Audioengine 2 review: Audioengine 2

Compare These
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good These compact powered speakers deliver phenomenal sound for their size. They offer simple, attractive styling, and two audio inputs.

The Bad The speakers lack a remote control, and the volume control is inconveniently located on the backside, and there's no way to toggle between inputs. The Audioengines are also a bit pricey compared with less refined PC speakers.

The Bottom Line Though they're not cheap, the Audioengine 2 speakers are an ideal combination of compact size and good looks, delivering great sound for their size.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0

We've been a little tardy in reviewing Audioengine's PC speakers, but we're glad we finally got our hands on both the 2 series ($199) reviewed here and the step-up Audioengine 5 series (about $325 online) because they really are quite impressive.

The key thing to note about both sets of speakers is that they are bookshelf-style speakers masquerading as PC or "multimedia" speakers (as these things are apt to be labeled). But unlike classic bookshelf speakers, these Audioengine models are powered (via a standard AC plug); there's no need for a separate receiver or amplifier, so you can use them with any audio source. The smaller 2 series is more stylish-looking (and looks less like a monitor speaker) and comes in both black and white, as do the 5s.

We really liked the classy, minimalist look and substantive feel of the Audioengine 2 speakers.

The Audioengine 2 speakers measure 6 inches high by 4 inches wide by 5.25 inches deep. They each have a 2.75-inch Kevlar woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter. Because the left speaker houses the amplifier (15 watts per channel), it's heavier than the right speaker. What's kind of interesting is that they're ported on the front--there's a slit at the bottom, below the driver--and when you're listening to movies, music, or games, you can feel plenty of air moving through that slit.

It's worth noting that both the 2 and 5 series Audioengine speakers come nicely packaged, with cloth covers over the speakers and cables. The two speakers connect to each other with "real" speaker wire (included) and you also get an input cable that allows you to connect your PC to the 3.5mm aux input on the back of the left speaker. The use of standard cables means that--unlike some speakers with proprietary connections and cables--you can invest in custom-length cables that are as long or short as you'd like. The left speaker also has a set of red/white RCA inputs to connect other devices, such as a game system, iPod or iPhone, or even a TV.

The left speaker includes the built-in amplifier, both inputs, and the volume control on its backside.

Note that you can't toggle between inputs; both are always active. That's either going to be a feature (say, the ability to listen to music from an iPod while being able to hear the bleeping and blooping from your PC) or a bug (the constant need to mute one audio source while listening to the other), depending on your point of view. Speaking of controls: no remote is included and we should point out that the volume control button is on the back of the right speaker (as opposed to the front, where it would be slightly easier to access). Another small drawback: the power adapter is kind of beefy.

Editors' Top PicksSee All


Discuss: Audioengine 2 (white)

Conversation powered by Livefyre