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CNET First Look
Audioengine A5+The Audioengine 5+ powered speakers deliver excellent sound quality and provide a clutter-free way to listen to smartphones, iPods, or any other audio source.
Hi. I'm David Carnoy. Executive Editor for Cnet.com and I'm here with the updated version of Audioengine's highly rated 5 Series PC Speakers. These speakers look a lot like the original 5 but they're slightly bigger and have some small but important design tweaks as well as improved sound quality and a higher price tag which is why they're called the 5 plus. The key thing to know about Audioengine's Speakers is that they are bookshelf sale speakers, masquerading it's PC or a multimedia speakers. But unlike classic bookshelf speakers, these Audioengine models are powered via a standard AC plug. That means there's no need to a separate receiver or amplifier so you can use them with any audio source. This model is available in black or white for $399 as well as a swankier looking bamboo version for $469. While the new model has grown up a little, the other key spec haven't changed. Speakers have a 5 inch kevlar woofer, the 20 millimeter silk dome tweeter because the left speaker houses the amplifier, that's 50 watts per channel. It's heavier than the right speaker. The left and right speakers connect to each other with real speaker wire. That's right. Real speaker wire. It's included. And you also get in an input cable that allows you to connect to your PC to the 3.5 millimeter auxiliary input on the back of the left speaker. One final design note. These guys have no speaker grills which can be an issue if you have small children or animals who might decide to poke at them and potentially damage them. So what are the differences between the 5 and the 5 plus? Well Audioengine says the 5 plus has a new thermal system for keeping the amplifier cool and designers also changed up the connectivity a bit. Instead of finding an extra 3.5 millimeter auxiliary input on the top of the left speaker, along with the USB port for charging portable devices, that audio input is gone and the USB port have been moved to the back of the speaker. That's a good thing because it means you can hide whatever your charging behind the speaker instead of the USB cord sticking out of the top of the speaker. With the 5 series, Audioengine integrated a full on AC power jack in the back of the left speaker. Accompanied (??) with the fact that you can plug an apple airport express directly into the output, turn these speakers into an I tunes streamer. The Apple's airtune functionality. That's gone now thought the speaker does have a 2nd pair of composite input jacks as well as a set of output for connecting a sub woofer. The Audioengine's 5 series did not come with the rope but this fellow does include one and retains the volume control button on the front of the left speaker. As for sound quality, well, we're having reports that it has gotten ever better. These guys deliver big rich sound with deep tight base and excellent clarity and they also play very loud. You can see the 5 plus, the older model and while their size difference is small, you can definitely hear a difference in sound quality. It's not huge but it is noticeable. The 5 plus simply sounds like a bigger speaker with more expense to sound. Yes, we could (??) about their not being integrated AC power anymore but the combination, the design improvement, featured tweaks and the speaker's exceptional sound make the Audioengine 5 plus easy to recommend even at this higher price. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Audioengine 5 Plus PC Speaker System. Thanks for watching