There’s not a whole lot I can say about these – they’re nothing short of amazing, if not spectacular.
About a month ago my parents decided to re-take their ancient hi-fi system. As old as it was, the sound that came out of those Sony bookshelf speakers was something else – I’m no audiophile, but it sounded pretty darn good – well balanced, with plenty of mids. There really wasn’t anything wrong with them that I could fault.
And so stepped in my faithful Apple Pro speakers. In a former life these would have been sitting next to a Mac Cube, because as far as I know they’re the only Mac that came with the USB version of the Pro speakers. Sound quality, as you can expect, wasn’t particularly great with this set – apart from lacking volume, they also seemed a bit muddy, due in part to the lack of a dedicated tweeter, I’m sure.
From there I had to make the decision between a set of the universally-praised Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II, or something different. The Audioengine 2’s fell into the “something different” category, but so did other sets of 2.0’s like the M-Audio Studiophile AV-40’s (which recieved the highest of praise from Macworld UK), as well as a set of 2.1 Edifiers that probably weren’t that great anyway.
Disaster struck as I soon realised the Soundsticks were either a) in short supply, or b) about to be discontinued. Fortunately I’d be able to get my hands on a set, if I so desired. But I digress.
I must admit, I had second thoughts about the Audioengine’s – not because of their diminuitive size, but rather it was the lack of a dedicated bass unit/subwoofer that worried me. Having heard the Soundsticks in action and knowing how much their bass unit lent to their overall sound was a serious concern – because no matter how many reviews you read, there’s just nothing better than experiencing what you’re about to buy for yourself.
In the end though, the Audioengines won out – and while I’d still love a pair of Soundsticks one day (I’m still convinced they’re an excellent set of 2.1’s, and would buy them in a heartbeat), the Audioengines are pretty much exactly what I wanted – compact enough to fit on my desk, yet powerful enough to make the desk resonate with their lower frequencies.
They’re extremely balanced in almost every regard – highs, mids – but like several reviewers I too found the bass a little overpowering at first. Not muddy by any means, just a little strong in comparison to the other frequencies. At first I thought my EQs were completely off, but only after EQing out a bit of the bass did I realize that yes, they are, insanely great. I’m no audiophile, but to me these sound pretty damn amazing.
Most highly recommended.