Well as of November 1st, the new A2+ is released, making my decision difficult.
Just not sure which ones to get. The A2+ has a built in DAC and the fantastic size, the A5+ has the 5" drivers and front volume control.
This will be used as a DACless PC setup. At times I like to listen LOUD. Although these will mostly be used near field, I want the ability to fill a room for small get togethers or maybe even larger parties. How much will I benefit from the size of the A5+ or the DAC in the A2+?
I will be using the SVS SB-1000 with either one, crossed over at 80 hz, so bass from the mains isn't as important but will the A2+ STILL struggle with 80+ hz midbass?
Of course buying both and auditioning them would be the best way to know if the A2+'s are good enough, but I was hoping someone would have some other insight before I have to buy them both and pay return shipping for one.
11/5/13 Review of A5+
Well I got the A5+s today. These are impressions without a subwoofer, straight from my 2011 MacBook.
Build quality is super solid. When I first got them I blared them for an hour. I sat about 5' away from them and probably had them around 80% volume. The heatsink on the back of the left speaker was warm to the touch after this, so I think it will do well after long, loud sessions without any overheating issues. Of course, the enclosures don't rattle at all. The black satin finish is my favorite texture; it's a fantastic blend of the a mild gloss and a solid wood texture. It won't attract fingerprints, but has a matte glimmer to it. The only thing that really bugs me about the design is the off-center tweeter. Seriously, what were they thinking? It makes them look considerably worse because of it but I'll deal with it.
They get STUPID loud but they distort at those levels, and even a little sooner; Basically talking ear-bleeding here, and also talking about near-field use. At any reasonable desk-usable distance they will get as loud as pleasurably listenable without distortion. One could easily use these to have some music ambience in a medium to large room (by large I'm talking 30' x 30' or something).
Soundstage is pretty unreal with these. I don't know how it's so good but it sounds like there's a definite center channel and maybe even some front wides in front of me. Similarly, imaging and stereo separation are fantastic. I'm hearing things actually coming from different directions. It takes some getting used to, but the sound can actually change pretty drastically depending on the distance between the speakers, between the speakers and the listener, and the angle (horizontally and vertically) that the speakers are facing.
MIDS + OVERALL: It's definitely a warm sound overall. They're still in the break-in period, so I've read that mids open up more, but right now they're slightly recessed. These have a typical "youthful" V shape sound to my ears. I say youthful because I think the younger crowd enjoys this type of equalization. It especially works for me since I listen to a lot of pop, rock, and EDM. Truthfully about 90-95% of what I listen to is EDM, so it really works well. Mids are still plenty enjoyable; I've never struggled to hear vocals, male or female. It just makes everything sound fun and enjoyable. These are NOT for the audiophile that wants a flat response across the board. These are QUITE revealing though. I'm hearing things in some of my favorite songs I really didn't hear before. This wasn't an advantage every time. I heard details in tracks that I wished I hadn't heard sometimes, but that's what happens when you get used to hearing something a certain way for so long.
HIGHS: There's definitely no painful sibilance with these. To my ears there's a healthy balance of sparkle and shine, but I wouldn't call these bright by any means.
LOWS: These have a decent punch to them, for sure. Boost low-end EQ or turn it up and you can actually feel the bass, depending on the track. Mid-bass is very strong in the A5+s, giving them the overall warm sound. It's never overpowering (for me). It makes everything very enjoyable.
Conclusion: These offer a nice, balanced, enjoyable sound to my music. The clarity is certainly there. The power and volume are absolutely there. The setup is simple; just plug it straight into your 3.5mm/headphone jack and you're good to go. Control the volume from the left speaker and/or from your OS and music software. Go for these over the A2+ if you do any considerable amount of lounging in the room where these will reside and you can definitely jam without losing quality, and without being right at the listening station.
Feel free to ask any questions. I'll try to remember to come back and update this if I have additional thoughts or if the sound changes in any noticeable way.