Skip to main content

Audioengine A5 review

Audioengine A5 active desktop speakers are composed and staunchly musical. Just add an MP3 player – though they work best with stands – and you'll Tested at £260

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

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.

Well-judged treble, timing and communication
The 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.

Follow whathifi.com on Twitter

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test