press it twice to skip to the next track and three times to skip to the previous track.

Onyx Studio 8 control buttons.Onyx Studio 8 control buttons.

Harman Kardon always adds an aesthetic component to its products, and the Onyx Studio 8 is no exception. With the unique design of the handle, which doubles as a stand, and the high quality fabric that covers the speaker, it looks very elegant wherever you place it.

The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is a very beautiful, elegant and original wireless speaker. The weight of 3.5 kg does not make it the most comfortable model to carry, but we can easily carry it around the house. Although you can take it outdoors, where we tested it, you have to be aware that it is not waterproof.

Connectivity

Connections are integrated into the bottom back panel, which includes an auxiliary port for connecting a 3.5 mm cable, a power input, and a USB-C port.

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 connections.Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 Connections

Of course, it comes with Bluetooth for wireless pairing with your phone, TV, or PC. Just tap the Bluetooth button on the top of the unit to activate pairing mode, which is indicated by a blue light. You can pair two different smartphones at the same time and stream audio from different sources. This is especially useful when using the Onyx Studio 8 at parties and family gatherings, as more than one person can play music.

It should be added that the Bluetooth version has been upgraded to 5.2. Compared to the previous generation, the connection range is greater and in our case we had no interruption until we were more than 10 meters away. There is no official Harman Kardon application, so it is not possible to control additional functions.

Battery life

The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is powered by a 3250mAh battery, which according to the company can provide up to eight hours of battery life. According to our tests, the company’s prediction was correct, and we were even able to enjoy more than eight hours of music while using the device without being plugged in. Given that the volume is high, it is most likely that you will not use it more than 40% at home, so the battery life will reach these 8 hours and even a little more.

As expected, at maximum volume, the figure is reduced to around 4 hours. This is usual, since the brands always give the battery life figure using it at a volume around 50%. As we’ve said before, we don’t think you’ll need to use the maximum volume to enjoy your music at home. The speaker also has no lights or other power-hungry extras.

Inside the box of the Onyx Studio 8 is a power cord that you will need to connect to the unit and the power supply to charge the battery. There is no quick charge, and it takes about 5 hours to fully charge the battery.

The Bluetooth speaker has a small LED light below the power button that stays red while charging. When the battery reaches 100%, the light turns off to let you know that it is now charged. The advantage of this Onyx Studio 8 is that it no longer uses a transformer, just the typical eight wire.

Sound

Now we enter to evaluate the sound quality provided by this Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8. First, we will look at some technical aspects in terms of power, frequency response, etc. Internally, this speaker has a 120 mm woofer and two 20 mm tweeters, with an output of 50 W RMS and a frequency response of 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz (-6dB).

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 woofer, dual tweeter and passive radiator.Woofer, dual tweeter and passive radiator Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8

During our review, we found the Onyx Studio 8 to have a very high sound quality, with well supported highs and excellent bass. If you like deep bass, this speaker is a great choice. You can feel the powerful bass even without turning up the volume, and this Onyx Studio 8 makes the table it is placed on vibrate.

The timbre of vocals is quite smooth and clear, with a fairly wide soundstage. The reproduction of high frequencies is also very good. With this speaker you will be able to enjoy any kind of music.

The Onyx Studio 8 delivers high power with energetic bass and a sound that spreads well around the room.

On bass-heavy tracks, the Onyx Studio 7 delivers a very powerful sound. At higher volumes, the DSP (digital signal processing) kicks in to prevent distortion, but it doesn’t seem to dilute the low frequencies too much up to 75%. After that, the sound starts to flatten out and distortion starts to appear. The sound is best at volume levels slightly below 75%, where the bass is powerful and well balanced with the higher frequencies.

The midrange is very rich and clear, and acoustic strings and percussive rhythms in the upper registers have enough midrange and treble to be clear and defined. It’s a very refined and sculpted mix, with plenty of added bass depth, though admittedly there is occasionally too much bass rumble that shouldn’t be there.

Keep in mind, too, that this is a relatively small speaker with a compactly sized woofer, so it can handle the more sub-bass frequencies, and it never sounds as powerful as a subwoofer. Instead, the bass power is added at slightly higher frequencies, resulting in a strong sound in bass drums, but sometimes the added bass can sound like it’s fighting for space.

Review Onyx Studio 8 - Sound Quality.Review Onyx Studio 8 – Sound Quality

It has areas for improvement, such as the fact that it does not play high-fidelity Bluetooth codecs, nor is there an option to customize the sound equalization. We missed a dedicated app that would allow you to adjust the bass, midrange and treble frequencies by frequency band. This is one of the drawbacks of the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8, as you have to check the audio settings chosen by the manufacturer.

The brand claims that the speaker is automatically calibrated according to the room in which it is used, in order to provide an optimal sound. We cannot be sure how effective this is, as we cannot check how it sounds with or without this calibration.

Comparison Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 vs Onyx Studio 7

Onyx Studio 8Onyx Studio 7
Speakers1 120 mm woofer, 2 20 mm tweeters.1 x 120 mm woofer, 2 x 25 mm tweeters
Power50 watts50 watts
Frequency responseFrequency response 50Hz-20kHz (-6dB)Frequency response 50Hz-20kHz (-6dB).
BatteryUp to 8 hours of battery life (depending on use).Up to 8 hours of battery life (depending on use).
Charging timeAbout 5 hoursAbout 5 hours
Connections3.5 mm auxiliary jack, USB-C jack3.5 mm auxiliary jack, USB-C jack
BluetoothYes, version 5.2Yes, version 4.2
HandsfreeYesYes
Dimensions312 x 275.8 x 163.8 mm302.5 x 268.0 x 159.5mm
Weight3.52 kg3.29kg
Price
Comparison features table Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 vs Studio 7

See Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 7 price

Review Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 – Is it worth it?

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 speaker reviewHarman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 loudspeaker review

The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is a great choice if you want a stylish speaker with quality design and finish that fits in any room. It looks good anywhere, and the three versions available allow you to choose the one that looks best in your home. It is easy to carry thanks to its handle and its battery life, without being spectacular, allows you to use it for several days at moderate volumes.

Its sound is defined by a wide audio that fills large rooms and delivers really powerful bass. In fact, it is capable of delivering intense bass at moderate volumes and good clarity in the mids and highs. Clearly, fans of punchy bass will have a lot of fun with this Harman Kardon speaker.

We were very pleased with the Onyx Studio 8’s performance as a home speaker. After all, although you can take it outdoors, it is in the home environment where it is at its best, with a clean sound, with good definition in the highs and mids, but especially with powerful bass.

As extras, it has a hands-free function and allows you to pause and play music, as well as advance or delay the song.

What we miss is the ability to customize the sound, especially for those who want a more neutral sound. Although the automatic calibration that the speaker has seems quite correct, it is always an extra point to be able to adjust the audio to your personal taste.

At maximum volume, the audio is flattened and some distortion is generated. It has aspects to improve as we have seen and its price is not the most affordable, but taking stock of its strengths and weaknesses we find it a highly recommended device for Bluetooth speakers for home.

See Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 price

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8

Sleek design, Up to 8 hours of battery life, hands free
amazon logo

Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 Speaker Alternatives

The best alternative to this Onyx Studio 8, is undoubtedly the previous generation Onyx Studio 7, because the performance is very similar, slightly better in this new generation, but its price is much lower. In our opinion, at this time it is more worthwhile to buy the Onyx Studio 7, as you will enjoy everything mentioned here, but you can take advantage of buying it now at a better price until it is discontinued.

See Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 7 price

Although this Harman Kardon is portable, its size, weight, and lack of water and dust protection make it stand out more in a home environment. You can use it outdoors, as we tested it, and its performance is remarkable. But if you are looking for a speaker that you will mainly use outdoors and take from place to place, we think there are better alternatives with more power, water resistance and other extras.

One of them is the Tronsmart Bang, which stands out as a party speaker with even more power, water resistance with IPX6 certification, custom equalization by downloading an app, and also a longer battery life and the possibility of using it as a power bank. You also have the alternative of the Bang SE if you want something more portable and that comes with a carrying strap.

See Tronsmart Bang price

The sound, yes, none of them is as refined as the Onyx Studio 8 and here you prioritize more power at the expense of a less tuned sound.

Another portable option is the JBL Xtreme 3, which is designed to go anywhere thanks to its integrated strap, water and dust resistance, and longer battery life. It weighs much less and is covered in a durable fabric that prevents scratches and is more resistant to drops. This Xtreme 3 delivers deep bass and performs very well outdoors, although it does not reach the level of this Onyx Studio 8 indoors.

See JBL Xtreme 3 price
8.9 Total Score
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 speaker review

The Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 8 is the eighth member of the Onyx family and the successor to the Harman Kardon Onyx 7, although no major changes have been made. What stands out the most is the elegant design, which looks great anywhere, and the good sound quality with impressive bass and defined treble. The downside is that you cannot customize the sound and there is no equalizer. It is also not waterproof and its price is not for every budget. If these details do not bother you, buy it and enjoy your music to the fullest.

PROS
  • Powerful sound
  • Strong bass at volumes below 75%.
  • Sharp treble
  • Stylish design
  • Carry handle
  • Auxiliary jack
  • Playback controls for advancing, delaying, and playing/pausing songs
CONS
  • No options for custom equalization
  • No water resistance
  • Limited Bluetooth codec compatibility
  • High price compared to Onyx Studio 7 version

Some of the links you will find on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through them, we will receive a small commission. These links help us to maintain the website and continue to provide you with relevant and useful content.

Related posts

      TV HiFi Pro in English
      Logo