By Frank Petrie
With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to buy a special gift for the person most important in your life. In my case, that would be me.
I have been a musician all of my life, so music is very important to me. And listening to music has to be done on fine equipment. Or at least the finest I can afford.
When I had a condo, I had a wonderful 5:1 sound set-up that I hobbled together. Then I downscaled to a studio apartment. They don't take kindly to systems that are full sounding (i.e., cabinets rattling, glassware clanging. etc.). But I still wanted something that gave me the best sound reproduction possible in that environment that I could afford.
I knew that I couldn't afford bookshelf speakers, let alone reference speakers. But then again it's a studio apartment ,and I didn’t require something that big. What I needed to find was a really incredible pair of computer speakers.
I had one pair for several years. They weren't stellar but they served purpose and were clean sounding. If I really wanted to hear something in its full glory, I bought myself a decent set of cans for just such times. But then somebody turned me onto Audio Engine.
Audio Engine makes an array of speaker systems that are absolutely incredible. They have various sizes (plus subwoofers), and you can get them in either hardwire or Bluetooth. They also have accessories such as stands and such.
So I purchased a pair of $249 Audio Engine 2+ computer speakers. From what I had read, I expected decent sound, maybe a notch or two above my current system. But I was knocked over with a feather when I heard the range that the system reproduced!
I can't begin to express how over-the-moon I am with the quality of their sound. They're roughly eight inches tall with the amplifier housed within the left channel speaker. The sound range is superb. I was particularly impressed with the reproduction of the bottom end. Even at a low volume level, you have very clean sounding, deep, tight bass. And do they ever have volume!
The sound’s so crisp that you can hear the bow on the violin strings. And the reproduction of brass instruments is extremely bright. A baritone sax is reproduced with its full bottom end! Incredibly enjoyable.
There are certain albums I have bought over the years that I have recently repurchased from sites that specialize in selling uncompressed recordings. Having been in the studio for many years, I know what a song truly sounds like in its original state.
From treble, to mid-range, to bass, these speakers were able to transport me back to those times. They are absolutely wonderful and well worth the price.
They have a USB audio input, USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC), dual analog audio inputs, silk tweeters and aramid fiber woofers, and a subwoofer output. Plus they come with all the necessary cables. Speakers and cables are shipped in soft, plush drawstring bags.
The thing that I found really interesting was that Audio Engine doesn’t have many outlets. In fact, the one closest to me is over 200 miles away. So, actually getting to demo them is out of the question. But to make up for that, they have a 30-day “audition” (return policy). If you don't like them within that time, you can return them for a full refund. You’re also covered with a three year warranty.
I can't speak for their higher end, larger equipment, but as for their desktop computer speakers, I've heard none better. Go for it. They fit as nicely under the tree as they will on your desk.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★
Check out more of Frank’s “Freshly Squeezed Reviews” at https://ympnow.com .