Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker

8.3 Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker REVIEW

Pros

  • Easy controls
  • Incredible sound quality
  • Easy pairing

Cons

  • No track control
  • Expensive
DESIGN
EASE OF USE
PRICE
SOUND QUALITY

High-quality audio portable speaker.

This time of year we all become a little more active. I know I find myself ready to head into the great outdoors. But, before I do, I want to make sure I can take my music with me wherever I go. One of the easiest ways to do that is to have a portable Bluetooth speaker that can go anywhere you can. A couple of months ago, one of my favorite audio equipment companies, Audioengine, announced the release of the 512 Portable Wireless Speaker and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to test out this fantastic little speaker.

DETAILS

The 512 Portable Wireless Speaker is a Bluetooth capable speaker that has the ability to stream a user’s favorite music from any device. It comes in two different colors — black and forest green. The speaker retails for $169 and is sold through Audioengine.com and amazon.com. The 512 has a 12-hour playtime from its built-in Lithium Ion battery. Audioengine includes a 2.6-foot Micro USB charging cable and a quick start guide with the speaker.

Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker REVIEW

Audioengine created the 512 with the intention of making a powerful, handheld speaker that could reproduce sound better than other portable speakers its size. It has a wireless range of up to 100 feet (30m) and comes equipped with an aux audio input and custom, full-range transducers. The speaker is made with a high-impact polycarbonate cabinet with perforated metal grills.

SPECS

  • Type: Portable Bluetooth speaker
  • Amplifier type: Class D
  • Power output: 20W RMS total (10W RMS per channel), AES
  • Drivers: 2” woofers with advanced voice coils, 3″ x 1.75″ passive radiator
  • Inputs: Bluetooth, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack analog
  • Battery life: Up to 12 hours music playing time
  • Battery charge time: 5 hours to 100%
  • Input bit depth: 16-bit
  • Bluetooth receiver type: Bluetooth 5.0 audio
  • Analog input impedance: 10K ohms unbalanced
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz – 20kHz
  • SNR: 90db
  • THD+N: <0.5% @ 50%
  • Input Voltage: 5.2V DC, USB power
  • Supported Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP
  • Wireless operation range: Up to 100ft (30m) outdoors, 30ft (10m) typical/average indoors
  • Wireless Latency: ~30 milliseconds
  • Dimensions: 3”(H) x 7.75”(W) x 3”(D)
  • Weight: 2.5lbs
Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker REVIEW

IMPRESSIONS

The speaker came in a simple box with Audioengine branding on the outside. There are very few details included on the box and the speaker itself doesn’t come with many accessories. One of the things I noticed about the speaker right away was that it has a lanyard loop on one end, but doesn’t come with a lanyard. This was odd to me since most speakers that have a place for a lanyard come with that accessory. I also thought the weight of the speaker was also something I noticed right away. At 2.5 pounds, it’s on the heavier side of portable speakers, too. The JBL Pulse 3 speaker is approximately 4 pounds while the UE Boom 3 is only 2.15 pounds.

The speaker controls are something else that I found intriguing. There is a play/pause button, Aux mode button, +/- buttons, a Bluetooth pairing button, and power button. According to the quick start guide you can adjust the volume using the +/- buttons and the play/pause to play and pause audio, but there are no controls for advancing or reversing tracks. This meant that I had to go back to my connected device to change tracks. Most Bluetooth speakers have some sort of track control even if it’s multi-function button. I hope that in a future version of this speaker that Audioengine will adjust the design to allow for track control.

Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker REVIEW

Even though I found some issues with the design, the sound quality of the 512 speaker is outstanding. I watched several different streaming videos through it and thought people were easy to understand and soundtracks were rich and full. I placed the speaker in the center of my desk just under my monitor and played music through it, too, and it actually sounded like surround sound. I also have the Audioengine A2+ Wireless Desktop speakers and at one point I wasn’t sure where the audio was coming from — the 512 or the A2+.

There was one other issue I found with the 512 and it was a strange glitch with the volume. At times the speaker played the connected device’s volume at an amplified level. For example, the volume level on the device would show 50%, but the speaker was playing it at 100%. When you press the volume +/- button on the 512, the volume would equalize to the correct level. This wasn’t something I would consider a deal-breaker for this speaker, but it was definitely an oddity.

Audioengine 512 Portable Wireless Speaker REVIEW

FINAL THOUGHTS

Even though there are portable speakers in the market with more features (i.e. waterproof, additional control buttons, etc.), the sound quality of the Audioengine 512 is what makes this speaker really shine. While I don’t know that I would want to take it on many outdoor adventures, I would certainly use it to entertain around our property and inside our home. It has a great range of rich sound and its volume is beyond compare. I do feel that the price is a little on the high side for a Bluetooth speaker, but know that the sound quality is top notch.

For more information, visit audioengineusa.com and Facebook.

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