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CNET First Look
Audioengine 5You'd be hard-pressed to find a pair of powered stereo speakers at this price point that sound better--and offer more flexibility--than the Audioengine 5s.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:09 >> David Carnoy: Hi I'm David Carnoy and I'm gonna give you a quick tour of the Audioengine 5 speakers. The key thing to note about both this model and Audioengine's smaller series 2 speakers is that they're bookshelf style speakers masquerading as PC speakers. Unlike classic bookshelf speakers, these Audioengine models are powered so there's no need for a separate receiver or amplifier. The larger 5 which comes in black or white for around 325 bucks is the more industrial looking of the 2 models and appears to share some heritage with modern speakers you'd find in a recording studio. 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 left and right speakers connect to each other with real speaker wire and you also get an input cable that allows you to connect your PC to the 3.5 auxiliary input on the back and the left speaker. The use of the standard cables means you can invest in custom length cables that are as long or short as you like. What's more unique about these guys is the 3.5 mm auxiliary input on top of the left speaker that sits next to a USB port. To be clear the USB port is only for power, not for reading audio files. It also doesn't allow pass through synching to PCs. It gets even better. The second 3.5 mm input on the left speakers backside is located near a full on AC power jack. Audioengine touts the fact that plug an Apple Airport Express directly into the outlet turning the speakers into an iTunes streamer. It's hard to quantify just how much better the Audioengine 5 sound than the Audioengine 2s. They definitely deliver bigger, richer sound with deep tight base and excellent clarity and they play very loud. With higher end PC speakers you just get fuller, smoother sound that has that much more detail, and when you listen to these guys you start to hear stuff in your music that you weren't aware was there. They easily best more expensive iPod speakers out there including those from Bose and BMW which retail in some cases for twice as much. They're also great for movies and games. For some this model would seem just too bulky to leave sitting on a desk, however the bottom line is that you're going to be hard pressed to find a 2.0 system that sounds better particularly at this price point. Yes we could quibble about they're not being an integrated iPod dock and remote, but in the end the extra input and USB port on top the speaker combined with these speakers exceptional sound, make the Audioengine 5s worthy of a choice award. [ Background music ] I'm David Carnoy and this is the Audioengine 5 Multi Media speakers.