Our Verdict 
Every aspect of the A5s is enjoyable, especially the way they make your MP3 player sound. Now replaced by the Audioengine A5+
For 
Flexible spec
smoothly built
poised, persuasive sound
Against 
Really need to be on speaker stands to hear them at their best
Reviewed on

Tested June 2010

Right from the off (November 2007's First Test) we've been big fans of the A5 speakers.

Just about compact enough to work on a desktop, though we'd recommend dedicated stands, they're a smoothly finished, glossy proposition.

The passive right-hand speaker, with just a reflex port and speaker binding-posts at the rear, is slaved to the left-hand speaker – which is where the action is.

This powered box houses 50 Watts of amplifier power per channel, two 3.5mm inputs (plus a USB output for charging your MP3 player), two subwoofer pre-outs for those who crave significant low-frequency action at their desk, speaker binding-posts for union to the left-hand speaker and an (EU) mains AC output for use with Airport Express.

More after the break

Well-judged treble, timing and communicationThe A5s come with a short 3.5mm-3.5mm connection, so any MP3 player will probably end up resting on top of the speaker – not ideal.

Nevertheless, with an iPod delivering a lossless file of The The's Gravitate To Me, the A5s sound stirring and subtle.

Stereo focus is good, and the top of the frequency range is judged equally well: treble sounds are crisp without tipping into hardness.

There's fine timing on offer, and a composed, unflappable quality to the midrange that makes a vocalist sound characterful and communicative.

There's a discernible shortage of dynamic potency available when push really comes to shove, mind you, and low frequencies can be a little soft and squashy. Still, your £225 is buying a really fine desktop sound.

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