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Audioengine A2

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!

I have been eyeballing the Audioengine A2 speakers for some time now as a small solution without having to get a huge setup. Any thoughts?

I will be using a FiiO e7 DAC/AMP with an AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable. That should be sufficient I believe.

Also, would I be able to perhaps rotate them sideways (using the wedge stands)? Would this be a problem with audio clarity?
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post #2 of 19
Couple things:

1. The AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable is a complete rip off. USB is a digital signal, so there is absolutely no benefit, especially for such a short run, to spend that much on a cable. Even in most analog situations that would be overkill. A $5 USB cable from Amazon will give you exactly the same sound.

2. There is no change in audio quality if you rotate the speakers. However, you may change the positioning audio. You have to figure out the exact shape of the projected sound cone. Most speakers are designed to be operated vertically, and have a wide horizontal reach, but a narrow vertical reach. I'm not sure what the A2s are like. You could figure that out when you get them.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick2253 View Post

Couple things:
1. The AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable is a complete rip off. USB is a digital signal, so there is absolutely no benefit, especially for such a short run, to spend that much on a cable. Even in most analog situations that would be overkill. A $5 USB cable from Amazon will give you exactly the same sound.
2. There is no change in audio quality if you rotate the speakers. However, you may change the positioning audio. You have to figure out the exact shape of the projected sound cone. Most speakers are designed to be operated vertically, and have a wide horizontal reach, but a narrow vertical reach. I'm not sure what the A2s are like. You could figure that out when you get them.

I actually tested a $5 cable and compared it to the AudioQuest and the difference was huge in terms of quality. Have you actually tried one before? I was like, ok I have a $5 cable lying around, no biggy. The stock one broke in the mini-B connection. The sound quality totally knocked out of the water the fiio stock cable along with the the $5 cable by FAR.

Honestly, you'd really have to hear it yourself. The $5 cable's sound is muddy and cloudy. The fiio e7 stock is good. The AudioQuest Cinnamon's cable is where you actually start to have sound separation between the tones in music/movies as well as ultra clear fidelity.

At the time, I ran all 3 cables through a battery of tests of both mp3, flac, wav, and DTS-based audio in 1080p movies.

Verdict:
$5 cable - crap. Was too painful to listen to after a while.
Stock - great for everything! No sound layer separation or ability to hear fills.
AudioQuest - can hear fills as well as having the individual parts of sound become crystal clear. Additionally, I can actually hear the difference between VBR and CBR mp3s when before, no difference was noticeable.

I've never been one to buy expensive cables, but I figured I could return the cable if it wasn't that great. I used the stock fiio cable happily for many months, but the AudioQuest cable really raised the bar with my listening experience, far more than I thought a USB cable would.

Like I said, honestly, you'd have to try one.
Edited by NITRO1250 - 3/8/12 at 8:22pm
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post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by NITRO1250 View Post

I actually tested a $5 cable and compared it to the AudioQuest and the difference was huge in terms of quality. Have you actually tried one before? I was like, ok I have a $5 cable lying around, no biggy. The stock one broke in the mini-B connection. The sound quality totally knocked out of the water the fiio stock cable along with the the $5 cable by FAR.
Honestly, you'd really have to hear it yourself. The $5 cable's sound is muddy and cloudy. The fiio e7 stock is good. The AudioQuest Cinnamon's cable is where you actually start to have sound separation between the tones in music/movies as well as ultra clear fidelity.
At the time, I ran all 3 cables through a battery of tests of both mp3, flac, wav, and DTS-based audio in 1080p movies.
Verdict:
$5 cable - crap. Was too painful to listen to after a while.
Stock - great for everything! No sound layer separation or ability to hear fills.
AudioQuest - can hear fills as well as having the individual parts of sound become crystal clear. Additionally, I can actually hear the difference between VBR and CBR mp3s when before, no difference was noticeable.
I've never been one to buy expensive cables, but I figured I could return the cable if it wasn't that great. I used the stock fiio cable happily for many months, but the AudioQuest cable really raised the bar with my listening experience, far more than I thought a USB cable would.
Like I said, honestly, you'd have to try one.

Having actually taken an oscilloscope to measure the outputs with different cables, there is absolutely no difference. In blind testing, which has been performed, there has been no difference. If you tell people that the cheap USB cable is $500 and the really expensive one is $5, then they report that the cheap USB cable sounds better. This is all confirmation bias.

Now, if you have a bad cable, then yes, you'll get problems. Or if you have a lot of electrostatic interference, then you'll see problems with unshielded cables. But that is not because of a super fancy cable.

Look, USB is a digital signal. Maybe, maybe I'd believe what you are saying with an analog signal. But the "benefits" you attribute to the fancy cable are physically impossible with a higher quality digital cable. The signal is either a 1 or a 0, and the only way you can get "bad" sounding audio is if the cheap cable is bad, and actually supplying a signal that is outside the spec for USB. But it's digital. That means it works or it doesn't. There's no middle ground or gradual improvement.

I challenge you to run a legitimate blind test. Gather together some five or six USB cables, and have your friend use them one at a time in a random order. Close your eyes and listen. You will not hear a difference between cables.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Just to make sure I wasn't going mad, I plugged in my cheap $5 cable and the sound was muddy on a 320 CBR mp3. Even at the time, I had someone else try them out and the AudioQuest cable sounded way better. I'm not trying to sound like a noob or one of those which says the more expensive cable is better, but in this case, the quality of the cable is what actually did it.
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post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by NITRO1250 View Post

Just to make sure I wasn't going mad, I plugged in my cheap $5 cable and the sound was muddy on a 320 CBR mp3. Even at the time, I had someone else try them out and the AudioQuest cable sounded way better. I'm not trying to sound like a noob or one of those which says the more expensive cable is better, but in this case, the quality of the cable is what actually did it.

The problem is that sound being "muddy" isn't something that can be caused by a different USB cable. That would be like me telling you I get a fuzzy image on my TV when I use a different HDMI cord. As long as the cable is carrying the USB signal within spec it shouldn't make a difference what the cable is. The only possible explanation is that the cable isn't in spec, but that would give you garbled audio with what would sound like compression artifacts, not muddied sound. I mean, muddied sound comes from the fact that your source and/or headphones have too long of a transient response for a change in input, which a completely analog phenomenon, and has nothing to do with the quality of the digital input.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ha, you hinted at the HDMI scam! I'll give you that.

And funny thing is that the cable is in spec. Even, as I mentioned earlier, the sound was actually way noticeably better than even the stock fiio cable, which of course was definitely in spec. As for not fully remembering the difference between the 2 cables (fiio and AudioQuest), the fiio cable wasn't 100% broken, just had a loose mini-B; I could still use it, just not move it around in the socket. I overnighted the AudioQuest cable and it came the next day so my exposure between the 2 wasn't as much as a distant memory. Now, when I compared the 2 (stock and AudioQuest) with a battery of audio formats, the AudioQuest did indeed have a noticeable clarity of sound between the other one, and certainly far more than the cheap $5 cable. I know it is hard to even comprehend that a USB cable could have that much of a difference, but it did. I mean, at any time I could have easily returned the AudioQuest cable and called shens, but I didn't. I kept it because it knocked out of the water the stock cable that came with the fiio. Take it or leave it for what it is, that's my experience. You'd have to try one yourself honestly.

For headphones, I'm using the ATH-M50 and I also tested them with a set of HD-555s a few weeks ago for fun.
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post #8 of 19
I'm using a Yamaha RX-Z11 ($5500 receiver) with Revel Ultima Gem 2s ($11,000) and I can tell you I can't tell the difference between 11 gauge star-quad twisted Canare 4S11 and 16 gauge Rocketfish Best Buy speaker wire, or 470-strand glass optical cables or a $5 amazon plastic fiber cable, or various USB cables with my B&W Zep and MM-1.
Edited by astrallite - 3/8/12 at 9:07pm
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post #9 of 19
USB is exactly the same as HDMI: a digital signal traveling over a piece of copper wire. The specs are slightly different (with HDMI having a higher data rate), but not much different otherwise. A 1 is a 1, and a 0 is a 0.

If a cable could really make that much difference, I'd be all over more expensive cables. But my own, objective measurements show no difference is the sound. I'm at a loss to explain how you are experiencing better audio with the more expensive piece of copper wire.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
How are you even on the Internet with that sig rig anyway? tongue.gif That is basically the same specs as my first computer.

I have no idea, but honestly, I do hear a difference, not a major difference between stock and AQ, but enough which made me want to keep it. I've been a musician for a very long time and audio quality has always been in my ears as far as how things should sound, but this cable really changed my perception.

As for that speaker wire, I do know that cable like that would be hard to tell the difference with.
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