Audioengine 5+ Powered Loudspeaker (Playback 55)

Audioengine 5+

If you move around in your chair while listening, you’ll be glad the 5+’s listening window is size gigantica. For chair-bound listeners it’s virtually impossible to boogie your way out of the 5+’s sweet spot. Taller listeners using the 5+ for a near-field desktop system will want to use some sort of speaker riser or stand for optimum performance, and even shorter listeners may find a stand improves the 5+’s image cohesion and soundstage size.



To hear how well the 5+s handled well-recorded commercial rock I played Toy Matinee’s “Last Plane Out” from Toy Matinee’s eponymous album [Toy Matinee, Warner Bros.]. Although the 5+s didn’t plumb the depths of this track’s low bass, they did a good job of handling the synth’s upper bass lines. The acoustic guitars’ midrange was sweetly rendered while the electric guitar’s solo remained salty. The synth-drums didn’t have quite the impact I’m accustomed to and the dynamic slam wasn’t nearly equal to a pair of ATC SCM7 speakers driven by an Accuphase P-300. Still, the 5+’s overall presentation was euphonically musical, with enough backbone to keep the music lively. Volume-wise, the 5+ had enough horsepower to produce over 95 dB at listening position without audible distress. By the time the 5+s began to get untidy they were really LOUD.

On my own classical recordings I could hear and admire the 5+’s superior imaging capabilities. When set up optimally, the 5+ speakers created a convincing and articulate three-dimensional soundstage. Overall soundstage size was excellent and practically on a par with my reference speakers. The 5+’s extra dollop of energy in the upper and mid-bass gave my recordings more weight and heft at the expense of some transparency. Anyone looking for a small powered monitor with a neutral harmonic balance would be better served by other options, such as the similarly sized, but twice as expensive, ADAM ARTist 5 powered monitors.

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