What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 13 Jan 2012, 5:37pm

Audioengine A5+

Tested at £290
100100
5

A timely upgrade has made the A5+ speakers slightly bigger, noticeably better and far more flexible than the originals

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For

  • Stereo and 3.5mm input
  • remote control
  • tight, well-marshalled bass
  • good sonic detail

Against

  • No iPod dock

We first saw the original Audioengine A5 speakers back in 2007. Riding the wave of interest in digital music, those large powered speakers delivered impressive sound on a budget to play any music source via their 3.5mm inputs.

A few years in the making, we now have an upgraded model. They’re clearly two peas from the same pod, too: the matte-black finish and general styling is similar, though these speakers are a smidgeon larger – and remain a fairly large desktop proposition.

As on the preceding A5s, the A5+ speakers deliver 50W per channel, sport 13cm kevlar woofers and 20mm silk dome tweeters.

Better all-round than the originals

But that plus symbol in the name isn’t just for show: the cabinet has a new port system and heat sink on the rear, which aims to not only improve sound but ensure they’re more efficient at high volume.

There are now full-size speaker terminals too, so you can connect speaker cables with banana plugs, and both stereo inputs and outputs.

The 3.5mm input remains, too, although this and the USB connection to charge a portable device are now on the back of the unit rather than on top.

Last but not least there’s now a remote control with basic volume controls. And we’re happy to report the sound is indeed noticeably improved.

Happy on a desktop
Listening to James Blake’s Wilhelm Scream, the bass is tighter and more detailed. This makes for better listening, and also more flexibility
– these will cope much better with being slapped on a desktop rather than on stands.

The A5+ speakers are light on their feet, sound subtle and boast impressive dynamics. Their sonic scale is striking for the money, happily filling our room better than similarly sized iPod docks.

The sonic balance is more exciting now too, a change from the smoother sound of the old model.

A timely and worthwhile upgrade for the A5+, then, which makes them a must for any desktop speaker shortlist.

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