Audioengine’s A2+ desktop speakers have been a top choice since their release in 2013, and now fans have an updated version: the Audioengine A2+ Wireless ($269). The new speaker system is virtually identical to the original, in both looks and sound quality, but Audioengine added Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream audio straight from your smartphone. The Audioengine A2+ Wireless speaker system is available in three different colors — black, white and red. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Good: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That was Audioengine’s thinking with the A2+ Wireless. It has the same look, versatility and sound qualities as the A2+, but the added Bluetooth connectivity means it caters to the new age of smartphone streaming. Also, there’s no difficult setup process or app to deal with; you just wire them together, add power and you’re good to go.
There are several really phenomenal things about the A2+ Wireless. The first is connectivity. Aside from streaming to them over Bluetooth, there are many other uses for the speakers. You can them to your laptop or desktop and greatly improve the stereo sound, which is great if you watch a lot of movies or listen to music throughout the day on your computer. The RCA connections allow you to connect them to a turntable. The 3.5mm jack is always an option, too, and you can even add a subwoofer like Audioengine’s S8 ($349).
The A2+ Wireless pushes well above its weight in terms of performance, and even though the speakers are small (at least compared to other Bluetooth speakers), they’re loud. I primarily streamed music from my smartphone and MacBook Air, and the speakers were especially impressive handling midrange and highs. The vocals and instruments on songs like Springsteen’s “Little White Lies” or “Poncho & Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt were tight and strong. (Think about investing in some speaker stands, which I had for testing, as they angle up the sound towards your ears and make the speakers sound noticeably better.)
Who It’s For: These speakers can be a lot of things for a lot of different people. They’re great for small rooms and small apartments, and they can be paired with a turntable, computer or laptop. If you just want to stream to them, they deliver stereo separation in a way that most powered Bluetooth speakers simply cannot.
Watch Out For: The speakers aren’t wireless in the traditional sense. Only one of the speakers is powered, meaning you need to have them wired. The speakers sound terrific for their size, but they aren’t the punchiest; people who prefer heavy bass might be a little disappointed. They’re not portable and you can’t sync them in an existing multiroom system. To get the best sound, you should invest in some speaker stands.
Alternatives: The obvious one is the Fluance Ai60, which cost $300. In that price range, there are many all-in-one powered Bluetooth speakers that you can buy, such as the Bose SoundTouch 20 (Series III) or the Peachtree Audio deepblue3. Audioengine also makes the Audioengine A5+ Wireless, which are essentially a larger and better sounding version of the A2+ Wireless, for those willing to spend a little more.
Verdict: Audioengine’s A2+ Wireless is a fantastic entry-level speaker system for anybody who doesn’t want to spend more than $300. The sound is crisp and accurate. It can connect to a turntable, desktop or laptop; or you can use it as a glorified Bluetooth speaker, just with way better stereo separation. If you need a final selling point on the A2+ Wireless, it’s this: the best bookshelf speakers under $300 just got way easier to use.
What Others Are Saying:
• “Audioengine takes it time in rolling out new products, and wireless versions of its speakers may not appear for years after the wired versions hit the market. Luckily, the $269 A2+ Wireless speakers were well worth the wait. They deliver a rich, bright frequency response, free of dynamics-squashing digital signal processing (DSP), and there’s a subwoofer output for those who want to dial in some deep lows. The design is classic, the quality is top-notch, and the audio is accurate. If you’re seeking a quality stereo sound signature in the age of Bluetooth, you won’t be disappointed with the A2+ Wireless.” — Tim Gideon, PC Magazine
• “The Audioengine A2+ Wireless are made for small rooms, offices, and desktops and are the perfect addition if you’re relaxing with your turntable, gaming, or having a few friends over. Their crisp sound will show detail and complement your favorite music.” — Unknown, Audio Advice
Speaker type: 2.0 powered active speaker system
Drivers: 2.75″ aramid fiber woofers, 3/4″ silk dome tweeters
Power Output: 60-watts peak, 30-watter per channel
Connectivity: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA, USB, Bluetooth
Frequency Response: 65Hz to 22kHz (±2.0dB)
Audioengine provided this product for review.
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