Audioengine, the company that melds a former Apple designer with a speaker guru has, for several years, released some very powerful bookshelf sized powered speakers for all of your iDevices. Recently, however, the company started selling a new line of passive speakers, the Audioengine P4.
Until now, if you wanted to hook up Audioengine speakers to your existing receiver, you were out of luck. All of Audioengine’s speapers before the P4 included their own powered amplifier, which was great for plugging into iDevices but no fun if you wanted to plug them into your existing amplifiers or surround-sound receivers. The P4 solves this problem removing the amplifier.
The speakers have the standard 2 wire connections and include threaded inserts for attaching to stands, walls, and ceiling bracket systems. Despite, their small size, they are beefy and well-built. The speakers are 9 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches deep and ship in cloth sacks that would get the approval of Steve Jobs.
But how do they sound?
The AP4s sound great. I’ve always been happy with the sound output from the relatively small bookshelf sized Audioengine speakers. You can crank them up and get a minimum of distortion. The company cut its teeth in the speaker business engineering high performance studio monitors, those speakers musicians use when recording. I’ve spent my fair share of time with studio monitors in my musician days. The best ones have to be rugged and able to play loud enough to give you the mix back despite all the other noise. This pedigree comes out in the Audioengine speakers.
The speakers include several features common with Audioengine’s other speakers including hand-built cabinets, 5-way gold-plated binding posts, silk dome tweeters and kevlar woofers, and they are magnetically shielded.
All of the Audioengine products share the same tuning so they work great together. I’m using my existing P4s to replace my two primary speakers on my stereo but considering buying two additional P4s to replace my surround speakers so everything is tuned together.
Whenever I can find the time, I enjoy butchering Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson songs on my Midi keyboard. While this is just a dull memory of my past degree of music nerdiness, sound is important to me and the Audioengine products suit very nicely indeed.
Pricing starts at $249. Audioengine contiues to offer its 30 day audition. If you purchase the speakers from Audioengine’s online store and are not satisfied, you can return them in the original packaging in like-new, undamaged condition within 30 days of purchase and get a full refund of your purchase price.