For the past few weeks I’ve been testing the Audioengine B2 Bluetooth Speaker.I’ve long been a fan of Audioengine products, I have a set of their A2 speakers (now replaced by the A2+) in my home office and have a B1 Bluetooth Receiver connected to speakers in my living room. Over the few years I’ve been slowly replacing my AirPlay based home speaker system with Bluetooth alternatives as I’ve found AirPlay’s range and reliability to be less than desirable. The B2 is a standalone bluetooth speaker and makes a nice addition to my setup.
Audioengine is known for premium quality sound at reasonable prices. You can certainly buy cheeper speakers bluetooth speakers, and portable bluetooth speakers have their place. But I doubt you’ll find a better sounding, or better looking, bluetooth speaker than the B2. The speaker pairs simply with a push of a button and has a hidden antenna on the back to extend the range. With the antenna and the speaker centrally located I was able to walk around my 3-bedroom (single floor) and maintain a solid connection.
I’ve been using the B2 in my bedroom for the past few weeks and have been using it primarily for listening to podcasts and Christmas music. While I am by no means an audiophile, the sound quality both of music and spoken word content is noticeably superior than on the Jawbone Jambox I previously used as well as an iHome speaker dock I keep by my bedside. With an admittedly untrained ear, I’d say the B2 sounds just as good if not better than most wired speaker sets. Audioengine prides themselves on their custom built components. In addition to quality and clarity of sound, the B2 also can pack quite a punch. It will easily fill a room with sound. I found when sitting on my dresser in a large bedroom the B2 would more than fill the room with sound and even when on a moderate setting could be heard over the sound of exercising on an elliptical machine.
The B2 comes in an all wood cabinet made in a couple of different finishes, Black Ash, Zebrawood or Walnut. The speaker screen connects with a series of magnets and is removable depending on your preference. Personally, I prefer the more modern look of the B2 without the cover. At $299 the B2 is more expensive than many bluetooth speakers but with the B2 you’re getting a very different class of device. While you can buy many portable bluetooth speakers for half or a third of the price, this is one that you will be proud to make a permanent fixture in your room.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive travel bluetooth speaker, there are a slew of options. But for a higher-end speaker that will pack great sound and look gorgeous in your home, the Audioengine B2 is hard to beat.