- Installation and Initial impressions
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I tested the Audioengine A2+ using the built-in DAC. I also tried my other DACs, but the sound quality differences were very difficult to perceive on these speakers. Suffice to say the built-in DAC is of a good quality and a separate DAC won’t really improve the sound quality further. Using onboard sound however showed affected the sound quality and was noticeable. So those who are on onboard sound and are thinking of picking up the A2 instead of the A2+ should get the A2+ instead.
The sound changes appreciably depending on the placement of the speakers. The best experience is when they are pointed directly towards your ears. The USP of these speakers is their neutrality. They handle almost any music genre well.
Bass performance is probably the weak point though. Because of the relatively small driver size sub bass is mostly missing. To compensate, Audioengine have tweaked the A2+ to produce more mid bass which adds a bit of thump but on tracks with heavy sub bass the speakers are unable to produce the low notes which is noticeable. However, for a majority of music the speakers produce enough bass. Its only in electronic music with artificial bass where you might really notice the lack of low end.
Mid range is very nice and both male and female vocals are portrayed nicely. There are no real weaknesses in the midrange region and honestly the mid range I feel is one the best you can get in this price range. Treble is also smooth, has a reasonable extension and is clear. While its not the last word in treble there is little to complain about. There is no harshness or sibilance portrayed unless the track you are playing has sibilance in the recording. I tried a few tracks with sibilance and the sibilance was smoothed out.
Lastly, the soundstage was something exceptional. While the small size of the speakers meant the total size of the soundstage was limited, the imaging was exceptional ! And this was true for even speakers priced much higher.