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Audioengine A2: The king of value powered monitors has no clothes?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

When I moved offices and could no longer use my Magnepan MMG-W I went looking for an affordable conventional replacement.  I accepted the fact that what I ended up with would likely fall short of the Maggies.  The Audioengine A2 was well admired so I bought a pair.  The sound was good and the physical quality of system was far beyond the price point but the midrange sound was very obviously muddied, in a big way, by a large upper-bass lump.  I tried various positions, I plugged the port, I used in-line crossovers and finally went searching fir a system EQ that could cure this.  I found it (Soundflower+AU Lab), but it proved awfully unstable and I had to dump it.

 

By this time I was convinced that the problem was in the speakers, not my particular set-up.  Why the heck was this speaker so loved if it had such a significant obvious flaw?  I went to the Audioengine website and read the Strereophile review of the A2 and lo and behold, there in an addendum was a graph of the amplifier frequency response:

The A2 has EQ applied that boosts bass as much as 9 dB.  I'm not crazy!  Called Audioengine.  First they I told me I was wrong.  Then when I brought-up the Stereophile review an eginineer responded that I was right but I was being silly because "ALL powered speakers and monitors have EQ applied".  Really?  My B.S. meter went off so I checked a few.  Sure enough, it is not the case.  Mid-fi stuff like Bose does (of course), while most speakers with hi-fi intent do NOT have a huge bump at the upper bass to try to make them sound bigger than they are, at least for the casual listener.

 

So, I'm still dumbfounded how so many people, experienced listeners supposedly, on this site and others, could not identify this very obvious flaw.  I run a small sub in conjunction with my desktop speakers, as any experienced listener would know is necessary to get good bass.  In high fidelity, errors of omission are essentially always preferred to those of commission.  WHile EQ'd, the A2's were great.  Without it, they belong just a bit above Bose- hardly great.  The EQ is not defeatable.  The engineer could not help me.

 

I have moved on to a nice pair of Boston unpowered mini monitors with a Topping amp and am quite pleased.  The A2s sit behind the family Mac in the kitchen.

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVO View Post

So, I'm still dumbfounded how so many people, experienced listeners supposedly, on this site and others, could not identify this very obvious flaw.  I run a small sub in conjunction with my desktop speakers, as any experienced listener would know is necessary to get good bass.  

That's because they are not experienced at listening to speakers. LOL

But you are definitely right about the problem. And with that bass boost from their amp, can't even integrate in a sub properly.

Glad to hear you got a Topping and some passive speakers. Best value for a good sounding setup smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 7

Oh which Topping amp did you get i.e TA2020/2021 or TK2050? I've listened to TK2050 Toppings mated with Brit/US bookies and find these offering great value for money!

post #4 of 7

The love for the A2 stems from the hype train of the overrated A5 (original) and the decent A5+.

 

Individuals I know who own the A2 expressed similar dissatisfaction towards the bass response.

post #5 of 7

I'm glad I got off the A5 hype-train when my set had a faulty amp and I got it refunded. 

Been playing around with vintage separates since, which sounds better (in some ways) , cheaper and it's been more a lot more fun. 

post #6 of 7

Yeah there is definitely a bass hump.  In spite of that they are my favorite pair of smaller speakers because 1. the bass becomes a lot more balanced if you elevate them a foot and a half off the desk and 2. the bass is actually quite balanced at lower volume levels.  

 

If you have them on a desk at loud levels, the bass is boomy as hell.

 

Beautiful mids though.  Not the slightest hint of silibance.  Makes vintage recordings sound great.  Never heard Jimi Hendrix sound as good on any system, regardless of price.

post #7 of 7

(in regards to the title of the original post), These are as far from "monitors" as you can get!  They're sloppy rock 'n roll speakers all the way.  

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