Audioengine has pretty much dominated the desktop market as long as I’ve been paying attention, and they’ve done it with a couple of straightforward approaches. One, don’t suck. Two, be affordable. Guess what? Works like a charm.
The distressingly healthy Morgan and Brett were on hand to show off the $399/pair A5+ powered loudspeakers and their more diminutive and recently updated $249/pair A2+. Their A2+ is an upgrade on their best seller, and the upgrade makes it an inclusive package — that USB connection on the back is actually an input to the integrated DAC. They’re powered already, so all you need is that laptop and you’re done.
The main gap with such small loudspeaker is bass, of course, so naturally there’s a sub — in this case, a $349 one that can slip below your desk for that last bit of oomph.
Audioengine has a few digital products, too. The D1 is their entry-level product, a $169 USB DAC/headphone DAC with analog outputs. The $499 D2 is a two-piece wireless bridge product, which can connect your speakers with your desktop system, without having to haul your desktop system over to your loudspeakers. The $189 D3 is the USB thumb-drive sized dongle DAC, capable of 24bit/96kHz output to your directly-connected headphones.
Brett let slip that Bluetooth is on the near horizon, but given their wireless products already on the market, I’m guessing something new is in the offing. Ditto another, larger, speaker — no word yet on details, but I’m betting this one has a disco ball and laser running lights. Okay, maybe not the disco ball. But given how awesome the A5+ are sitting next to my big (old) MacPro, I’m going to be watching like a hawk.
Desktop, high quality, affordable. Good on ya, Audioengine.