Disclaimer: Audioengine provided these speakers to me for review. I will not be biased to them for this. I owe it to my fellow r/budgetaudiophile readers to give you 100% honest reviews. I am not being paid by Audioengine for this review.
Here are some pictures for size comparisons of them next to some other speakers that I have out, as well as a banana. And a Blockbuster gift card. And an Adele CD. Anyways, they’re small. There is 0 excuse for “I can’t fit speakers on my desk” nowadays. I left this picture separate to point out that they’re basically the same size as the Passive Aggressive speakers from Parts Express, just in case you happen to have those. This is probably going to be a short review since it is mostly good things.
Physical Fit and Finish
Great. I don’t know if the A2+ Wireless Speakers are internally braced, but they’re small enough where I don’t feel as though they need to be. The paint is well done, the drivers look good, the button and volume control work, the ports look clean, and the text on the back is easy to read. I actually really like the feel of turning the volume knob. It’s very smooth and easy to turn.
They have a little pad on the bottom of them to separate the A2+ Speakers from the desk, which really is awesome. You’ll probably want to put them on something or angle them up anyways, but this is still great. They also have a place to screw in a stand, so you can put them on a stand or mount them on a wall or whatever. Pretty nice.
The A2+ Wireless Speakers don’t have a grille (grill?). I don’t find this as a problem, but some people might. I think they look really nice without it.
Everything needed to set them up is included. Speaker wire, USB cable, 3.5mm cable, and power cord. They don’t come with a remote, but that isn’t an issue. They don’t get loud enough where you’ll be using them in your living room. We’ll get to that later though.
The volume control is on the back, as well as the Bluetooth pairing button, which I really like. The front of the A2+ Speakers is clean. No lights or buttons or anything. Really clean all around.
The Bluetooth was just as easy as you’d expect. I pressed the button and paired with my phone, no problems at all.
They do have a subwoofer out, which is absolutely fantastic. I think that would be a perfect addition to these.
The ports on the front make no noise that I’m aware of, but putting them somewhat close to you definitely gives you a nice pair of fans blowing at your face. I really like that feature. I have them about 2 feet from me (they’re actually sitting on top of another pair of speakers, rather than just aiming up from the desk) so it gives me a nice breeze. Also, I want to make it clear that I know this isn’t a feature but I like it and will definitely call it a feature.
This isn’t why you’re here if you are looking at these speakers. You’re looking at them because of their size.
However, the A2+ Wireless Speakers sound fantastic. I’ll be honest, they sound far better than I expected them to sound. I’ll break down some things.
They’re obviously small and limited by that size. However, they’re tuned extremely well. They seem to be very flat down low enough to produce male vocals, and then they fall off a bit after that. If you’re expecting the drums in “Jazz Variants” (by O-Zone Percussion Group) to shake the room, it won’t happen.
“Paper Trails” by Darkside has a really deep voice in it, and it really sounds fantastic with these. Like I mentioned before, it seems as though the A2+ get down to produce male vocals before falling off, which is very impressive.
Female vocals also sound excellent. Absolutely 0 problems there. For example, Regina Spektor sounds fantastic in “Samson”, exactly as I would expect. Lorde sounds actually phenomenal in “Liability”.
Dynamics are not super great, but you can tell that they’re there. “The Gambler” by “fun.” has decent dynamics in it, and they show on these, which is great.
The bass guitar in “Baby Mine” by Bonnie Rait sounds very rich.
The drums in “I Love Rock n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are really punchy. The ones right at the beginning feel like you’re getting hit in the chest if you have it turned up a bit.
I’m trying to come up with more examples of things that sound good. Just know that everything will sound good. I’ve listened to everything from hip hop to rock to classical, and everything sounds okay. There isn’t something that I’ve heard that sounds bad.
If you’re expecting these little speakers to sound like some big pair of speakers, you’ll be disappointed. However, I can’t imagine how something could sound better for the size and price. Everything that they do, they do very well. The only thing they lack is bass extension, and, come on. You can’t be mad about that. They use a 2.75” driver. And they have a subwoofer out in case you ever want to add some low end.
Now, I posted pictures of the A2+ Wireless Speakers with a lot of other speakers, and that was for a reason. You might be thinking it was to flex, but it wasn’t. It was to show you what else I have and to prepare for this. While listening to these, I never said “I wish I could be listening to my KEFs” or “I wish my Philharmonics were in here instead”. I listened to these little Audioengines happily.
Do they sound as good as a lot of the other stuff that I have that is many times the price? Of course not. However, they don’t sound bad. I actually think they’re pretty fun. There’s a nice ease to them. I feel like I could just put them on and listen to them for hours with no problems (in fact, I did that many times while doing some work at my computer). They're just an easy and fun speaker, that I really enjoy.
While typing that last sentence there, “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman came on, and it sounds really good. Her voice is extremely clear and crisp, and the drums came in and are extremely punchy. Anyways, I digress.
Imaging is really good on these.
I mentioned this earlier, but I actually have the A2+ Speakers propped up to ear level rather than tipping them up, and I think it helped quite a bit. I’ve also got them toed in a bit, which really helps with some detail in the top end. They have a very clear center image, and they also have good placement of other instruments around that.
Everything I’ve said sounds great. I want you to keep in mind that these are small speakers, and sound like smaller speakers. They don’t shake the room. They don’t get loud. The bass isn’t as rich and thick as it could be. Deeper male vocals, while being pretty good, are just a tad thin. But, this is all to be expected from something of this size. So, when I say all of these things, I’m saying that they’re great for a speaker of this size and in this price range.
These aren’t for someone who wants to be able to sit down and really analyze music. If you want to hear every little thing in a song, these won’t do it. They’re a bit more relaxed. They give you the detail you want without forcing anything into you and making you hear stuff that you don’t care to hear. They also aren’t fatiguing at all to me, which is great since I’ve spent a lot of time in front of them. They’re for someone who just needs a pair of speakers at their desk and needs something good enough to have a good time while listening to music. And, if you don’t have AC, prop em up and you’ve got fans aiming at your face.
Oh and, almost no hiss when they're not playing anything.
Fine, I’ll say more. If you want Bluetooth, a sub out, tiny speakers, and no separate amp/DAC, these are for you. Look no further. Really. For this size and price, I can’t imagine anything better. Maybe something DIY (not the Passive Aggressive speakers that I have, but possibly the Quarks from DIYSoundGroup?) could beat them, but you’d still need an external amp and DAC if you did that. And Bluetooth receiver if you want one.
I don’t think they’d be good in a living room. They get to a decent volume, but they’re a small speaker with a small driver. Maybe, maybe in a smaller living room, you’d be fine, but don’t expect them to fill a ballroom.
If you want something easy and small, the A2+ Speakers are for you. If you’re new and don’t want to worry about an amp or a DAC (or if you don’t know what those are), these are for you. If you know what those are and you have plenty of expensive speakers but just want something small for your desk or for the SO’s desk, these are for you. If you want something small because you don’t have a lot of room, these are for you. Um, I think that’s everything.
They sound great for their size. They have great connectivity and options. I recommend them if you need something small, easy to use, and that has a good amount of options.
I understand why some people like Zero Fidelity and Steve Guttenberg really like these.
Read the full review here.