If you are looking for affordable yet great sounding desktop speakers two great options you need to consider are the Kanto YU6 and the Audioengine HD6. If you enjoy quality sound and would also want beautiful speakers that you can flaunt to your friends when they come visiting these two are awesome. But you obviously cannot buy both of them, you must pick one. Making that decision is the tricky bit but you are in luck for that is exactly why we are here for you, to guide you through the process.
The main aim of this article is to make an unbiased yet in-depth comparison between the Kanto YU6 and the Audioengine HD6 to help you make a wise purchasing decision.
To make a fair judgement we will consider different parameters such as the physical aspect, wireless connectivity, power dynamics, technical specifications, and any other critical matter that is of importance when buying a bookshelf speaker after which we shall give you a verdict that you can rely on.
Let’s start with the Kanto YU6.
It is beautifully designed when you compare it to many of the cheap speakers available on the market. Despite that, I wouldn’t be quick to say that it is among the most beautiful bookshelf speakers. Let’s just say it is not badly off for I have seen better ones.
When you look at the Audioengine HD6, one of the first things that will draw your attention to them is their beautiful finish and unique design unlike most speakers available in the market that have quite a generic boring look. In my opinion, the manufacturers outdid themselves when designing these beautiful pieces. If looks were the only thing to consider during purchasing, I would buy the Audioengine HD6 without thinking twice.
When you consider the color options available, it is apparent that the manufacturers of both speakers were very considerate of the buyers when coming up with options and that is why they offer a plethora of options to pick from. For the Kanto YU6 you can pick one among these five; Matte White, Matte Black, Gloss White, Gloss Red or Bamboo. Having the flexibility to pick one that fits your interior décor is a great thing if you ask me. There is a level of satisfaction that comes from walking into a room and seeing that every item fits perfectly well with the other creating a beautiful sight.
The Audioengine HD6 also offers a variety of color options that you can choose from, that is Red, Wood, White, Black and Grey.
Another crucial detail every speaker buyer must consider as far as the physical aspect is concerned is the size of the cabinet. Kanto YU6 have fairly large and weighty speakers, but they are smaller in comparison to the Audioengine HD6 cabinets.
The Kanto YU6 is comparatively lighter weighing 11.4 lb and its cabinets are also smaller in dimension. Its dimensions are 6.9” W x 8.1” D x 10.7” H (17.5 x 20.5 x 27.2 cm). The Audioengine HD6 weighs 17.64 lb and its dimensions are 16.3” W x 15.0” D x 20.1” H (41.4 x 38.1 x 51.0 cm) meaning it has larger cabinets and it is also weightier than the Kanto YU6.
If your room is already too busy and you do not have much space to spare you will have to opt for the Kanto YU6, the smaller the cabinets the better it is for your space. However, if you want heavy and large speakers and you do need to mount them on the wall the Audioengine HD6 will work for you. But in the case of wall mounting it is best to avoid speakers that are too heavy to avoid the potential of them falling down on you because they are too heavy.
The cabinet of both speakers is made of MDF material. You will notice that the Kanto YU6 has rubber feet making them perfect for tabletop use as they will not scratch the surface. The Audioengine HD6 has no such feature, but they have provisions for mounting them on stands.
I prefer large speakers because there is a tendency for large speakers to have bigger and better sound. The whole aim of investing in a speaker is to enjoy good sound, and for that reason I am siding with the Audioengine HD6 on this one. The Kanto YU6 cannot be left behind though, they are light weight and quality too, but when you consider the beautiful design of the Audioengine HD6 the matter is settled. So if you are after looks and value aesthetics and have no problem with space, then buy the Audioengine HD6.
If you want peace and enjoyment, you need to opt for speakers that have both wired and wireless connectivity. Wireless connectivity allows you to play music from either your phone or laptop without the need to be next to the speakers because of the limitation of the length of the audio cable. Fortunately, both of these giant brands speakers have both wired and wireless connections.
Both the Kanto YU6 and Audioengine HD6 are Bluetooth powered and have an integrated DAC. The difference is in the number of wired connection inputs each has and the range of the wireless connection. That right there is the deal breaker and will determine the winner in this race.
One great advantage of the HD6 Bluetooth speakers is that they can support various codec drivers namely; AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD and has 100 foot range. The Kanto YU6 is more limited, it can only support the aptX codec driver and its range is shorter just 32.8 fee. If you are looking for wider range and flexibility, you will agree with me that the Audioengine HD6 is the better option.
To tip the scale in favor of the Audioengine HD6 even further is the fact that it works perfectly with all your devices and apps, and requires no network setup or passwords.
I will give credit to the Kanto YU6 for its wireless functionality but I must also admit its limitation. It supports only one codec driver, the aptX, and in this day and age versatility is king for you never know the kind of device the users have. You don’t want a situation where you have invested a lot of money into a speaker only to find out later it is incompatible with your gadgets. In addition, the fact that the Audioengine HD6 has an extended wireless range makes it great when you want to move around with your phone or laptop and do not want the music to be cut-off simply because you were out of range. Because of these factors, I will settle for the Audioengine HD6 yet again.
We now come to yet another important parameter to consider as far as speakers are concerned, power!
Did you know that the power rating of your speaker determines the level and quality of sound your speaker can give you? The more the power rating, the more powerful a speaker is. Not only that, but the power consumption of a speaker during both usage and when on standby mode is crucial. You want to avoid speakers that drive up your utility bills. If a speaker is on standby yet drawing so much power, then it is not worth it.
With all this in mind, let us see the power aspects of the Kanto YU6 and also the Audioengine HD6.
The Kanto YU6 needs an AC input power of 100 to 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz while its counterpart the Audioengine HD6 demands that of 110 to 240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz. This goes to show the Audioengine has a higher voltage demand, and when the voltage is too low the machine will not power up. The voltage difference is small and has no much effect because unless you live in an area where there is often much power surge, if not you have no reason to worry.
The real deal is in the power consumption. Kanto YU6 consumes 0.5W on standby mode while the Audioengine HD6 consumes a whooping 4W when on standby and 10W when it is idle. Sincerely speaking that is not a good thing because it means that if you forget to switch off the Audioengine HD6, it will continue to draw much power. If that is a trend, you will be paying a utility bill for something you didn’t use which sucks.
Although I am in love with the Audioengine HD6, on this matter it is irredeemable. I cannot defend it on this, it is a power hungry machine and I wish it did not consume so much wattage on standby mode. If you are keen on cutting costs then stay away from the Audioengine HD6. The Kanto YU6 carries the day on this parameter for once.
It is time to go into the most important aspect to consider when purchasing speakers, the technical specifications. Are you ready for this?
In the context of the audio configurations, the Kanto YU6 has a class D woofer with a frequency retaliation of 50 Hz up to 20 kHz and its pinnacle power is 200W and the entire Root Mean Squared (RMS) is 100 Watts.
All these are great features and provide for great sound. If these specifications from the Kanto YU6 do not impress you then you probably need to consider something bigger than just desktop speakers. Thankfully, you will get what you are looking for in the Audioengine HD6.
The Audioengine HD6 has larger woofers of 5.5″ / 139.7 mm whose specifications are Woven Aramid-Fiber/Kevlar Woofer (per Speaker). The Tweeter is the same as that found in the KantoYU6 1″ / 25.4 mm Silk Dome Tweeter (per Speaker). Its amplifier type is the 2 x Class-AB and its frequency response is 50Hz to 22 kHz. Meaning it will continue to sound good and clear even at higher frequencies which is what you would want in a speaker. You don’t want a speaker that begins to croak at higher frequencies. The larger the range the better the speaker.
When it comes to connections versatility, you can bet that the Audioengine HD6 will not let you down. It works with turntables with built-in or external preamps and all kinds of music players including but not limited to; phones, desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, TVs with an analog output, CD and DVD players, video game consoles and all products with 1/8″ mini-jack or RCA outputs.
Unfortunately, one disappointing aspect of the Audioengine is that it has a lower power rated amplifier than the Kanto YU6 despite being the bigger brother. I feel like that is such a letdown. I would expect that such a big boy like it, with the kind of sturdy cabinet it has would have an equivalent amplifier to match, but nope that is not the case. Although both the Kanto YU6 and Audioengine have 100W RMS, the Kanto has a higher peak power performance of 200W with the Audioengine falling behind at 150W.
If you feel confused, don’t worry I am going to breakdown it for you. RMS is simply an indication of the ability of a speaker to handle power for a long time and on a daily basis without distorting the quality of the sound.
Making this decision is a tall order seeing they all have their strengths and weakness.
The Kanto YU6 is awesome because of its high peak power performance and amplifier type meaning it will not easily overheat even if used continuously for a long time.
The Audioengine HD6 on the other hand may overheat because of the type of amplifier it has but that is the exact reason it is fitted with a heat sink on its rear to solve that problem. It also seems that its capacity to operate at optimum for a long time is lower considering its peak power performance. But you cannot overlook its larger woofer and wider frequency range. Despite failing in some aspects, the Audioengine HD6 compensates with better quality sound. A bigger woofer means more bass and a higher frequency range means greater clarity even at higher frequency.
I have to make a tough call on this and say that it is a tie because each speaker has its strong points. The choice lies between the much power and great amplifier in the Kanto YU6 or better bass and higher frequency range of the Audioengine HD6. All are important and you cannot substitute one with the other, hence on this it is a draw.
Package and Pricing
If you buy the Kanto YU6 expect to get the following as part of the package;
- Price: $449.99
- Remote with Batteries
- Speaker Wire (16′)
- Power Cord
- 3.5mm Auxiliary Cable (6.5′)
- 8 x Rubber Feet
If you opt for the Audioengine HD6 then you should expect the following;
- Price: $699
- Setup guide, brochure
- Bluetooth antenna
- Aluminum cased remote control
- 4m speaker wire
- Power supply & cord
- 2m 3.5mm mini-jack audio cable
- 2m RCA audio cable
- Microfiber speaker bags and cable bags
Frequently asked questions about Kanto YU6 and Audioengine HD6 speakers
Question: Do I need to get a subwoofer for Kanto YU6 speakers?
Answer: The Kanto YU6 speakers are designed to handle heavy bass at various levels but if you pair them with a subwoofer you will get even better sound.
Question: Can I use Kanto YU6 as a computer speaker?
Answer: Sure. Kanto YU6 allows you to connect them to your computer either via Bluetooth or using an optical input.
Question: Is there an option of connecting the Audioengine HD6 speakers to turntables without a phono preamp?
Answer: Unfortunately the Audioengine HD6 speakers do not have a built-in phono preamp. The only option you have is to use an external phono preamp or use a turntable with an internal preamp.
Question: Can I place Audioengine HD6 speakers near a monitor or will they get damaged?
Answer: Yes, you can. Both drivers are video shielded so that they cannot be damaged even if they are within a few inches from the monitor.
The Final Verdict
What an intense standoff between two major bookshelf speaker brands. No matter how gruesome the battle was, we must proclaim a winner.
The Audioengine HD6 is big, beautiful and produces quality sound even at high frequencies, but it lacks qualities that are desirable in a bookshelf speaker. It consumes more power even when it is on standby and can overheat if used for a longtime nonstop. But you cannot ignore its wide range wireless connectivity and connection versatility.
The Kanto YU6 is also pretty, just not as pretty but it is powerful because of its high quality Class D amplifier. Apart from its low power consumption and high power rating it offers nothing more beyond that, considering that its woofer and cabinet size are smaller meaning you will get less bass. Beyond that, there is the major factor of pricing that cannot be ignored. The Kanto YU6 costs less which is expected given its size.
At the end of the day both are winners in their own right because each has something unique that the other does not have. Therefore, the final decision lies with you as the buyer. If you prefer bigger and better sound you will have to spend more and purchase the Audioengine HD6 but if you are okay with settling for good sound while saving power then the Kanto YU6 will be fine for you.
However, from my point of view I would not hesitate to select the Audioengine HD6. It is bigger, prettier and a great investment! It is worth every dollar. You can be sure that you are getting value for your money when you buy it.
I hope you have gained enough information to make you an expert on choosing powered speakers. Go on and share what you have learned with your friends.