Audiophile-grade audio in a desktop-friendly form factor.
- Manufacturer: Audioengine
- Model: A2+ Wireless
- Supported Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm mini-jack, RCA, USB
- Supplied by: Manufacturer
Unboxing and accessories
You can often get an excellent insight into the quality of a product just by the way it is packaged and presented. With the A2+ Wireless, as soon as you open the box, you know you are in for a treat.
Each of the speakers, and the bundles of cables, come ensconced in luxurious microfibre cloth bags. Opening the speaker bags reveals a pair of beautifully finished speakers. On the review pair we received, they are finished in lavish high-gloss white.
Almost everything you need is included. You get the power lead and a set of high-quality cables for each connection type: 3.5mm mini-jack, USB cables and speaker wire to connect the left and right speakers. A stereo RCA lead is the only thing not included.
Connecting the speakers is effortless: All of the inputs, power supply, volume/power control knob and speaker connections are located on the rear of the left speaker for simplicity. Simply connect the right-speaker with the included heavy-gauge speaker wire, plug in the power lead and whichever input/s you choose to use, and you are set. (We will cover connectivity in more detail later.)
The A2+ are considerably deeper than regular desktop PC speakers. When you account for the space required at the rear for audio inputs, you will need to allow around seven or eight inches from the wall to the front of the speakers. They don’t protrude so far as to be ungainly, but it is certainly a consideration.
Upon firing up the A2+, any reservations I had about the ability of these speakers to produce big sound evaporated. For speakers rated at a modest 15w RMS (30w PMPO) per channel, you don’t expect such powerful, room-filling sound.
Design and build
Measuring up at 6.0in (h) x 4.0 (w) x 5.3in (d), the A2+ is ideally suited for a desktop gaming setup. The speakers come in three colours; matte black, gloss red and gloss white – They all look stunning, so the choice will come down to matching them with any other components you have in your setup.
Audioengine assembles their products by hand, and the A2+ are a shining example of their craftsmanship. This custom build extends to more than just assembly, with each product in their range having bespoke components and fittings. Everything from the cabinet and amp to the drivers and the bass port is finely tuned to enhance the audio. Put up against mass-produced cabinets from their competitors, the quality of construction is clear to even the untrained eye.
Initially, the decision to have the volume control on the rear of the speaker seemed like an odd choice, but it has enabled them to minimise the profile of the A2+. The face of the speakers comprises almost entirely of the audiophile-quality drivers. It provides a spectacularly minimalist style that oozes quality. The glossy white finish on our pair is absolutely flawless. Seriously, there isn’t a single blemish, and they are gorgeous.
The lack of any kind of protective grille covering the speakers may concern you. Audioengine didn’t provide any grille as they found it negatively affected the sound (yes, they take sound quality very seriously!) Don’t worry, though, as these speakers are tough. The woofers are made from aramid fibre woven glass composite, which is essentially similar to fibreglass. Not only is it strong, but it also prevents distortion at higher volumes as the cones retain their shape.
Audioengine has added numerous options for connecting your devices to the A2+. However, the built-in DAC is only available when connected digitally via BlueTooth or USB (PC).
Analogue connections are provided by means of stereo RCA inputs, and a mini-jack (3.5mm) auxiliary input. Digital connectivity comes by way of BlueTooth or USB (micro-USB on the speaker, USB-A to connect to your PC). An additional stereo RCA output is included for connecting an external subwoofer, too.
You can connect to multiple audio sources simultaneously: Analogue inputs are always active. Digital connections are restricted to just one source (USB or Bluetooth) at a time, as they share the built-in DAC. Bluetooth has priority, and it will automatically switch back to USB when your Bluetooth device disconnects. We experimented with a variety of connection combinations and experienced no conflictions with audio throughput.
The volume control on the rear of the unit operates independently of the master volume of your source device. You can just set it to your preferred master volume (maximum!) and regulate the level with your devices.
In practical use, I had my game audio playing through the USB input, while my phone was playing music through the 3.5mm jack input. This meant I was able to conveniently and easily control the mix of both audio sources independently.
Bluetooth range is exceptionally good. Many Bluetooth devices have a range of around three or four metres before you start getting disconnects or crackly, distorted sound. Less if there are any obstructions. With the A2+ I was able to maintain a solid signal from the other side of my house, through a couple of walls. It’s genuinely impressive how extensive the range is. Pairing with the speakers is extremely simple, too. It’s a simple push-button on the speakers and then search as usual using your device. Simple and reliable.
Thanks to some brilliant engineering and clever porting, these compact speakers produce sound far beyond what you would expect from their diminutive size.
The stereo arrangement allows for a wide soundstage, especially if you have room on your desk to space them out. They do produce a very directional sound, though, especially noticeable with the tweeters. Treble comes through crisp and clean, but it is reliant on the tweeters pointing pretty much directly at your ears to get the full effect. They still sound great even if you aren’t square on, but line them up properly and the sound quality is flawless.
It should be noted that the A2+ doesn’t come with any kind of angled stands or risers (although you can purchase custom wedges from Audioengine). For testing, I stood them on a stack of books to raise them to ear-level, but if you purchase these speakers I’d highly recommend getting the wedge stands or a third-party solution.
The A2+ Wireless does have a slight emphasis towards the mid-range. This is largely down to the size of the speakers, but it doesn’t negatively affect the overall balance. Detail of the audio is maintained across the full range of sound, and even at maximum volume, there is no discernible distortion. At full whack, they are louder than you would ever need for a desktop setup. They produce a room-filling sound that is ideal for most average size rooms. I even set them up under my TV, and they make a perfect alternative to a bulky soundbar, perfect for big-screen gaming.
Bass is still rich and full, but without an external subwoofer attached it doesn’t produce the low down rumble you get from a 2.1 system. You can easily attach a sub with the RCA output, but even without one, you still get a punchy sound good enough for everything from games to movies and music. It’s literally just the sub frequencies (75Hz and below) that are under-represented. Even then, most subs need to be at a considerable volume before you appreciate this extra range.
In my use, whilst I barely noticed the missing sub rumble, it has an added advantage. Even at very high volumes, the bass wasn’t producing that unwelcome thump that passes through walls, floors and ceilings, and torments neighbours. As a considerate neighbour, I always let adjacent households know when I’m doing a full volume test just to be sure I’m not disturbing them. Despite the sound being blasted at full volume, they barely noticed.
Audioengine has really created a phenomenal sound from the A2+. They produce a sound far greater in quality and volume than speakers many times their size. Clarity is exceptional at high volumes, but the small size gives them one huge advantage that is often under-appreciated: Low volume performance.
Many speaker setups manage to produce a decent sound if you turn them up. Listening at quieter (what I would call normal) levels, though, often results in an empty sound, with most of the bass dropping out. There simply isn’t enough movement in the woofers to drive the lower frequencies. The A2+, however, are outstanding at lower volumes. They manage to retain their balance, producing an impressively full sound. For late-night gaming without disturbing others in the household, they are simply outstanding.
Stylish, with exceptionally high build quality and phenomenal sound, the Audioengine A2+ Wireless are the best desktop speakers I have ever used. If you are in the market for high-quality, audiophile-grade speakers for your desktop setup, look no further. With the flexibility to connect via analogue, Bluetooth or USB, they will fit easily into any setup.
The option to connect a separate sub is there, but you will find the sound is great even without one. The only downside is that they haven’t included any speaker stands, so you will need to factor in an additional outlay, as stands are highly recommended for optimal performance.