Audioengine HD3 vs A2+ which is a better choice?

There are countless computer speakers but it is rare to find good audio, elegant looks and awesome features all in one. Fortunately, the Audioengine A2+ and HD3 wireless speakers have a great combination of all these.

Speaker Background Profile

Audioengine is a brand that is well known in the market for its versatility, quality audio and aesthetics. It is always updated and ensures it tailors its products according to the current technological advancements hence avoiding its products being rendered obsolete. They have a running objective of making it possible to connect to any audio source without watering down the audio quality.

For a long time, Audioengine focused on the A series and out of that the A2+ emerged as a market leader among the small speakers category. Although there is not much difference with the A2, it is better in terms of inputs and works awesomely as a computer speaker.

The HD3 is not one to be overlooked either. It is a great bookshelf speaker. It is smaller than its counterpart the HD6 which is equipped with a remote. The HD3 and A2+ have many things in common but with some differences.

Speakers Comparison

Features

Both speakers have a magnetic shield unlike other speakers available in the market. The magnetic shield is important when you are using the speaker in close proximity to monitors that are CRT based. It can cause the image on the TV or monitors to be distorted if the magnetic shield is absent.

Physical Appearance

The A2+ is much smaller in size and offers you more color array than the HD3. Looks are important when purchasing speakers because you do not want a situation where you buy something that makes your desk or room seem ugly. Do not buy a speaker simply because of its great performance without considering the outward appearance.

Both speakers have a cabinet made of MDF and the HD3 has a grille. The grille is not a necessity of computer speakers like the A2+ but it has pads on the bottom for stability on your desktop so that it will not topple despite even when placed at an angle for a better listening experience.

Audioengine speakers are designed to use minimal power. The cabinet material and drivers are carefully selected to meet this goal. At times the Audioengine can be so power efficient more than even passive speakers.

Audioengine A2+ and HD3 utilize aramid fiber woofers which are famous for their strength to weight attribute. They are light in weight yet quite strong, withstanding the great impact needed to produce natural sounding audio. The tweeters installed in both brands is the silk dome type that produces warm and refined audio.

Sound Quality

When we compare the sound of both speakers, we discovered that HD3 is the better sounding one. That fact can be attributed to its larger size. The bigger a speaker the better it will sound since the drivers have more room to move around and create stronger sound. Although HD3 is better, even the A2+ produces good sound too. Here are the factors that gives these speakers quality sound.

Amplifier Type

Both speakers have the same type of amplifier, the Class AB monoblock type. This type of amplifier is preferable over the Class A or B types because of its higher efficiency. The Class AB amplifier also has minimal crossover alterations and an impressive THD and SNR. Its power and frequency response is better than the other types of amplifiers used in other small speakers.

The amplifier enables these speakers to send up to 15W power to each speaker while avoiding mechanical shock courtesy of the vertical alignment of the amps and preamps. The A2+ has an additional bonus of having tuned speakers and a forward facing port with zero noise. Rarely will you find computer speakers with no noise, making the A2+ very impressive.

As you continue to use the Audioengine speakers, they tend to sound better with time, a policy that is supported and encouraged by Audioengine, what they refer to as a break-in.

Frequency Response

The A2+ has a rich bass that is able to reach low frequencies incredibly well despite its relatively smaller woofer when compared to the HD3. You may not enjoy so much bass with the A2+ but you will not miss out on some level of bass even at lower frequencies which is very impressive for this small speaker.

Unfortunately, for the low and mid frequencies, the A2+ begins sounding muddy and it is overclouded with the treble making it sound unclear and distorted.

To enjoy better quality audio output, it is recommended that you place the speakers at a good height parallel to your ears. Some people opt to place the speakers at an angle elevated towards the ears, but having speaker stands or elevating the speakers themselves to the level of your ears give a better listening experience.

If you are extremely keen on the nature and quality of music, you will not be thoroughly impressed with these speakers. But if you are simply looking of good audio output for your music, then you should definitely go for it.

The best thing is that it has the quality to distinguish between male and female voices and they can definitely get quite loud. For those who enjoy loud music, this is something you would love.

Bass Regulation Switch

These two Audioengine machines come with a handy feature that is helpful in getting the best sound quality from them; a bass reduction switch. I stated earlier that for the high and mid frequencies the speakers start sounding muddy and clouded, but that can be regulated after all. The bass control switch helps you to clear out such issues and get a clearer and better sounding output from these speakers.

If you opt to add a subwoofer for bass lovers, you can regulate the bass to a point that the bass output is well balanced based on the song you are listening to and you will get to enjoy your music to the max. You can reduce the bass levels up to 100Hz.

One thing that makes the HD3 and A2+ their quality sound trademark is how they are tuned. Unlike other manufacturers who use DSP to tune their speakers, Audioengine uses acoustic and electrical methods making them a leader in the market for small sized speakers.

It is amazing how such small speakers can give you studio quality audio.

Audio Sources Connection

Connectivity of a speaker goes a long way in determining its efficiency. The more connection options a speaker has, the more appealing it will be to potential buyers considering that people have different types of audio sources. Here is how the HD3 and A2+ fair in terms of connectivity.

Connection Ports

The A2+ has stereo RCA inputs through which you can connect your computer, turntable or gaming console. It also has a jack input for connection your iPod. Other connection options are the USB and Bluetooth for wireless connection. The HD3 is not much different, it also has a stereo mini jack input, stereo RCA, Bluetooth and also USB. The Bluetooth option is great for cable free connection.

Both speakers have an RCA output for plugging into a subwoofer for users who love more bass. Neither the HD3 nor the A2+ has an optical or coaxial input option.

The volume control knob is located at the back of the speakers. In my opinion that is quite an inconvenient location to place a control knob, it would have been better on the front side for accessibility.

Wireless Connectivity

It is important for a speaker to have a wireless connection option given that more people are opting to play music through their phone. A phone should be within reach hence the Bluetooth comes in handy.  

Both the HD3 and A2+ have Bluetooth built into them.

Headphone

These Audioengine speakers have a feature that is rare to find in small speakers; headphone input option. They are fitted with a headphone amplifier that is tailor made to give low impedance and quality audio. For those times when you are doing some work on your computer or you do not want to disturb those in your immediate surrounding with loud music, you can plug in the headphones and still get to enjoy great tunes.

Other Recommendation

It is advisable to place the Audioengine speakers on stands for a better listening experience. Although they will work just fine as desktop speakers, given that they can get pretty loud and you do not want to have the music busting your eardrums, placing them on a speaker stand enables them to supply your entire room with evenly distributed audio. Whether your room is small or large, a speaker stand near the wall will help spread the sound fully in your room.

The Verdict

The Audioengine HD3 and Audioengine A2+ are both awesome speakers with similar inputs and features. But the HD3 seems to have an edge over the A2+. First, it is bigger given its cabinet size and woofer size hence it will provide you with more and deeper bass. It also has some other extra features that are not found in the A2+, such as the built in DAC which enhances the audio.

The A2+ is smaller and more compact in size, but at least it is cheaper. But given the clearer audio and extra features of the HD3, the clear winner for this one is the HD3.

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