Audioengine A2 review

Audioengine A2s are active desktop speakers. The price is right – and the size is too. But if your priority is outright fidelity, there are compelling Tested at £142

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Our Verdict

The price is right – and the size is too. But if your priority is outright fidelity, there are compelling alternatives

For

  • Compact
  • nicely finished
  • fearsomely dynamic and attacking given their size

Against

  • Some midrange coarseness
  • an expected lack of scale

If the only prerequisite for desktop speakers were size, then the Audioengine A2s could confidently look forward to retaining their 2008 What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Award as Best Budget Desktop Speakers.

Measuring just 15 x 10 x 13cm, they're almost frivolously small. But, as every sensible person knows, size isn't any indication of performance.

Before we get to the vexatious subject of performance, though, let's consider the A2s' composition.

Smoothly finished in matt black (glossy white is also available as an option), each little box houses a 7cm Kevlar driver, 2cm silk-dome tweeter and narrow front-firing reflex slot.

The right-hand speaker has the usual speaker-cable binding-posts around the back. The left-hand speaker has a fair bit more going on. It houses two times 15W of amplification, a pair of RCA inputs, a 3.5mm input, speaker-post outputs to its passive right-hand partner and a volume control.

The A2s are supplied with a 3.5mm-3.5mm interconnect to join your MP3 player of choice, via its headphone socket, to the left-hand speaker – which means that there's no battery charging capability for your player.

Great drive, but a shortage of scale

Playing a lossless file of Beastie Boys' Shake Your Rump, the most immediately impressive thing about the A2s is the frankly unlikely degree of drive they bring to the recording.

The little speakers get stuck right in, pounding through the tune with determination and summoning quite startling low-end attack.

This terrier-like enthusiasm isn't at the expense of detail, which is plentiful, or articulacy – the Audioengines certainly aren't short of midrange eloquence.

There's a hint of coarseness around the upper midrange, though, which becomes more evident with a switch to a 128kbps, iTunes-derived copy of Can's Turtles Have Short Legs.

There's also a shortage of outright scale revealed, which is scarcely surprising when you consider the A2s' diminutive size.

Positioned on a desktop, as every pair of A2s is sure to be, the Audioengines focus reasonably well - but they're more sensitive to positioning than is ideal for a product of this type.

“Not much to complain about,” we said of the A2s back in April 2008. And that's still the case – there's certainly a lot of fun to be had alarming people with the volume these tiny speakers can summon.

But where outright fidelity is concerned, we now think you can do better.

Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.audioengineusa.com
Brand NameAudioengine
Product TypeSpeaker System
ManufacturerAudioengine Corp
Manufacturer Part NumberA2W
Packaged Quantity2
Product NameAudioengine A2
Product ModelA2

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • 1 x Power supply
  • 1 x Speaker Cable (16AWG), 2 Meters (~6.5 feet)
  • 1 x 1/8" Mini-jack Audio Cable, 2 Meters (~6.5 feet)
  • 1 x 1/8" Mini-jack Audio Cable, 20cm (~8 inches)
  • 1 x Drawstring Power Supply Bag
  • 1 x Drawstring Cable Bag
  • 2 x Drawstring Speaker Bags
  • 1 x Setup Guide
  • 1 x Product Line Brochure
Compatibility
  • iPod
  • Internet Radio
  • Network Music System
  • Desktop Computer
  • Laptop
  • Flat Panel TV
  • Mobile Phone
  • PDA
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Video Game Console
  • Digital Radio
  • Satellite Receiver
  • Products with 3.5mm Mini Jack or RCA Output

Technical Information

Minimum Frequency Response65 Hz
Maximum Frequency Response22 kHz

Audio

RMS Output Power30 W
Speaker Configuration2.0

Physical Characteristics

Weight Approximate1.60 kg
ColourWhite

Power Description

Power SourcePower Supply