2.0 speakers comparison: Bose MusicMonitors / AudioEngine A2


May 31, 2009
__A Comparative Review of 2 relatively new products:
Bose MusicMonitor 2.0 vs AudioEngine A2 2.0 computer/ Ipod speakers

For All who’s interested:

__I’m looking for a good 2.0 media speakers... and although I’ve found many reviews online for 100’s of different 2.0 speakers... there were only a few comparison reviews... and only 1 comparison on the above speakers from a site in India – that I found not as informative as can be. Here’s a comparative review of these new products. Hope this helps! But first, a little introduction is in order.

I’m a middle aged individual located in Canada. I’ve only recently started to look into Audio – as an active hobby. So I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but do enjoy good sound like one though. I’m in the Printing industry – and I’ve always had an eye for Visuals – PRINT quality, image quality etc – which made me initially consider the visual part of presentations the most important – ie in a HomeTheatre, the widescreen TV is the key element... and what impressed me the most – UNTIL NOW.

I’ve started to notice that the audio – sound part of the equation is just as important... and slowly, it has surpassed my infatuation over the visual elements. Sound is indeed very interesting – quite subjective compared to the very objective visual elements. One can definitely tell the difference between 480p vs 1080p resolutions especially when put side by side... but put sound side by side - - - somehow the ability for one to judge which is better becomes blurred.

Anyways, I’ve started to take note on all the different elements that makes good sound. My audio interests started in Car Audio – adding amp/subwoofer to my 2002 A4...-then to my 2004 Audi S4 – with the Bose system... then now, i’ve got a 2007 G35s with the Bose system... It sounds good-not bad. Home audio, I’ve got an entry level 7.1 Pioneer Amp with Klipsch reference series satellites and sub – it also sounds ok for movies and music... definitely acceptable. Klipsch and Pioneer combo?-bright:p yes.

Now onto computer / Ipod speakers:

__I was very much interested in this department... as i’ve done some DIY 2.1 system with multi-driver setup – which is awesome for music. This is fun, and easy – since i’ve had many older computer setups that were lying around and inexpensive to rip apart. But I’ll admit – it’s not very practical as far as portability. I do travel for work – fly 1-2x per month... and I was in the market for a good, relatively portable 2.0 system. After much research, forums like this one, auditioning the ones that I have access to up here... I’ve decided on AudioEngine A2’s. I do know that there are so many good 2.0 – monitors avail from Genelec, M-audio, Dynaudio, Swan... – just to name a few... I’ve decided to do a comparison to the Bose MusicMonitors – which is probably the newest addition to the 2.0 monitor style –active speakers market. They were readily available for auditioning at the local Bose store and also the Apple store.

At first listen:

__in the crowded Apple store... the Bose MusicMonitors were very impressive. The overall sound was pleasing and loud enough... with good highs, decent bass [for their size] etc... Sound stage / imaging was somewhat lacking, but it was very hard to tell in the crowded Apple store, as you can imagine. So I’ve decided to buy them and bring them home for a closer look/listen. I actually bought them at the Bose store – as the Apple store had a no refund [store credit only] return policy... and to be honest, I’m a PC :p... nothing against Mac... I just prefer PC for my reasons.

Anyways... I’ve already purchased the AudioEngines from London Drugs [$239] [note that Westworld Computers sell them for cheaper!-found that out later...]. I’ve got pictures to show my setup.


__I’ve got my 42” Sharp Aquos LCD TV for monitor... An HP Slimline minitower with quadcore processor [I purchased on a supersale] which has dedicated Nvidia Graphics card -- able to play 1080p movies and it comes with a drive that plays both HD-Dvd and Bluray discs. I also have a Sony PS3 for some gaming – like rockband etc.
I’ve also done some auditioning while traveling with my Dell Xps laptop.
My music for testing is a good mix of Top40, Jazz, and Electronica.
As you all know, the AudioEngines are decent speakers – small footprint – relatively portable [using original box] and has good overall response. Here’s a good link to its review from Stereophile magazine.: Done by Robert A. Reina... which is a lot more credible than I am. There was a lot of praise for its audiophile quality dna – like MDF cabinets, silk dome tweeters, strong woofers [in this case Kevlar]. I’m definitely impressed with them. The sound imaging is very strong! Listening to some of Tiesto Elements of Life, their new album, Keleidescope and some Depeche Mode –All FLAC files - WOW do these image well!

I forget where the sound is coming from! I also believe that they have “flat” sound spectrum response without pulling out sound meter equipment / pink noise ...etc. –even though their lower bass is lacking... these definitely go deep enough according to its size. I won’t go too deep into each speakers’ characteristics – but i’ll try to point out each one’s differences and strengths.

>>>Now onto the important comparisons:

Quality/ Finish:

__As mentioned before, they both are good speakers. Anyone who chooses one over the other – your choice, as they both are good sounding, well built, portable speakers.
The Bose speakers are smaller and more compact / lighter for flying with... they are about 1/3 of the size of the A2. What I might mention is that they both are built extremely well.
The Audioengines are MDF and finish is seamlessly clean. I do like that everything has been considered – including the fully foam covered base of the speakers. The audioengines also sport high quality connectors -5way gold plated connectors. >>The Bose have proprietary connectors – not as “audiophile” quality, but for what these speakers are used for... they should suffice.
Both sport external [laptop style] power supplies – which eliminate power supply heat/interference issues. The Bose speakers have metal [as appose to MDF] enclosure. They are advertised as aluminum... but may be some type of alloy- painted with metallic paint.

__To be honest, I was surprised at the materials used to produce these Bose MusicMonitors. Also fit very well – with no hint of previous bad habits of plastic/ paper drivers/ foam surrounds. I did take a picture of the driver – single driver – which looks like it is some sort of plastic-polymer driver with actual real RUBBER surrounds! Wow! The bass radiators are also plastic with rubber surrounds. I tested the air seal – and they definitely did a good job. I’ve seen Bose drivers before – namely their Acoustimass drivers... these are different... + no LDF!

The AudioEngine A2 have perfectly shaped, seamless Kevlar woofers/silk tweeters and of course, they have rubber surrounds.


__Well, with consideration of what these are – small, portable 2.0 speakers... They both surpass my expectations. They both have great sound. The Bose are definitely a lot brighter*. Less bass. They have a lot more emphasis on the highs. The Audioengines do sound flatter, less bright – but they are definitely there – as specs: they hit 22 khz -+2db.
__At first listen, the Bose sound great!-maybe even better... but after more comparison, more songs played... the Bose lack the low-mids that give “body” to both male and female voices. The Audioengines had this. Also, the highs on the Bose: although they sound good –hitting percussion sounds perfectly... they began to cause listener fatigue. I tried turning the Treble down – using eq on WM player... but after ½hr of playing with the settings, I couldn’t set the eq to yield what the Audioengines did so well: flat response. SRS wow effects helped the Bose mids and bass... but I prefer not to use SRS for music [perhaps ok for movies?]. If you like bright speakers, these MusicMonitors may suit your preference... but they lack bass compared to the Audioengines. Don’t get me wrong though... the BOTH have bass – and it's not even that much... The A2's had more* --- not as much as a dedicated subwoofer... but they do a great job of giving the “beats” justice.
__These A2’s try* to produce the low bass and do a great job of mid-frequency bass –whereas the Bose just gives up and “cuts” the output of bass before they start to distort. This cutting is a double-edged sword. The Bose MusicMonitors do all the eq-ing for you... they increase the highs –so there’s sparkle*... and increases the bass when at low/medium volumes... then at high-max volume, it cuts the bass... so all you get is lots of MID and even more Treble... but YOU WILL NEVER GET DISTORTION – but the speaker controls you...
__With the A2s, you have control...<<Also a double edged sword: When you turn them up high enough on bass heavy music – like Karsh Kale’s Distance – they distort badly. The bass sounds like puking, and the mids begin to clip. Just turn them down a few clicks and or eq the bass lower... and the sound is perfect again.
__Let’s just say that the Bose MusicMonitor is like an Automatic transmission on a car... and the AudioEngine A2 is like a Standard Transmission. The Automatic tranny is very convenient... but the Standard Transmission is more involving, more fun, more control. My past 3 cars have been 5/6 speed manual trannys – they are what I prefer.


__A few things surprised me. Mainly – how good the parts/ quality of parts that the Bose MusicMonitors employ. I’m impressed. Props to Bose for finally swaying away from untreated, small paper drivers with foam surrounds. They still do use small drivers in this set.. but at least they are high excursion, more stable drivers... with 2 passive radiators each speaker – which definitely helps with the lows. I do wish they’d start using tweeters though. Separation is good... but not as good as the Audioengines. Furthermore, the stereo imaging on the AudioEngines were better. The Bose single drivers had image smear – with some of Depeche Mode’s flac files.


__I put price last to consider because these speakers are under $500 cad. This type of $ will not break the bank. If you are a person that likes the brand names... then you’d pay extra$ for the nametag anyway... The AudioEngine A2’s are $239 vs the Bose MusicMonitors $499 cad. Seems like an easy choice to me... but bet you anything that Bose will outsell the AudioEngines month to month!

Comments WELCOME! please!

_______________ Lucidd


Dec 19, 2009

tbf u can get more bass, u should just loosen teh drivers by playing pink noise and white noise, and countrinue to do so, till u reach teh break-in .

then the drivers should be loose enough, and i dont know but the bose may somewhat be more warmer

and the A2 shuld have more bass.


May 31, 2009
hmm... well, I've since returned the Bose... But after 40hrs of usage, the Bose did not become any warmer.
I have however kept the AudioEngine A2's and the bass did increase - and the mids are warmer. Very good sound and I'm extremely happy with this purchase.
I will consider the AudioEngine Ap4 passive speakers next.

Thx. L


Jan 11, 2010
I'm also a big fan of the Audioengine speakers. I've got the A2s but hear the A5s are amazing as well...