Pros:Compact; solidly-built; top-quality parts; versatility; simple set-up; phenomenal high fidelity; cables included; 3-year warranty
Cons:Expensive; no subwoofer (not really needed); surprisingly heavy
The Bottom Line: For now these are probably the best PC speakers available anywhere. Expensive and worth it!
Two years ago I splurged on a pair of white Audioengine 5 powered speakers for my PC. In quality these are a world apart from typical bookshelf PC speakers, and for $325 they'd better be. I wasn't looking for an elaborate setup like a home theater 5.1 surround system; the A5 speakers come without even a subwoofer. The cabinets are 25mm thick MDF (medium-density fibreboard), 7.8 x 7 x 10", available in white, black, or bamboo woodgrain. They look and feel quite attractive and substantial; the left is 14 lbs., the right, 9 lbs. I have mine elevated on speaker stands, which I recommend.
Recommend this product?
Frequency response is 50Hz-22kHz +/-1.5dB; power output is 150W peak total (50W RMS / 75W peak per channel). Voltages can be switched between 115/240V, 50/60Hz. Speaker wires attach to gold-plated posts. The 20mm silk dome tweeters with neodymium magnets and 5" Kevlar woofers with advanced voice coils pump out so much sound, with the help of specially-tuned ports, that I can easily live without a subwoofer (my neighbors should be relieved). Audioengine does offer a subwoofer, but be prepared to spend another $350 for it.
The amps, power & volume controls, and connectors are built into the left speaker. Not only can you plug a computer or iPod into it, with or without a dock -- any device with 1/8" miniplug or RCA outlets can plug into the A5. Cables (for ex., 6.5 ft. of 1/8" audio cable) and 12.3 ft. of speaker wire are included. The left speaker also has a USB port for iPod charging, and a standard 120W auxiliary outlet suitable for AirPort Express or similar wireless systems. The A5s have power-saver circuits to put the amps in sleep mode when there's no signal for 15 minutes.
Given the small size of the A5s, sound quality (not to mention volume) is nothing less than phenomenal. While it would be exaggerating to say that it's like having a live band in the room, I've been blown away by the depth and clarity compared with anything I've listened to before. I've played old familiar tunes and heard things that hitherto I'd never known were in the recordings. That may be as good a definition of audiophile quality as any.
The only technical glitch I experienced was for a few months last year when the speakers occasionally emitted pops & crackles. This was annoying to say the least, but the problem went away, so I cannot say how it was caused in the first place. In any event, the A5s come with a 3-year warranty.
For people like me who use the PC (or Mac) as their all-in-one entertainment system, for movies, music, and games -- and who have limited space and patience for complex sound systems -- I can wholeheartedly recommend the Audioengine A5 as the upgrade to sonic luxury. First Class, all the way!