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Audioengine A2+ Wireless Computer Speakers

Frederik S

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Audioengine is known for their compact and versatile speakers systems and today, we will be taking a good look at their new A2+ Wireless speaker set. The A2+ Wireless features USB, Bluetooth, and analog ins and outs—for $269 per set, and they come in three colors.

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They are SOOO expensive for what amounts to a well-made but imperfect-sounding set of narrow-range speakers.

2.75" drivers are never going to deliver a full-range frequency response, and the mid-range bump is another blemish on the record for these. There is so much competition in the powered studio monitor market that an undersized unit with no attempt to deal with the lack of bass or uneven midrange response is inexcusable. The chances are good that these will sell well to Apple laptop buyers who value pretty looks and flashy marketing material more than actual performance or value.

Real musicians, audiophiles, and anyone wanting more value for money will find superior offerings from M-Audio, Presonus, Mackie, JBL, KRK, Pioneer. Not only are their offerings indisputably, measurably better sounding - they are usually cheaper and come with more audiophile heritage and brand-recognition than AudioEngine.

TL;DR
Audioengine are style over substance at a high price. If that is what you want then go nuts, but don't expect anyone who actually appreciates good audio to compliment your decision or agree with your choice.
 
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269$ is not very much for a pair of good monitor speakers, but it is a lot for just plain computer desk top speakers.

From what I understand, these are neither, really.
I don't really get the point of these being wireless, who would carry around a pair of speakers with open membranes?

If space and cables are no concern, in the 250-300$/€ range there are Mackie MR524, Adam T5V, Yamaha HS5, KRK RP5, JBL 305P and so on.
Sure, they are quite a bit larger, all around 5" woofers, but not so large you couldn't fit them on an average table next to the monitor.

In the 3" size range the Adam A3X have impessed me, but they are a lot more expensive.
 
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Frederik S

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The ADAM Audio TV5s are twice the price and approximately 7 times the volume hardly a fair comparison. You can get better sound if you can live with a set of speakers that can fit a 5" plus 20+ liters of cabinet for it. For a true compact speaker bluetooth these offer good bang for the buck sound wise.

The wireless part is a convenience thing for all the people who just have laptops or want to listen from a few different sources.
 
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I don't have a problem with wireless; Both my home-theatre receiver and my desktop can be paired with things via bluetooth. It doesn't add a lot to the price if you don't use it and it is convenient if you do. At the same time, any non-wireless speaker with a second input (like powered monitors usually do) can be upgraded to wireless with a good-quality bluetooth receiver for $20.

I simply have a problem with Audioengine trying to sell $269 speakers on sound quality when they aren't big enough to qualify as "good sound". The popular M-Audio AV32 pair are available for $80 from Amazon and whilst slightly larger, they're still a very compact pair of desktop monitors that do not look out of place either side of a laptop. The benefits of a larger 3.5" driver means that the sound is indisputably better - both subjective judgement and objective testing clearly favour the better sound of the M-Audio. At 5.2" wide compared the A2+ 4" wide cabinets, it's hard to believe there's anyone who could find room for a set of A2 speakers can't find an extra 1.2" of desk space for the AV32s.

The kicker is that $280. They're not bad speakers but the sound quality means they're worth no more than $80 at best. If you want to pay a premium to save 1.2" of desk space and compromise on the sound quality, then they exist on the market and you're welcome to do so, but under no circumstances are they competitive for either their size or their price point. Just about the only redeeming highlight is that they come in pretty colours and look trendy. Style over substance, at a high price.
 

Frederik S

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It makes no sense when you leave out feature set and compare MSRP to current price on AV32s. The AV32s lack bluetooth receiver which is probably around $30 for a decent one, on top of that a decent DAC which is probably $50-60. Then you have the bigger AV32, with similar feature set in an impractical 2-3 box setup for around $150. While the average going price right now for the A2+s is around $229 depending on where you live.

On top of that the AV32s are not exactly perfect sounding to being with, while I have not had the chance to A/B them I have owned them and they are ok for price, but the midrange is extremely quirky, along with a huge upper bass bump. Treble is like the midrange all over the place on the AV32s as well.

Overall the Audio engine A2+s are in a different league, both in terms of feature set and sound quality than the AV32s. The primary issue with the AV32s is their woofer which is simply not a capable design in any way.
 
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Like many audiophiles, I guess we should agree to disagree. You seem to be adding $80-90 to the perceived features of the A2+ such as the BT and DAC, but the first page of Google results gives multiple independent teardowns which show the DAC to be a low-end Texas Instruments PCM2704 and the BT implementation to be an in-house design that seems on the basic side. I feel I was overly generous in comparing it to a $20 receiver, especially since $6 receivers off Amazon include name-brand DACs of equivalent quality that pop up in plenty of other multimedia applications (phones, consoles, televisions and monitors, to name a few). Either way, it's not worth getting worked up over the cost of the DAC or the BT receiver, because neither of them are the bottleneck to the sound quality for this class of product. Assume that the DACs and receivers are all fine at this level of fidelity and just move on.

I lived with an AV32.1 setup (and its flaws) for two years and demoed the A2 with the goal of upgrading my AV32.1 by connecting them via the (poorly documented) variable RCA connectors to a Polk active 10" subwoofer. Sadly no amount of DSP could undo the damage that Audioengine have engineered into these units in an attempt to compensate for the tiny cabinets and undersized drivers. They sounded no better or worse than the AV32s with the sub disconnected; but unlike M-Audio they weren't neutral enough to pair with a sub and get a balanced result.

Like any ported, directional speaker of this type, positioning/alignment of the speaker and room interference will have a lot more impact on the frequency balance than the speaker design themselves. This is why I don't rely solely on subjective testing but double-check my purchases against third-party calibrated open-air test results. For my own experience, the AV32's required a DSP reduction at about 2KHz but at that point were passable as studio monitors until they started to roll off at 80-90Hz. The A2s seem to produce bass (impressively so for such small drivers) and clear treble without breakup so that you can be tricked into thinking these are VERY good speakers with the right type of music. The minute you want presence in vocals the A2s fall flat - some kind of weird frequency dip around 5K, and yet a little higher in the frequency response, the sibilance of pronounced t, s, and c sounds was cutting - harsh and unpleasant. I spent a full day trying to make them work with two completely different DSP programs and gave up, for a refund.

Simply put, I should not have had to work so hard and still fail to get monitor-quality audio out of speakers that were easily twice the price of good monitors. Especially not when the compeition that I have since used (Presonus, JBL) can do so at half the price. Yeah, they're nicely made, and yeah they have a convenient feature set but that is - in my opinion - simply lipstick on the proverbial pig.
 
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I'm not sure for wireless but non wireless models are worth of investment.
To bad people invest in expensive GPU and CPU and repeat upgrade every year and use onboard audio and 50$ worth speakers.
 
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