Xombie11 in his review doesn't know what he is talking about. He was right on the Audioengine A5 speakers being a little muddy but he is wrong about the A2 speakers. The A2's have virtually flat frequency response. If you don't hear enough treble then either raise the treble a bit or lower the bass and mids a bit instead of bitchin'...... They are the monitors, not some cheap speakers with biased highs or lows.
Anyways, out of those choices I would recommend Audioengine A2 speakers. They have stellar mid and highs. You should not expect too much on bass due to the woofer driver size limitation. But it certainly has pretty good bass considering their size. I know some will find this hilarious or have doubts about it but the A2's to me are considered "audiophile-grade" speakers.
The reason being is that after pairing them with a musical sub (SVS SB12-NSD 12") and with good tweaks / adjustments the sound is just jaw dropping. The sub took care of the lows (down to 23 hz) and upto mid/low bass (270 hz) and the A2's taking on the mids to highs. The strongest key on the A2's is the "hard bass" they provide, something that can't be produced by subwoofers. And the A2's have very good detail. The subwoofer gain had to be lowered so it won't overshadow the tiny A2 speakers output. The only downside is that you don't want to turn it up too much, as it can cause distortion. But at low to mid volumes it sounds awesome.
And to answer your question, yes these speakers work well with the external DAC's too.
So, the A2 speakers can be treated as basic desktop speakers for average Joe. It can also be treated as "professional speakers" for the musicians / professionals.
The beauty is that the 2.75" carbon kevlar woofer on the A2 act as mid range speaker and not a woofer. This can be managed by utilizing the output control on the speakers and subwoofer, as well as equalizer settings in the sound card. I have Asus Xonar DX7.1 sound card.
Edited by goodolcheez - 9/13/12 at 1:29pm