A while back when I had first moved from Seattle, WA to Austin, TX the very first thing I set out to do was to buy a really good set of speakers. I knew I would be studying a lot and since listening to music is one of my all-time favorite things to do I figured buying a good set of speakers would be money well spent.
At the time I had always wanted the Bose Companion 5 computer speakers. I loved the way their sleek and elegant compact design which didn't demand a lot of desktop space and their surreal surround sound experience. So I went out on a mission the first day I had arrived in Austin, TX to buy myself a pair of Bose Companion 5 computer speakers.
After I had set up my new Companion 5 speaker system I was happy with everything aesthetically. Let me note that the speakers themselves aren't made of the most impressive materials but they are pleasing to the eye and don't necessarily feel cheap either. I would say that they would be a minimalist version of logitech computer speakers except made out of tin...
...made out of tin. This is where the problem is with the Bose Companion 5's. I listen to everything in at least 320kbps being an amateur producer and DJ and I couldn't help but feel that what I was hearing wasn't worthy of the amount of money I had just spent. The surreal surround sound experience that the Companion 5's provide seemed as if it were helping to mask the true quality of the highs. The highs in the Companion 5 computer speakers simply put sound "tin-ny" There's no other way to describe it really. They don't sound good. Once you realize this they become unbearable to listen to, at least for me.
So I went to return them and kept looking. I came across this audiophile store in Austin, TX called Audio Zeal. This guy knew his stuff. I had called the owner asking if he had any Audioengine 5+'s in stock to which he replied he did. We scheduled an appointment and I came later that day to take a listen. After about 2 hours of listening to music on my phone I was sold on the AudioEngine 5+'s. They definitely blew the Companion 5's out of the water. The highs were great, the bass was lacking only due to no sub but the bass was IMPRESSIVE for only coming from open ported speakers.
I came in the next day to pick them up and the owner wanted to show me his last set of Paradigm Shift A2's. I obliged and took a listen. He explained that they had their own built in amp in each speaker and auto adjusted themselves depending on the volume level to prevent any of the drivers from capping out. The highs were made of steel tweeters and they really screamed. They weren't open ported like the 5+'s but still had extremely impressive bass. I was sold on the Shift A2's but my only problem was that they were 200 extra dollars and I didn't want to spend 600 on speakers as I felt 400 was already pushing it.
Well I left to think about it and the owner called me the next day and offered me the Shift A2's for the same price as the 5+'s as he was trying to rotate his stock with newer paradigm equipment. I took him up on the deal. Fast forward 8 months and here we are.
These Paradigm Shift A2's still impress me every single time I turn them on. EVERY. TIME. I have 3 pairs of 200+$ hi-fi headphones amped and I am equally if not more happy listening to my music on these Paradigm speakers. I can't give these things enough praise. My one and only complaint about them is that they each have their own individual volume knob so you have to volume match them. I crank these things full volume and they NEVER cap out. Each driver has their own individual amp so there's 2 amps per speaker, one for the larger driver and one for the tweeter. The larger driver seems to stop increasing in volume around 3/4th's of the way up and the tweeters just keep going up and up while maintaining crystal clear high's. Piercing high's.
So anyways that's my story. For anyone looking into bookshelf speakers or considering Companion 5's. The Audio Engine 5+'s are phenomenal speakers but the highs could be better. The Shift A2's, if you're willing to spend a little extra, are well worth it and will stay with your speaker collection for a long long time to come.