Audioengine's new stereo Bluetooth speakers sound bigger than they look
The Audioengine A2+ Wireless Computer Speaker is pretty much the same as the venerable wired A2+, just $50 more expensive.
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
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.
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.
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.
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.