The Audioengine team creates powered speakers for use in home and in office to work with all types of music but are specifically made for digital audio. Audioengine has been in business since 2002 and released their first product, the A5, in the fall of 2005. It is still a young company, so I am not too ashamed for never having heard about them until I was presented with the A2 speaker system. The A2 is their attempt to provide a superior choice and sonic experience for digital music listeners and video gamers.
The Audioengine A2 speaker system can be found well secured within a box about half the size of a carry-on piece of luggage. The contents are held in place by semi-flexible, shock absorbing foam and will not shift, or move for that matter, during transport. The “Audioengine-ers” went further and encased each speaker in its own protective reusable sock. Just like toys should always come with the required batteries, the A2 system is supplied with a 2’ and 6.5’ mini-jack audio cable as well as 6.5’ of 16 AWG pre-stripped speaker wire to get them ready for use right away.
The A2 is a bass reflex (ported) design featuring a 2.75” Kevlar woofer and 0.75” silk dome tweeter. The drivers are recessed perfectly flush into the front baffle which is slot-ported in the front just under the woofer. And for a pair of multimedia speakers, these are the prettiest I have ever seen. The cabinets are made of MDF, rather than plastic. You would not know it unless you were told because the finish is a smooth, glossy type that surrounds the entire box design (except for the back plate) and makes it look like a one-piece enclosure.
As for the rear, the right side speaker is very simple. A metal backplate held in place by six screws. There are two knurled knobs (the + and – connectors) that stick out a half-inch. The left side speaker has the same as the right speaker with some more. There is the keyed (one-way only) connection for the power, RCA left and right (Input A) and “ mini-jack (Input B), and the volume control knob. The connections for the audio source can both be used at the same time if needed. The volume control also acts as the power on/off switch.
I tested the A2s in two scenarios: As a mini multimedia center; and as a replacement for laptop computer speakers.
In the first scenario, I placed the speakers as far apart on the table as they could be, 33 inches. To provide music, I used a SanDisk Sansa m250 mp3 player. Then I connected them to the un-powered RCA audio out of my television, a Sony KDL-32L5000, using a mini-jack to RCA and then RCA to RCA. And for the last part of this arrangement, I connected a Sony PlayStation 2 (RCA male connections) directly to the left speaker and then again with an RCA female to male mini-jack.
For the second scenario, I put the speakers 30 inches apart from each other with the laptop equidistant from each speaker. I first connected them to the audio out on the computer (mini-jack) using the male-to-male mini-jack cable and then male RCA to mini-jack.
Why try so many connections? Because the speakers have two types of inputs and I wanted to hear what each piece of equipment would sound like making note of any differences.
Click here to read more information about the speakers and about the listening tests.
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