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Today’s Show:

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!

 

Download Episode #526


Posted by The HT Guys, April 12, 2012 9:57 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.