View Full Version : Opinion about the Audioengine 5's

2007-05-10, 14:35

Since there are quite a number of threads discussing the Audioengine 5's, I thought I'd write up a short summary of my impression of the pair I got a week ago. So here we go (in random order).

1. The black ones, which I got, do not have the glossy finish like the white ones. Rather this set has more of a matt, slightly shiny, black finish. I find the look to be neutral and "timeless". It's not a designer thing, like B&O, neither is it fashionable or trendy. The black ones are perhaps slightly nerdy with the bare element/no grills look. You decide:) They also come packaged in nice protective cloth bags. Overall they make a convincing impression as serious no frills speakers.

2. They are too big for use as desktop computer monitors, and I also believe they are marketed as bookshelf speakers. I would also not really call them portable because of the size/weight and since they are not designed to be.

3. Within their general performance limits, the nearfield sound quality is good.

4. They have proper screw down binding posts rather than the spring loaded clip-on thing found on earlier series. Moreover there are RCA plugs offering full range output to subs. Overall the finish and build quality is very nice.

4. SOUND QUALITY. Hmmm. Like many of you, I've spent some time reading various reviews on the net. Most are on the positive side, and some are almost ecstatic. I think they're good, but certainly not as fantastic as some reviewers think.

First of all they are by far inferior in every way to my main system which admittely also costs 20-30 times as much. I'm just mentioning this since one thread was asking for comparison to a ~2000$ system. But I'd also say that they're not even comparable to real stereo systems based on say entry level NAD, DENON, DALI, B&W.

So in the context of such systems my thoughts are as follows.
Many reviewers seem to tout them for their ability to handle bass. And they do perform nicely. There is lots of bass, though it's lacking in depth and definition, and they can also be boomy, like a low quality sub. Also I suspect that the reflex ports have been very optimized. With bass heavy music the bass becomes extremely predominant. On the other hand different kinds of music can sound very nice. Midrange and highs are also mediocre: clarity, imaging and so on is not up to par with real systems. However the mids and highs really are well balanced, with a nice neutral sound. So all in all I'd say that bass is the only aspect where they sometimes completely mess up. I'm still experimenting with placement and socks/foam in the bass ports.

So in my mind this puts them closer to "pod"-speakers and computer speakers. And they are really up to the competition here. I've yet to come across a computer speaker system, including the set from cambridge, which are as good as these.

I paid 170 EURO for the set. And at that price I think that it would be, at least difficult, to find a match (active or passive w. amp). Sound quality wise I'd recommend them for all kinds of background music. However when really listening they do have obvious flaws. So in the end I'm keeping mine based on a combination of price, planned usage, sound quality. It's also nice that they after all are semi-portable (size and no amp). Ohh, and they can play quite loud :)

OK, enough pretending-to-sound-smart and being objective-about-subjective-stuff for one day. If you made it all they way down here, thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment.


2007-05-10, 15:00
Thanks for your sane thoughts Bjorn. I have a T-amp driving a pair of Wharfedale 8.1s in my computer system. If I believed the reviews, it would knock the spots off my main system. It doesn't, but it's great for casual listening and games. You don't always get what you pay for, but it's much rarer that you get far more than what you pay for :)