Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Excellent clarity and definition, able to handle immense amounts of volume, exceptional design
- Slight flatness in high frequencies, limited control options
The audioengine A5 is one of the best set of speakers that we've seen, delivering exceptional performance for music and movies.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The audioengine A5 (also known as audioengine 5) is a set of stereo hi-fi speakers. Delivering excellent quality, along with an extremely solid and sturdy design, they're some of the best hi-fi speakers we've seen to date. Everything about them screams quality - from their custom design, to the sheer power at which they're able to output sound, the A5 is a top-notch product.
Audio performance on the A5 is the best we've heard yet on a pair of hi-fi speakers. With a well-balanced range, the A5 delivers audio of any genre with exceptional clarity and definition. During testing, we were enthralled by everything from Puccini's Madama Butterfly to Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower to Outkast's GhettoMusick. From the soaring vocals in Madama Butterfly, to the throbbing bass of GhettoMusick, every note was clear, sharp and well defined. Even more impressive, the A5 is capable of maintaining this clarity at very high volumes. The only problem that we noticed during testing was that treble tended to be ever-so-slightly flat at the highest ranges. Everything else was exceptional, however, with sharp, thumping bass and a clear, crisp midrange.
One of the most impressive aspects of the A5 is the sheer power that it's capable of outputting. We found a comfortable listening level at about 25% volume, and didn't dare go much past 60% for fear of damaging our ear drums. Throughout this entire range, we didn't notice any diminished clarity - this is actually the first hi-fi system where we've hit unreasonably loud volumes before noticing distortion. The inbuilt 5" woofers deliver powerful and thumping bass, although the lack of a separate subwoofer means that you won't get that vibrating rumble.
Already impressed with the speakers' music performance, we decided to hook them up to our home entertainment setup to see how they fare for home theatre use. Again, we were overwhelmed. Watching Full Metal Jacket, every yell from Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, every thumping chopper rotor, and every gunshot and explosion, came in crystal clear. The A5 had no problems at all handling both the bass-heavy firefights and the accompanying musical score at the same time, and it easily rivaled some of the better home theatre systems that we've seen. Although they're only two-channel (ie, not surround sound), the A5 speakers should appeal to any movie lover.
Everything about the design of these speakers has been geared towards delivering the best possible audio quality, and what's more, it's been done without compromising aesthetics. Coming with a solid black or white casing, the speakers are actually quite heavy, and even at the highest volumes, the rugged design prevents noticeable distortion from vibration. Audioengine has really gone all out with the design here, even to the point of using a Kevlar woven composite in the woofers (Kevlar is the material used in a lot of modern body armour). Although we weren't able to do any tests to determine whether or not the woofers are bulletproof, the sheer amount of volume they're capable of producing without distortion is testament to their durability.
The back panel of the main speaker is a simple affair, with power outlets, copper wire outputs that go to the other speaker in the pair, and 3.5in stereo input jacks. The volume knob is located on the front of the unit, although there's no separate knobs for treble and bass, and no remote is included, which may be slightly irritating, especially for users planning to use the A5 as home theatre speakers.
Overall, the audioengine A5 is one of the best hi-fi systems we've seen thus far. Capable of handling anything from opera to R&B to movies, it comes highly recommended to any user in the market for high-quality, powerful stereo speakers.
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