Audioengine’s gutsy desktop speakers give Bluetooth some bite

The 2+ speakers receive their wireless signal by Bluetooth aptX, which gives near CD quality, and they sound good enough for this to matter. But they are not entirely wireless; the connection from left speaker to right is by a two-metre cable which is traced so you can avoid a problem with phase. This cable obediently fell down between my desk and the wall and didn’t get another thought, but it could prove a pain if you plan to move the speakers more than once or twice. There are additional inputs on the left speaker including a USB, RCAs and a 3.5mm auxiliary, and there’s an outlet for a subwoofer.

One caution: they get no speaker grilles, and while this looks cool it means the soft-dome tweeters get no protection at all, and soft-domes are just that, they deform at even a light touch. These ones bounce back but it’s not something I’d like to test too much. Take care with them.

The speakers feature no protective grille.

The speakers feature no protective grille.

At turn-on (by the volume control at the rear of the left speaker) they go into pairing mode. Pairing disabled the volume control on my Walkman, but not my computer or phone.

The sound is nicely rounded. There’s good bass, certainly enough to reproduce music accurately, through to a nicely defined high end. They do an acceptable job with all styles of music; for their size and price it’s surprisingly good.

And they’re gutsy little things. They can go generously loud for their size and there’s not a lot of distortion up there, but if you’re picky there is a bit. They do a great job on a desk and will even fill the living area of a small to medium apartment as long as you use every centimetre of that two-metre connection cable.

They come in red, black and white and cost $399. Good value.

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