Audioengine has been cranking high-quality speakers and audio equipment for sometime out of its Texas-based headquarters. Recently, they introduced the new A5+ Wireless, a revamped version of the previous generation that fits between its HD3 (review) and HD6 (review) offerings.
The A5+ are touted as “an exciting evolution” to Audioengine’s lineup with eyes on bridging the ever-expanding gap between wireless convenience and sound quality. At a time when every major player in tech is introducing a new speaker, Audioengine looks to go above the fray with its $499 A5+. Full hands-on and impressions below.
Much like its HD6 speaker that I reviewed a few years back, Audioengine makes an instant impression with the sheer weight out of the box. Everything about it feels quality, from the housing to the cables, packaging and knobs. Set up is pretty straight forward, with connectivity for just about any modern arrangement.
Audioengine’s A5+ sports wireless Bluetooth aptX connectivity, along with RCA and mini-jack audio inputs. This is a welcome inclusion that covers nearly every user. In my instance, I connected via 3.5mm from my iMac when at work and over Bluetooth otherwise.
Roughly 13-feet of speaker wire is included in the box, which is ideal for stretching across long workspaces. My desk is over six-feet wide, so the added length here is really appreciated. There’s also cables for RCA and 3.5mm setups, which means you’re ready to start enjoying music right out of the box.
As I seemingly mention every time we put up an audio review, sound quality and preference are a very personal topic for each individual. Some enjoy a healthy bass presence, like you might find on HomePod or a pair of Beats headphones. Others enjoy a more neutral balance that represents even the smallest of details.
Having enjoyed a wide range of speakers in my time here at 9to5Toys, I can say unequivocally that Audioengine’s A5+ are my favorite pair of two-channels I’ve come across. I can’t point to one area of frequency that’s too heavy or light. What you get here is a truly balanced experience that accounts for every piece in the orchestra and strum of the guitar.
While I could rave about the audio quality for some time, what really blew me away was the soundstage Audioengine managed to create. Sitting at my desk, with a speaker on each side spaced apart equally, I’m able to enjoy my favorite tunes in a whole new way. For me, that’s live music. Listening to Dave Matthews Band, I can close my eyes and point to exactly where the trumpets are located. On an old school Eric Clapton recording, you can sense how he rocks back and forth while performing. I’m certain there are other speakers out there that do the same, don’t get me wrong, but Audioengine delivers in this regard.
One thing that I’ve grown to appreciate about Audioengine’s offerings is how the products walk the line between traditional needs for vinyl and modern-day requirements like Bluetooth. The HD5+ offers both. I’d connect these to my record player and would be fine never using Bluetooth again. But the point is, going wireless is an option if needed. Perfect for guest DJs or pumping out the latest tunes on Apple Music. There’s the natural slight drop-off in audio quality that comes with any wireless setup, which isn’t a knock on Audioengine, but simply a reality these days.
Should you buy Audioengine’s A5+? That all depends on your needs. At $499, this setup is hardly an impulse purchase, but I whole-heartedly recommend it as the next step in your music enjoying experience. If you’ve been rocking a $100 (or less) pair of speakers daily, and are ready for more, buy these now. If you’re budget doesn’t allow for it, then check out Audioengine’s lower-priced offerings that might fit the bill.
Here’s what I know: in a time where every Apple, Amazon and Google under the sun is pushing voice assistant-equipped speakers, Audioengine is staying true to its roots and taking your music to a whole different level.