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Audioengine recently upgraded both the A2 and the A5 series speakers, so it’s time to review the Audioengine A2+ vs A5+ to see what’s improved. Are they worth the extra money, or should you stick with what you’ve got?
They may have done away with a few features, but they added plenty more, and they also upgraded the sound, so you’ll be surprised to know that it might be worth an upgrade pretty soon.
Main Differences Between Audioengine A2+ vs Audioengine A5+
The main differences between the Audioengine A2+ vs the Audioengine A5+ are:
- The Audioengine A2+ does not come with remote control, whereas the Audioengine A5+ does.
- The Audioengine A2+ does not have a USB charging port, whereas the Audioengine A5+ does.
- The Audioengine A2+ comes in a smaller, sleeker package, whereas the Audioengine A5+ is quite bulky and industrial-looking.
- The Audioengine A2+ does not have a thermal system for keeping the speakers cool, whereas the Audioengine A5+ does.
About Audioengine A2+
The original 2 series speaker came out a couple of years ago, but with the release of the A2+ Speakers (Full Review Here), the original is pretty much obsolete. It’s the same desktop speaker with some enhanced functionality, and with the USB converter, you can plug them directly into your USB port.
You could step up to the A5+, but the A2+ is smaller and, honestly, a bit more stylish. Both; however, are bookshelf-style speakers marketed as multimedia speakers. All you have to do is just plug them into a standard AC plug, so there’s no need for an amplifier or a receiver, like other bookshelf speaker models. You can literally use them with any audio source.
The A2+ speakers come in both black and white and are 4 inches wide, 6 inches tall, and 5.25 inches deep. They’re just the right size for your desktop. Each one has a 2.75-inch Kevlar subwoofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter inside.
The left speaker contains a 15-watt per channel amplifier, so it’s a bit heavier than the speaker on the right.
Each speaker has a slit at the bottom where you can feel air moving through as you listen. It’s comforting to know they’re well-ported, even though it’s odd that they’re ported on the front rather than the back.
They come in a well-designed package. All of the cables as well as both speakers have cloth covers protecting them.
The speakers connect to one another with the speaker wire that’s included in the package. Also included is an input cable so you can connect them to your PC via the 3.5mm auxiliary jack residing on the back of the left speaker.
This standardization of cables makes these speakers much more useful than those with proprietary connections. You can now invest in all of the custom cables you need that are as short or as long as you need.
There’s also a set of white and red RCA inputs on the left speaker so you can connect your other gaming devices, smartphones, or TVs.
While you can connect your speakers to your computer using the digital USB connection with the included cable, you can also connect a separate subwoofer via the RCA output, which wasn’t included on the first A2 set of speakers.
The A2+ also has upgraded connectors, better accessory cables, and a redesigned power supply, so it’s better all around than it was the first time.
The Audioengine A2+ speaker set has two inputs that are always active. You could consider this a feature that allows you to listen to music from Spotify on your laptop while still hearing the notifications from your phone. Or you could consider this a bug with the constant need to mute one source of audio.
You can look at it how you want, but I try to stay positive.
There’s no remote included with the speakers and the volume knob is on the back of the right speaker, so this is kind of obnoxious and could be easier to control.
You can purchase additional Audioengine accessories like a wireless adapter for the speaker line or the S8 subwoofer.
You can enhance your experience with better sound and a deeper bass, but considering the low price of the speakers themselves, the price of the sub is a bit shocking. Plus, the minimalist look of the speakers is ruined by adding another component.
Performance without the subwoofer is great on its own, so you don’t really need it. You might be shocked that for their size, they can deliver solid bass and precise detail. There’s some big sound coming from these little guys, and it’ll likely fill your room.
Any audiophile would be pleased with what they hear, but it is on a smaller scale than what you’d get from a bigger system. It offers a good balance, but it won’t fool anyone into thinking that it’s a big set of speakers.
Now, if you really do want the same deep bass you’d get from a hi-fi set, you’ll have to either go big, or add a sub. You could also put them near a wall to maximize the response.
If you switch from USB to RCA, you’ll also lose some bass and other detail, which isn’t surprising, coming from an analog connection, so if you’re going to be using these with a computer, the USB connection is the way to go.
You can also run these from your TV with the stereo analog outputs, and although they’re small, they function much like a soundbar. Both music and movies sound great as long as you don’t turn it up too loud.
They’re definitely an upgrade from your computer or your TV’s speakers, but if you’re using the analog connection, the A2+ won’t give you any improvement over the A2. That’s where the USB connection gives you the better sound quality.
- Compact and attractive
- Impressive sound
- Digital USB connection and several alternatives for connection other accessories
- No remote control
- Volume knob is on the backside
- No input toggle
About Audioengine A5+
Just like the A2, Audioengine has now replaced the A5 with the A5+ (Full Review Here). Unfortunately, they left the built-in AC power output off of the new model and they raised the price, but they still sound better, so the performance and the features are definitely worth the money.
The upgraded A5+ speakers look more industrial and quite a bit less stylish than the A2+. Think Microsoft’s old Zune compared to a brand new shiny iPhone. However, they do come in both white and black, so you’ll be able to choose whichever you like better.
That’s not to say the design is terrible, but it’s certainly not as good as the A2+. They appear to have some of the same design aspects as monitor speakers you might find in a studio. What’s really cool is that you can also get them in bamboo, but they’re quite a bit more expensive. If you can spring for them and they match your decor, go for the swanky pair.
With these, you’re getting a 10% increase in size over the original A5 series, so while they’re similar, they’re 10.75 inches tall instead of 10. They measure the same width and depth at 7 inches and 7.9 inches respectively.
There’s a 5-inch Kevlar subwoofer in the left speaker as well as a 20mm silk dome tweeter. The left speaker also has the 50-watts per channel amplifier, so it’s heavier than the right, just like the A2+.
However, the A2+ has ports on the front, and the A5+ has ports in the rear. They come packaged the same, with nice cloth covers on everything. The speakers also connect to each other the same with a real speaker wire that’s included.
The package includes a 3.5mm auxiliary cable for your PC or any other accessory. And again, thanks to this cable standardization, you can get any cable you need in any length, and it will be compatible.
The Audioengine A5+ speakers come equipped with a thermal system, which is new, and the company says it works to keep the amplifier cool. The connectivity has also changed since the first A5 series.
There used to be an extra 3.5mm auxiliary input next to the USB charging port, but that’s gone now.
The USB charging port moved from the top of the left speaker to the back, which is less obtrusive and allows you to hide what you’re charging without a cord hanging in the way all the time.
The USB charging capabilities while listening to audio makes these speakers a lot more universal incompatibility than a standard iPod dock or your other charging devices, even though having an excess of cables isn’t necessarily pleasing to the eye.
The A5+ speakers can also power tablets like iPads or Kindles without a problem, although they’re not enough for a laptop.
While it’s difficult to tell the difference in sound from the A2+ and the A5, the A5+ definitely delivers something bigger, richer, and clearer. These could be put into the category of higher quality PC speakers with smoother, fuller sound and a lot more detail.
As you listen, you’ll pick up on instruments you didn’t notice before, or background noises you couldn’t hear on any other speakers. They beat even the best iPod speakers, including brands like Bose.
- Fantastic sound quality
- Two audio inputs
- USB charging port
- Includes a remote control
- Speakers can be placed far apart
- Large and bulky
- AC power port has been removed
- Both inputs are always active
If you’re in the market for some high-quality sound equipment, there are a lot of options from which you can choose. The wealth of options can be confusing. These frequently asked questions should help you decide what’s right for you.
Question: Is Audioengine a good brand?
Answer: Audioengine is an excellent brand, offering a wonderful lineup of speakers that give their customers a great value. You can find versatility, sound quality, and functional design in almost anything they do.
As evidenced by the A2+, you can see that not only are they nice to look at, but they have the features you need at a price you can likely afford. However, they may not have it all, in order to keep the price low.
The A5+ on the other hand has more features at a higher price point, but you’re going to sacrifice design just a bit. Either way, you’re getting a quality product that will last.
Question: Where are Audioengine speakers made?
Answer: Audioengine speakers are made in Austin, Texas. The company was founded in 2005 for the purpose of manufacturing quality products that were easy to use and sounded great so that people could listen to music every day. They’re an independent company.
Question: Do Audioengine A2 speakers need DAC?
Answer: If you’re the proud owner of some Audioengine A2 speakers, you may have noticed that using a digital audio converter improved your sound quality quite a bit. Audioengine noticed that, too. That’s why they added the USB connector to the A2+ speakers and discontinued the A2 series.
If you are still using your A2 speakers with a DAC, you can continue to do so, but upgrading to the A2+ might give you access to more features, richer sound, and a better user experience.
Turn It Up!
Both the A2+ and the A5+ offer big sound, excellent features, and the ease of connectivity that comes with universal cables. Audioengine did something right when designing the core functionality of these speakers.
If you’re on a budget, the Audioengine A2+ delivers big sound in a small package. You’ll enjoy the deep base and the value that the speakers bring. They’re also very stylish and would look great in any office or studio.
However, if you can spring for the bigger speakers, you have room for their bulk on your desk, and you don’t mind the industrial look, they offer even better features and incredible sound quality that you can’t find on even more expensive products.