Brace yourself for yet another gruesome product comparison battle between the giant Peachtree M24 and the mighty Audioengine HD3. Although I enjoy comparing great products to help you know the ones that will give you value for your money it is hard to predict the winner on this one.
We will have to do an intense features and performance comparison to know the winner. Read on to find out!
What Makes these Speakers Great?
So far I have only done one comparison between the Peachtree M24 and another great powered speaker available in the market. If you are interested, you can get to know how that battle of Peachtree M24 vs Audioengine A2+ went here. In the process I discovered Peachtree is a force in audiovisual equipment.
I have also reviewed some awesome Audioengine speakers such as the HD6, and the A5+ and I have come to realize that the Audioengine is always such a formidable opponent in any battle of powered speakers and it cannot be underrated.
Therefore, in this article we have a battle of the heavyweights which makes it pretty hard to tell which one will emerge the winner today.
A common thread with both Peachtree and Audioengine companies is their repute. Both companies are known for their quality of doing their best in making sure they only put the best products in the market.
Be ready for a step by step breakdown as we will be comparing the most important aspects in powered speakers. For each aspect I will do a simultaneous review of both speakers.
Alright, let’s do this!
Speaker Specifications Comparison
|Peachtree M24||Audioengine HD3|
The Peachtree M24 has a slightly smaller cabinet, standing about 8 ¾” tall, 5 ½” wide, and 8” deep. They are beautiful and will feel right at home on your desk or living room side table. The M24 is available in gloss black or a beautiful real bamboo and comes with removable grills.
We think the bamboo version actually looks great with the grill off, plus it gives you quick access to the controls on the front. As we’ve come to expect from Peachtree, the build quality is impeccable, especially when you consider their modest price.
The woofers and tweeters used in the Peachtree Audio speakers are similar to what you would expect to find in audiophile-level component speakers. The M Speakers feature a 1” silk dome tweeter and custom-designed woofers using a special fiberglass cone material. This material is both light and stiff making it ideal for the midrange and bass frequencies they cover in the M Speakers. The rear-ported speaker design enhances the bass and allows you to get some decent punch from these small-sized speakers.
Peachtree felt that while there were lots of powered speakers on the market, none of them addressed all of the needs of today’s music lovers. Many offered very good sound, but with limited connectivity, while some of the ones with lots of inputs missed the boat on sound. Peachtree’s extensive experience in both amplifier and speaker design results in the M Speakers being an outstanding product with the best of both worlds, great sound, and connectivity.
All of the connections, DAC, and amplifier are contained in the right speaker. To set them up, simply plug it into AC power and run the included speaker wire over to the left speaker. Plug-in or select a source and you’re ready to go!
On the right speaker, you will also find some basic controls on the front, including a dual-purpose knob. Rotate it to adjust the volume or push it in and you can click through the various inputs that we’ll discuss next.
There is a little window on the left side of the speaker with different colored lights that indicate which input you are on. Our only complaint here is that the knob does feel a little less solid than we’d like, but considering the price and the fact that it comes with a remote, this is only a minor gripe.
The Audioengine HD3 comes in a choice of three beautiful finishes: walnut, cherry, or black. The model we tested was in walnut and was really beautiful. They all come with a black grill that attaches magnetically to the front. The grill doesn’t cover the speaker from top to bottom, leaving a little room for a brushed metal plate across the front. The left speaker has a volume/off control knob, headphone input, and Bluetooth pairing button. The HD3 has a slot loaded front firing port, which means you can place them just about anywhere.
Size wise they are just slightly larger than the famous Audioengine A2+ which we have compared with Peachtree M24 in the past standing 7 ¼” tall compared to the 6” of the A2+ with the width (4 1/8”) and depth (5 ¾”) very similar to the A2+.
The HD3 is a two-way powered speaker system with 2.75” Kevlar woofer and ¾” silk dome tweeters. The HD3 uses a cast basket which provides more rigidity than the stamped basket featured in the A2+. The amp for the HD3 is built in, so all you need is a source to get music playing. As you’ll see, there are no shortages of possibilities there!
Connectivity is an area where the HD3 really shines. They come with a heavy gauge 2-meter speaker cable used to connect the left powered speaker to the right. The cable used is a big step up from that included with the A2+. It’s much larger gauge and comes pre-terminated with gold plated banana plugs. This makes hookup a snap and eliminates any chance of stray wires touching at the speaker terminals. Should you wish to use your own cable, the connections accept either banana plugs or bare wire and are far more solid than you normally find on speakers in this price range.
The back panel of the left speaker has several connection options. There is a left/right set of RCA audio inputs, a mini plug audio input (with a nice gold plated audio cable included), a micro USB input for connection from a computer (basic cable included), and a Bluetooth antenna. You’ll also find a set of audio outputs should you wish to connect a sub, and a new feature for Audioengine, a bass reducing toggle switch. Finally, there is the locking connection for the external power supply.
Pairing for Bluetooth works great and the HD3 will even remember 6 different Bluetooth connections.
The best word we can think of to describe the sound of the M Speakers is “FUN”. They have that great sensation we always look for in a speaker, allowing the music to flow through without over-emphasizing any aspect over another. The top end is pure and sweet and the bottom does not try to push the bass beyond its capabilities. All-in-all, it’s a very natural sound — pure and clean with lots of detail. It was super easy to hear the bass tonality on, for example, Chicago’s “I’m a Man.”
Over the course of our listening, we tested out tunes from Jimi Hendrix, The Avett Brothers, Rolling Stones, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, Stephen Stills, the Beatles, and Mark Ronson. No matter what was playing, we found the M Speakers really got you involved in the music. They have a tendency to make you want to stop what you are doing, turn them up and just listen, which is about as good a compliment as you can pay any speaker
On some of the older recordings, we loved the fact you would pick up the remote and tweak the tone controls just a bit. Bumping down the treble a shade took that edge off so we could enjoy the music.
When you compare the sound of the M24 to the M25, the difference is simply a bigger sound with more bass impact and detail. The M24 is probably the perfect size for a computer speaker, while the M25 has enough output to fill up a pretty good-sized room. Either model pairs well with a good turntable for a pretty sleek complete vinyl playback system. You can check out how Peachtree M25 compared to the Audioengine A5+ here.
We preferred them set up in an equilateral triangle configuration. In other words, if they are 6’ apart, they sounded best 6’ away from them. When you set them up this way, your music will take on a great three dimensional quality with the main vocals floating in between the two speakers
There is one little quirk that once you figure out is no big deal, and it only applies when using Bluetooth, but you have two volume controls to deal with. We discovered you should turn the volume knob on the speaker all the way up, then use the controls on your phone. If you do not, you might find you have the phone turned wide open and you still don’t have much volume. This is a quirk with all Bluetooth speakers though. Of course with any source directly connected to the M24, you only have the one volume control on the unit.
We have tested other powered speakers that can produce more ultimate output than the M24, but nothing we have heard for the money can beat the sound they can put out in small rooms at their price point. They just sound so musical. You will be hard-pressed to find a better speaker for the price points this model fall within.
Audioengine recommends about 40-50 hours of break in time, so while they were playing we tested out the Bluetooth range. This is no “you have to stay in the room” Bluetooth connection. Using an iPhone we were able to stay connected up to about 50 feet away, even through multiple walls — very impressive!
We really like the design theory of a powered speaker. If the designer is choosing to build a powered speaker because they care about the sound (not to cut costs), the outcome can be fantastic. They know all of the electrical characteristics the amp will need to contend with since the only thing it will ever be connected to are the drivers that are built into that particular speaker. This lets them design the amp to perfectly match the speakers. It saves money and if done right, results in great sound. As with many Audioengine speakers, the HD3 is self-powered. We were surprised to see how well the built in amp could push them. It easily filled up a reasonably sized room with sound, though we preferred the sound up close. Though they certainly will work as a bookshelf speaker, it seems they were designed to really excel where they will likely be most used; as a great set of desktop speakers.
Our experience with Audioengine means we are starting to get to a point where we can predict how an Audioengine speaker will sound. They tend not to over-emphasize any frequencies. Everything is smooth and flat in the range they cover. This means you can sit at your desk and listen to them for hours on end without the fatigue you sometimes get from lower quality speakers.
The bass switch is a really interesting feature. It cuts off the deep bass if you are going to use a subwoofer with them. This has the advantage of removing the deep bass demands from the woofer, which actually opens up the midrange. It’s really easy to hear, if you switch bass cut on, during some complex music with vocals you’ll notice the vocals to be clearer.
If you are going to use them on a wooden desk, we do highly recommend you add the DS1 speaker stands as an add-on. Anytime you put a speaker on a big, flat, resonant surface, the sound can become colored by the resonances. The DS1 stands eliminate this and also aims the drivers up towards your ears for a better listening experience.
The HD3 apparently has the same DAC (digital audio converter) built in as their great D1 DAC. This is one of our favorite DAC’s for the money and it was not surprising that we got our best sound while using the USB output from our computer, which then had the built in DAC turning the digital stream into music. Ripped CD’s sounded great too, as did Tidal in Hi-Fi (CD quality) streaming mode.
Why You Should Buy
If you are looking for a great desktop speaker or are in search of a great pair of small speakers to pair with a turntable, the Peachtree M24 or M25 must be on your list! With their built-in phono stage, USB DAC, digital input, and Bluetooth streaming, you can get music to them any way you can imagine. Their sound is extremely musical, but more importantly, just downright fun to listen to.
If you like listening to music at your desk, we highly recommend the HD3. All you need are the speakers (and we recommend the stands). For private listening, the headphone amp will also drive even the highest demand headphones on the market. They could also work well in a small room as a primary speaker coupled with your smartphone for Bluetooth streaming or even a phono stage with an entry-level turntable. When you couple the better DAC, better woofer basket, and slightly larger cabinet you are getting a great speaker. Add in the fact that you get Bluetooth and a headphone amp.
- Musical Muscle
The M24 is one of the best-sounding desktop speakers we have ever tested. They are warm, rich, and silky, along with just being a ton of fun to listen to! Stretch their musical muscle even more with the built-in tone controls.
- Phono Stage Included and More
Not only does the M24 have a built-in MM phono stage, but you also get digital, USB, and a built-in DAC capable of 24/96 Hi Res Audio.
- Bluetooth Streaming
Enjoy the convenience of streaming anything from your phone or tablet to the M24.
- No Missed Connections
Connect to HD3 any way you like: wirelessly or wired, digital or analog. Stream your music library, TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. to HD3 from just about anywhere in your house without dropouts. Wireless setup is a breeze and only takes about a minute. And if you’re using HD3 on your desktop, connect up with a USB cable. The USB input bypasses your computer’s built-in low-quality headphone jack for a high-end listening experience. But if you’re not keen on USB or wireless you can still use any audio cable to connect.
- Your Go-To System
Easy setup, simple and useful features, and wide stereo sound make HD3 your go-to music system. HD3 is expandable, so if you want deeper bass just connect up your subwoofer. No matter how you listen to music, HD3 has you covered.
- Plug in Your Headphones
HD3 includes a dedicated high-performance headphone output so you can listen and not wake the neighbors. Its audiophile-quality headphone amplifier delivers high-end sound that drives even the most-demanding headphones.
- Retro-Forward Design
HD3 was designed for audio performance, but speakers obviously also need to look good so we’ve included furniture-grade wood veneers, aluminum trim accents, and detachable magnetic grills that blend with any decor. Available in Satin Black as well as real Walnut and Cherry wood at no additional cost if you want to really show them off.
- Small Speakers that Pack a Punch
Built-in power amplifiers save space and eliminate the need to connect HD3 to a stereo receiver or external power amp. Simply plug the left speaker into a power outlet and connect the included speaker wire from the left to the right speaker. All internal components of the HD3 are designed and tuned together, so you’ll get Audioengine’s Signature Sound and a much more efficient system than traditional separate speakers and amplifier.
What is in the Package?
|Peachtree M24||Audioengine HD3|
The Peachtree M24 has bigger and better speaker components than the competition and the best array of inputs we have seen. The Peachtree M24 has far more bass than similar models of its size or just slightly larger. For their price, you will not find a better-sounding computer speaker — nothing comes close! Audioengine is one of the most popular names in audio right now, having built a reputation over the last 11 years for building fantastic speakers that provide an incredible value. Audioengine HD3 is incredibly easy to set up while delivering performance that rivals speakers costing 2-3 times the price.
At the end of the day, we must consider quality, performance and value for money. As far as this is concerned considering that the Peachtree M24 is costlier than the Audioengine HD3 yet the later is worth triple its cost I will have to sideline the M24 on this one.
The clear winner is Audioengine HD3. It is a beast and will give you great sound and value for your money. I recommend it to you in confidence.
Hope you have enjoyed the article! Do you think this was the right verdict on this one? Please leave a comment.