Audioengine A5+ vs. Audioengine P4 + N22 amp - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-22-2012, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got a pair of A5+ speakers that I am using to stream music from my PC / iPhone using iTunes. I'm planning to place them in a bookshelf. But I keep reading this stuff about how rear-ported speakers aren't good in bookshelves, etc. According to the manufacturer, ideal speaker placement dictates about 6-12" of clearance. I can get about 4" of clearance in my case.

Should I be worried about this, so much so to try the P4's instead with the N22 amp? Does lack of clearance make the bass sound more boomy or less so?

The P4's are a smaller speaker and may not have the room-filling sound the A5+'s do. But they are front-ported. I do like the fact that the A5+'s have the amp already built into them.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-23-2012, 06:04 PM
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I have a pair of Audio Engine A-5's. They sound wonderful placed on stands, tweeters at ear level, and about one foot away from the rear wall. Follow the manufacturers advice. The speaker needs to move air. I also use them with a ten inch Velodyne sub woofer with great results.

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post #3 of 12 Old 07-23-2012, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 View Post

I have a pair of Audio Engine A-5's. They sound wonderful placed on stands, tweeters at ear level, and about one foot away from the rear wall. Follow the manufacturers advice. The speaker needs to move air. I also use them with a ten inch Velodyne sub woofer with great results.

So given that I can get only about 4" of clearance between the back of the bookshelf and the speakers, go with the P4s? Wish I could put them on stands but I'm trying to keep things streamlined and save space (no room for stands at the moment.)
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-23-2012, 09:36 PM
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There are sealed speakers that might work well for you. Check out NHT Absolute Zero and Classic Twos. No ports at all. Get the Emotiva mini-X a-100 for an amp since the NHTs are 6 ohm.

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post #5 of 12 Old 07-23-2012, 10:05 PM
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I had the P4 for a short time, and IMO they need a subwoofer. They sounded lean and bright to me without a sub, and even with one were more forward sounding that I preferred. If you do go with the P4, I'd suggest adding a sub unless you really don't mind the lack of bass.

I haven't heard the A5+, but based on reviews I've read of the A5 and A5+, it sounds like they aren't going to be at their best back against a wall. Apparantly, the A5+ has improved (tighter) bass compared to the A5, which I've read on more than one occasion can be a bit boomy. Again, I haven't heard them so I'm not speaking from experience.

My advice - give the Emotiva Airmotiv4 a try. I'm very impressed with them, and I think they do fine without a sub. I have them within 2" of the rear wall, and the bass is still tight and well defined.

I've had a number of other small speakers on my desk over the past 3+ year - PSB Image B4, NHT Absolute Zero, Peachtree Audio DS4.5, Audioengine P4, Boston Acoustics E40, Mirage OMD-5. None of them produce real bass and all need a sub to balance out the low end. I'm not saying the Airmotiv4 is capable of subwoofer type bass, but it does have good extension and does not have the upper bass bump that is so often used to give the illusion of bass response.
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 10:12 AM
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Hi alphaiii. At same sound level would you consider the Airmotiv 4 to have an overall superior sound with smoother frequency response than the Absolute Zero? I’ve been considering an upgrade to my Audioengine A2 for near-field listening and have these Airmotivs on top of my list. I was also looking into the NHT SuperZero 2.0 + Super 8 sub combo and been wondering how that would compare against the Airmotivs in a small room.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ximori View Post

Hi alphaiii. At same sound level would you consider the Airmotiv 4 to have an overall superior sound with smoother frequency response than the Absolute Zero? I’ve been considering an upgrade to my Audioengine A2 for near-field listening and have these Airmotivs on top of my list. I was also looking into the NHT SuperZero 2.0 + Super 8 sub combo and been wondering how that would compare against the Airmotivs in a small room.

I can't say, since I got rid of the Absolute Zero's a few months ago and have only had the Airmotiv4 for a few weeks. The Absolute Zero measures very flat, although some still feel it sounds a little analytical.

I can say that I did A/B compare the Absolute Zero's with a pair of Boston Acoustics E-40's which took the place of the AZ on my desktop prior to getting the Aimotiv4, and spent a little time comparing the E-40 and Airmotiv4 yesterday.

For the AZ vs. E-40... When I compared them in my main room on stands, I felt they were comparable overall, with each doing some things better, and some worse. I like both, I just felt the E-40 worked a little better on my desktop. With the AZ getting a full-range signal from an Audioengine N22 amp, there was a little too much upper bass emphasis (due to having them sitting on a desk right against the back wall). Awhile back, I used the AZ with a different desktop amp that had a built in 100Hz over, and I really enjoyed them and don't recall noticing the upper bass emphasis I noticed when running them full range on the N22 amp.

As far as the E-40 vs Airmotiv4: The E-40 images/disappears a little better, whereas the Airmotiv4 is a little smoother in the highs, while not being less detailed or rolled off. In fact, I actually run the Airmotiv4 with the treble switch at -2dB since I felt they were a little too lively at 0dB. Bass response isn't even comparable - the Airmotiv4 destroys the E40. A sub is a necessity with the E-40, and with the Absolute Zero as well IMO. With the Airmotiv4, while bass isn't fully extended and lacks the impact you'd get with a sub (no surprise, it's only a 4.5" driver), it's still adequate on it's own, and the overall sound of the Airmotiv4 is very balanced, IMO. Many will still want a sub... but the nice thing is that it can be added and crossed over at a lower frequency, aiding in preventing localization.

I had the SuperZero 2.0 at one point, but really didn't use them much on my desk (briefly, with the Gizmo amp and Klipsch XW-300d sub)... Most of their time was spent in my bedroom system prior to returning them. They're nice enough, but have absolutely no bass at all. The Super8 would remedy that issue, but the setup requires a higher xover point to get a good blend. Not long ago I demo'd the Super8 in my desktop system with the E-40, and I wasn't all that impressed with it, and returned it. I felt the bass was a little soft for lack of a better term - nowhere near as tight as the Klipsch XW300d or Velodyne VMS-8 I previously owned.


OK, that was alot of rambling... Here's the short answer to your question - I like the Absolute Zero nearfield when used with a sub some form of bass management. That said, I prefer the Airmotiv4 as a simpler, standalone option. While they don't have bass extension beyond 55-60Hz, I find them adequate their own, and enjoy the overall sound. I also think the folded ribbon tweeter is a little smoother than the metal domes in the Absolute Zero and E-40. Your mileage may vary.
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 12:13 PM
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To the OP, I misread your original post - I thought you mentioned placing the speaker on a bookshelf, not in one. Perhaps the Audioengine P4 would be a good option in your case.

I'm not sure how the Airmotiv4 would do in a bookshelf, although I wouldn't be surprised if it is less boomy than the A5+. One nice thing about the Airmotiv4 is that you can shelve down the bass response (starting at 150Hz so that is 2db or 4db down by 20Hz). This could help with the constrained placement.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

I can't say, since I got rid of the Absolute Zero's a few months ago and have only had the Airmotiv4 for a few weeks. The Absolute Zero measures very flat, although some still feel it sounds a little analytical.
I can say that I did A/B compare the Absolute Zero's with a pair of Boston Acoustics E-40's which took the place of the AZ on my desktop prior to getting the Aimotiv4, and spent a little time comparing the E-40 and Airmotiv4 yesterday.
For the AZ vs. E-40... When I compared them in my main room on stands, I felt they were comparable overall, with each doing some things better, and some worse. I like both, I just felt the E-40 worked a little better on my desktop. With the AZ getting a full-range signal from an Audioengine N22 amp, there was a little too much upper bass emphasis (due to having them sitting on a desk right against the back wall). Awhile back, I used the AZ with a different desktop amp that had a built in 100Hz over, and I really enjoyed them and don't recall noticing the upper bass emphasis I noticed when running them full range on the N22 amp.
As far as the E-40 vs Airmotiv4: The E-40 images/disappears a little better, whereas the Airmotiv4 is a little smoother in the highs, while not being less detailed or rolled off. In fact, I actually run the Airmotiv4 with the treble switch at -2dB since I felt they were a little too lively at 0dB. Bass response isn't even comparable - the Airmotiv4 destroys the E40. A sub is a necessity with the E-40, and with the Absolute Zero as well IMO. With the Airmotiv4, while bass isn't fully extended and lacks the impact you'd get with a sub (no surprise, it's only a 4.5" driver), it's still adequate on it's own, and the overall sound of the Airmotiv4 is very balanced, IMO. Many will still want a sub... but the nice thing is that it can be added and crossed over at a lower frequency, aiding in preventing localization.
I had the SuperZero 2.0 at one point, but really didn't use them much on my desk (briefly, with the Gizmo amp and Klipsch XW-300d sub)... Most of their time was spent in my bedroom system prior to returning them. They're nice enough, but have absolutely no bass at all. The Super8 would remedy that issue, but the setup requires a higher xover point to get a good blend. Not long ago I demo'd the Super8 in my desktop system with the E-40, and I wasn't all that impressed with it, and returned it. I felt the bass was a little soft for lack of a better term - nowhere near as tight as the Klipsch XW300d or Velodyne VMS-8 I previously owned.
OK, that was alot of rambling... Here's the short answer to your question - I like the Absolute Zero nearfield when used with a sub some form of bass management. That said, I prefer the Airmotiv4 as a simpler, standalone option. While they don't have bass extension beyond 55-60Hz, I find them adequate their own, and enjoy the overall sound. I also think the folded ribbon tweeter is a little smoother than the metal domes in the Absolute Zero and E-40. Your mileage may vary.

I’ll have to try the Airmotiv4 out soon – sounds like they’ll work for my purpose at the moment. Eventually though, I want to convert a small room into a 5.1 theater using a Marantz NR1602 receiver and plan to add whichever speakers I buy now to the system. I’ve always enjoyed the NHT sound but I guess using five Airmotiv 4 speakers in a smallish theater-like room might also be worth considering down the line. Thanks for your input.
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ximori View Post

I’ll have to try the Airmotiv4 out soon – sounds like they’ll work for my purpose at the moment. Eventually though, I want to convert a small room into a 5.1 theater using a Marantz NR1602 receiver and plan to add whichever speakers I buy now to the system. I’ve always enjoyed the NHT sound but I guess using five Airmotiv 4 speakers in a smallish theater-like room might also be worth considering down the line. Thanks for your input.

Well, if the long term goal is 5.1... Going with the NR1602 and Absolute Zero's might make more sense... although it costs more to get started with 2.0/2.1.

Not that you couldn't go with Airmotiv4 speakers all around, but you're stuck buying 3 pair, and each one needs to be plugged in somewhere. Plus, you'd need a processor or AVR with at least 5.1 preamp outputs... They're nice speakers and all, but there are alot of nice passive speakers (such as the Absolute Zero) that will make for a much easier setup.

But for a simple nearfield setup, I don't think you could go wrong with them.
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

Well, if the long term goal is 5.1... Going with the NR1602 and Absolute Zero's might make more sense... although it costs more to get started with 2.0/2.1.
Not that you couldn't go with Airmotiv4 speakers all around, but you're stuck buying 3 pair, and each one needs to be plugged in somewhere. Plus, you'd need a processor or AVR with at least 5.1 preamp outputs... They're nice speakers and all, but there are alot of nice passive speakers (such as the Absolute Zero) that will make for a much easier setup.
But for a simple nearfield setup, I don't think you could go wrong with them.

I thought about that - the setup, but didn't want to worry about it till later, since I was more focused on sound quality.

So do you think the Super 8 sub lacked bass definition than those of the Airmotivs...at least, from your recollection?
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-24-2012, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ximori View Post

I thought about that - the setup, but didn't want to worry about it till later, since I was more focused on sound quality.
So do you think the Super 8 sub lacked bass definition than those of the Airmotivs...at least, from your recollection?

Yes, I think the Airmotiv4 has tighter bass (what bass they have) than the Super 8. Coming from the Velodyne VMS-8 (same thing as the Minivee) and Klipsch XW-300d, the Super 8 just didn't impress me.

No doubt though, you'll get more bass and deeper bass if you went with the Super Zero 2.0 + Super 8...

It's really all in what you want from the setup. You won't get full-range sound with the Airmotiv4, but for the music I listen to (metal and certain types of rock, and branching a bit into other genres these days), it's close enough for me. If you listen to mostly dubstep, hip hop, and or electronic/techno, you might find them lacking... and be better off with a bookshelf + sub.
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