Audioengine's compact desktop speakers deliver a fine balance of clarity and room-filling volume for the money
- Compact, stylish design
- Crisp, full-bodied sound
- No Bluetooth or wireless streaming options as standard
- Lack the punch of larger active speakers
AudioEngine isn’t a well-known name here in the UK, but the company is very popular in the US, thanks to speakers such as the compact little A2+. Offering good quality sound for a little over £200, these dinky desktop speakers appear to be an affordable option for PCs and laptops.
AudioEngine A2+ review: Tl;dr
The A2+ speakers were very much designed for use with a desktop computer, and measure just 155mm high and 100mm wide. They’re small enough to sit on either side of your monitor without taking up much space at all, so they’re a really good choice for a bedroom or office where space is a bit tight.
The audio cables supplied with the speakers are 1.5m long (5ft), and the cable that connects the left and right speakers together is 2m (6ft), so you could also put them up on a shelf and place them a fair distance apart if you wanted to. The sound quality and volume is limited by the overall size of the speakers – larger studio monitors or active monitors at this price will pip them for volume and bass extension – but the A2+ are designed to balance a small footprint with good sound quality.
AudioEngine A2+ review: Design, features and connectivity
Although they’re very small, the A2+ speakers are housed in hand-made wooden cabinets, which look very neat – and are also available in a variety of colours.
AudioEngine has also managed to cram plenty of other features into the little speakers too. Look around the back of the left-hand speaker and you’ll see an impressive assortment of input and output options, including a standard 3.5mm connector, stereo RCA input, as well as RCA output so that you have the option of connecting a separate sub-woofer in the future.
There’s also a USB-audio input, backed up by AudioEngine’s own DAC (digital/analogue converter), which provides better quality than the cheap-and-cheerful DACs built into most computers and tablets.
We’re mildly irked that AudioEngine has stuck the Power/Volume control around the back, but that’s not going to be a deal-breaker when the A2+ speakers sound as good as this. The only thing that might make some people think twice is the lack of Bluetooth for wireless streaming. AudioEngine does sell a Bluetooth adaptor, but it’s a bit pricey (and not currently available on Amazon in the UK).
AudioEngine A2+ review: Sound quality
The A2+ are more than just pretty: they also produce a really warm, full sound. The A2+ worked a treat on the lush, multilayered harmonies of Somebody To Love by Queen, and are also subtle enough to wring the emotion out of the wistful acoustic sounds of Damien Rice. They’re also far louder than their 15W RMS amplifier power would suggest, with enough oomph to fill a decent size room, and pretty good bass output for their size.
AudioEngine A2+ review: Verdict
This very much a traditional wired speaker system – there are no fancy wireless features as standard – but if you’re looking for great quality audio from a relatively compact package, then AudioEngine’s A2+ put in a great performance.
RMS power output
3.5mm line-in, RCA, USB-audio
Bluetooth with optional add-on
3.5mm audio (1.5m), left/right speaker wire (2m)
Power/Volume on left speaker (rear)
mains power (left speaker)
left – 1.6kg; right 1.4kg