Within a few short years, speakers have caught up to the modern demands of wireless streaming and Bluetooth connectivity. Enter Audioengine: a well-established name in the music industry because of its capacity to adapt to new trends.
In this article, we will compare the brand’s two best offers for small to medium rooms: the Audioengine A2+ and A5+ Wireless Speakers.
In summary, if you’re looking for something that can do well in small spaces and doesn’t cost too much, then the Audioengine A2+ is a good option. On the other hand, if you have a bigger space and can shell out a few more bucks for better sound quality, then the Audioengine A5+ is the cream of the crop.
So how do you know which set to get? To help you weigh out your options, here is a comprehensive comparison of the two models.
Design and Build
The Audioengine A2+ Wireless Speakers come in a minimalist matte black or glossy and are ideal for a small setup. It measures only 6 inches tall, 4 inches wide, 5 inches deep, and weighs only 3 pounds. This is ideal if you have a more cluttered space. However, despite the size, they’re not too portable: the speakers have to stay close to each other because the left master speaker has to power the right speaker.
The Audioengine A5+ Wireless Speakers are also available in matte black, glossy white, and bamboo veneer. They measure 10.8 inches high, 7 inches wide, and 7.9 inches deep. While the Audioengine A5+ looks more industrial-looking than the A2+ set, it shouldn’t feel too clunky for your setup: the base has soft foam pads, along with threaded mounting screws if you want to mount them on the wall.
The Audioengine A2+ is equipped with cabinets, a bass port, an amplifier, and 2.75-inch Kevlar drivers. The speaker set has a master and slave speaker system, where the left speaker contains all the electronics and needs a cable to connect it to the right speaker. The left speaker includes 15W of amplification, RCA inputs, a 3.5 mm input, and volume control. The two channels combined have 60W of peak power and a 65Hz to 22kHz frequency range.
The Audioengine A2+ also has stereo RCA input and output ports, volume controls, stereo mini-jack input, Bluetooth pair button, and USB and power inlet. As for amplification, the A2+ speakers come with a traditional amplifier configuration to provide the best audio quality.
The circuit boards for the power sections are vertically attached for maximum mechanical shock defense. Its ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters use neodymium magnets, and the durable woofers are made from aramid fiber-woven glass composite with rubber surrounds.
The Audioengine A5+ also has a master-slave speaker system. The left speaker houses everything: the front panel has the volume knob, a LED power indicator, the remote control receiver, and the back panel has a Bluetooth antenna, a 3.5 mm aux input, a pairing button, RCA inputs and outputs, and a connection for the cable that plugs to the right speaker.
With over 150W of peak power, the A5+ has a frequency range of 50Hz to 22kHz. It has a similar build in terms of ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters and aramid fiber-woven glass woofers, though the sizes are different: the silk dome tweeters are 20mm, and the Kevlar woofers measure 13 cm.
Additionally, the Audioengine A5+ has an included remote with four buttons: Volume Up, Volume Down, Mute, and Sleep Mode. However, even with the convenience of remote control that the A2+ doesn’t have, the functions are limited and don’t include buttons for playback and track navigation. It also comes with a thermal system to cool down the speakers.
Though it can connect to wireless streaming within seconds, the Audioengine A2+ is versatile when connecting to wired devices because it can connect via USB and vintage turntables to tape decks. Once the USB cable is plugged in, your PC will immediately recognize the device. As for wireless connectivity, the A2+ comes with Bluetooth version 5, which allows an almost 60-meter range and has better sound quality.
The Audioengine A5+ speaker retains its numerous handy inputs and connectivity options for connecting to computers, stereo receivers, and turntables from Audioengine’s A5 speakers, so its most significant upgrade is its streaming feature. The built-in Bluetooth receiver and 24-bit DAC make it extremely easy to stream from music apps and support high-res streaming from Bluetooth aptX, SBC, and AAC.
Check out the technical specifications of A5+ Classic Speakers on Audioengine's website.
Let me tell you something right off the bat.
The sound quality performance you'll end up getting from a speaker will always depend on your room acoustics - particularly room dimensions and speaker positions.
The impact of the combination of these two is actually so strong that in most cases, it doesn't even make sense to utter a single word on sound quality without speaking of them.
This is also why it's not unusual to see completely different reviews of the same speaker.
In one case the speaker might be placed in a sweet spot inside the room and hence the user might be satisfied. In other cases the same speaker might be ill placed and hence user might even have returned it.
The point most people miss here is that it mostly isn't even about the engineering behind the speaker itself. It's about where you place the speaker inside which room.
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So, in order to solve this problem, I've partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD and created Soundton - a simple, 2D, browser accessible online speaker placement calculator.
With Soundton, now there's a way to figure the sound quality of most speakers before you buy them.
Read more about its working principles at soundton.com.
The end colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) acoustics.
ASAP Science also made a video on the loudest and quietest rooms in the world. A mind blowing example of the importance of acoustics (play time adjusted video below).
Other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, the furniture & carpets in place, etc can and will, of course, have an effect on room acoustics, too. But it's much less compared to other parameters mentioned above.
Also, while you're at it, blast my Hidden Electronic Gems list to test the speakers:
The Audioengine A2+ speakers push well above their weight and size. Overall, the overall sound quality has decent treble and midrange because the A2+ doesn’t struggle with below 100 Hz. It has a little less bass, though you won’t encounter these problems if you’re using them in small spaces.
The Audioengine A5+ speakers perform best in small and medium-sized rooms. It delivers a good thump that can pass as decent for most bass lovers. The speakers can provide powerful sound and can reach a deafening volume before the sound starts being distorted. The overall sound is smooth and full, with excellent clarity, and not thunderous compared to bass-boosted systems.
The Audioengine A2+ Wireless Speakers are a fantastic choice for entry-level speaker systems that don’t go over $300. You get premium features, a crisp and accurate sound performance, and excellent connectivity for a less expensive price point.
In comparison, the Audioengine A5+ speakers are a bit more expensive with its $400 range, so they’re not exactly the more affordable option compared to other speakers..
In conclusion, both speaker sets perform well for their recommended usage. They have versatile connectivity options and excellent wireless streaming.
What makes them different from each other is how their hardware is designed to suit a specific room size. So which speaker is better? Below is our verdict, depending on their specifications:
- Size and weight - Winner: Audioengine A2+
- Connectivity - Winner (by a tiny margin): Audioengine A5+
- Frequency range - Winner: Audioengine A5+
- Sound - Winner: Audioengine A5+
- Thermal system - Winner: Audioengine A5+
- Performance in small rooms - Tie
- Performance in medium rooms - Winner: Audioengine A5+
- Price - Winner: Audioengine A2+