Audioengine B2 Review (Page 1 of 4)

By: Jonathan Kwan
March 20, 2015

I do not remember a whole lot of things my teachers have said when I was in elementary school. However, if there was one thing that stuck in my head for many years, it would have been something my Grade 6 teacher discussed in class. "Another teacher caught a student reading a novel behind their math textbook during math class, and gave him a zero," he explained. "If I were him, I would give him an 'A'. After all, he is reading!" When I first heard this, I knew something was wrong with this statement. However, I could not explain why I so vehemently disagreed with him until almost a decade later. Reading a novel is not wrong. However, reading a novel when you are supposed to be learning about math is wrong. Clearly, my teacher failed to understand just because you think you are doing the right thing, does not necessarily imply it is always the right time (I mean, try doing that at work, haha). A little under a year ago, I took a look at the Audioengine A2+ powered desktop speakers. To make a long story short, I remarked that "the Audioengine A2+ simply rocks in sound quality." Now, if you have been following APH Networks for quite a while, you will know a comment like this regarding audio products do not appear often on this website. Being as logical as Audioengine should be, they recently released a new product called the B2. The Audioengine B2 is essentially a pair of Audioengine A2+ rotated sideways, duct taped together at the base, plus a Bluetooth chip to make it a set of wireless speakers. If the A2+ was really that awesome, then will it make the B2 automatically just as awesome, or will it be the right hardware with the wrong application, like reading a novel in math class? We took one in to find out.

Our review unit of the Audioengine B2, just like the A2+, did not arrive from California, USA like majority of the products we review here at APH Networks. Actually, it came from Vancouver, BC, Canada, which is a place where we have operations out of (Senior Technical Editor Kenneth Kwok, who updates the news every day on this website, lives in Vancouver). Audioengine's Canadian distributor, Atlantia, provided us with the sample for review. Using a custom branded brown corrugated box, and traveling via Purolator Ground, everything arrived in excellent condition to us one province over to the east in Calgary, Alberta for our evaluation today.

Being a huge fan of the Audioengine A2+, it was hard to say I was not excited for the B2. It seems to me our southern neighbors had it in stock at least two months before we did. However, we got one of the first shipments to arrive in Canada, and when the B2 finally arrived at our doorstep in the beginning of February, I opened the box almost immediately. As with last time, our Audioengine B2 arrived in its retail box. The retail box art comes from the exact same template as other products in the family. As you can see in our photo above, Audioengine kept the packaging simple, just like the A2+. All you will get is the branding with model in the top left corner, a slogan with a photo of the speakers in the middle, and a line that tells you what is inside at the bottom. On the other side, you will get the exact same thing, except the B2 is walnut finished in the photo. Stuff like a feature list, color checkbox, and more photos from other perspectives can be found on other sides of the box.

Before we move on, let's take a look at the specifications of the Audioengine B2, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Type: Powered Bluetooth speaker
Amplifier type: Dual class AB monolithic
Power output: 60W peak total (15W RMS, 30W peak per channel), AES
Drivers: 2.75” Kevlar woofers, 3/4“ Silk dome tweeters
Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack analog
Analog input impedance: 10K ohms unbalanced
Frequency response: 65Hz-22kHz (±2.0dB)
SNR: >95db (typical A-weighted)
THD+N: <0.05% at all power settings
Crosstalk: -50dB
Power filtering: 3-stage redundant regulation
Input voltages: 100-240V, 50/60Hz auto-switching
Protection: Output current limiting, thermal over-temperature, power on/off transient protection
Bluetooth receiver type: Bluetooth 4.0 audio with aptX codec
Supported Bluetooth profiles: aptX, A2DP, and AVRCP
Wireless operation range: up to 100ft (30m) typical
D/A converter: TI PCM5102A
Input bit depth: 24-bit (upsampled)
Input data rate: Determined by Bluetooth
Wireless latency: ~30 milliseconds (ms)
Product dimensions: 4.25”(H) x 12.25”(W) x 5.50”(D)
Shipping weight: 10lbs (4.6kg)
Shipping box dims: 10.5” (H) x 16” (W) x 7.5” (D)
Operating temperature: 24° to 105°F (0°C to 40°C)
Storage temperature: -4° to 115°F (-20°C to 46°C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing

Out of the box, you will receive everything you need to get you started. In addition to the Styrofoam brackets, you will also find the speakers and accessories all come in two separate reusable microfiber drawstring bags. I have to say, that is pretty classy, haha. With that in mind, here is a list of what you will receive in addition to the Audioengine B2 speakers itself:

- Power cable
- Antenna
- Mini-jack audio cable, 1.5 meters (~5 feet)
- Microfiber speaker bag
- Quickstart guide

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis
4. Conclusion