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HK Audio Move 8 Battery Powered PA Speaker Review

Phil Morse
Last updated 15 November, 2021

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The Lowdown

We’ve been doing a lot of “on location” livestreaming recently, playing DJ sets from lakes, rivers, mountains and so on, and so we’ve become interested in the type of DJ gear that can support these activities. Of course, one thing it’s good to have when doing this is a portable speaker. Hence our interest in the HK Audio Premium PR:O Move 8, and why we’ve taken the time to make this Move 8 review.

We’ve already tried the Soundboks speakers, at the “big” end of the spectrum, and the Minirig speakers, at the “ultra portable” end of the spectrum. Both are great.

But we were also interested in what exists, size-wise, between the two – speakers that will work when you attract a gathering around you when livestreaming, but that still fulfil the basic criteria of portable, battery powered, and latency-free wired use.

One such speaker is the HK Audio Move 8, “a battery-powered multifunctional loudspeaker that offers all musicians, singer-songwriters, presenters and entertainers professional sound in a compact format”, according to the manufacturers.

We’ve had a chance to audition one in the context of using it as a DJ speaker, and here is what we found…

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

First impressions

The HK Audio Move 8 is, indeed, a compact-sized PA-style speaker – easy enough to pick up and hold at 8kg, but appreciably bigger than even the biggest “small” consumer Bluetooth speakers. Think a chunky Sonos 5, or approximately half the size of a Soundboks 3.

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It is in the style of many PA speakers, that is to say broadly rectangular, but with one of the rear vertical edges “cut off”, to make it a wedge shape, like a stage floor monitor, which is one of the positions it can be used in, angled up 33 degrees (it can also be pole-mounted).

The Move 8 can either be pole-mounted or used like a stage floor monitor, and comes with two batteries.

It is smartly and traditionally finished in black vinyl-coated MDF with rubberised corners. There is a sturdy metal grill across the front, protecting the 8″ woofer and 1″ tweeter, and the controls are offset into the “wedge” of the unit.

There are four input channels, summed to a master volume control, as follows:

  • 2 x mic/line inputs – XLR/TRS combi, with bass, treble, volume and reverb controls
  • 1 x instrument input – TRS, with bass, treble, volume and reverb controls – plus Celestion guitar cabinet simulation and FX send/return jacks
  • 1 x Aux (1/8″ minijack) and Bluetooth input, with just a volume control, plus an 1/8″ Aux out minijack socket

Power is supplied via an external power brick, which is one thing we didn’t like – we’d expect the transformer to be on board with a speaker like this. Overall, though, the Move 8 is sturdy and well-equipped.

Setting up

The HK Audio Move 8 is provided with two batteries, which is a cool idea because it only uses one at any given time, so the other can be removed, substituted, charged etc, for theoretically continuous battery operation – although the external charger is optional.

When you insert the batteries into the unit (they are kept in with an easy-to-turn wing screw and cover) and connect the speaker to the mains, they immediately start charging in sequence, and when you unplug the unit, one of the control LEDs on the battery compartment flashes to tell you which battery is being used.

Once you’ve got power sorted, you will want to plug in your DJ gear. You can run TRS cables from your gear to channels 1 and 2, or run an RCA-to-minijack adaptor cable from the unbalanced output on your kit to the Aux In.

The former method is probably preferable as it’s more “pro” and gives you on-unit EQ, but it does tie up the two mic channels. Depending on if you use a mic and how (you may just use it via your DJ controller or mixer), find a way that works best for you here.

In a pinch, DJs can utilise the Bluetooth audio streaming or wireless remote control, via their smart devices.

For the record, the Bluetooth 5 connects easily and works well – good to know you can quickly flick to your phone and get music playing between DJs, or when dealing with any technical issues as a back-up, if needed.

In Use

For the purposes of this HK Audio Move 8 review, we tested the single supplied speaker both indoors and outdoors, and in a day-to-day listening context, as well as using it as the only speaker for an on-location DJ livestream.

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Sound

Firstly, I was surprised at the sound of this unit. It was much bassier and warmer than I was expecting, an immediately pleasing tone that is well suited to DJing (and, indeed, day-to-day listening). Of course there is EQ to adjust the sound to how you wish, but we really liked it out of the box – there was no harshness at all.

These sound great out of the box, but there’s on-unit EQ to adjust as needed.

The spec says 60W class D, and while the volume didn’t reach the levels of the Soundboks 3, it is more than loud enough for outdoor performing, small parties and so on. The DSP does a good job of keeping things tight and distortion-free as you turn it up, and overall, we were won over by its tone and volume.

Battery life

As well as sounding good, though, a speaker like this has to deliver in the battery department. We typically use speakers like these for weekends of travelling, DJing, practising and even just a bit of background music, and so battery life matters.

The quoted battery life is “up to” 11 hours, and I’m pleased to say that this is more or less exactly the time we got out of two fully charged batteries.

The app

There is an app for iOS and Android which is worth downloading to your phone, because it gives you options not available on the unit’s controls. Of most use to DJs will be feedback cancellation for mics on channels 1 & 2, and dual-band EQ for channel 4 (the Aux/Bluetooth input).

There are also chorus, flanger and tremelo effects plus more guitar cab simulations for the “guitar channel” (channel 3), and – frankly, best forgotten – karaoke “vocal cancellation” and “transpose” functions for the Aux/Bluetooth channel.

Conclusion

We liked the Move 8. It is a good all-rounder for DJs, musicians and general PA use. If you’re a DJ/producer, you can plug in a drum machine, synth or two, mic and your DJ gear, for instance, and mix the lot easily. While lacking some of the most innovative features of a speaker like the Soundboks 3, it has more than enough for most DJs in most situations.

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Because of the warm sound of this speaker, it’d work well as an indoors practice speaker – buy a pair and use them in your DJ practice studio, and the same pair could go out with you too, saving you needing to buy both indoors speakers and a PA. This would be especially true if “going out” means playing in places where battery speakers are a must. That said, they are not “true” sounding enough to use for music production or anything like that.

If you were to add a cheap pair of generic speaker stands and the also-available carrying cases to two of these, you’d have a smart little PA system, which I could see being a good fit not only for the uses we’ve already discussed, but also as a second system for, say, wedding DJs needing a PA to use for outdoors receptions, with their first rig set up for the main party later.

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It’s easy enough to pick up and hold at 8.5 kg/19 lb, but appreciably bigger than even the biggest “small” consumer Bluetooth speakers.

If you’re going to use one or more of these in pro situations, it would be worth buying an extra charger and batteries, although the latter would not be strictly necessary as you can easily remove the batteries not currently being used to charge while the remaining ones take the strain – a neat feature.

In conclusion, should you be looking for a PA-type speaker that is nonetheless easily portable, versatile, and that can be used as a true all-rounder – indoors, outdoors, for livestreams, small parties, and for both DJing and musician use, you should definitely have the HK Audio Move 8 on your shortlist.

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