Great Speakers, Great Price? The Ultimate Audioengine A5+ Review
Audioengine makes a great line of inexpensive speakers that are built to be small, convenient, and stylish. While the line features many passive designs, the A5+ set is the whole package, with a built in amplifier, as well as the option to hook up a USB DAC.
While the options are all included, the addition of Bluetooth would push this speaker set over the edge. Despite this, the low cost is enough to sell these speakers. Read on to see what makes the Audioengine A5+ speaker set so special.
|Type||2.0 powered bookshelf speaker system|
|Power Output||150W peak power total (50W RMS / 75W peak per channel)|
|Inputs||3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA L/R|
|Outputs||RCA variable line-out, USB (power/charge)|
|Input Voltages||115/240V, 50/60Hz manually switchable|
|Amplifier Type||Dual Class AB monolithic|
|Drivers||5″ Kevlar woofers, 3/4″ silk dome tweeters|
|THD+N||<0.05% at all power settings|
|Frequency response||50Hz-22kHz ±1.5dB|
|Power Consumption||Idle: 10W Mute: 6W Sleep: 4W
|Total weight||31 lbs|
|Price`||$319-375 (For the latest prices check here)|
Design and Build Quality
The A5+ shares many design features with the rest of Audioengine’s line. The vintage/modern smash works beautifully here as it does with all of the other speakers in the range, with plenty of color options to suite what you like.
The speakers come in white, black, and bamboo finishes. The white is a high-gloss finish. While it will provide a lot in the way of looks, it’ll become a fingerprint magnet over time. The black is, thankfully, a matte finish. This is the simplest, but also least problematic of the looks.
Up the price hike is the solid natural bamboo finish. This look is beautiful, with a build quality to justify the extra cost. While it is about $50 more expensive, I’d seriously consider paying it for how great it looks.
The speakers are intended to be used as a pair. The left speaker houses the amplifier as well as all of the connection for hooking up the speaker. Simply run speaker wire from the left to the right, and everything will work.
The left speaker features a pretty massive fin stack on the back to disperse heat generated by the amplifier. All the hookups are there too, including voltage selection, power switch, three audio inputs, and a USB port that supplies power to a phone or external DAC.
This set of speakers is beautiful. While the price jump for the bamboo finish is startling, the extra $50 is well worth it. A smart design with plenty of connections sells these speakers, with a look that anyone can appreciate.
It’s clear Audioengine has taken strides to make this speaker and all-in-one package. The features included give the speaker tons of versatility, as well as make is simpler to use.
Both speakers are passive, with an amp built into the left one. Of course, any audio enthusiast knows that, but Audioengine has set the speakers up so that they can both function as standalone passive speakers.
Instead of daisy chaining the speakers together, you can run both to an external amp. You will lose the internal amp, but that’s not a problem. Gold binding posts on the back of other speakers allows you to do this, making these guys a great option for those just getting into high-end audio.
The most disappointing this is the lack of Bluetooth. While it doesn’t break the speaker system, this inclusion would push the set over the edge. It doesn’t fit the audiophile style, but it would be convenient for casual users.
However, some sort of wireless technology is at work. Audioengine includes a wireless remote to control the speaker set. It’s a simple set up, just giving you controls for volume and source selection. Still, this is a huge feature.
Rounding out, Audioengine includes everything you need to set these speakers up. You’ll get a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable, RCA cables, power, and speaker wire. Round that out with two soft bags for the speakers and the whole set is a winner.
However, the star of the show is the sound quality of these speakers. Despite the small size and the cost, this pair sounding amazing. The integrated amp isn’t the best, but a lot can’t be expected at the cost.
For the size, the bass is surprisingly good. It isn’t as good as pairing with a sub, but it can be pretty impactful, especially in a small space. The frequency response is accurate, with frequencies scraping at the sub-area.
In fact, pairing these speakers without a sub might be the best option in a small space. The speakers and sub may become overpowering if your room is too small. Don’t be confused by the size, there is plenty of bass without a sub.
The midrange is natural, but it’s nothing special. I wouldn’t say it’s very transparent. You will get nuances that you otherwise wouldn’t hear with cheap speakers, but it’s not incredible. If you’re new to the audio world, you’ll be floored. If not, you’re unlikely to find anything worth noting here.
The highs are a different story. The top-end is very detailed, with plenty of nuances. It’s pretty exceptional what Audioengine has managed in the high-end. The highs are clear and defined without being too brittle.
The integrated amp does very well for the price. These speakers can get very, very loud without distorting and, for that, the speakers should be commended. However, if you’re looking to get color from the amp, you’re not going to find it here.
The amp is very clean, just letting the audio pass through. The option to open up to a different amp is definitely something that should be capitalized on down the line. With that being said, the amp will more than satisfactory for the time.
The Audioengine A5+ is an exceptional speaker set with some amazing sound. While it won’t blow away hardcore enthusiasts, it will be an eye-opening experience for those getting into the audio hobby. And, thankfully, the price allows for that.
Alternatives to Consider
Edifier S1000DB – $279.99
These speakers will grant you everything that the A5+ set will, with a few extra features. The speakers are built for flexibility, with optical and Bluetooth inputs as well as analog options. You’ll save a few dollars over the A5+, and still get the integrated amp and remote control functionality.
If you’re a purist, you may find some issues, though. The speakers have some sort of digital processing going on inside, which isn’t usually the best for audio. Still, the options and included EQ on the back make these speakers and exceptional value.
Audioengine A2+ – $199.99
If you love everything about the A5+, but can’t justify the price, then these speakers are a great option. They’re much smaller, but feature just about everything that the A5+ features at half of the price.
However, there are a few differences. Porting has been moved to the front and the speakers can now be completely powered off of USB. However, the same option to move to an external amp is present which is great to see at this price. Read our full Audioengine A2+ Review.
Audioengine has done a great job with the A5+ set. The speakers are wonderfully built, look great, are packed with features, and, above all, sound amazing. The low cost is certainly the key consideration, making them a great value overall.
If you’re looking for a cheap set of speakers for another room, then these are for you. Or maybe if you’re just getting into audio, these are still a great choice. For the price, it’s hard to go wrong in any scenario. What do you think of the Audioengine A5+ speakers? Let us know in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading.