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Friday
Apr132012

Podcast #526: Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Speakers

We love looking for speakers that make whole house audio simple and provide high quality sound. There are plenty of choices out there, but few can fill a large room with sound and deep bass all from a package that measures 10.75" x 7" x 7.75". We are talking about the Audioengine A5+ (Buy Now $399) premium powered speakers.

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Review: Audioengine A5+

We love looking for speakers that make whole house audio simple and provide high quality sound. There are plenty of choices out there, but few can fill a large room with sound and deep bass all from a package that measures 10.75" (27cm) x 7" (18cm) x 7.75" (20cm). We are talking about the Audioengine A5+ (Buy Now $399) powered speakers.

Features

  • Built-in power amplifiers, 50 watt per channel RMS
  • Compatible with any computer (Mac or PC)
  • Custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters
  • Improved thermal management
  • Remote control, 1/8" and RCA inputs, USB power, all cables included


The speakers look fantastic and are built well. They look beautiful in full view but are small enough to be put almost anywhere so hiding them is easy. The A5+ comes in three finishes, Satin Black, Hi-Gloss White and Solid Carbonized Bamboo. The Bamboo option will run you an additional $70. The left speaker, the one with the amplifier in it weighs in at 15.4 lbs (7 kg) and has a hefty heat sink on the back. The right speaker is only 9.6 lbs (4.4 kg) and simply has speaker wire connections on back.

The left speaker also has a USB port for charging your portable media player if that’s what you have connected to the speakers. Missing, however, is the AC power plug that made using an Airport Express so convenient in the original A5s. Not a big deal to overcome but it was a nice feature on the older model. There is also a volume control and an IR port for the remote control on the left speaker.

If you plan on using the remote make sure the left speaker is visible so it can see the IR commands. The remote is basic and provides: Sleep, Mute, Volume Up and Down functionality. In our case we set the volume and then used the iPhone volume control.

Setup

The A5+ speakers are trivial to setup and start using. Connect the left speaker to power and a sound source, either by a 3.5 mm stereo connector or left and right RCA cable, then connect the right speaker to the left speaker with regular speaker wire and you’re done! All the cables you need are included in the box so that you are literally listening to your new speakers in minutes! For our testing we connected the speakers to an Apple Airport Express and sent them music from the iPad, iPhone, and iTunes. You can connect any source to these speakers including a Sonos amp if you have one.

Sound

The sound was fantastic. Rich bass and nice highs. Midrange was good but almost get lost with the low end with some content. We listened to classical, rock and pop music. Everything we played sounded great. Ara’s wife even commented on how good everything sounded. And it will only get better. The speakers need to be broken in. We’ll try to revisit the listening test after we have a few hundred hours on the speakers.

We were amazed at how good the low end sounded on the original A5. The new A5+ keeps that great bass but cleans it up a bit. If you like the deep bombastic lows, like I (Ara) do, you will love these speakers! We don’t know if you are a fan of the movie “Desperado” with Antonio Banderes, but that movie has an excellent soundtrack. Much of our listening was done with it. It has intricate guitar work both acoustic and electric that really comes through with these  speakers. There is rock, blues, and mariachi as well. Everything sounded crisp, shiny, and deep!

Conclusion

The Audioengine A5+ is an excellent follow on to original A5s. Their rich deep bass and shimmering highs bring new life to your music library. At $400, the A5+ may be a bit on the expensive side for some, but for those who want to fill a large room with music they’re just the ticket!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Hey guys, love the show. Just listened to podcast #526 which reminded me that I wanted to respond to #525 regarding the car chase scene in Alcatraz/Bullitt. One small correction and one comment. The correction is that the Mustang that Steve McQueen drove was being chased by the Dodge Charger, not the other way around. The Charger guys were trying to kill Lt. Bullitt.
The comment is that back in the day, the Mustang was generally cast for the good guy and the Charger was always the car of choice for the "bad" guys. I am a car nut and I am sometimes obsessed with these kinds of details, LOLz.

Keep up the good work and at some point I will be able to give you all a Kaf-pow.

Best podcast on the net you guys, best TV series Breaking bad!!!. i would like to ask a question. My center channel speaker is a 20 year old polk audio. If I can get the finance committee to agree I would like to replace it. Do you have and thoughts on this model Energy Speaker Systems 72-21168 RC-LCR Center Speaker . Or maybe another brand. Appreciate your thoughts keep up the good work. Seattle WA

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Wyciskala

Yea best buy is dying, they can't even do the basics right, like feeding a high bitrate high quality HD signal to their display tv's, they fail to exploit their one advantage to wow the customer, instead they have their custom show reel filled with ads and sadly it has artifacting from low bitrate all over it. One could almost excuse this a few years ago when HD was new, but now, it just screams of the sloppiness and lack of attention that is best buy management.

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfred

@tom wyciscala
Unfortunately they recommend that at least the 3 front speakers match, getting different brads could alter the sound and pose a heavier ohm load on the receiver.
Try looking for a matching 5.1speaker system but if budget doesn't allow it try to get the 3 front to match.

April 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

I'm almost positive I heard you guys mention this in this podcast but your guesses about Best Buy eventually becoming like some sort of smaller store is practically spot on for what might be happening to Future Shop up here in Canada. I just got a survey from them for me to comment on what I would think of a FS store where you get to come in and try out and look at things and then allow you to place an online order right there and then. I took a screen shot of the page which described it in more detail which I'll paste on here tomorrow. Great show btw!

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJose Robles

Jose, that is so interesting re: Future Shop.

When I was a kid growing up in the '70s, there was a store called "Best" or sometimes "Best Products". They were known as a "catalog showroom". You go would into the store and pick up a little ordering form and a pencil on a small clip board. You would wander around looking at, say, blenders, and write down the stock number of the one you wanted. Then you would take it over to a counter, where it would get put into a pneumatic tube and shoot up to the guys in the warehouse above the showroom. While you were waiting, you would pay for your order. A few minutes later, your box would come down a conveyor belt, the clerk would hand it to you and you would head home with your item. On rare occasions, you would be disappointed by the news that it would have to be ordered and would not arrive for two weeks!

I remember when "Best Buy" came out...everyone was confused by the name because it sounded so close to "Best". But everyone thought Best Buy was so much cooler because they had the inventory right there on the shelf. No more little clip board and waiting for your stuff to come down from the warehouse.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

The Ceton Echo looks really cool. It says it will support DVR-MS format files, which are the older WMC recorded TV format, but I wonder if it will support WTV files which is the Windows 7 MC format.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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