I tried the A5s out first with a first-generation iPod Shuffle, and with player plugged into speaker, the choice of a top-mounded USB port seemed inspired. But then I tried the speaker set with a Nano, and it's less impressive. USB is non-partisan, but then it only delivers power, in this context at least. Even with a Shuffle, you still need to connect the player's earphone port to the 3.5mm input, and with a Nano, other iPod or another brand of digital music player entiurely, you not only do that but connect up a USB-to-dock cable too.
If you're going to have to wire up your player this way, it'll be tidier if the ports are all round the back of the speaker, leaving the top clear for a docking cradle or simply just clear of anything. Only by connecting your music player to the 3.5mm socket on the back of the A5s and connecting an AC adaptor into the auxilliary power port can you hope to keep the all the wires out of the way. These are nice-looking speakers - they don't deserve to be seen draped in cables.
Personally, I'd like the USB port at the back too, ready to plug in a remote-controllable dock on top of the speaker, with the two connected by a discreetly-placed couple of cables. An integrated iPod dock connector would have been even better, though less attractive to owners of SanDisk, Creative or iRiver players, for example.
Spaghetti aside, the A5s make for an attractive pair of speakers. The white styling won't match everyone's room decor, of course, and Audioengine also offers a version of the speaker set in black, though the company's fortunately resisted the temptation to colour the speaker cones. Even the white ones have a stylish, pro-audio look about them.
I didn't place my sample A5s thus, but Audioengine assures me they're magnetically shielded and so can safely be placed alongside monitors and TVs.
Places to buy Audioengine speakers in the UK
Other places to get hold of these audioengine speakers in the UK are Ecodigital (you can also save the planet while you buy!!) and Bluestream Audio Visual. ,)
These definitely do sound like a pair of excellent speakers and I would love to get my hand on some, especially at this price.
Oh, wait, at the _U.S._ price, that is. Now I dont know what the shipping costs are but apparently someone here in the UK gets them delivered by rocket, otherwise I cant explain why they are being sold at up to £375.00! Damn, I'll add another couple of !!! just because!
(Ok, I've seen them for £249.00 as well, but still...no way)
Hints to cheap resellers in the UK would be much appreciated...
I thought I'd mention that we're now shipping with these new features:
1. 5-way speaker binding posts (gold-plated screw-down type replaces the plastic spring clip speaker connectors found on earlier versions).
2. Direct subwoofer outputs. This is a full-range output to go directly into a sub input.
The white finish is high-gloss and the new black version is semi-matte black to hide fingerprints and scratches. Both white and black include the same new features, which is something people have been asking about for some reason.
As far as availability of the A5 in the UK, we are now listed on Amazon UK:
I'm surprised you didn't mention how great these speakers work with the Airport Express! This seems to be what a large majority of our customers do and we're working on a sub that also has an AC outlet on the back to allow for a "wireless-ready sub".
Also just FYI, the AC output jack for the UK market is an EU plug - I think I sent you a US version as the EU plugs weren't shipping yet.
Brady Bargenquast, co-founder, Audioengine USA