Most of the MP3 speakers that flood the Stuff office on a daily basis don’t live and breathe hi-fi – they exist for convenience and music snacking.
This is, of course, fine for many people, but now a few systems are appearing that could yet convince audiophiles to scope out the digital scene. Following valve docks from Fatman and Roth are the Audioengine A5 speakers, which promise ‘hi-fi’ sound from MP3.
Hungry for hi-fi
The A5 system comprises a pair of active loudspeakers set up for digital input. You can input your tunes through one of two 3.5mm audio inputs, or charge up your player as it’s playing over USB.
For the audiophile within, there’s a pair of pre-outs for a subwoofer, binding posts for wiring to the right-hand speaker, and a mains AC output for use with Apple’s Airport Express. It comes with an EU plug, so you’ll have to use a converter.
Amp me up
Inside the Audioengine A5 there’s 45w of amplification per channel. Just plug in your iPod (or any MP3 player) and away you go – it’s instant hi-fi.
The A5’s solid bass means you’ll get more from your music than similarly-priced iPod offerings, like the KEF Picoforte One. But to really get the best out of your music we recommend putting the speakers on stands.
Heavy speakers, heavy sound
This will require some heavy lifting – the speakers are very heavy, weighing in at 6.4kg and 4kg for left and right speakers. The rear-facing bass output also means you shouldn’t shunt them too close to a wall – another good reason for stands.
But if you’ve got the space for a decent setup and have plenty of lossless music, the A5s really are an excellent way to match digital convenience with hi-fi performance.