CNET First Look
Audioengine A2+: Top PC speaker gets enhancedWhile they'll cost you $50 more, Audioengine A2+ multimedia speakers improve on an already great product.
I'm David Carnoy. I'm here with the new plus version of Audioengine's A2 speaker which came out a few years ago and got high marks from CNET. Cosmetically the A2+ looks the same but it adds a USB digital converter so you can plug the speakers right into the USB port on your computer. The key thing to note about these speakers in Audioengine's stepped up A5+ is that they're bookshelf-style speakers masquerading as PC or multimedia speakers, but unlike classic bookshelf speakers these Audioengine models are powered so there's no need for a separate receiver or amplifier and you can use them with any audio source. This smaller model is more stylish looking than the 5 series and has a sleek glossy finish that gives the speaker a swanky appearance. It comes in the white you see here or black. Beyond the USB digital connection, what's also new on the A2+ is the inclusion of a variable RCA output which allows you to connect a subwoofer and the company says it's upgraded the speaker's connectors and probably included accessory cables and redesigned the power supply; it's smaller now which is good. Luckily the appeal of these speakers is that you can do without the sub. For their size the 2+ has delivered good tight bass and offer excellent detailing, relatively big sound though they can't fill a room like the larger A5+ does. Since the A2+ digital converter is the biggest change from the A2 which only had analog inputs, we alternated between listening via the A2+ USB input and analog RCA connections. There was some small loss of bass umph, detail, and texture the sound from the analog connection and the stereo sound stage forfeited some dimensionality so if you're using the A2+ with the computer we definitely recommend using the USB input. I wouldn't call the Audioengine A2+ a steal at $249.99 but it seems fairly priced. The big question is whether it's worth spending the extra $50 for the enhancements the newer model offers with the A2 remaining on the market for now anyway at $199.99. You don't get a big bump in sound quality when moving to the A2+ but it does make a small difference when you connect the speakers via USB. I think I'd probably spend the extra $50 on the newer model but I tend to go with the latest and greatest as long as I don't have to pay too much for premium to do it, but not everybody feels the same way. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Audioengine A2+ multimedia speaker. Thanks for watching.