The Bottom Line
The Audioengine A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers are an affordable home audio solution that can liven up any living room or office space. While AudioEngine’s A2+ provides a slightly improved audio experience, the A1-MR balances a crisp and clean sound with the added benefit of Wi-Fi. The A1-MR makes for a great all-around home speaker solution that brings great versatility.
Audioengine is known for manufacturing speakers that deliver high-fidelity audio and suffer from none of the sacrifices we commonly see in wireless speakers. Their A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers are the Wi-Fi version of the A1 model, which only supports Bluetooth.
Clean and Slick design
– Attractive black & gray speaker enclosure
– Exposed drivers for a professional look and feel
– Premium jacks, knobs, and controls
Measuring 6.0 x 4.0 x 5.3 inches each, the pair of slick black-gray cabinets each house a 2.75-inch woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter. These Audioengine A1-MR speakers are powered by themselves, with the left speaker holding the amplifier, yet only weighing 3.4 pounds, while the passive right channel speaker comes in at just below 2.5 pounds.
Behind each speaker is where the I/O panels are found, where you can connect speaker wires, power cables or run alternative connections such as RCA and 3.5mm auxiliary. The powered left channel speaker also carries the power and volume controls, placed behind the speaker just above the I/O panel. All the input jacks feel to be well-made, and high-grade components have been used, minimizing electrical noise. The left speaker’s panel also has an LED connectivity status button, saving you troubleshooting time.
Audioengine isn’t fans of speaker grilles, as you’ll often see them showing off their speaker drivers by leaving them exposed, often with a slit-like port running along the bottom of the speaker. The drivers are video-shielded, so electromagnetic energy won’t interfere with nearby older television sets or other devices.
Versatile Connectivity Options
– Wi-Fi, Auxiliary, and RCA inputs are available
– Subwoofer output available
– No Bluetooth compatibility
The Audioengine A1-MR speakers are primarily Wi-Fi speakers, capable of linking to a multi-room network using the companion app. There’s a 3.5mm auxiliary input and an RCA input for analog playback. This provides loads of versatility, as you can link these speakers to a cell phone, computer, home theater system, and so on. For home audio, it will often make sense to opt for Wi-Fi connectivity over Bluetooth, especially if you want to be able to control your speakers from another room in the house.
For Wi-Fi streaming, we, unfortunately, aren’t yet equipped to run a multi-room system, though we have no reason to believe these would struggle to perform as expected. We encountered no connectivity hassles, though some users have mentioned intermittent dropouts when overloading the source device by running multiple applications or web pages.
As for outputs, you can introduce a subwoofer into the system using the subwoofer output found on the left speaker’s I/O panel. If you’re looking for rumbling bass, this is an absolute must, especially since the A1-MRs aren’t particularly generous with low-end energy displacement.
Balanced Sonic Characteristics
– Accurate frequency representation
– Low-frequency energy feels a bit thin; you may want to add a subwoofer
Before we get into how these speakers sound, it’s important to note that you’ll experience varying results depending on how you’re using the A1-MRs and what exactly you plan on achieving. If you’re using them to listen to music at your desk, I’d recommend investing in a pair of speaker stands to bring the drivers to ear level, improving tonal definition. The same applies to home theater applications. However, you could, in most circumstances, get away with stationing them on your TV cabinet around knee or waist height. The placement of these speakers will have an enormous impact on how they sound in relation to your listening position.
The Audioengine A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers deliver well-balanced, warm, and fat sound while still retaining a decent level of crisp definition. It’s clear that some serious effort was put into the low-end reproduction as it sounds fantastic at all playback levels with minimal mud and ‘bottle-like’ characteristics you’ll often hear from smaller woofers. For any style of music, you’ll be able to make out vocal information while it’s still free of sibilance and hissing, and cymbals/percussion instruments cut through a thumping mix nicely without becoming harsh on more top-heavy tracks.
If you’re looking for earthquake-like bass, you’ll need to connect a subwoofer to the system, which will not only get you the results you’re looking for but those using the Audioengine A1-MR speakers for movie playback will be taken to another level of immersion.
What does the companion app offer?
– Assists with stereo speaker pairing
– Localized music storage
– No equalizer feature
The Audioengine companion app takes the pain out of calibrating and pairing your devices each time you plan on using them. Once you’ve linked your Audioengine A1-MRs to the app, you can allow permission to view various files and other applications to stream your music. For iPhone users, you can stream audio to the system using Apple Airplay.
While the companion app is useful for keeping your music libraries and streaming services in one place, I feel it doesn’t offer much benefit as opposed to simply pairing and using your music playback apps as usual. The app also doesn’t include any additional features like most others, such as an equalizer, be it interactive or with presets to choose from. While the Audioengine A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers don’t really need it, in my opinion, some users may find it useful to calibrate the tonal properties of the speaker further.
How does it compare to the a1 model?
As mentioned above, the main difference between the A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers and their predecessor, the standard A1, is the inclusion of Wi-Fi connectivity instead of Bluetooth. While Bluetooth tends to offer more versatility for speakers which get moved around a lot, having a pair of dedicated speakers tied to your Wi-Fi network will give you more range, as you can control your speaker from any location in your house that is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
The Audioengine A1-MR Wi-Fi speakers deliver crisp, full-bodied, and well-defined audio over wireless or wired connections. They are reasonably priced considering their features, build quality, and tonal characteristics and will prove to provide countless hours of entertainment in any home-based listening environment. The use of WiFi instead of Bluetooth connectivity means that you’re going to be getting more range in typical use.