The little engine that may: Audioengine A2 speaker evaluation
In our evaluate of Audioengine‘s AW1 wi-fi audio adapter, we tipped our hand a bit: our curiosity in Audioengine’s merchandise began with the thought of establishing wi-fi encompass channels. Let’s face it: no one likes fugly wires operating alongside the baseboards, pulling wires by way of the attic (when it is even an choice) is a problem and carrying wires by means of crown-moulding is not precisely plug-and-play, both. For rear-channel functions, pairing the AW1 together with lively audio system is sensible, particularly in case you’re making an attempt to attenuate the aesthetic draw back of your audio setup. Placing an entire separate receiver behind the room is not any approach to go, and even a small zone amplifier is simply one other field you are going to have to cover. As luck would have it, Audioengine has a small lively speaker, the A2, that matches the invoice. Very similar to the AW1, nevertheless, the A2 had some surprises for us.
A2 hardwareThe primary impression with a product is necessary — look no additional than the recognition of “unboxing” protection. However particularly with price range-priced gear (just like the $199 A2s), it is an space that is typically relaxed. The A2 field is certainly designed to assist it stand out on a stocked shelf, however the audio system, cables and energy provide are all packed in material drawstring luggage. Good factor, too — the shiny black end on the assessment models could be very engaging, however a fingerprint magnet (you will get them in white as properly). Don’t be concerned about scratching up that gloss on the underside — there’s foam padding. Once you unpack the A2s, you undoubtedly really feel such as you’re getting handled to greater than you paid for.
With a 2.7-inch Kevlar woofer, zero.seventy five-inch silk dome tweeter, and 15-Watt amplifier, the A2 is meant for use as a desktop multimedia speaker. It is a entrance slot-loaded design, and there are two all the time-on inputs: one RCA, one three.5-mm. As you’ll be able to see from the pics, these are fairly diminutive gems (6 x four x 5.25-inches); what the photographs do not convey is how strong these really feel, at about four-kilos on all sides (the left is just a little heavier than the suitable due to the amp).
Encompass channel efficiencyIn the event you learn our evaluation of the AW1 wi-fi adapter, you understand the punchline right here. Used as encompass-channels in our HT rig, the A2s carried out with none grievance. These audio system are specced at +/- 2-dB from 65Hz – 22kHz, so they have greater than sufficient bandwidth to cowl encompass duties. Extra importantly, although these are small audio system, we by no means heard dynamic compression within the encompass combine; merely put, they do not sound small, which is a failing of many multimedia/desktop audio system.
Once more, we will not overstate how a lot an lively speaker is required for profitable encompass channels; if you need to put wi-fi, amplification and audio system throughout three separate elements, chances are you’ll as properly pull wires out of your receiver to the again.
Briefly, if you would like or have to go wi-fi on your encompass channels, we advocate testing Audioengine’s choices. The power to suit this setup in with nearly some other elements, ease of use and efficiency make a really good answer.
Basic audio efficiencySignificantly, although, evaluating a speaker solely as encompass channel is simply foolish; if you wish to understand how a speaker performs, take heed to it as a main sound supply. Audioengine advised us that they made the A2 as a result of they could not discover any fairly priced, powered desktop audio system, after which found that they work nice for small to medium-sized rooms as nicely, with or with no subwoofer. To check the A2s out, we put them on our desk and fed them some lossless (FLAC and Apple Lossless) and lossy (256-kbps MP3) audio information.
Our instant first impression was “wow.” The rear channel combine was dealt with simply advantageous by the A2s, nevertheless it merely did not do them justice. We have heard numerous desktop audio system, and even once they sound good in that setting, we discover an enormous step up once we return to our front room system. It isn’t simply the frequency response, but in addition a scarcity of compression. The A2s did not endure the identical illness, and ought to be although of as “audio system that match in your desktop” somewhat than “desktop audio system.” We might characterize the sound of them as wealthy versus the lean and tremendous-clear studio monitor type of sound. There’s fairly a little bit of midbass, nevertheless it’s does not cross the road to being tubby and poorly-outlined. The bass response was exceptional — passersby all the time requested to see the requisite subwoofer field (there was none). We ran some check tones by way of the A2s and reached an trustworthy 50Hz, albeit a bit attenuated. On the excessive finish, issues sounded good as properly — most significantly, issues did not get too “scorching” within the higher registers, which we discover very tiring.
We discovered ourselves shifting the A2s all through the home. With sound this good, this straightforward, it was a no brainer to deliver the A2s to the place we needed to take heed to music. Need a good sounding alarm clock? Pair the A2s with an MP3 participant’s “alarm” choice. Having a number of pals over on the again patio? Transfer the A2s to the patio desk and stream some music out of your pc with the AW1. You get the image.
ConclusionBriefly, we actually loved our time with the A2s. Whether or not put to make use of as wi-fi rear surrounds or main music audio system, they carried out nice. We expect these are little beauties for his or her seems to be, sound high quality and ease of use. Prime it off with a 3-yr guarantee and a 30-day trial interval, and we will not assist however advocate them. The A2s have actually helped us benefit from the time we’re “chained to the desk” much more.