Audioengine A1 review

With their very compact design, these stereo PC speakers offer excellent audio quality and Bluetooth and wired connections, though they don't come cheap.

Audioengine A1 speakers on desk

Our Verdict

78%

Fantastic audio quality for those seeking compact desktop speakers, though they're pricey and lack a bit of bass.

Audioengine has established itself as among the go-to options for premium PC speakers, thanks to its very compact and well-regarded A1 and A2+ speaker ranges. The A1 is the cheaper of the two options, lacking the USB input and painted finish of the A2+, and it’s also based on a digital Class D amp rather than the more desirable analog Class AB amp of the A2+.

Audioengine A1 design

Despite lacking a fancy painted exterior, the Audioengine A1 speakers still look fantastic. In fact, they’re one of those products where photos or renders really don’t do them justice. The stark matt grey vinyl covering (over an MDF construction), slightly curved corners and lack of a covering for the drivers has a real minimalist charm to it.

Audioengine A1 speakers front view

The speakers are particularly compact too with dimensions of just 102 x 133 x 152mm (W x D x H), making them ideal for cramped desk spaces. Helping even further is that the front-firing bass ports mean you can sit these speakers against a wall without harming their audio performance.

The downside to their compact size is that the drivers are very close to your desk surface and don’t tend to fire directly towards you – unless you keep your head level with the surface of your desk (no judgements here). The former makes them very susceptible to audio interference from sound waves bouncing up off your desk while the latter means stereo effect and some high-end detail can get lost.

As such, the A1s particularly benefit from speaker stands to raise them up and angle them more towards you. Audioengine sells matching stands for $30, which angle up the speakers slightly, and they’re a worthwhile addition. Alternatively, there are many 3rd-party speakers stands or you could use a wide monitor riser like the one linked below to raise up the speakers.

Audioengine A1 connections and features

Functionally, the A1 is a very simple speaker set, with no remote control, no buttons on the front or sides of the speakers, and no USB or other physical digital input. However, you do get a Bluetooth connection.

Audioengine A1 speakers rear view

Round the back of the right speaker is a single dial for turning on the speakers and adjusting the volume. This combined function means you can’t set a volume and forget about it, but must turn the dial to your desired setting each time you power on the speakers. Combined with the fact that the dial is around the back and you end up with a power/volume system that’s not very convenient if your speakers are slightly out of reach.

The main audio input is a 3.5mm stereo jack socket, plus there’s a phono socket for hooking up an extra subwoofer. Each speaker also has a pair of spring clips for connecting the left speaker to the right speaker, while the right speaker is home to a figure-of-eight mains power socket and Bluetooth pairing button, which glows and flashes to indicate its status.

The subwoofer connection is a useful addition as, despite their impressive power, the A1 speakers are still small, so they benefit from a bass boost, particularly for higher-volume listening. Having the upgrade path makes this a more versatile speaker set than some options.

Audioengine A1 sound quality

In terms of power, these speakers certainly aren’t lacking for normal desktop listening – they easily fill small-to-medium-sized rooms. However, bass is definitely lacking, with even the Creative T100 having a slightly more impactful rumble in big dance/electronic music tracks.

What the A1 speakers lack in low-end, though, they make up for in mid-range warmth and top-end detail, providing far more sparkle and richness than the slightly boxy-sounding T100. The Edifier R1280DB speakers fill in that low end more but they don’t sound as crisp at the top end.

For true audiophiles, the presentation here isn’t actually quite as clean as you might hope, with boosted treble and bass and a slightly forced tone overall but they’re far more balanced than most gamer-focussed speakers and are a significant upgrade over almost anything that’s cheaper.

Audioengine A1 speakers next to Google Nest mini smart speaker

Audioengine A1 pros and cons

Pros

  • Great styling
  • Really compact design
  • Excellent audio clarity
  • Decent value

Cons

  • Inconvenient rear volume control
  • Lacking in bass
  • Short, so they need stands

Audioengine A1 specs

The Audioengine A1 specs list is:

Dimensions (mm) 102 x 133 x 152 (W x D x H)
Audio config  1 x 70mm woofer and 1 x 19mm tweeter per speaker with front bass port
Nominal power output  60W
Frequency range 65Hz – 22,000kHz
Connections  3.5mm stereo input, Bluetooth 5, phone output for subwoofer
Extras  Volume knob on right speaker

Audioengine A1 price

The Audioengine A1 price is $199, making them a premium set of stereo PC speakers, especially given their compact size. 

Price: Expect to pay $199 (£199).

Audioengine A1 review conclusion

With their combination of great styling, super compact size, and Bluetooth for easy connection, the Audioengine A1 speakers are ideal for a compact desk setup. However, for larger desks, the rear volume control is awkward to reach. They also lack a bit of bass but offer plenty enough volume for most desk-listening situations and have sparkling top-end detail and mid-range warmth, plus there’s the option to add a sub.

For more computer speaker recommendations, check out our best computer speakers guide. Meanwhile, if you own a pair of the Audioengine A1 or are tempted to buy a set, let us know your thoughts and questions via the Custom PC Facebook pageTwitter page, or by joining our 390,000+ member Custom PC and Gaming Setup Facebook group.