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Lifewire / Jordan Provost
Robust build quality
Excellent audio fidelity
Need a DAC to fully experience
The Audioengine A5+ are expensive speakers, but what you get is an immersive soundstage that brings all of your content to life. You’d be hard pressed to find better speakers than the Audioengine A5+
The Audioengine A5+ Speakers are one of the few cases where the high price tag is complemented by performance that goes above and beyond what you would expect from a pair of computer speakers. With booming bass, excellent clarity, and robust build quality, they’re among the best set of bookshelf speakers we’ve tested. They can handle everything you throw at it, from your playlist on Spotify to your vinyl collection.
The Audioengine A5+ demand attention. The model we tested was all black, matching our monitor perfectly, while still standing out on our desk. They speakers are slightly different sizes, with the left measuring 10.8 by 7 by 9 inches (HWD) and the right at 10.8 by 7 by 7.8 inches. One thing that did strike us when setting the speakers up was how heavy they were, though. This means they won’t get knocked off your table easily, but be aware that at 9.6 lbs and 15.4 lbs for the right and left speaker, respectively, they may hurt someone if they fall.
On the front of each speaker, you’ll get a 5-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter. Also on the front, you’ll find a volume knob on the bottom right-hand corner, opposite the IR receiver for the remote and the power indicator.
The Audioengine A5+ speakers are expensive, but if you’re on the market for high-fidelity audio, these speakers are worth the price.
Around the back, you’ll find all the inputs and outputs. On the right speaker, this is limited to a speaker wire input, as it’s a passive speaker. The left speaker is where you’ll find all the ports, RCA, 3.5mm audio, power, and even a USB charging port to juice up your phone or other devices. Any audio device you could think to connect to the Audioengine A5+, you’ll be able to.
All of this means that the Audioengine A5+ isn’t just a flexible speaker system, but incredibly powerful too. Turn up the volume, and the 5-inch woofers will shake your house.
The Audioengine A5+ are real speakers. What we mean by that is they’re designed to be used with all kinds of equipment, as they’re targeted at audiophiles. This means that setting the Audioengine A5+ up isn’t as simple as just plugging them into your PC and hitting play.
When you open up the package, the speakers are held in cloth bags, meaning you can move them around without damaging them. You’ll also find a cloth cable bag. To connect the two speakers, you’ll have to use speaker wire. There is a length of heavy-duty 16AWG speaker wire included, and it’s pre-stripped, which is useful. Just be aware that if the cable gets damaged, you’ll have to strip the replacement wire yourself, which can be frustrating.
Setting the Audioengine A5+ up isn’t as simple as just plugging them into your PC and hitting play.
Once the speakers were connected, the rest of the setup was pretty simple. We plugged the power in and ran an RCA cable from the right speaker to our Audioengine D1 DAC. With that, we were ready to revel in the music.
Because the Audioengine A5+ is such an expensive set of speakers that don’t pack much in the way of extra features, we approached it more critically. We were expecting the best audio experience we’ve ever had. And for the most part, it lived up to our high expectations.
Just looking at the raw specs on the page, you’re getting 130mm woofers and 20mm tweeters in each speaker. Coupled with the 50W RMS and 150W peak power output, these speakers get loud, and they sound good while doing it. Thanks to these ratings, you’ll be able to crank these speakers without fear of blowing them out.
When we set the Audioengine A5+ up, we had the idea that we would listen to some music with the volume cranked to max, while sitting at our desk. Needless to say, the speakers blew us away with their thunderous sound. You’ll definitely want to put some distance between yourself and these speakers before you put them on maximum volume.
Thankfully, we were still able to hear, allowing us to put the A5+ through the ringer during testing. We tested the Audioengine A5+ with Tidal, using the Hi-Fi plan, and connected the speakers via an Audioengine D1 DAC (digital-to-analog converter) with RCA cables. That way, there was no bottleneck, and we could see exactly what these speakers were capable of.
The Audioengine A5+ speakers don’t just sound good with music, any media you consume through these speakers will come alive.
We started out by listening to Joanna Newsom’s album “Divers”. On the track “Leaving The City”, after the first verse, it explodes with instrumentation. The swells of guitar, harp, horns, and piano weren’t just loud, but also incredibly clear. Normally when testing speakers with complex tracks like this, some of the more subtle sounds bleed into each other—not so with the Audioengine A5+.
Joanna Newsom is arguably pretty niche, so we transitioned to some pop music. We listened to Kim Petras’ “I Don’t Want It At All”. Not only was it much louder, but it was impactful, letting us feel the bass in our chest. During the chorus, when the bass is at its heaviest, we were still able to hear everything in the high-end.
Finally, we played M.I.A.’s “Come Walk With Me” to see if there was any amount of bass that would cripple these speakers. This track has one of the most chaotic breakdowns in our music collection, just a smorgasbord of sounds, and we could make out every single one. Not only did the intro come alive, with all the background vocals sounding clear and full, but the breakdown was surprisingly clear. We don’t think there is any genre of music you won’t be able to enjoy with the Audioengine A5+
The Audioengine A5+ speakers don’t just sound good with music, any media you consume through these speakers will come alive. Whether we were putting some time in The Division 2 or watching the Season 8 premiere of “Game of Thrones” for the third time, the Audioengine A5+ brought it all to life.
The Audioengine A5+ will set you back $399 (MSRP), but it’s worth every cent. The price may be high for a pair of speakers, but it’s hard to find any rivals that compare. Basically, if you’re looking for the best sound quality, and price isn’t a huge factor, we’d say go for the Audioengine A5+.
That said, there are plenty of other speakers in this price range, and they’re all of comparable quality. At the end of the day, the difference will come down to the nature of the soundstage. Some speakers will be a lot cleaner, aiming for a studio sound, but these have a very playful sound, making them perfect for entertainment. However, speakers of this caliber are entirely a luxury product. If you’re on a budget, you can get the job done for a quarter of the price—it just won’t sound as good.
When you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of speakers, the competition can be fierce. The Klipsch R-15PM bookshelf speakers are the closest rivals to the A5+, even if they’re $100 more expensive at $499. The Klipsch speakers feature more inputs than the Audioengine A5+, including USB and optical audio inputs. Beyond that, the drivers are a bit bigger with a 5.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter.
However, in terms of sound quality, these two sets of speakers are on a similar footing. The Klipsch speakers have a much more refined high-end, but the bass suffers. In fact, if you want to match the bass output of the Audioengine A5+ speakers, you’ll have to pair the Klipsch R-15PM speakers with a subwoofer. That’s a hard sell for $500 speakers. That said, the Klipsch speakers are going to be much better for anyone who is into classical music or jazz. Really, it all comes down to preference.
You get what you pay for.
The Audioengine A5+ speakers are, without a doubt, some of the best computer speakers you can buy. All multimedia and gaming content will take on a life of its own with these speakers, and you won’t even need to pair them with a subwoofer. The Audioengine A5+ speakers are expensive, but if you’re in the market for high-fidelity audio, they’re very much worth the price.