At first glance I was skeptical about the Audioengine A5 bookshelf-style speaker system. But once I received my unit and opened up the box I knew something was a bit different. First and foremost, the individual components were wrapped is cloth bags in the box rather than not wrapped at all or in traditional plastic zip bags. They have to be something special to be wrapped in cloth!
Jump for the full review of the speakers, and to find out how you can get a pair of these bad boys for yourself (for free).
The A5 speakers sound better than most speakers this size. It gives out rich, vibrant sound and good bass. There is even an option for an external subwoofer to be added to these already exceptional-sounding speakers with a sub-out connection
Each speaker has a five-inch Kevlar woofer and 20mm tweeter. The left speaker houses amplifiers for both speakers and the power supply, making it a bit heavier. The amplifier delivers 45 watts per channel with a frequency response of 60Hz to 22KHz. The beefy power supply also allows the optional auxiliary power input on the backside—Airport Express, anyone?
The line-in allows any kind of audio device to be plugged into the A5's, although it is apparent, especially with the included USB port, that these were designed with the iPod user in mind. The bit rate of the MP3 being played will determine the audio quality that is outputted. The higher the bit rate, the better the quality, but regardless the sound coming from the A5's are exceptional compared to other similar style speakers in the same price range. The Apple Hi-Fi doesn't have shit on these bookshelf speakers.
As I mentioned previously, right out of the box I knew these speakers were something special. I guess I have just had to tear through way too many plastic bags during my time at Giz and I can really appreciate a company putting enough care and thought into cloth wrapping their speakers for shipment.
The speakers do not have grills covering the speakers, but they do not need them. In my opinion the speakers look better when you can actually see the audio components that output the sound.
The A5's are a tad heavy, but that is due to the integrated amp and power supply. I don't intend on taking these with me jogging, anyway.
I paired my A5's up with the Belkin Tunecommand AV for the iPod for a nice bookshelf speaker system for my office. A dock is not required for these to function with the iPod, it just makes it look prettier.
The engineers at Audioengine has put a lot of work into making the A5's some of the best book-shelf style speakers out there. They are available for $350, which may sound like a lot for bookshelf speakers, but the A5's provide an exceptional sound capable of pleasing the ears of any audiophile.
Oh, and about getting a pair of these for free. This is just a hint if you made it to the bottom of the review, but we will be giving away a pair of these starting tomorrow, stay tuned for details.