Not long ago people were carrying around mobile phones larger than the Onkyo X6.
There is something to be said for the obscure when it comes to wireless speaker design – the market is filling so fast, of course you need to stand out – but, if you can make a bar like this sound good and remain affordable, you can dispense with the science-fiction movie props.
That isn't to say the X6 is unbecoming; we like its slick curvature and contrast of black on silver. It is not the smallest, or lightest, speaker on the market, but before having listened it appears to have that trade off between portability and reassuring bulk just about right.
Scout over the body, which encases two full-range drivers and two side-firing passive radiators, and you'll find the usual: auxiliary input and USB port for charging your phone round the back, and buttons across the top for power, Bluetooth pairing, answering calls and adjusting volume.
But we think the button on the far right is rather canny. Including MULTIPAIR, allowing you to swap instantly between yours and your friends' mobile devices, deserves a pat on the back. Onkyo certainly knows its market.
Something of this size doesn't have to sound small, but you shouldn't necessarily expect the same scale of sound as with the much bulkier JBL Xtreme for example.
Nonetheless, it doesn't feel squashed in when we play City And Colour's What Makes A Man? The vocal and acoustic guitar are soaked in natural reverb but, helped by decent organisation, there is enough space here to make sense of the soundstage.
Although the banjo occupies a similar frequency range to the guitar, it feels far from claustrophobic as their picking patterns interlock.
Balance is important for a speaker of this size, but while this arrangement isn't overly adventurous in terms of range, there is a nice amount of body to the vocal without muddying up the low end of the guitar with too much bass.
The treble is fairly sweet, and though dynamics aren't overly expressive, it’s a decent enough; performance.
Our satisfaction doesn’t change with our playlist either. Even tracks such as Gallows' Rolling With The Punches, while remaining a scathing attack on the senses, are not a harsh or difficult listen.
The MULTIPAIR function accepts there'll be a range of music styles played on the X6, and Onkyo has created a speaker that deals with each of them equally.
If you're wondering why you'd pick the X6 over a speaker such as the Audio Pro Addon T3, which is certainly an upgrade in terms of sound, then this isn't for you.
The X6 is for those looking for something versatile that slips inside your rucksack without sacrificing half your picnic.
To call it a decent all-rounder may seem like faint praise, but listen to other speakers of this size at this price point and you'll know it's a rare thing indeed.
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