Audioengine USA has two new and completely different wireless speaker systems.
A2+ Wireless Speakers
Their updated A2+ Wireless Speaker System improves a flagship powered small desktop/bookshelf left-and-right set of speakers with outstanding wireless Bluetooth audio. All the features and ports of the predecessor highly-regarded A2 speaker family remain when physical cable connections are preferred or necessary. Pricing and styling are consistent with the company’s dedication to value and quality.
The brand new one piece 512 Portable Speaker expands the company’s lineup into the ultra-competitive universe of go-everywhere Bluetooth wireless audio. This 512 has a premium price and a sound that will appeal to discriminating listeners who demand clarity and accuracy but not glass-shattering volume.
I performed a group listening test with back and forth Bluetooth switching between A2+ Wireless Speaker System and the much larger and pricier A5+ Wireless Speaker System. The listening panel was super-impressive with the performance of the powerful and bright A2+, especially considering the A5+ is almost twice as expensive. Everyone agreed that the new A2+ Wireless Speaker System hit the perfect sweet spot for sonic performance and maximum value.
These powered desktop/bookshelf speakers are small. The sound is big! Stereo separation is okay, not great. They can be unobtrusive in black, stylishly modern in white, and eye-catching attractive in red. Read the reviews and watch the videos on the company’s site and elsewhere on the Internet to learn the experience of other reviewers and customers. Make sure you read all the helpful questions and answers posted on the product’s web page.
It’s important to understand that Audioengine’s A2+ Wireless Speaker System is not designed for audiophiles. This product is top quality for recreational listening when the Audioengine sound, as I call it, is preferred and appreciated. This sonic personality has a great frontal presence with strong midrange and treble, and a smooth bass that won’t get you kicked out of your homeowner’s association. Responsiveness to wireless playback from Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and their competitors is precise and enjoyable at all listening levels and in all genres.
This Audioengine A2+ Wireless Speaker System receives my recommendation for compact powered Bluetooth speakers in the under-$300 price range. Our MyMac Review Rating is 9 out of 10.
512 Portable Speaker
The 512 Portable Speaker is a totally different type of speaker. Charge it and take it with you traveling, camping, hiking; to work, school, visiting family/friends — it goes everywhere and plays for a long time on a charge. Design and frontal sound are stellar from the lozenge-shaped enclosure. Again, Audioengine’s warm and inviting trademark sound, as they call it, is evident at all listening levels.
My only concerns, also shared by the listening panel, are price/value and maximum Bluetooth output. With so many competing portable Bluetooth speakers available, the listeners expected a gigantic top volume for the high-end cost. The 512 does sound really good, it benefits from careful placement when used indoors, and it fills a patio with delicious music, but what justifies the expense?
Audioengine’s company rep explains that they wanted to develop “a better BT portable speaker, [so] we bought most all of the competition – Apple Beats, Bose, Harman/JBL, Ultimate Ears, and made sure we sounded better than those guys.” I agree that the 512 sounds better than most of the under-$200 portable Bluetooth speakers.
I’ve been using Audioengine’s well-constructed 512 as my primary portable speaker for several weeks. The sound is clean, accurate, uncolored, directional, and easy on the ears for hours. Music plays without any peaks or valleys in the sonic spectrum. I realized, finally, that this speaker is best for personal listening, as opposed to blast-filling a stadium.
When affordability equals long term value and transparency of audio performance, I’m comfortable giving the new Audioengine 512 Portable Speaker an 8 out of 10 MyMac Review Rating.