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.
Have you ever noticed that there often tends to be quite the opposite opinions about a speaker?
I can understand this for more "personal taste" kinda products like clothing, for example.
But for engineering products like speakers? Personal tastes and preferences probably still play a role. But shouldn't it be less?
Why is it that we can't set a universal metric for sound quality?
First time I asked this question to myself has been a pivotal day.
Because it turns out that in the mid 90's, Electrical Engineer PhD Floyd Toole came up with a method called Spinorama. This is exactly what he accomplished with this. Turns out that his book Sound Reproduction is like the bible of audiophiles.
Put it simply, Spinorama is a set of measurements that gives a comprehensive overview of a speaker's performance from various angles.
It allows you to compare the performances of different speakers before even laying your ears hands on them.
Isn't that amazing?
This is why Spinorama was apparently groundbreaking news for audio industry. Hence in the mid-late 2010's, most brands and magazines began publishing Spinorama measurements, despite the challenges of making such measurements.
Fortunately, now we have the Spinorama data for a bunch of quite popular speakers. Pierre Aubert put all this untidy data together and put it into https://www.spinorama.org/. This is a stunning source. Pretty valuable stuff from him right there.
All good up to this point.
Now there comes a caveat.
Since the sound speakers propagate are in the form of omnidirectional waves, all measurements are obtained in anechoic or semi-anechoic chambers (a super-quiet room where soundwaves don't bounce back, here's how different that room sounds [a mind blowing time-adjusted video]).
This is a problem because it means that Spinorama alone, unfortunately, won't give us all we need. Placement and reflections play an equally important role there too.
This is why most A-class brands (like SVS, Bang & Olufsen, etc) often come up with room correction features, adjusted either manually or automatically. The EQ adapts itself to the placement (room, corner, center, etc) for a better (deeper and more accurate) sound. Which is great.
Additionally they often emphasize the importance of placement, here is an example: https://www.svsound.com/blogs/subwoofer-setup-and-tuning/75365187-the-art-of-subwoofer-placement
The source code under Pierre Aubert's work is licensed under GPL (General public license). He didn't perform any of the measurements himself, and instead he compiled all of them into one place, so that makes sense.
At this point, I thought that if there was a tool that combined both the Spinorama with the room acoustics data, it'd be extremely useful.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there wasn't any.
This is where I stepped in and partnered with an Acoustics and Audio Engineering PhD in order to achieve this.
We combined Spinorama data with room acoustics and came up with Soundton. A very simple, 2D online tool that allows you to:
- Reveal optimal speaker positions in a room,
- Test with real speakers from real brands,
- Compare different speakers and different positions in the room.
It can be very valuable for the vast majority.
The colormap provides you the locations with the best (green) and worst (red) listening experience.
It works the best with subwoofers since Soundton processes low frequency response waves only.
- Soundton is going to be, say, 80% accurate. Not 100%.
- Because, other parameters such as the age/materials of the building, furniture/windows in place also have an impact on room acoustics.
- If you want absolutely the most detailed room analysis, then what you need is an acoustics consultant. Mind you that's going to require deep pockets and patience though... assuming you find the right person and they get the job done.