Audioengine A5+ Speakers and Wireless Audio Adapter

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Audioengine A5+
Product Audioengine A5+ speaker system &
Wireless Audio Adapter W1 set
Manufacturer Audioengine
MSP $399/pair; $99 set

The first Audioengine product was the A5, released in 2005. This well-engineered, compact, powered speaker pair quickly earned many accolades from reviewers, and firmly established Audioengine as a player in the consumer audio scene of the new millenia.

By the time SPCR got around to examining audio gear, the A5 had been reviewed so well and so widely that Audioengine preferred to send us a sample pair of their second powered speakers, the tiny A2. We reviewed it favorably back in 2008; it was an excellent product. In October 2011, Audioengine announced a follow-up to the A5: The A5+, which retains the size, look and shape of the original, and adds customer-requested upgrades and features, the most visible of which is a wireless remote for power and volume control.

The A5+ size and shape is a near-classic <1' tall monitor, in the tradition of the Rogers LS3/5A and the Linn Kan (if anyone remembers these things)... and hundreds of small box speakers that have appeared in the markets over the past 40 years since mini-speakers became popular. Unlike those classics of yore, the A5+ has a built-in electronics, requiring AC power but no external amplifiers. Its look is modern, eschewing any type of speaker grill and traditional wood veneers alike. The cones of the drivers are exposed, while black, white and carbonized bamboo are the finish options. In all three cosmetic options, the A5+ is fairly pleasing to the eye.

The A5+ in bamboo finish on a desktop with what appears to be an Apple iMac, in a company promotional photo. Note: Bamboo veneer is subject to heat to produce darker shades. It has the green quality of being extremely renewable (reaches full growth in just 6~7 years) and it is tougher than most traditional hardwoods.

Full specifications are provided on the manufacturer's product page. There's really no need to repeat them here, but these details seem noteworthy to me:

  • The left speaker contains all the electronics, including a heatsink on the back, so it is heavier, 15.4 lbs vs. 9.6 lbs for the right.
  • Frequency response is claimed to be 50Hz-22kHz +/-1.5dB, very good for small speaker. I expect some electronic equalization is used within to tailor the response; this is one of the natural advantages of a speaker system whose crossover, drivers, enclosure and amplier are integrated.
  • The type AB amplifiers have 150W total peak power output and 50W RMS/ch. This is a surprisingly high figure, given the small size of the speaker.
  • Idle power is 10W, and there is a sleep mode, which draws 4W.
  • The mid/bass driver is a 5" kevlar cone, while the tweeter is a 20mm silk dome; no slouches. All parts are designed specifically for this system.
  • The remote control is a small IR device with basic functions: Volume up/down, sleep, mute. It's all you need.
  • A USB power port allows devices like MP3 players to be charged.
  • RCA jacks for variable output allow a subwoofer to be connected.
  • Both RCA and mini-plug inputs are provided.
  • All the necessary parts are included.
  • 30 Day Audition, money-back guarantee (assuming like-new condition in original packaging) is nice, almost mandatory for a product sold mostly online. There's also a 3-year warranty.

Overall, it's a promising package for $399.

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