Audioengine A2+ vs. KEF LS50 Meta
|Audioengine A2+ Wireless Bluetooth Speakers
|KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
|Dimensions (H × W × D)
6.00” × 4.00” × 5.25”
152mm × 102mm × 133mm
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
|ASR Score w/Subwoofer
TLDR Summary: In the compact speaker realm, the Audioengine A2+ Wireless stands as a beacon of value, offering Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in DAC, and a warm, engaging sound profile that punches well above its weight class for its size and price. Meanwhile, the KEF LS50 Meta bookshelf speakers are audiophile darlings, boasting the brand's proprietary Uni-Q driver array, delivering a stunningly precise and expansive soundstage with intricate detail. While the LS50 Metas are passive speakers requiring an external amplifier, they bring a level of high-fidelity performance that justifies their premium status and price point compared to the more accessible A2+.
When it comes to compact speakers that deliver high-quality sound, the Audioengine A2+ Wireless Bluetooth Speakers and the KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers sit at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of price, size, and purpose. Audioengine's offering is a perfect entry point for those new to high-fidelity audio without breaking the bank or commandeering too much space. In contrast, the LS50 Meta is a substantial leap into a high-end listening experience, both in terms of financial investment and sonic performance.
The A2+ Wireless speakers are a continuation of Audioengine's philosophy of providing great sound in a small package. They're designed to be user-friendly, with a simple setup process and the convenience of Bluetooth connectivity. This makes them ideal for use with a variety of devices, from smartphones to laptops. They also pack a punch despite their size, with a vibrant and clear sound that belies their small stature.
On the other hand, the KEF LS50 Meta speakers are a different beast altogether. They are the culmination of years of innovation, specifically KEF's Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT), which is designed to absorb unwanted sound coming from the rear of the speaker driver. This leads to cleaner, more accurate sound reproduction. The LS50 Meta is a statement piece, aimed at serious audiophiles who look for the minutiae in their music.
Design Aesthetics and Build Quality
From a design perspective, the Audioengine A2+ are visually unassuming. They feature a classic boxy design that's pleasant and compact, fitting unobtrusively on a desk or bookshelf. The build quality is solid, with a hand-finished wood cabinet that gives it a warm, inviting look. They're available in several colors to match your decor or mood.
The LS50 Meta, in contrast, sports a much more futuristic look with its curved front and the unique Uni-Q driver array, which places the tweeter in the acoustic center of the midrange cone. This not only looks stunning but has a purpose in creating a more detailed and integrated sound. The build quality is impeccable, with a dense cabinet that reduces vibration and ensures the sound remains pure and uncolored.
Compare to similar speakers
Sound Characteristics and Performance
Audio performance is where these two sets of speakers really diverge. The A2+ offer a very respectable soundstage for desktop listening environments, with a well-balanced midrange and surprisingly tight bass for their size. However, they can struggle at higher volumes and with complex, bass-heavy tracks. They excel in close-proximity listening and are particularly good for enhancing the audio experience of your computer or TV without overwhelming the room.
The LS50 Meta is a revelation in comparison. When paired with the right amplification and source material, they deliver an expansive soundstage that can fill a room. The MAT technology allows for an uncanny level of detail retrieval, and the bass is tight and controlled without ever becoming boomy. The midrange is lush and vocals have a presence that feels almost tangible. The LS50 Meta demands attention and is meant to be the centerpiece of a listening room, not just an accessory.
Value and Versatility
Considering value, the Audioengine A2+ are a steal. They're an excellent choice for those looking to enhance their audio experience without requiring additional equipment like a separate amplifier or DAC. They're also incredibly versatile thanks to their Bluetooth capability and variety of inputs, which means they can adapt to most listening scenarios with ease.
The KEF LS50 Meta, while significantly more expensive, represents a different kind of value. For the audiophile who is willing to invest in ancillary equipment and values the purity of sound above all else, they are potentially a bargain. The LS50 Meta isn't just a speaker; it's an investment in a listening experience that can bring joy for years to come. They aren't as versatile as the A2+ due to their reliance on high-quality amplification, but for the dedicated listener, they offer a gateway to audio nirvana that few other bookshelf speakers can match.
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