Speakers: Audioengine A2+ or B&W M1

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by coolerkid, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. coolerkid macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    #1
    Looking for new speakers for my iMac. I've narrowed it down to these two. Which ones are overall better? They are both very highly rated, but the M1's get described as phenomenal sound, ear candy, ect. which I don't hear for the A2s. They are twice the price though, but am willing to pay it if they are worth it. Or are there other speakers I should be looking at? Thanks.
     
  2. TSE macrumors 68030

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    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #2
    Can't speak for both sets, but I have the Audioengine's and have had them for four years and love them.
     
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #3
    You really need to hear both of them under similar environments and playing the same media files to get an idea of what your ear "likes."

    There are so many good choices out there that it really comes down to (beyond budget) either buying by specs or by what sounds good to your ears. They are not always the same.
     
  4. coolerkid thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2015
    #4
    I'd like to but nobody carries the Audioengine.

     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #5
    I have the MM1's and can attest to the fact that they are excellent, have a great sound, look terrific, and don't take up too much space.

    Now, I'll also freely admit that I am a huge fan of B&W, as I love both their audio and their aesthetic.
     
  6. erickj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle
    #6
    Speakers

    I went through this myself a year or two ago. Bought these, http://www.amazon.com/Harman-Kardon...425055355&sr=8-4&keywords=harmon+kardon+sound and couldn't be happier. Did a lot of in-store testing of different speakers, etc. But I agree with others, just like headphones, it's all about your ear. I've bought several pairs of high end headphones only to return them because they sounded (to me) the same or not as comparable to my around $100 ones.
     
  7. coolerkid thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2015
    #7
    Did you listen to the Audioengine and B&W compared to these? What makes these so great? I was considering them, but had bought the Nova's before and wasn't impressed at all. Unfortunately I don't know anywhere around me that carries any of these, so I have to keep ordering and returning.
     
  8. cbb77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    #8
    I also have the A2s and love them. They are extremely powerful for the size. Order them from Crutchfield and try them out. Crutchfield has one of the best, no hassle return policies so if you don't like, can easily send back.
     
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #9
    I have the A2+ Audioengines. I never had a chance to audition the B&Ws, and wish I had. (All my other speakers are B&W.)

    I've been completely satisfied with the A2s for on-desk work. If you go for them, get the tilt stands. I think that makes a difference.

    I will say that when my son (a professional NY editor) was visiting, he cut a short video for me (from my footage and audio) and the A2s were of course the monitors. A few weeks later I was visiting a guy who runs an A/V place and he ran the video on a good HT setup and the sound was in every way very noticeably better.

    Bottom line is that you're not going to get really fabulous audio out of them, but you'll get damn good audio.
     
  10. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    Jan 15, 2003
    #10
    The A2s are better sounding, just not as neat looking.

    Take your pick . . .
     
  11. coolerkid thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2015
    #11
    I ended up getting the M1's to start. All I could think while I listened to them was, these cost $500?! I've heard many B&W systems over the years that justified their price tag, this wasn't one of them. Really boring sound. Only sounded good with really clear recordings, and even then it was nothing amazing. Otherwise sounded like any old pair of sub $100 speaker.

    Then I got the A2+, and all I could think was, what took me so long to get these?! Sound is quite amazing. These little things can really crank too, and look awesome next to my iMac. The bass is really tight, not booming, which I generally prefer, but there are some songs that it felt a bit lacking in that area. But clarity is otherwise amazing. I'm quite happy with these and the size is perfect on my desk.

    Now I have to ask, do I try out the A5+ too or just be happy with these?
     
  12. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    Jan 15, 2003
    #12
    If you have the space and the money, the A5+ models are noticeably better. They're what I used in my room while deployed in Afghanistan.
     
  13. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #13
    A5's are a very significant increase in footprint. I have a pair that are relegated to the storage room for this reason.

    I personally have the MM-1's on my desktop and I think they are fantastic near field speakers. If you're wanting to listen to them in any other setting then you'll be disappointed. I have the A2's on my kids PC that's in the family room and they are significant enough to listen to in that room. They're not perfect for that purpose, but adequate. The A5's are simply huge in comparison and much more at home on a bookshelf.
     
  14. coolerkid thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2015
    #14
    I got the A5+s to compare, you're right they are waaaaaaay too big to use as desktop speakers. They are quite amazing though, I'd buy them for my living room. The more I listen to then A2s though the less I'm liking them. The main problem is that you really have to turn them up a lot to get a good sound out of them. They sound amazing on a really clean acoustic or vocal track that's playing very loud, but otherwise they are kinda boring. I had the MM-1s, they had great clarity, but also had a very small sound to them. I've owned 2.0 speakers this size, such as the Audyssey ones, that had a very full sound, room filling sound to them, so I know it's possible with speakers this size. I'm torn on the A2+'s though, they are capable of producing such amazing sound on certain tracks, at high volumes, but day to day use is not very impressive. They almost sound like a 2.1 set with the subwoofer off.

     
  15. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #15
    You say the MM-1 have a small sound, but how are you using them? They are really designed to excel when you are literally sitting right in front of them. They definitely won't fill a room with quality sound.

    That being said, they do so pretty well when you have a small office.
     
  16. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #16
    Coolerkid, you do know that you can run a sub with the A2+ speakers, right? I haven't tried it.
     
  17. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #17
    Are you looking for speakers at similar sizes or similar prices?

    If prices, I'd look at the AudioEngine A5+. Much better sound than either of the two you're considering, bigger drivers allow deeper bass, and take up about twice the size. They're about $399.
     
  18. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #18
    Send them to me. I've got some stands on each side of my iMac desk just waiting for them :)
     
  19. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a

    z31fanatic

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    #19
  20. n-evo, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    n-evo macrumors 65816

    n-evo

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2013
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #20
    I bought the Audioengine A2+ speakers but ended up returning them. I was extremely disappointed with their performance. Music starts to distort quickly at higher volume levels and the basses were pretty bad. All in all my music sounded extremely flat.

    My issue: I used to own the Altec Lansing FX6021, which as far as computer speakers go, sounded incredible. Unfortunately they broke last year due to a power surge. I bought the SoundSticks III, but they just didn't come close output wise. Same went for the Audioengine A2+ set.

    Recently I bit the bullet and bought its bigger brother: Audioengine A5+ - They sound amazing and IMO their footprint really isn't that bad (expected it to be a lot worse actually). I'll make a photo of my setup later so you can see for yourself.
     
  21. n-evo macrumors 65816

    n-evo

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    Amsterdam
    #21
    The sub will set you back another €350.
     
  22. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    May 8, 2008
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    #22
    And that's why I don't have one, and probably never will.
     
  23. coolerkid thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2015
    #23
    Just using an EQ on my Mac with some minor tweaks made a dramatic difference. These speakers really came to life. But even still they are kind of lack luster for day to day use. They're the best of the bunch that I've tried, but still don't blow me away unless they are using certain recordings at a high vol. Not sure which ones I should try next or if I just throw in the towel.
     
  24. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    Nov 2, 2006
    #24
    Negative.

    Don't keep auditioning tiny desktop speakers.

    As Scotty said (a lot of times) "You canna break the laws of physics, Cap'n!"

    You'll continue to be disappointed and feel like you're wasting your money and still not getting that wow feeling from your speakers.
     
  25. brentsg macrumors 68030

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    Oct 15, 2008
    #25
    I would agree. I think perhaps the expectations are out of line. That's a big deal when dealing with audio.
     

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