Audio Fallacy: “Larger speakers are better.”

At 7 X 11 X 8 inches, the Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers fit on a desk yet have plenty enough power to drive even a larger room with stunning Hi-Fi audio performance.  From $399 on iHi-Fi.com.  Compare to speakers costing 10 times more with a 30 day audition.

At 7 X 11 X 8 inches, the Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers fit on a desk yet have plenty enough power to drive even a larger room with stunning Hi-Fi audio performance.  From $399 on iHi-Fi.com.  Compare to speakers costing 10 times more with a 30 day audition.

Well, isn’t it intuitive?  Bass sound waves are bigger.  So won’t bigger speaker cones drive more bass sound out and cover the low sonic range better?  Aren’t bigger things simply more powerful?  We take it for granted that bigger things are more capable and that bigger is better.

It’s simply not that simple.  Bigger may be better in football and in Texas, but some stunningly powerful and accurate speakers are surprisingly compact.  At least in speakers, size does not matter as much as we tend to assume.  For example, I listen a lot to a set of Audioengine A5+ Powered Speakers.  They have a five-inch Kevlar cone driven by a fairly massive magnet assembly.  Even though the cabinet is only seven by eight by eleven inches they drive strong bass with no boost down into the 50 Hz range which is well into the bass zone.  They can easily drive someone out of this 300 square foot audio lab at even half volume.  And still have plenty reserve.  Don’t go there though if you like your hearing.

Audioengine’s engineers are very good at designing studio monitors.  The bass power comes from a combination of several factors.  One is the design of the bass port (which is probably folded) to achieve the needed length in such a small space.  Another is the stroke length and custom design of the driver.  Another is the design of the monolithic amplifier that’s built into the cabinet.  Another is the very rigid cabinet itself.  And don’t forget the power supply that provides enough smooth power and a quiet background.  Aside from the bass, this speaker does equally well in the rest of the audible range with a silk dome tweeter hauling the freight on the treble track.

When a company designs a speaker like the A5+ from the ground up, and even specifies all custom components, the engineers can cover every detail that matter and match the components together to achieve much more than by just grabbing stock components off the shelf.  Audioengine is not the only company that achieves such results but at the prices offered they are very hard to beat for value.  Add great connectivity and special digital audio features and the net result is a better value than many floor-standing speakers that cost as much as 10 times more. 

With speakers, keep the details and also the big picture in mind and forget common assumptions.  The best way to pick speakers is to learn well how to listen critically then visit some shops around town and audition a lot.  Get some ideas of what you might like and then don’t take anyone else’s word for it.  Pick the ones you prefer after a lot of  comparative listening and all the blind A/B testing you can manage.  This will assure you get a pair that truly please you and have a voice you prefer.

Something that works to your advantage at iHi-Fi.com -- you can audition a pair of speakers with return privileges for 30 days.  If you decide nay, iHi-Fi takes them back with a full refund of your purchase price as long as you return them in new condition.  That means you can listen to them for a month and compare them to any a shop might let you take home for the weekend.  You can even cart them around to shops (carefully) for A/B comparisons.  Your favorite color is available and in stock as long as it’s black, white, or bamboo.

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The iHi-Fi.com website is the online high-end audio store you can shop from anywhere in the USA without leaving home.  Receive expert advice and audition whatever you buy with return and refund privileges. This site is the audio industry’s  go-to price/performance consultant that optimizes value through computer audio. All the computer audio systems at iHi-Fi.com deliver exceptional to stunning performance at value prices simply because nothing else is acceptable. Authorized Dealer for Audioengine, Acoustic System International, Bravo Audio, and HighEnd Novum.