Audioengine 2 review: Audioengine 2


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.

Audioengine makes some accessories, including the S8 subwoofer and a couple of wireless adapters (the W1 and W2) for its speaker line. The subwoofer would obviously allow you to get significantly more bass and richer sound, but the downside is that the sub is actually pretty pricey ($350) and bringing in that extra speaker somewhat diminishes the sleek, minimalist effect these speakers offer (for Apple systems like the iMac, the white version of the 2 series tends to match up better than the black does).

Luckily, the appeal of these speakers is that you do without the sub. For their size, Audioengine 2s deliver deep, tight bass, and offer excellent detail and relatively big sound, even though they're so compact. True, the Audioengine 5s deliver a richer, fuller experience, but for many, the step-up model will just seem too bulky to leave sitting on a desk (they truly are bookshelf speakers with a more industrial, monitor flair to them).

As we said, we liked what we heard from these guys and so did Steve Guttenberg, who writes the Audiophiliac blog and reviews home theater speakers for CNET. He, too, praised the bass and noted that "the midrange and treble refinement are exceptional." You can crank the volume on the 2s but he, like this reviewer, thought they sounded better at more moderate volume levels.

Because they deliver such good sound for their size, we were tempted to give the Audioengines Series 2 speakers an Editors' Choice award, but ultimately we felt the higher-end 5s were more worthy, mainly because they offer even better sound and such niceties as a USB port for charging devices like iPods and iPhones, an extra 3.5mm input on the top of the speaker, and even a power outlet on the back of the speaker for plugging in additional audio sources, such as the Apple Airport Express. (Alas, the 5s don't include a remote either, which is too bad.)

In the final analysis, if you're looking for a set of compact, good-looking PC speakers that deliver great sound for their size, look no further. We should also mention that the Audioengine 2s perform better than most of the iPod speaker docks in this price range. Of course, it helps that you can separate the speakers to your liking, which allows for much better stereo imaging.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color satin black
  • Speaker System Type PC multimedia speakers
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 15 Watt
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Crossover Channel Qty 2-way
  • Sensitivity 88 dB