Product test:
HK Audio Move 8

Don’t let the “battery powered” part of Move 8 distract from the fact that it is a legitimate speaker, ready for professional deployment.

There are a few choices for battery-operated, portable PA speakers out there, so what makes HK Audio MOVE 8 stand out from the crowd?

Hint: It’s the sound level – there is lots of it.

Before we get to the really nice features – like the multiple input on-board mixer with effects, iOS or Android app integration for even more tricks, plus the tech specs (it’s only 8.5kg) – let’s focus on the most important part of a portable, battery operated speaker:

The Batteries!

There are two batteries included with MOVE 8, which provides a tremendous operating time – 11 hours, with two fully charged batteries.

It’s worth looking a little more closely at this, because HK Audio has been able to make some nice advances in this area.

Firstly, MOVE 8 only actually uses one battery at a time. Which battery is being used? You can check on the back panel, via LED indicators. If you’re monitoring your MOVE 8 status via the app, you’ll also be able to see charge status of each battery.

The really nice bonus:

For that 16 hour backyard party, once you notice the first battery has depleted.. pop the battery out (the second battery won’t be affected, and your signal will continue uninterrupted). Send someone inside the house with your exhausted battery, place it in the optional fast charger, and it will only take 2 hours to revive to full status.

You can then ‘hot swap’ the recharged battery back into position, ready for when battery #2 has done its job.

The Sound

Like we said earlier, the most obvious thing about the sound is “there is lots of it”.

For our first test, we plugged an acoustic guitar to Input 3. With the channel volume pot set to a modest “9 o’clock” and the Master volume at halfway, the sound was clear and it projected surprisingly well.

Next step – increasing the channel volume to halfway, and the acoustic guitar kept getting stronger through the speaker. Acoustic guitar is a great test, with such a fast attack from the strings coupled with the rich tones that follow from inside the body of the guitar.

We did this first test inside the front counter area of our showroom and the further we turned it up, the more we realised that we weren’t comfortable with that amount of volume in a small space for an extended period. In other words – there was far more clear, undistorted volume than we were expecting. It was a good surprise.

Speakers are an 8″ and a 1″, powered via the internal 60w Class D amplifier. Protection is via Peak and RMS sound limiter (separated for the high frequency and low-mid).

While this speaker alone won’t fill up an entire wedding reception venue, it will certainly help with a huge range of environments:

  • Outdoor wedding ceremony
  • Classroom
  • Corporate retreat
  • Busking
  • Group fitness class
  • Indoor / outdoor house party

Don’t let the “battery powered” part of Move 8 distract from the fact that it is a legitimate speaker, ready for professional deployment. Set the band up inside the venue, while a sax player with some tracks plays outside for the hors d’oeuvre set.

It is most certainly not a glorified bluetooth boom box that you’d find in the entertainment and technology section of your local hi-fi chain store or electrical goods retailer.

What we didn’t test (but would love to):

Because this HK Audio speaker handled acoustic guitar and voice so well, we wanted to see if Move 8 would be the best choice for busking with a harmonica in a place like Bourke Street Mall.

We encountered three problems:

  • We didn’t have a harmonica
  • We need to order more Shure 520DX “green bullet” microphones
  • No-one could be bothered walking from South Melbourne to Bourke Street

Nonetheless, we’ve played enough with Move 8 (including the extra features), to know that it would handle some blues harp very nicely.

Using Bluetooth, send your backing tracks directly into the ‘channel 4’ input (or use the minijack for channel 4 if you don’t have Bluetooth on your portable playback source), connect the harmonica mic into Channel 1 or 2 microphone input, adjust the volume, EQ and dial in the amount of reverb you’d like.

All of these controls are available on the back panel, or via the free iOS or Android APP.

Noteworthy EXTRA features

There are a couple of nicely thought out extra features that go above-and-beyond what you can immediately see on the mixer panel, and beyond the great sound you hear when you first turn MOVE 8 on. In a nutshell, they are:

Channel 3 guitar tricks

Use the app to add some chorus to your acoustic, or speaker simulation for your electric guitar.

Channel 4 karaoke tricks

Use the app to engage ‘karaoke’ mode for your backing track (removes the centre / lead vocal, and works pretty well), you can also transpose the backing track to ‘pitch it down’ if you’re struggling for the high stuff. Transposing down a tone, live from YouTube playback worked impressively – but Dreams by Fleetwood Mac just sounds plain wrong in that key.

Here’s a bit more app info, via the HK Audio website:

Remote app for remote control and extended range of functions

The free MOVE 8 REMOTE App is not just a remote control for your MOVE 8 – it also adds some sophisticated features that make it even more fun. The App can be used to control all the channel settings (EQ, reverb, volume) as well as the master volume. In addition, a 2-band EQ is available for channel 4 (Aux/Bluetooth), and the karaoke function can be activated for Bluetooth audio streaming and Aux In including Vocal Cancellation and Transpose. The integrated effects (chorus, tremolo, and flange) as well as the 3 Celestion cab simulations can be selected on channel 3 and can be used to optimize the sound of an electric guitar, for example. All EQ settings can also be stored and quickly recalled.

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