After nearly 30 days and nights of testing these speakers with all styles of music and in different physical environments, I find myself totally sold and now fully dependent on the quality audio they produce. No other speakers sound quite right. The Audioengine 5 speakers may be right for you, too.
Audioengine 5 Features:
- iPod power charger port
- 2 audio inputs
- Built-in power amplifier, no receiver/amp needed
- Power outlet for Airport Express
- Front panel volume control
- Custom 5″ Kevlar woofer for super low end
- 1″ silk dome tweeter for smooth highs
- Built-in subwoofer ports for awesome bass
- Hand-built and tuned cabinets w/high-gloss furniture-grade finish
- Magnetically shielded for placement near video monitors
- 3 year transferable warranty
- All cables included
For me, one of the most important factors in selecting new speakers is whether or not they give me an enhanced perspective on music I currently listen to. Over the years as new audio products have been released, I have been treated to the wonders of previously hidden or muddled vocals or instruments in my favorite tunes. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as discovering that your favorite music has entirely new dimensions and content when played on greatly improved equipment. What a pleasure to hear new guitar riff, a heretofore unknown cello or even the very inhale and exhale of the artist as he or she belts out an emotionally stirring song. That’s what audio is all about. Audioengine seems to understand this quite well.
If you want speakers that are easy to set up, easier to use and still sound awesome, the A5’s will satisfy you. In fact, they may open your ears to a new level of audio quality.
The Apple iPod nano Plugged into the Audioengine 5 USB Port
The back of the Audioengine 5 speakers (with Airport Express plugged in)
Upon opening the box, I was immensely pleased to see each speaker comes in a protective, reusable, draw-string bag. Very classy. That little extra touch makes me believe that Audioengine really cares about the quality of their product and the end-user experience. My overall expectations were raised. The AC power cable, speaker cable, USB extension cable, RCA-to-1/8″ Y adapter, and two lengths of 1/8″ audio cable were all included in the box. I was (and still remain) amazed that all these items were included with the A5 speakers. I’m so used to megalithic corporations that rarely, if ever, provide any accessories with higher end products. Score 1 for Audioengine!
Setting up the Audioengine 5 speakers was really simple. After placing the speakers on my desk, I connected the speaker wire, plugged in the power cord and flipped the “on” switch. A cerulean blue power light appeared on the front of the left (main) speaker. Nice.
Audioengine states that their goal is “… to bring you the sound as it was originally mixed in the studio.” That’s a bold statement – one I would caution most companies from making. It beckons tests from people like me who demand empirical evidence instead of lofty claims.
Apple iPod Plugged into the Line-In Connector
The Apple AirPort Express Plugged into the AC Connector
An Apple iPod using the Line-in Connector
The A5 speakers will work with any other audio source, so long as it uses an audio cable with a 1/8″ plug – or as long as there’s a 1/8″ adapter available. As I mentioned before, I used the A5 speaker with my electric blues guitar. I plugged the 1/4″ audio cable into my guitar and attached a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter for the other end of the guitar cable. I plugged the 1/8″ end into the rear audio-in jack on the A5. The guitar was amp’d – instantly. No hum, no static; just good clean sound. Loud too, according to my wife and neighbor.
The A5 speaker system is magnetically shielded, which means they can be placed near CRT and LCD monitors alike with no hum or whine, and no negative effect to the monitor. This is particularly good for audio and video experts who want to use the A5 speakers in A/V production.
The left speaker also offers a USB port, which means you can plug in your iPod’s USB charging cable to keep your iPod charged while connected to the A5’s. Another added bonus.
The woofers in the Audioengine 5 speakers are made of Kevlar, which has a much greater strength-to-weight ratio than steel. The speaker cabinets are 1″ thick MDF underneath the sexy white exterior. Like I said, they’re solid.
The Audioengine 5 Kevlar 5-inch Woofer
Audio quality is a very subjective matter, much like musical styles – what sounds amazing to one person may sound crummy to another. This subjective nature is why some people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on sound systems, and why some people fall in love with their $349 systems. It’s all a matter of what you hear and how it affects you physically and emotionally. Audioengine is so confident in the sound quality of their A5 speakers that they offer a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee and a 3-year transferable warranty. Some people find that sort of self-confidence annoying. I find it refreshing.
Although the Audioengine 5 speakers sound awesome, they are not ultra-top-of-the-line speakers like the “X-1 Grand SLAMM Series II” speakers which can be found for about $75,000 per pair. Let’s be real! The A5’s are very high quality, amazing bang-for-the-buck speakers intended for computer, MP3 player, and home theater use. They far surpass other high-end speakers in the same price market.
The Audioengine 5 speakers simply rock. When properly set up, the A5’s provide crisp, powerful, life-like audio. The A5 speakers can be used with countless audio devices. They’re small, sexy and compact. They’re easy to use and don’t take up much space. Unless you’re mega-rich and absolutely must shop for speakers that cost more than many sports cars, the Audioengine 5 speakers should be a great purchase for you.
The holiday season is coming in a few months. Make sure these are on someone’s gift list – especially yours. If you’re impatient (like me), skip the holiday wait and get these speakers now.
- Easy setup
- Solid, tight sound
- Excellent materials & construction
- All necessary parts & cables included
- $349 price tag a bit high for some