Review: Audioengine 2+ (A2+) Powered Desktop Speakers

Posted December 3, 2013 by Sam Chen in Reviews
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Best Sub-$250 Speakers

audioengine-2-plus-powered-desktop-speakers-custom-pc-review-16It’s been almost a year since we last reviewed a product from Audioengine and when we found out about their recent release of some brand new speakers, it piqued our interest to say the least. Last year we received the opportunity to review the Audioengine A5+ speakers along with the Audioengine D1 USB DAC, and we were thoroughly impressed. Audio quality on the Audioengine A5+ was better than anything we’ve ever heard for a set of speakers designed for computer use – something we unfortunately don’t see too often.

Today we’re very excited to review the new Audioengine A2+, which is Audioengine’s latest pair of powered desktop speakers. The Audioengine A2+ is actually an update to the older Audioengine A2 that’s been on the market for quite a while. While we didn’t have the chance to review the original Audioengine A2, we’ve been told that the sound characteristics on both the A2 and the A2+ is very similar with the differences being that the A2+ now also includes an integrated DAC, a variable output (for adding a subwoofer or additional speakers), upgraded speaker connections, a 1/4″ threaded insert for wall mounts, an upgraded power supply, and upgraded accessories. Beyond that though, this review should be able to cover both the Audioengine A2 and the A2+ as both speakers utilize the identical custom built boxes featuring Audioengine’s 3/4″ silk dome tweeters and their 2″ Kevlar woofers.

Ready to see how they performed? Flip the page to find out!

Type 2.0 powered (active) multimedia desktop speaker system
Power Output 60W peak power total (15W RMS / 30W peak per channel), AES
Inputs 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, RCA, USB
Outputs RCA variable line-out
Amplifier Type Dual Class AB monolithic
Frequency response 65Hz-22kHz ±2.0dB
DAC TI/Burr Brown PCM2704C
SNR >95dB (typical A-weighted)
Input Bit Depth up to 16 bits native
Input Sample Rate up to 48KHz native
Dimensions 6”(H) x 4”(W) x 5.25”(D)
Weight (LEFT speaker) 1.6Kg/3.55lbs
Weight (RIGHT speaker) 1.4Kg/3.15lbs
Finish options
  • Satin Black
  • Hi-Gloss White
Materials and Construction
  • 18mm thick MDF cabinets
  • 3/4″ silk dome tweeters with neodymium magnets
  • 2.75″ Kevlar woofers with advanced voice coils
Included Accessories
  • Speaker wire (16AWG), 2 meters (~6.5 feet)
  • Power supply
  • AC power cord
  • Mini-jack audio cable, 1.5 meters (~5 feet)
  • USB cable, 1.5 meters (~5 feet)
  • Microfiber speaker bags
  • Microfiber power supply bag
  • Microfiber cable bag
  • Setup guide
  • Product line brochure

About the Author

Sam Chen

Editor-in-Chief

  • Ron Odents

    I have the A2’s with the D1 right now. I am thinking of upgrading to the A2+ with the D1. After your test what do you recomand keep the set up I have or upgrade?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Nah don’t upgrade. The A2 and the A2+ is the same except the A2+ has an integrated DAC (worse than the one on the D1) and variable output.

      If you want to connect a subwoofer or something, the A2+ might be worth it, but otherwise just stick with the A2/D1 combo or upgrade to the A5+/D1.

      • Sam

        Hi. Some are saying that the bass of the A2 is exaggerated out of the box. Did you find that? As far as sound quality is concerened is there a difference between the a2 and the a2+. I’m not planning on adding a subwoofer to the speaker. Would it be worth it for me the extra $50 for the A2+? Thank you!

        • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

          Yes, it’s slightly exaggerated out of the box, but it’s not huge and it’s only noticeable if you’re used to listening to studio monitors and audiophile headphones exclusively. I think you’ll really like having the extra bit of low end though since you’re not planning to add a subwoofer to the setup.

          The Audioengine A2 and the A2+ are AFAIK identical in the speaker design itself. The main difference is that the A2+ now has an integrated DAC. If you have a high quality sound source to plug into the A2 (DAC, soundcard, etc.), you don’t really need the A2+. Save the $50 and buy the A2’s. If you don’t have a high quality sound source and you’re planning to just plug these into the onboard sound chip on your computer, then the A2+ is the way to go.

          • Sam

            Thank you so much for your quick reply. Very helpful and appreciated. I would be using these speakrs with my dell laptop and I don’t have a dedicated DAC so I guess the A2+ would be the better chice. I would also be using it with my Sandisk Sansa Clip mp3 player but I’m assuming that would sound the same on either one. If I would have this connected to my laptop via USB and I wanted to listen with headphones, what would I need to do, to change the sound from the speakers to the headphones. Also, did you ever hear the Swan line of Computer Speakers? If yes, are they a better value/better sounding than the audioengine’s? Thank you!

          • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

            No problem. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a good way to use the headphones with the integrated DAC on the A2+. You could purchase an Audioengine D1, which is a better DAC than the one integrated into the A2+. Pair that with the headphones along with a set of Audioengine A2 (non-plus) and you’ll be good to go. If you want to use the Sansa you can just plug that into the 3.5mm jack on the Audioengine A2.

            http://www.custompcreview.com/reviews/audioengine-5-speakers-d1-dac-review/15438/

            That’ll run you an extra $120ish since the D1 is like $170ish, but you save $50 going from the 2+ to the 2 (non-plus).

            As for Swan speakers, I’ve have never had the opportunity to check them out. Can’t help you there, sorry. =/

  • Andy

    Hey there I’m about to buy the a2 or a2+ as tv speakers for my sony 32 inch w670a. In Australia the a2+ are $80 more. Is it worth it for my needs or are the a2’s fine? I don’t really know about DAC’s so not sure if I even need one with a tv with a2’s? Also, these speakers should be a loud enough quality solution for tv viewing, right?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Between the A2 and the A2+, I think the A2+ is a better choice for you. The A2+ has an RCA output so you can easily attach a subwoofer down the line if you feel like the A2+ doesn’t have enough low end “boom”.

  • samick

    Hi I bought A2+. I have an iMac (MD095LL/A), what kind connection will be better USB or 3.5 mm ?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      USB. The internal DAC on the A2+ is much better than the onboard audio on the iMac.

  • Chris

    I have the Sound Blaster Z PCI-E soundcard in my system and a pair of Audioengine A2+ speakers on the way.

    Would it be better use the A2+ USB DAC connection or plug the A2+’s up to my Sound Blaster Z?

    I’m currently using a Sennheiser PC360 headset with the Sound Blaster Z and it sounds pretty great.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Well since you’ve already got the A2+, might as well try both and see which one you prefer. Both should sound pretty good. Out of the box I think the integrated DAC on the A2+ will sound better. Audioengine does a pretty good job of tuning the DAC just right to fit the speakers.

      • Chris

        Thanks, they sounds good with both as you said, I’m keeping them hooked up via USB as it makes it easy to switch between headphones and speakers by simply turning off the speakers (Computer stops seeing the A2+s and reverts to the headphones. I do think the A2+ need a good sub such as the S8 so that will probably be my next purchase. Would love it if they’d make a slightly smaller sub that is more easy put under a computer desk.

  • Mr. S

    Hi, I was originally planning on purchasing a Firefly v1.2 USB DAC and then connecting it to powered computer speakers via 3.5 mm wire. Would the Firefly improve the sound quality with the A2+ or am I better off just using the built-in DAC? I’m assuming I can bypass the A2+’s integrated DAC by using the 3.5 mm cable instead of the USB cable. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the Firefliy DAC, so I’m not quite sure if it’ll be be better than the DAC onboard the A2+. Personally I’d say pickup the A2+ first and try the integrated DAC. If you feel the DAC is still lacking, then I’d pick up the Firefly. Yes, going with the 3.5mm cable bypasses the internal DAC.

  • KED

    Hi Sam – Thanks for the review. Just wanted to drop a quick note; I’d already determined on purchasing the A2+ awhile back [and don’t quite recall the process that led me to that conclusion; haha]. Came across your site/review when doing Google search wanting better images for back of speakers. My intention is to do that order through your Amazon link as a bit of support. Appreciate the time and depth of review [even I’ve admittedly not read in its entirety]. Will definitely look at other reviews/articles on the site….Best, KED

  • paul in kirkland

    Hi Sam,

    I recently bought the A2+, and while I like it, I can definitely notice a lack of bass. Is there a subwoofer you’d recommend for these, other than Audioengine’s? The price of $349 is a little too high for me to justify. Thanks.