That phrase, “you get what you pay for,” is most commonly applied to a situation wherein one purchases an item for a low price, only to find the quality of said item to be severely lacking. In this case, however, I am referring to the other implication of that phrase. The Audioengine B2 is by no means, at $299, a cheap Bluetooth speaker. After a good deal of time with it, though, I can confidently assure you that you are in fact getting what you pay for with the B2.
When the folks at Audioengine offered to send me a B2 for review, I was expecting something perhaps just a little larger than most of the cheaper Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed here at Tech Dissected in the past. What I found instead upon its arrival was a hulking beast of a thing, measuring 4.25”(H) x 12.25”(W) x 5.50”(D) and weighing in at nearly ten pounds.
The Audioengine B2 packs some seriously high-quality components, and those components are not light. You’re not going to be walking around with this thing listening to it, but for those looking for a superb sonic experience that is still small and light enough to take with you and set up easily wherever you go (as long as there is a power outlet nearby, there is no battery in there), you can’t go wrong with the B2. It even comes with a nice microfiber bag to help protect it from dings and scratches while transporting it.
Setup of the B2 is super easy, just plug it in and flip the power switch and it automatically goes in to pairing mode. Select it from the Bluetooth menu on the device you want to serve the music from, and you’re good to go. You can alternatively connect it to an audio source through its auxiliary analog mini-jack input using the included 1.5 meter cable.
As far as sound quality goes, the Audioengine B2 is in a class of its own compared to any other Bluetooth speakers that I have ever heard, thanks in part to its use of the aptX audio codec, along with high-quality components including a hand-built wood cabinet, custom Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters, and a Texas Instruments PCM5102A DAC. The EQ is just a tad bass/midrange heavy for my tastes with the magnetically attached grill on the front, but removing the grill added just enough extra clarity to provide for a sublime listening experience, making the B2 currently my favorite device for careful listening.
Aside from providing intimate, detailed personal listening sessions, the Audioengine B2 can also crank, making it the perfect party speaker for any situation where high-end audio equipment is not already present. It can easily get loud enough to fill a decent size room without distorting, and provides plenty enough punch in the bass regions for folks to get their dance groove on, if that’s your thing.
All-in-all, the Audioengine B2 is a beautifully crafted, excellent sounding Bluetooth speaker filled to the brim with high-end components. If you can afford the $299 asking price, you can rest assured that you will absolutely be getting what you paid for.