For $399 the AudioEngine 5+ powered speaker delivers more than enough music to be satisfying, even if you’re used to listening to far more expensive gear. Dynamic, well designed, and well made, the 5+ offers an elegant solution to the problem of choosing a high-value desktop/nearfield monitor.
Consider this powered speaker if:
•You need a speaker with one volume control for both speakers.
•You want a powered speaker with a remote control.
•You like to play music loudly on occasion.
•You favor a speaker that images well and offers mostly neutral voicing, but that adds a touch of euphonic warmth.
Look further if:
•You prefer less boxy looking transducers.
•You must put your speakers where there is no AC power.
•You don’t need a speaker that can play loudly.
•Your want a self-powered speaker with digital audio inputs (but note: the combination of the 5+ with AudioEngine’s superb D1 DAC should address this requirement quite nicely).
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced self-powered speaker systems)
•Transparency and Focus: 8
•Imaging and Soundstaging: 9
•Tonal Balance: 8
•Bass Extension: 8
•Bass Pitch Definition: 8
•Bass Dynamics 8
If my brother-in-law came to me and asked what to buy for his computer audio system with a budget of $399 for powered speakers I’d recommend the AudioEngine 5+ speakers in a heartbeat. Their performance in a desktop environment leaves little to criticize. Sure, the overall harmonic balance is a bit warm, but for most people, that’s just one more reason they’re going to enjoy listening to music through them.