July 21, 2009 by Bill
iPhone/iPod Accessory Review: Audioengine A5 powered bookshelf speakers
Reviewed by: Bill Henderson
How many ways can you say wow? I’m not sure, but that is the first word that came from my mouth when I plugged my iPod into the Audioengine 5 speakers. I had no inkling what I was in for.
The Audioengine 5 speakers are not for the faint-of-heart. Despite their relatively small size, they are heavy brutes, both in weight and sound. Crank these 50 watt babies up and the neighbors (and especially other members of your family) will not like you anymore. After about 3 hours of loud listening to everything from The Beatles to Roxy Music to Russian Choral music, my ears were exhausted. And not in a bad way at all.
I decided to plug these into my Apple mac setup also using a very short mini-plug to mini-plug setup so I could connect my iPhone as well. One of the neat things about these self-powered speakers is are the USB input and the mini audio input plugin input on top of the left speaker (there is also an audio input on the rear of the left speaker). So while your iPhone/iPod is plugged in, it’s can be charged as well. That’s cool. There is a front volume control, so you can “turn it up to 11”.
The 5s are not lacking in anything. Like I said before, they come with their own amplifier and even are equipped with their own Aux AC outlet for plugging in an Airport Express if you wish to go wireless (the manual explains how to do that should you want to go that route – I don’t have Airport Express, so I can’t speak on how it works). Or you can just use it as an extra outlet. You can even hook these up using standard RCA connections. So the A5s can pretty much be hooked up in any way you can think of.
You get all the wiring you need out of the box. Each speaker comes with its own carrying bag. I think that’s a bit much, but it does show that Audioengine is proud of their product.
The whole setup screams quality. 5” Kevlar woofers produce a vibration inducing low end while the silk tweeters handle the highs with ease. And the bass from the rear-firing subwoofer ports… again, wow. Yeah, you can buy cheaper speakers, but your music will not sound as good, and in most cases, not nearly as good. Place these around your monitor (as you can see in my setup) and hear your music the way the artist and recording engineers heard it in the studio. The choice is that simple. (One caveat: If you can’t afford the A5, Audioengine does make a smaller version, the A2, priced at $199)
One of the hardest things about reviewing products is writing about a product that you have fallen in love with. Believe me, its easy to go on and on about what you don’t like about something. But superlatives? Not that easy to describe. You can only write Wow! so many times before it sounds repetitive.
So I’ll just end this review with… wow!
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