What We Like
- A phenomenal design that feels luxurious, solid, and robust.
- A compact form factor which is versatile and does the job.
- The sound presence exceeds expectations, and quality is broadly good.
What We Don’t Like
- The bass is not as deep as some would like it to be.
Audioengine has made a name for itself in the realm of powered speakers, and crossing the chasm into passive designs is not without its dangers. Let’s take a look at how their flagship P4s hold up to our tests.
One of the first things you will notice when taking a look at the P4s is that they are available in three different finishes. This is fairly unusual for audio equipment at this price range, as it is often not until a few more price brackets upwards that you start to see real care and attention taken towards visual aspects of the design. Down here, function is king. Usually. And it’s nice to see Audioengine marrying it with form in offering a sleek black, Apple-esque white, and stylish bamboo design. Quite often, any custom finishes at this price range are merely a veneer over MDF, but not here: if you order the bamboo, the whole build is made entirely from bamboo. It looks and feels fantastic.
Coming in at just 9 inches in height, this is certainly a compact speaker. And not an inch of it goes to waste in the design. It’s efficient without ever feeling under developed; elegant without being ostentatious or showy. In short, the design is pretty great.
Aside from the hand built, custom finished cabinets which we have discussed at length above, the P4s have a few other nice touches from Audioengine which go a long way towards creating a very solid finished product. As well as silk dome tweeters, the woofers are partly comprised of Kevlar. You will also find gold plated binding posts which is a cool addition. Threaded inserts on the back of the speakers allow it to connect to most wall mounts which are sold on the market.
Included in the box are drawstring cloth speaker bags for transportation or storage, as well as some high density foam isolation pads which are attached to the speakers. Both of these are nice included extras, and certainly have their uses across a variety of cases.
All of this is great, but it is fairly meaningless if the P4s can’t hold their own in the audio department. Luckily, they manage to hold their own and then some. The sheer scale of the audio delivered from these compact speakers is surprising, and the sound has a great amount of presence even without maxing out the volume.
The P4s excel especially in delivering music. And specifically vocals which sound defined, clear, and almost as if you were in the recording studio. Mids are an easy match for any competitor, and may exceed a lot of what is on offer. The treble response threatens becoming too bright, but manages to restrain itself for the most part.
The only minor disappointment is that the bass, as you might expect from a pair of speakers of this kind of size, is a little lacking in depth and occasionally becomes a tad lacking in detail. It isn’t quite muddy, but the articulation of the mix tends to fall off the lower we go. Some of this depends on the equipment you have them hooked up to, but having tested across several devices, some of it is also just a natural by-product of the speaker’s form factor.
The P4s are a fantastic looking pair of speakers which perform well above average in a variety of situations and applications. Versatile and refined, the listening experience lacks some depth in the bass, but is otherwise extremely strong.