Audioengine B2 Bluetooth Speaker Review
- Bluetooth Range
- Sound Quality
- Very Portable
The music devices industry seems to have been divided into two clear zones with the lower end of the market catering to an enhanced bass heavy sound, while the other geared towards audiophiles is quite simply moving out of the price range of the average consumer.
So if you are in the market for accurate sound reproduction to play back music as the musicians intended for you to listen to, then you have to be prepared to shell out the big bucks. Actually, make that really big bucks.
Things seem to be changing around though, as Audiengine, a company that is making a real name for itself in the music aficionado community continues to add to its product range which looks to provide an accurate, premium sound without breaking the bank.
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The Audioengine B2 gets design absolutely right. It is sophisticated and high end in feel without resorting to any over the top tricks. Only top quality materials have been used and it is immediately apparent on holding the speaker. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that this speaker is one of the best looking ones on the market right now.
The speaker is available in three finishes: Black Ash, Walnut and Zebrawood. All three are easy on the eye with the zebrawood being a personal favorite of mine. The wood is real and not faux, something that is apparent as soon as you lay eyes on it. The front grille of the speaker attaches to the main body by a magnetic mechanism that is pretty neat. It comes off without any trouble as there are no knobs or attachments involved.
Once the front grille is removed, you get access to the heart of the speakers in the form of two 0.75 –inch silk dome tweeters on each edge and two 2.75 –inch Kevlar woofers. Even without the front grille, the speaker looks fantastic.
The speaker weighs 10 pounds and comes in at a portable 4.25” height + 12.25” width + 5.50” depth.
One of the many thoughtful things about this speaker is how easy it is to start playing songs on it. There is absolutely no learning curve. All that needs to be done is to switch on the bluetooth connection on your phone, pair it with the speaker and start playing.
While this ease of use is not unique to this speaker, it is refreshing to not have companies try and justify their price tag by bundling poorly designed software that adds no extra functionality to the software which already exists on your phone.
How good is the sound quality of the Audioengine B2? Is it loud enough? Is the Bluetooth range enough for normal use? These are the most important questions of them all.
After all, the speaker may look good enough, but if it does not do its primary job of playing music well then it is rendered redundant.
The sound performance of the B2 lives up to its premium billing. It provides a flat response that audiophiles absolutely love. If you are used to bass heavy speakers then you may find yourself missing the thump a little, however it does not take too long to get used to hearing music like this.
There was no distortion except for extremely bass heavy songs at the highest volumes levels. A song that is lighter on the bass seemed to perform just fine however. Classical songs that are more mid focused were very well represented as was the treble performance across the board. At no point did the treble get too sharp.
The company knows its audience does not want a reproduction of sub woofers and is instead trying to distinguish itself by extremely accurate playback. The speaker supports both Bluetooth 4.0 as well as aptX codec for a higher quality of sound streaming.
A useful tip to remember while setting up these speakers is that they provide the best sound in front of them, like most speakers, and so should be facing your direction for the majority of their usage. A difference in sound quality will be noticeable if you are walking around the speaker.
I was a little worried about how loud the B2 will be with a maximum of 60W output, however it turns out be plenty. The speaker is definitely built to be used indoors rather than outdoors, as evidenced by the premium wood finish, however it can easily be used at an outdoor picnic or small gathering. There are louder speakers out there however this should work for the large majority of people.
The range of the Bluetooth speaker is pretty impressive and should easily work around a mid-sized apartment with the use of its antenna. Audioengine itself specifies a range of 100 feet for the speaker unit.
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This speaker is not the cheapest on the market, not by far. If that is your only criteria then this is not the speaker for you. If you are however looking to upgrade to a quality piece of equipment which combines the best between design and performance, then there is no need to look further. The Audioengine B2 Premium Bluetooth speaker range will satisfy even the most demanding of music lovers.