Amazing low-end frequency response from very small boxes; Kevlar woofers and silk drivers; MDF cabinets.
Boom Boom Mancini
Lacks two of the best features found on the Audioengine A5; amp is adequate only for near-field listening or small rooms.
If you think a deploying a subwoofer is a prerequisite to obtaining big-time bass, you haven’t heard Audioengine’s A5 speakers. And if you’re convinced you at least need cabinets as big as those of the A5, you haven’t heard the diminutive Audioengine A2.
We’ve been using Audioengine’s A5 speakers as our reference point for speaker evaluations for many months—and they’ve been on our Best of the Best list ever since I laid ears on them—so I couldn’t wait to see what their A2 system would deliver.
The cabinets are about one-third the size of the A5, which means they’ll fit just about anywhere, and they feature an absolutely luscious black lacquer-like finish that reminds of a concert grand piano. The drawback to the glamour is that dust and fingerprints show up instantly, and the latter are hard to obliterate.
The A2 features the same 20mm silk tweeters as the much bigger A5, and we were pleasantly that they didn’t overpower the more diminutive 2.75-inch Kevlar woofers (the A5 is equipped with five-inch drivers). The 18mm-thick walls of the MDF cabinets are about just a little thinner than those in the A5’s 25mm, but the dense material is far superior to the plastic cabinets you’ll find in most speakers in this class.
The amp, located in the left speaker, delivers 15 watts RMS, and proved to be more than enough for near-field listening and to fill a good-sized bedroom. The amp has two sets of inputs in back, one RCA pair and one 1/8-inch stereo. Audioengine provides about 6.5 feet of 16-gauge speaker wire with bare ends, but the binding posts will also accept banana plugs if you roll that way.
The company also throws drawstring pouches for the speakers, cords, and power supply in case you want to take the system with you. That’s a nice touch, but we’d rather have a volume control on the front of the cabinet; we also miss the handy USB charging port that the A5 boasts.
But we have no complaints with the A2’s sound—these little puppies rock, delivering spectacular sound with a wide variety of tunes. They don’t get as loud as some larger systems we’ve auditioned lately, but they’re easily the speakers to beat at this price point.