I know I have a pair at the cabin and they are amazing speakers for the price.
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I am currently looking into buying the Audioengine A2 since wife thinks A5+ is big for the living room where the kids like to dance to their tunes. Thank You for the inputs on the A5+. Can you please clarify if the iPod can be directly connected to the A5+ through the available USB type A port in the back? I would prefer to do this rathen tan take the headdphone line out from the iPod.
As I was researching the net, I came across Emotiva's Airmotive 4 which have gotten great reviews. I was thinking of getting the Pure iPod dock and connecting to these using the RCA out from the dock. Alternatively also looking at passive speakers in the $399 range and then using a Lepai or similar amp and the Pure iPod dock to complete the setup.
Yes the A5+ is a well executed design and the bass content for these is striking
for their size. The amp is also quite remarkable, it seems the designers found
the sweet spot with these. I have filled my living room a couple of time with a
simple iPod, dock and lossless files playing through them. If you want to hear
some amazing bass though them try playing Spahn Ranch's Closure album. It
will thunder-rock the house at decent volumes.
For living room usage, I think you'll need the A5+ and not the A2. There is likely to be just too much space in a living room for the small woofer used in the A2. I presently use a pair of A5 in the living room as TV speakers and would certainly not want a smaller woofer, great as the bass is in the A5.
Let's face it, a 5" woofer in the A5 series is still small for a living room, and though the Audioengines have excellent bass, it's likely that this is achieved at the sacrifice of playing very loud (though they still play loudly, but not super loud). The laws of physics still apply.
I think they're great speakers too and have recommended them to several others. In fact, for TV usage I use them nearly all the time and generally see no need to use my big system instead (Magnepan 3.6, Pass Lab ...).
I have the A5+ speakers connected to my iPod via an Apple 30-pin to RCA cable that allow a USB connection for charging. The A5+ speakers have one RCA and one mini plug connections along with a USB port for charging. The difference between Apple lossless on the iPod and a direct connect to my SACD player is significant, but the iPod sounds great for anything but critical listening and if I'm going to do that I have my main system in the next room.
I had the A2 speakers in the same room and they are not quite enough for a larger space. They were able to fill the room with a nice background volume, but in comparison the A5+ speakers are significantly better. My wife's reaction to the A5+ speakers was that they were not as big as she expected and I had even built a mock-up to set on the shelf.
For a living room you really need the A5+.
Milpai, I too have wondered about those Emotivas as well. Ithink the pure ipod dock is going to make a nice improvement with either the audioengine's or emotivas. I was thinking about going with either of those speakers for a secondary system also, but I think if I get a mac mini, I'll demote the wadia 170i to secondary duties matched with a wadia 151 with tekton lores (?). Anyhow, I do think a dock that bypasses the crappy apple dac in an ipod and running a better dac isa good idea.
P.S. milpai, e-mail me again since I no longer have your e-mail address and we'll talk! I want to send you my v-dac so you can check it out :-)
Did some more research and finalized on the following for our living room:
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers ($137)
SMSL Amplifier ($96)
Purchased the speakers today and waiting for the amp. Will initially connect the iPod to the amp through the Y-cable and eventually will get the Pure i-20 dock.
Auditioned the speakers at local Bestbuy, where they were connected to a cheap receiver and ipod. Yet they sounded pretty decent compared to the comparable $250+ speakers around them.
When thinking in this computer audio realm, consider the Teac DS-H01 Dock/DAC to interface the iThings (pod/pad/phone) to the powered speakers. It has a wonderful Burr-Brown DAC chip ( PCM1796,) good connectivity, and it keeps your iThing charged. I found a brand new one online for around $145. Even the Amazon deals are good.
Beyond the sheer power of the little A5+ Speakers, consider listenability and fatigue. I add a tube headphone amp as a tube buffer and it really heals the digital sound producing a much improved, warmer, smoother sound. I like the Bravo Audio Ocean headphone amp with an upgraded 12AU7 tube.
See the article about this and other esoteric computer audio stuff on my blog -- http://iHi-Fi.com/
Disclosure -- I may be an Audioengine dealer but I can still be honest and accurate.
BTW, I tried an A2 speaker set today along with an S8 Subwoofer. I happen to have one of everything and two of some stuff.
My 15 x 18 ft room is very full of beautiful sound. In a bit I'll cut back to the A5+s to see how that sounds.
I have the A5+ that my daughter absconded for her own use. These do sound very good. To replace them for my office system I got a pair of Silverline Minuete Supremes powered by a peachtree decco 65 fed USB from macbook pro. I also put with it a klipsch subwoofer and this combo is just a great office system and punches way above the a5+ (as it should).
Truemaineiac, if you need something that "punches way above" the A5+ for your office it must be like The Versailles. Time to put sensible proportion and economy into high end audio. For too long people into high end have been using their wallets to pump their egos. Let's think price/performance. Anyone can overkill. What can be done that sounds fabulous for the least cost? That is where the Audioengine star shines.
Jriden, your analogy is a bit skewed. It is not like I was comparing a full-on vandersteen 7 and audio research system against the A5+. The system I mentioned is not too far out of line cost wise with the a5+ except that I have a dedicated amp/dac in the mix which should be within reach of anyone looking for this type of system. As an owner of both systems I was trying to convey that if you have a good dac/amp already or can get one, the silverlines will (IMO) way outperform the A5+. This is in terms of imaging, detail, and soundstage together. By themselves, the A5+ are better with bass but of course, with a subwoofer in the mix this isn't as relevant a fact. Don't be defensive, try to be open to the discussion and think through the possibilities. Have you heard the silverlines or this combo?
It is also has been proven to me that to achieve a really high performance in audio (neither the A5+ or my office system come close to doing that) requires a fairly large outlay which is many multiples of what you are talking about here. You may desire the delusion of thrift and skill can overcome this when assembling a system but the reality of performance is actually much different. What is right for you and I is up to our own selves to decide, and for anyone else we can only try to provide honest opinions.
I'm open about being a dealer. I mention it all over the place.
That's just a natural extension of a passion for Audio. It doesn't make me narrow minded or sneaky. I don't think what I sell is necessarily better than what you already bought. So now that's settled, let's move on.
I have an orientation -- offering the best performance/price (P/P) ratios I can pull together. I also deal other stuff, not just Audioengine. I have the iFi line from AMR and just added acoustic treatments from Acoustic System International. More to come.
Past systems include tube preamps and amps from first Rogue Audio and then PrimaLuna, with Joseph Audio RM7si Signature monitors. All entirely respectable but not even close to the P/P of the Adam Audio A7 or the Audioengine A5+.
As equipment cost rises the P/P drops off and at some point unless you're wealthy it doesn't make sense to spend above a threshold. I think that point is well under $5000.
I would love to listen to everything. But we all have limitations of time, budget, and location, etc.
And yes it's about cost and the sound. Unless we're all together and have everything we're discussing present to listen to, how could we ever resolve what is "best" anyway? Besides, there's personal taste in the equation so it's non-linear.
What I can tell you is if you have a couple grand to spend and you want new equipment that sounds wonderful or you want to make whatever you already have sound astoundingly better, I can help, no matter what you spent.
Or we can just chat about what we have tried and learned.
Right now the Focal XS Books are $299/pair on Amazon, at Crutchfield, and probably at most authorized dealers. That's $100 less than the AudioEngine 5+. So it's definitely not a price snobbery issue.
hmm boy i wouldn't agree with that there, jriden.
i went from a $5,000 system ta $20,000 system. it's not a subtle improvement at all. one is not bad, but will eventually be fatiguing. the other will knock you out. will a $50,000 system be better? yeah probably will.
i've got some audioengine p4s in my office. they are ok, for sure. looking for something better though. i'm sure it's out there, even at a few more dollars.