Audioengine A2+ Wireless: Compact speakers with a wide range of capabilities

Audioengine A2+ Wireless8.5When it comes to small (not bookshelf, but small) speakers, a prejudice like “a small dog is always a puppy” arises. It is based on physical principles, which, in short, are: “small cannot sound […]

Audioengine A2+ Wireless
Audioengine A2+ Wireless
Audioengine A2+ Wireless
8.5

When it comes to small (not bookshelf, but small) speakers, a prejudice like “a small dog is always a puppy” arises. It is based on physical principles, which, in short, are: “small cannot sound full-range.” Well, Audioengine A2+ Wireless managed to shake this stereotype.

But this is looking ahead. So far, we have before us an ordinary corrugated cardboard box with the inscription: Audioengine 2+ Wireless. We open it and it turns out there is another box inside, this time in color and more informative.

Once again, there is no “A” before the “2” in the product name. But everything is in order, this is exactly A2+ Wireless. Let’s open it.

What’s included

Two smaller bags contain a power supply and a set of cables. Moreover, there is almost everything that can be used to connect A2+ Wireless: a network cable to the power supply, an acoustic cable connecting 2 speakers, a USB cable for transmitting a digital signal from a computer, and an analog cable with a pair of minijacks. Naturally, documentation is included – a manual and a small warranty brochure.

I’d like to separately note the first positive: the assembly and especially the finishing of the A2+ Wireless are impeccable. The speakers are made of MDF, but this can only be known from the company description. Cases with slightly rounded edges give the impression of being monolithic. I would like to call the coating piano varnish, although the manufacturer does not confirm this. Black metal back panels are an integral part of cabinets. There are three emitters on the front panel. At the bottom there is a slotted bass reflex, and the fact that it is directed forward is a plus in any case.

At the top is a silk dome tweeter that looks familiar, and the external waveguide is practically absent – there is only a small conical recess.

Then – the mid-low frequency speaker. Its diffuser is a super-rigid composite based on aramid fiber fabric. The central dust cap also has a fabric structure with impregnation. All around there is a rubber outer suspension, narrow and pliable.

Control and switching

Audioengine A2+ Wireless speakers operate on the “master-slave” principle, that is, all electronics are collected in one of them (the left one). All controls and switching are on its rear wall. Control is represented by a single volume encoder in its upper right corner. At the same time, this is a switch with a click in the zero position – this has already been seen somewhere. There is also a “Pair” button (Bluetooth pairing), next to it there is a corresponding logo.

Everything else is switching. Two RCA input connectors – you can connect any analog source from home equipment, from a CD player to a vinyl turntable (if it has a phono stage). A pair of the same output connectors with an adjustable signal is just right for a subwoofer. With it, the miniature A2+ Wireless will turn into a completely full-size active acoustic setup – a triphonic. Audioengine offers such a subwoofer, model S8 – we will tell you more about it in upcoming publications.

The analog inputs are duplicated with a 3.5 mm jack input – for an analog signal from a computer or old-style portable players. The digital input is in micro USB format. Another input is power, it is three-pin, for an external adapter connector, reminiscent of a laptop. The corresponding voltage is 17.5 V. The second speaker is passive, it is connected to the active one using the supplied speaker cable, for which impressive full-size terminals are provided on both speakers.

Installation

A rectangle of black damping material similar to polyurethane is glued to the bottom of the supporting plane of the housings. The speakers stand securely on a smooth table surface, and if the listener is very close, it makes sense to supplement them with branded supports.

Called the Audioengine DS1M, the A2+ Wireless is angled upward at a 15-degree angle to blend perfectly with the back-tilted laptop screen.

On the table

We started testing in the tabletop position. Turning on the speakers is easy by touch. Then nothing happens. No sounds, in the sense of noise, can be heard – the built-in class AB amplifier is silent until the input signal appears. There is no power indicator light.

Even at almost full power, the active speaker, contrary to expectation, practically does not heat up. The white surface of the cabinet (this color was used for testing, and there are also black and red options) remains cool, and the metal back panel heats up to a temperature that I would like to call pleasant.

But from the very first sounds, A2+ Wireless breaks stereotypes. Did you read somewhere that they lack bass? Ask the author if he listened to them! There is plenty of bass. Yes, these are not uterine subwoofer frequencies, but quite harmonious punch. Moreover, the overall impression of the sound of the A2+ Wireless is that it is warm, “tube-like” and very attractive. It remains to understand the intricacies.

First sounds and serious opportunities

These very subtleties turned out to be quite serious. That is, loud. Already at medium power, the A2+ Wireless becomes a bit cramped on the desktop. At full strength, there is an understanding that any office user will be able to organize a party with dancing for a dozen colleagues, if, of course, the boss allows it.

And in general, due to their size, these miniature speakers are extremely versatile. They will radically improve the sound of your TV, and you can connect anything to them – from a cutting-edge digital streamer to an old-school vinyl player. The dimensions, again, allow you to take the speakers with you wherever you need them tomorrow evening. They will not take up much space in your luggage, and fabric bags for carrying are already included.

In addition, their tube sound does not change its character until almost maximum volume. I suspect that the system contains some kind of limiter. In addition, literally within the first hour the sound became more transparent and detailed – no one canceled the warm-up.

Connection options

In the meantime, I tried different connection options. If you arrange them in ascending order of sound quality, then at the very bottom there will be an option with a 3.5 mm analog input. In this case, A2+ Wireless are forced to process a rather dirty signal from a computer (laptop) headphone amplifier and are not to blame for anything.

The next item is Bluetooth, which gave a real jump in quality, but left the impression “they can do better.” The “best” thing, although subtle, was the USB connection. In this case, the A2+ Wireless is seen by the computer as a USB sound card. And finally, maximum satisfaction with the result arose after connecting the speakers to the RCA linear outputs of the external DAC. The sound turned out to be so serious that it was decided to place the A2+ Wireless in an “acoustic” position, in the listening room.

Let’s listen

Having placed the speakers two and a half meters from each other and “turned them” towards the listener, we proceed. And after a while you have to pull yourself together: after all, you shouldn’t approach 15-centimeter speakers with criteria tailored for full-size floorstanding speakers. But this is really happening. From time to time you have to mentally correct yourself, remembering that “these little white ones” are playing, and not “those big ones” on which the little ones are standing. I explained this to my friend, who was thus completely misled.

The intro to “I Don’t Know” from Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station album opened with a clean piano – something that isn’t easy on many occasions. The percussion and bass that was then added was selective and natural.

The electronic sound of Yello (Point) pleased with its frankness, although perhaps slightly softened. But the vocals, despite all their mannerisms, remain alive. And the bass is full-fledged, although without the lower octave.

The usual tracks from my test set showed that the A2+ Wireless are capable of being quite versatile – from the excellent scene in Steve Strauss, Mr. Bones and right up to an honest attempt to play properly the second act from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt suite, “In the Cave of the Mountain King.” The initial piano turned out great, separate, precisely, out of the amicable “black silence”. Everything went well until the finale, but for a forte of a full symphony orchestra and a large choir, the A2+ Wireless lacks a little dimension of its own.

Back to popular music – the joyful Mika with his Good Guys sounded from his piano to the forte in an excellent interpretation. The bass, which underpins the entire arrangement, remained confident and clear, from the airy opening all the way to the rich orchestral periods at the end of the composition. Yes, I’m ready to admit that the A2+ Wireless slightly embellished the musical reality, but I just didn’t want to turn them off.

Pros: Design, quality of assembly and finishing, and volume of sound disproportionate to its size.

Cons: Lack of indication.

Conclusion: Audioengine engineers managed to create something more than computer speakers, at least in terms of sound-size and quality-price ratios.

Specifications:

  • Amplifier: Class AB
  • Total peak power: 60 W (15 W RMS/30 W peak per channel)
  • Drivers: 2.75″ woofers, aramid fiber cones, 0.75″ silk dome tweeters
  • Inputs: 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, RCA L/R, USB, Bluetooth
  • USB input resolution: up to 16bit 48kHz
  • Bluetooth Receiver: CSR8670
  • Bluetooth type: 5.0
  • Bluetooth input bit: 16 bit
  • Supported codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC
  • Outputs: RCA (adjustable)
  • SNR: >95 dB (typical A-weighted)
  • THD+N: <0.05%
  • Frequency response: 65Hz-22kHz ±2.0dB
  • Protection: Output current limit, over temperature, turn on/off transient protection
  • Power: 100–240 V, 50/60 Hz
  • Standby power consumption: 10 W
  • Dimensions (HxWxD) one: 15.2 x 10.2 x 13.3 cm
  • Weight: left (active) 1.6 kg, right (passive) 1.4 kg

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