• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Any Audioengine A5+ competitors?

weasels

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
335
Likes
506
Location
Richmond, Virginia
Wow that's quite the price difference vs. US. You can get a brand new pair of Vanatoo T0s for about $360 US, which is probably $450-$500 AUD.

Is that Vanatoo price from their website, because a $500 AUD import fee seems pretty nuts.
 

echopraxia

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,076
Likes
2,360
Location
California
At this price range, I would highly recommend something like the JBL LSR305, JBL LSR308, or Mackie MR624 / MR824.

I listened to the Mackie MR824 and JBL LSR308 side by side in a Guitar Center and found I preferred the warmer sound of the Mackie at the time. That might have just been coincidence though with room positioning etc.

However this was a very eye opening experience for me, since those $500 Mackie MR824’s in many ways sounded better and more enjoyable than my Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2’s I had at the time. And so this lead me into the world of audio science :)

I would highly recommend you consider the Neumann KH80 though if you can stretch the budget for a pair of speakers you may never feel are lacking in quality in almost any dimension. Any of the $500 speakers recommended here (including the JBLs) are going to feel a bit like they’re missing something in terms of sound quality vs headphones or better speakers.

I know someone who has both JBL 308s and Neumann KH120s, and the Neumann’s can truly be “endgame” level performance in many ways. At least here in the US, the Neumann KH80/KH120 are priced much less than comparable Genelec’s — and, many dealers will negotiate discounts on Neumann’s as well! Sure, some other speakers are better in some ways at 5-10x the cost, but it’s very subtle. The difference between JBL 308/306 and Neumann KH120/KH80 is not a subtle upgrade.
 
Last edited:

echopraxia

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,076
Likes
2,360
Location
California
Yeah, Genelec are a bit frumpy and that plastic finish doesn't scream premium. The TUKs are $1495 a pair here.
The materials and finish are actually quite nice in person. They’re solid aluminum with a sort of matte metallic paint like you might find on an exotic car or something, though a bit more textured. Photos don’t to them justice. You can get them in other colors, but I actually really like the metallic gray.

The Neumann monitors are very similar. Also full metal enclosures and nice painted finish. The KH120 I’ve owned in the past remains one of my favorite speakers of all time, and also is probably the most solid and premium feeling in terms of build quality, of any speaker I’ve had. This is mostly because it’s solid metal and quite heavy/dense for its size, so it has the subjective feeling of extreme durability and quality. Which based on tear downs I’ve seen, is quite true.

Neumann finish:

E4343B9B-059E-4AC5-A5B2-FCF957383336.jpeg


Genelec finish:

E0655928-AC38-48B3-8644-21189754EBC8.jpeg


Aesthetics are of course subjective, but I think both Neumann and Genelec look quite nice on a desktop :) Old photos from a while back:

A73E5E88-D471-4343-8F6E-AD6B01FE7B3D.jpeg


57AA5E87-9546-472D-9FC4-05981114ACDF.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Vict0r

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
306
Likes
550
Location
The Netherlands
I have the iLoud MTM's. They go for €300 each here. Another one to look out for is the Eve Audio SC203.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
66
Likes
81
Yeah, Genelec are a bit frumpy and that plastic finish doesn't scream premium. The TUKs are $1495 a pair here.
As someone already mentioned, Genelecs are all aluminium (and heavy with it), and look way way better IRL in my opinion, but yeah I realise they're definitely pushing your budget (seems they're a lot cheaper in the UK, and are alos cheaper than comparable models from Neumann).
 

stevenswall

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
969
Likes
741
Location
Orem, UT
Are those iLoud monitor even legal the way they are supposed to reach down to 50Hz? They only have 2x3.5" woofers! I thought there was no way to break the laws of physics, but here we are.

The Devialet Phantom Reactor with two 4" woofers has deeper extension than some 12" speakers that are multiple times the size.

Excursion, diaphragm area, power, box size, and other factors go into getting bass, and you can go crazy on some of them to get good extension from unusually small packages. Devialet for example goes crazy on power and excursion, so it matters less that the box is little and the diaphragms are small and gets good bass anyway.
 
OP
R

Revolite

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
4
Are you going to be using/adding a sub?

I would prefer not. I don't have anywhere to really put one. I wasn't going to say anything because I thought I might upset people too much but the form factor of this thing looks really interesting to me. It's the Jamo S 808 Subwoofer. I haven't looked past the product page yet.

1630695584606.png
 
OP
R

Revolite

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
4
JBL LSR305 $500 AUD

According to the spins much more bass extension and flatter than A5+. But not as aesthetic and lesser build quality I assume. As they are discontinued you might be able to haggle for even lower price if you contact a retailer with stock left.

That's a great suggestion but there is a notorious hissing tweeter that would drive me mad
 
OP
R

Revolite

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
4
Wow that's quite the price difference vs. US. You can get a brand new pair of Vanatoo T0s for about $360 US, which is probably $450-$500 AUD.

Is that Vanatoo price from their website, because a $500 AUD import fee seems pretty nuts.

I actually contacted Vanatoo about it and got a nice explanation from Gary...


Thanks for your interest in Vanatoo products. Our lineup is currently only certified with regulatory agencies for sale in the US and Canada, which is required due to the speakers being powered.


Since we are not allowed to sell outside of the US and Canada, we do not encourage buyers outside of these countries. Besides the regulatory concern, the terms of the Vanatoo warranty only apply to units sold in and used in the US and Canada. We will honor the free parts and labor portion of our warranty for a unit anywhere is the world, but we will not pay for or coordinate international shipping for spare parts or units. This ends-up as "buyer beware", because if a unit develops a problem, the buyer would have to cover the cost of the roundtrip shipping to Vanatoo for repair. The customer would also have to provide a US address where Vanatoo would ship the spare part or repaired unit. This can get prohibitively expensive.


Vanatoo products are very reliable, and most users never have an issue with their speakers. We do have a number of international customers who have bought units in the US and had them shipped overseas. Some have had friends or family help out, and others have used freight forwarding services. While we don’t encourage such buyers, we won’t refuse to sell a unit. We do want to make sure any such buyer understands the risk they are assuming.


With the above in mind, the Transparent Zero works on a 220Volt/50Hz power system with the addition of an IEC power cord to go to from the wall to the inline power supply, or a plug adapter for the US power cord. The shipping weight of a pair of Transparent Zeros is 15lbs (7Kg) and the box size is 18 x 14 x 8 inches. The Transparent One Encore works on a 220Volt/50Hz power system with the addition of a plug adapter for the US power cord. The shipping weight of a pair of Transparent One Encores is 30lbs (14Kg) and the box size is 18 x 16 x 12 inches.


One day we hope to be able to make the Vanatoo products available to our friends outside the US and Canada. But first we need to establish a means to properly handle returns and warranty repairs via overseas partners, and we don’t see that happening for at least another year.


I hope this helps.
 
OP
R

Revolite

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
4
Having heard absolutely none of these speakers, due to lack of availability where I live, but having researched all except the Neumi & B&W, your top 3 on this list happen to be my top 3 in terms of preference once things stabilize and I can both afford them and travel becomes easier. Of those, only the LSX is a good value in terms of prices relative to US prices. You don't list my #4, which is the Adam Audio T5V. However, if they really do cost $750 AUD as a quick search indicates, they are not great value, but not as badly overpriced as the Genelecs.

That list was not necessarily my top top. I think they were just sorted by the depth dimension at that time. I'll put the rest of it below, you might see something you like but haven't thought of. That Jamo speaker/sub combo is new. I don't think it will reach the level of quality I'm looking for but I find it useful to have a few speakers that are never going to be a choice just for a bit of perspective.

1630696460918.png
 

Webninja

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
305
Likes
306
Location
Los Angeles
I have the JBL305 mkii and the KH80, and I’d say the upgrade was worth it. I would also say if the hiss does not bother you, for the money, the JBLs are solid. I’d almost want nothing in between, either the bargain JBL or the end game Neumann or Genelec.
 

Walter

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2020
Messages
481
Likes
594
I also see that Neumann KH 120 can actually be bought there for a little over AU $1700. That is a good price, unlike the Genelec. Personally, as a confirmed Android user, the fact that the KH 80 DSP's app only work on iPads irritates me so much that I won't consider any of their speakers.
 
Last edited:
OP
R

Revolite

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
4
Has anyone noticed this difference in frequency response?

1630723870386.png
 

oboist

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
16
Likes
19
I bought the A5+ based on the review here but don’t like them. Subjectively they sound ‘hollow’ and a bit muddy to me. I’ve tried to figure out what this correlates to in measurements. I A/B’d and measured with REW at about 3 ft vs Kali LP6 and IN5 as well as older JBL 305. I like all of those a lot better than the A5+ with the IN5 being the most preferred. This is all listening to classical music with the differences being most striking in orchestral tracks. In REW the A5+ actually had the flattest frequency response. My current theory is that the spectrograms show the problem. There’s a lot more ringing between 300 and 800 Hz going out as long as 100 ms.
 

echopraxia

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,076
Likes
2,360
Location
California
Has anyone noticed this difference in frequency response?

View attachment 151351
Never trust manufacturer frequency range specs. Even when they are honest, there are too many different things it can mean (-3db? -6db? Anechoic or predicted in-room? Etc).

Best to look at the anechoic frequency response measurements (if available).

Is the Neumann KH80 in your budget in your country? You ruled out the JBL due to the mild hiss? AudioEngine is “ok” I think as a cheap option — it’s not bad, but not as great as the JBLs and nowhere near as stellar as the Neumann KH80.
 

A Surfer

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
760
Likes
768
I would be shocked if classical music was even considered as a relevant genre for the tuning of a desktop speaker such as the A5+. I am simply speculating here of course, but for the most part I imagine the fan base for classical music will be somewhat older people, not exclusively, but significantly 55 years plus I would wager. Not likely the target demographic so probably the design of the A5+ is geared towards popular music, electronic, R&B, but not classical which is such a small percentage of the music market that I don't imagine there is much of a penalty for ignoring it.

It doesn't help that so many classical recordings are dreadful quality. You need to research the heck out of things to find the gems. I know I tried and gave up out of frustration. Yes I know, Naxos and Dutch Gramophone are reputed to have a decent catalogue, but even there there are more than enough duds to make one give up.
 

echopraxia

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
1,076
Likes
2,360
Location
California
I would be shocked if classical music was even considered as a relevant genre for the tuning of a desktop speaker such as the A5+. I am simply speculating here of course, but for the most part I imagine the fan base for classical music will be somewhat older people, not exclusively, but significantly 55 years plus I would wager. Not likely the target demographic so probably the design of the A5+ is geared towards popular music, electronic, R&B, but not classical which is such a small percentage of the music market that I don't imagine there is much of a penalty for ignoring it.
A good speaker is not tuned for genres. It is tuned for neutrality, accuracy, consistent off-axis performance, smooth directivity, low distortion etc. A good speaker will sound good for all genres.

That said, the dispersion pattern of a speaker is one factor which you could consider “tunable” to a genre, though I would say it’s not even tuning to a genre; more of a soundstage style. For example, I find wider beam speakers often sound better for orchestral music (where the wider beam helps to more believably create the feeling of a “big” space) versus stereo medium beam speakers. (It depends on the recording though.) However, this does not really apply as much for near-field listening as it does for far-field (due to the relevance of room reflections).

So as a result, good studio monitors aka desktop speakers are generally quite genre-agnostic.
 
Top Bottom