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Audioengine A2+ vs A5+ Wireless Speakers Comparison
Is the A5+ worth the extra £200 over the A2+?
Audioengine A2+ vs A5+ speakers - which is right for you?
Audioengine speakers have proved very popular in the USA audio company offering both powered and passive speaker solutions as well as DACS, amplifiers and accessories.
With the A5+ priced around £200 more than the A2+ at £449 compared to £239, we’ll be discussing whether the extra money is worth it, as well as covering their strengths and pitfalls and answering the question - which set up is right for YOU?
The A2+ and the A5+ wireless are premium, powered 2.0 setups so can be plugged and played into your chosen music source such as a computer, turntable, CD player etc.
Why are they wireless? Well, they now come with Bluetooth aptx, the highest standard of Bluetooth, offering a wireless method of control.
They are both designed with a studio monitor look and feel in mind, but are not outwardly claimed to be studio monitors.
Constructed from a high-quality MDF and their use of aramid fibre in their woofers make for impressive sound distribution, but as these speakers differ in size as well as other factors, they have different use cases which we will cover in this comparison.
What’s in the box?
Audioengine provide the same set of cables in both the A2+ and A5+. Inside the box, you’re greeted with a USB to USB-C cable, a double-ended 3.5mm jack, power supply and some thick-gauge speaker cable to connect your speakers together.
They are very similarly designed with aesthetics and build quality in mind, and we appreciate the curved edges steering away from the classic boxy shape that many bookshelf speakers take on.
Their 2-way design with the tweeter on top and the woofer underneath is clean and understated and we think the omission of a grill suits the classic style of the Audioengine range.
While their general appearance is much the same, their overall footprint is where they differentiate.
The A2+s are noticeably more compact than the A5+s, standing at 15.4cm high, 10.2cm wide and a depth of 13.3cm so will fit nicely on a standard desktop set up.
The A5+s stand at 27cm high, 18cm wide and 23cm deep so perhaps wouldn’t fit on a small desk but would be suitable for a larger workspace or on a dedicated tabletop stand.
Both speakers are also available with a neat desktop wedge (sold separately) which angle the speakers in line with your laptop or desktop screen - a stylish little addition.
Regarding colour options, both the A2+ and A5+ come with matte black or white finishes plus a red option on the A2+ for those that want a bit more “colour pop” in their room.
Our favourite is the bamboo option on the A5+ offering a bit of Scandinavian pizzazz but we’ll leave the choice of colour up to you (often the hardest choice!).
Both the A2+ and A5+ come with the same ¾ inch silk dome tweeter for vocals and high frequencies but critically, the custom kevlar woofer in the A5+ is 5” as opposed to 2.75” in the A2+ so the A5+ is capable of outputting a more impactful sound.
Let’s take a look at the reverse of each speaker system.
Connections-wise, Audioengine have been comparatively generous with a set of left and right RCA stereo inputs and outputs, a 3.5mm jack and a USB input so you can enjoy analogue or digital as you choose.
Being Sonos-lovers ourselves, we feel it only right to say you could add a Sonos Port to either of these speakers to integrate them with your wider Sonos system (if you have one) or benefit from the feature-rich Sonos app.
Another notable difference is the A2+ comes with a DAC onboard whereas the A5+ does not.
The quality of the DAC in the A2+ is superior to most PCs but Audioengine has stated that using a 24-bit DAC such as their D1 or D2 would improve sound quality further, and a separate DAC would be necessary to enjoy PC audio through the A5+.
The first thing that stands out is the rear-mounted volume knob. We are unsure why this was put on the back instead of the front, especially when the A5+ has it on the front - but at least it’s there!
Finally, you’ve got the speaker cable connectors to power the right speaker with.
The sound of these products will suit someone who’s looking for a more premium sound than the cheap, plasticky products you’ll find online, but who would prefer to avoid the audiophile journey.
Starting off with the A2+, while they are not blow-the-roof-off volume, they are impressive for their size and probably one of the best sets of desktop speakers we’ve heard in this price bracket.
Sitting a few feet away, the A2+ retains an accurate stereo image and while they get muddy at 90% volume and over, for general listening at mid-volumes whether that’s for gaming or a work soundtrack, they would be perfect in a smaller room as desktop speakers.
The A5+ seems to address all the pitfalls of the A2+ in the sound quality department. The A5+ is a massive improvement on the A2+ with a much more far-reaching soundstage and lower-end extension.
They would sit nicely in a living room and go loud enough to get a few people dancing at a house party. With the addition of strong mid-range vocal clarity, these are a great all-rounder either in a living room or larger workspace.
Who are they right for?
Choosing between the A2+ and the A5+ really comes down to how you plan to use them.
The A2+ is not for blasting a room with. Rather, they are the perfect companion with a desktop that is in another league to your normal built-in speakers and even cheaper desktop speakers.
Bring immersion to your gaming or fill your workspace with some background listening. The A2+s are perfect for near-field listening, even if they are going to be close to a wall as they are front-ported.
The A5+ is for flooding a larger size room with serious room-filling sound. If you can handle the trade-off with size, your ears will thank you for the extra £200 spent on these if you are doing a larger amount of listening from a distance..
While they’re just too big for a small desk, you can place these in your living room or office as long as you give them a bit of space to breathe.
These Audioengine speakers are not without their compromises but there’s a lot to love about them and that’s why we think they are the ultimate desktop wireless speakers.
Are you still struggling to decide? Why not have a chat with one of our specialists!