I used the original Audioengine A2 speakers on my desktop for years, and had no desire to replace them. Mind you, I had a terrific high-end audio system on the other side of the room. The A2s were just dandy as computer speakers, so when the Audioengine A2+ Wireless speakers were announced, my interest was piqued. They’re offered in high-gloss red or white or satin black finishes for $269 a pair with free shipping in the US.
Wired and wireless A2+ speakers look the same; they’re 6 inches tall, sport the same drivers—a 2.5-inch Aramid woofer and 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter—and the same internal 15-watt-per-channel stereo amplifier. The front baffle also hosts a slot bass port just below the woofer.
Connectivity options include stereo RCA and 3.5mm analog inputs, Micro-USB and stereo RCA subwoofer outputs. The left- and right-channel speakers connect to each other with the included 6.5-foot speaker wire. Bluetooth is the latest 5.0 version. The A2+ Wireless doesn’t have an input selector, all inputs are “live,” so you can play more than one at a time through the speakers.
I split my sessions between listening in the near field, from about 3 feet away, and also from 6 feet away from the speakers. In both cases the A2+ Wireless’ soundstaging abilities were really quite good. As I continued, I came to feel they sounded better, fuller and more spacious from further away, but still quite good in the near field. Accessing the rear panel’s volume control knob/on-off switch is a little awkward, but when I played Bluetooth I set the volume level from my iPhone 8. I also listened via USB from my Mac Mini, where I controlled the speakers volume on my screen. Either way—Bluetooth or USB—sounded about the same; the A2+ Wireless isn’t a high-resolution device. It’s limited to 48kHz/16-bit audio, but for this type of speaker I don’t feel that’s an issue.
Jonny Greenwood’s film score for You Were Never Really Here loomed large. The ominous bass rumblings had decent weight, considering the A2+’s petite size. I like Billie Eilish’s pop music, even though it’s dynamically compressed and heavily processed, and still the A2+ Wireless let the tunes go down easy.
Violinist and whistler extraordinaire Andrew Bird‘s Echolocations: River album was based on field location recordings, and the A2+ Wireless did a good job recreating the environments and naturally occurring reverberation. I love Bird’s music, but the soundscapes breaking free of the A2+ Wireless speakers were amazing. That’s something you’ll never hear from single wireless speakers, even ones selling for a lot more than the A2+ Wireless. Still, it’s a very small speaker set, so the sound balance can be lightweight. As always, speaker size matters. Want more oomph? Consider Audioengine’s larger A5+ Wireless speakers for $499 per pair.
The Audioengine A2+ Wireless rekindled my admiration for the wired A2+, which is still available for $219 a pair. Either way—wired or for an extra $50 for wireless—it’s a sweet little speaker for desktop applications or used in small rooms as stereo powered speakers.
Read CNET’s full review here.