Audioengine A2+ vs HD3: Which Compact Desktop Speakers Would You Recommend?

There are a wide variety of ordinary computer speakers, but what if I tell you can have a powerful pair with the best audio, features, and aesthetics? Audioengine A2+ vs HD3 are some of the well-known wireless speakers that boost performance over others.

Between Audioengine A2+ vs HD3, they have several similar features but HD3 comes with some more options. Both these speakers deliver detailed and clear audio for all genres of music. You can use it for a wide range of audio input like PC, tab, turntable, mobile, Spotify, Tidal and etc.

The HD3 has a better Bluetooth range, version, and a bigger cabinet. It also has a Headphone amp for better output and audio. If you think the HD3 is expensive, then you can choose A2+ that has fewer features. Other than that you will get the best audio for the size from both of the speakers.

Speaker Profile

Audioengine brand is well-known for its flexibility in streaming while maintaining excellent audio and aesthetics. They focus on their speakers’ updates and improvements so that they don’t get obsolete with time. Their motto is to allow you to connect to any audio source you want without compromising sound quality.

The Audioengine has been manufacturing the A series for quite a while and the A2+ is one of the best small speakers among them. They are similar to the previous model A2 but there are differences as well. A2 excels in inputs as well as decent audio for a pair of computer speakers.

The HD3 is another wireless bookshelf speaker. It is the younger sibling of HD6 which is a larger bookshelf speaker that comes with a remote. If you look into the specs you will find more similarities than differences between the HD3 and A2+.

Compare And Contrast

A quick glance at the technical specifications shows that the A2+ and HD3 are quite alike. So are they almost the same? Well, there are some notable features that make the HD3 standout.

A2+ doesn’t have the Volume knob or 3.5mm headphone jack on the front side of the speakers like the HD3+. A2+ also lacks a built-in 24 bit DAC which HD3 has built-in in their speakers. It has a 16-bit DAC for improving audio.

Comparing HD3 vs A2+, the A2+ is the smaller one and doesn’t support aptX HD codec in Bluetooth. Other specs like frequency response, amplifier type, and power or drivers, all are similar.

Audioengine A2+ vs HD3: Properties

Both these models have magnetic shielding which is absent in other competitive speakers.  It is needed when the TV or monitors are CRT based. The magnetic waves generated by the speakers could hamper the image when the speaker is within 2 feet or close to the TV.

Speaker Aesthetics

 Audioengine A2+Audioengine HD3
Speaker type2-way bookshelf speaker2-way bookshelf speaker
Dimension6”(H) x 4”(W) x 5.25”(D)7″(H) x 4.25″ (W) x 5.5″ (D)
Colorblack, white, or redblack, white, cherry or walnut
Cabinet material18mm thick MDF cabinets with real wood veneer but with no grillefurniture-grade wood veneers, aluminum trim accents, and detachable magnetic grills
Driver materialsilk dome tweeters with neodymium magnets, aramid fiber woofers with advanced voice coilssilk dome tweeters with neodymium magnets, aramid fiber woofers with advanced voice coils
Magnetically shieldedyesyes
Warranty3 years3 years
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

As we can see from the table above, both the speaker’s look is more or less the same. The A2+ is smaller in size and comes in different colors from that of HD3. They both have MDF enclosure but the A2+ doesn’t come with a grille while the HD3 does and for a pair of computer speakers you will be okay without any grille.

A2+ has pads on the bottom of the speaker and it is recommended to put them on angled-stands so that the audio is directed straight towards your ears. You can also mount them on walls. According to Audioengine, the driver and cabinet material are all chosen in such a way so that the total system becomes efficient and works with less power compared to passive speakers.

The aramid fiber is known for its strength-to-weight characteristics. They are lightweight; weather-resistant that delivers ordinary and natural audio production. The silk dome tweeters produce warm and more refined audio that is ideal for dealing with more power.

Sound production of Audioengine A2+ and HD3:

 Audioengine A2+Audioengine HD3
AmplifierDual analog class A/B monolithicDual analog class A/B monolithic
Power output60W peak power total (15W RMS / 30W peak per channel), AES60W peak power total (15W RMS / 30W peak per channel), AES
Driver0.75″ tweeter
2.75″ woofer
0.75 ″ tweeter
2.75″ woofers
Bass portfrontfront
Frequency response65Hz-22kHz ±2.0dB65Hz-22kHz +/-2.0dB
THD+N<0.05%<0.05%
SNR>95dB>95dB

To make a quick generalization, it can be said that the performance of the HD3 might be better than A2+. This is based on the fact that the HD3 is larger in size compared to A2+ so the drivers will get more place to move back and forth and produce sound.

Built-in Amp

Both these speakers have the same amplifier type, power, driver size, and frequency response as well as decent THD and SNR. The Class AB monoblock amplifier is often preferred over Class A or B amplifiers for speakers. They have better efficiency with smaller crossover alterations.

The A2+ and HD3 send 15W power to each speaker and the amps and preamps of the circuit are vertically put to avoid mechanical shock. The A2+ has a front port with no noise and they are well-tuned that can get quite high for a pair of PC speakers.

Audioengine suggests users allow the new speakers to go through break-in so that they will sound better with time.

Emphasis on Frequency Response

Although the A2 doesn’t produce room-shaking bass, the bass is rich enough to emphasize the low frequencies. During our audio testing period, the mid and highs were recessed, and it had muddy bass. This means that the mids were dominated by the bass and treble and the bass was unclear.

When you place the speakers on a height parallel to your ear level rather than angled, better audio quality was detected. If you want to scrutinize music, then these speakers are not for you. But if you are stepping into the audio world and want a small and compact speaker it will suit you.

So although things weren’t perfect, overall the audio decent music with noticeable male and female vocals. It also has a clear center image and can get loud.

Bass reduction Switch

Between HD3 vs A2+, the HD3 has a relatively better audio quality. They are tuned with acoustic and electrical techniques rather than using any DSP. These speakers have a bass reduction switch which improves the sound a lot.

With this, you can eliminate the muddy or unclear mids issue that you had with A2+ to get a clear and better sound from it. While adding a subwoofer or listening to specific songs the reduction in the bass to 100Hz produced cleaner and clear audio. They have crystal clear mids and good emphasis on vocals.

Both the speakers deliver audio as expected from such small-sized cabinets and they allow you to add a subwoofer in case you want extra punch. You can pair Dayton Sub-1000 or Emotiva Basx s8 with A2+ and Audioengine S8 sub with the HD3.

Connectivity

 Audioengine A2+Audioengine HD3
Input Stereo RCA, stereo mini jack input, USB input, Bluetooth pairing button3.5mm stereo mini-jack, stereo RCA, USB, Bluetooth
OutputStereo RCA outputRCA output
Additional buttonspower/volume knobPowered speaker: physical volume control, a 3.5mm headphone port and a power indicator
Bluetooth Version 5.0B1 Bluetooth Receiver
Bluetooth codecsaptX, AAC, SBCaptX HD, aptX, AAC, SBC
Bluetooth range 100ft Up to 100ft
Built-in DACCSR8670PCM5102
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

Ports

The A2+ has the following inputs: Stereo RCA (for PC/gaming console/turntable), stereo mini-jack input (an iPod with mini-jack output), USB input (for PC), Bluetooth pairing button (wireless connection with mobile, tab).

The output is only an RCA for connecting a subwoofer. At the backside of the speaker there is also a volume/power knob so adjusting the volume from the speaker will be quite inconvenient. None of them have optical input or coaxial input.

HD3 is quite similar to A2+, they have 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, stereo RCA, USB, Bluetooth, and has a similar output for the subwoofer. They also have volume control and a headphone jack at the front of the speaker which makes it easier to use. Learn how to connect multiple Bluetooth speakers.

Bluetooth

Among many similarities between the two, the Bluetooth and built-in DAC in the HD3 separate it from A2+.  Hd3 has D1 24-bit DAC (PCM 5102 DAC). The purpose of the DAC is to convert the bad audio from the computer and convert them into better ones.

It also improves the headphone output so that when connected to the headphone it will deliver high-performance. The 24-bit DAC has high SNR, less noise with less distortion. This improves overall audio quality at the USB input and the Bluetooth inputs.

Headphone

As stated above, the DAC improves the audio quality if you connect a headphone to the speaker.  The speaker also has a headphone amplifier OPA2134 which contributes to the low-impedance and high-quality audio. The output has an impedance of 2ohms and it is recommended to use headphones within 10ohms to 10K ohms.

Placement

 Audioengine A2+Audioengine HD3
Ideal for Small room/desktopDesktop and smaller spaces
StandDS1 desktop stand or floor standsDS1 desktop stand or floor stands

Before being convinced with bad reviews, you should realize these are very small speakers. Although it is said that you can put them in a smaller room for far-field listening, it is better to use them as desktop speakers for near-field listening. Check out the Understanding speaker placement.

You can use them in rooms for playing audio via Bluetooth or turntable but the audio quality might not be what you expect from a large pair of speakers with a 6 or 8” subwoofer. Should you place them on floor stands or desktop stands?

There is no strict rule but it is recommended to use DS1 desktop stands by Audioengine. They are angled by 15-degree so that audio comes towards you directly. For placement, since both these speakers have front ports you don’t have to worry about keeping a distance from the wall. In fact, if you place them near the walls, then the bass will give maximum performance.

Things to improve Audioengine A2+ and HD3

Are these speakers perfect? If you have a long history of playing with high-end speakers, then you will think they are not good enough.  But for a desktop table where you will listen to being very close to the speakers, these are actually very good but not perfect.

The HD3 doesn’t come with a grille which might bother some people. Both the A2+ and HD3 lacks optical or coaxial inputs.  The A2+ has volume control at the back which is quite annoying. None of the speakers come with a remote either. They also don’t support AirPlay2.

Product Defferentiator

Kanto YU2 vs Audioengine A2+

The Audioengine A2+ is the best solution for you if you want speakers that can connect to an audio source wirelessly. Even without a subwoofer, these speakers are capable of playing bass-heavy tunes, but their maximum power output restricts their capability. Kanto YU2 speakers have greater power than Audioengine A2+ speakers, however they need to be connected to a subwoofer to provide a well-balanced sound. Also check out Kanto Yu4 and Yu6.

AudioEngine A5+ vs HD3

You can get that improved sound experience with both the AudioEngine HD3 Home Music System and the A5+ Speaker System. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind filling a smaller area with clear, sharp, and booming music, the HD3 is a better choice. These speakers work best on desktops and in compact spaces. It also has a built-in DAC as well as a headphone amplifier. Invest in the A5+ if you want something louder and don’t mind spending at least $50 extra to get a speaker that you can party with.

Audioengine A2+ vs HD3: Who Is The Winner?

Audioengine A2+ vs HD3, which one should you buy? The models are very compact in size, have similar drivers and inputs. But HD3 has some extra features that A2+ didn’t have. The HD3 has a larger cabinet, B1 Bluetooth receiver with aptX HD codec, and D1 built-in 24-bit DAC.

They also have a volume knob and headphone jack in front of the speaker that is very convenient along with a bass reduction switch at the back. A2+ is smaller and compact than HD3 and doesn’t include the features above. That doesn’t mean the speaker is a bad one because it also costs lower than HD3.

While some people might argue with the high price of these two speakers, the HD3 has a built-in DAC which costs around $150-$160 and that is how the price seems legit. Both these speakers intelligently use the amplifier, driver material in such a way that all will contribute to making better soundstage, clear imaging, and appropriate bass, mid-range, and treble.

FAQs About Audioengine A2+ vs HD3

Last but not least, this section is going to talk about some issues. what are they? Well after reading this article or walking over the internet, you might have tons of confusion about compact sound systems. And, here we are bringing you some compiled questions and answers to have a better understanding regarding this matter. What are you waiting for? let’s hop into it!

What Is Speaker Burn-in?

When you will get these speakers on hand, the speakers should go through break-in for more than 20 hours.  Break-in means to allow the speakers to play music continuously for  40-50 hours so that the materials that are stiff can relax or loosen up such as the rubber around aramid fiber.

After the break-in period, the speakers should sound be improved with better low end and warmer mids and highs.

How to Pair a Turntable With HD3?

The HD3 doesn’t come with a built-in preamp so the turntable should have a built-in preamp or the user needs to buy a separate phono preamp to pair it with HD3. After that, you can connect the turntable through RCA input in the HD3.

The speakers shouldn’t be on the same table as the turntable because the vibration may cause damage to the turntable.

How to Input Multiple Audio Sources Into The A2+?

Can I connect multiple sources to the A2+ Wireless? Can I stream via Bluetooth and use the USB input at the same time?

A2+ allows you to give multiple inputs to the speaker. Such as you can use Bluetooth and USB as inputs but you will be able to play and listen to one source only. This is because the speaker has a single DAC.

Between Bluetooth and USB, Bluetooth will play. Then if you stop the audio from the Bluetooth or disconnect the Bluetooth device then the USB will automatically start playing your song.

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