Audioengine A2+ Self Powered Speakers Review
The current selection of available budget speakers is not only getting cheaper but also smaller. But just how small can a speaker get and still sound good?
Well, there are a couple of models currently available in the market I can use to answer this question, but the one that impressed me the most is the Audioengine A2+ speaker!
According to most reviews, these speakers deliver an unlikely performance that overshadows its minute appearance. In this Audioengine A2+ review, I will be reviewing the specifications to see what makes it so special!
Last Updated: July 1, 2021
Audioengine A2+ Powered Speakers System At A Glance:
Specs & Features
Audioengine A2+ Review
Audioengine takes some time to roll out new products, especially the wireless versions of its speakers, which may take a couple of years to hit the market. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long for the A2+, the enhanced version of the A2 released a few years ago.
The latest offering from Audioengine is a pair of bookshelf speakers masquerading as PC speakers. What differentiates them from classic bookshelf speakers is that they are powered, so there is no need to connect a separate receiver or amplifier.
These wireless speakers come with a compact and classic design that will fit seamlessly on your PC desk. But just what can you expect from them in terms of performance?
Audioengine A2+ Design and Construction
The Audioengine A2+ wireless speakers come in glossy red, glossy white, and matte black models that can conveniently blend into your living room’s color schemes. This audio setup comprises of two compact speakers measuring 6 x 4 x 5.3 inches, which will easily fit on your PC desk, bookshelf, or counter without eating into your space.
The only caveat is that while these are technically wireless speakers, you need to establish a connection from the left active speaker to the right passive speaker. So, despite the “wireless” tag, you’ll have to contend with some cabling, albeit just a little bit.
Having said that, the sleek-looking finish of the speaker’s enclosure is attractive, and so are the grill-free black drivers on the units. Each speaker features a 0.75” silk dome tweeter, as well as a 2.75” aramid woofer.
At 3.5 pounds, the left active speaker is slightly heavier than the 3.2-pound right passive unit. The two combined deliver 69-watt peak power while handling a frequency range of between 65Hz and 22kHz.
A speaker wire is included in the package allowing you to connect the left speaker to the right speaker. On the back panel of the active left speaker, you’ll find all the connections including the power supply, an RCA input and output (subwoofer), as well as a 3.5mm aux input (the cable is also included).
The manufacturer further included a micro USB input, ensuring that you get excellent connectivity on these speakers; especially when you consider that the unit can connect via Bluetooth.
Speaking of which, the Bluetooth pairing button can be found on the back panel alongside the volume knob, which also doubles up as the power button.
Note that the volume knob is independent of paired sound sources. This means you can max out the volume of the speakers but the overall sound levels will be low if the master volume on your mobile device is turned down.
This is unusual for most Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested, although it can help you to protect your speakers from unexpected loud bursts with another volume control. Still, I prefer integrated volume for this kind of setup.
One thing you may not like about the design of the Audioengine A2; it is that the units are too short! You will need some type of elevation to tilt them upward for you to experience the true sound potential of the speakers.
While there are various elegant ways to achieve this, I wish the manufacturer would save us the trouble by including some form of a kickstand for either speaker to align them with your ears and not your ribcage.
As a result of the wired connection needed between the left and right speakers, the Audioengine A2+ cannot offer multi-room functionality.
Also, there is no app included, but I doubt this will be a deal-breaker given the simplicity and transparent sound performance the manufacturer seeks to achieve with this model.
Audioengine A2+ Performance and Sound Quality
Audio quality is the most critical aspect in a speaker system, and the A2+ delivers exceptionally despite its minute frame. Compared to the majority of medium-sized speakers in the market, this unit can deliver some serious power!
The bass is slightly less than what medium-sized smart speakers offer, but the overall audio quality is much more impressive. The A2+ will struggle with sounds below 100Hz but they don’t have any audible DSP artifacts.
Meanwhile, the treble and midrange sound is pretty good, though there is a bump in the lower midrange. To solve this issue, you can get a suitable subwoofer, which Audioengine specially produces for the A2+ speakers.
These speakers are best suited for small and confined spaces. When playing Rock or EDM, the music sounds almost perfect, despite the 3-5kHz range not being well pronounced. Female voices are crisp and there is no issue with the sibilance unless it’s in the recording.
If you want more bass, you can always upgrade with a relevant sub to add some oomph into your stereo system. However, playing these speakers in larger rooms won’t do them justice.
The sound is notably less prominent compared to bigger stereo sets, and this is something you expect from computer-oriented speakers.
On the bright side, the Audioengine A2+ audio system offers a variety of ways you can connect to your mobile device. If you want to connect to your PC, the easiest option would be via the USB port on the back panel of the left speaker, as it doesn’t require an extra ADC in your signal chain.
As soon as you plug in the USB cable, your PC will recognize the speaker and you’ll be good to go. Alternatively, you can connect your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or radio wirelessly via Bluetooth.
The system features Bluetooth 5, which offers further range, improved sound quality, and more battery life. Testing the Bluetooth connection using my smartphone, I noticed that the signal remained strong as far as 60 meters from the speakers.
Remember the angling problem with the speakers we talked about earlier? Well, Audioengine sells DS1 desk stands to help you with positioning the speakers so that you find your sweet spot. To get to the sweet spot, you want to position your ears on or just below the axis of the tweeters.
Audioengine A2+ Powered Speakers Review:
Weighing The Pros & Cons
The Audioengine A2+ is a compact and well-designed speaker system that delivers a clean, accurate, and transparent sound signature. It offers more than you can get from higher-priced models and will be a great choice for those looking to save a few bucks.
While you might need a few extras to get the most out of these speakers, the overall performance is more than satisfying for a casual listener. I’d recommend the Audioengine A2+ to college students or people living in confined apartments.