AudioEngine P4 Speakers

Look at dem speakas!

Visuals:

The AudioEngine P4, a cheap speaker to be sure, but I have only heard good things about this brand. Got the chance to borrow a pair for a few days for testing, and jumped at the opportunity.

The packaging is a bit over the top with synthetic velvet bags and draw strings.. yet the speakers don't come with grills, little bit of misplaced priorities in my opinion.

The box is supposed to be 3/4 inch MDF, and it feels like that's the case. The outer texture is a grippy kind of rubberized plastic that hides finger prints and looks sharp. The woofer looks just a hair familiar..

It's a different driver for sure, but it's possible that Micca pulled inspiration from these speakers.

The tweeter is a very tight weave dome that looks great. Wave guide and trim ring are injection molded plastic and the tweeter waveguide has got a very sharp vertical angle that I have not seen on other dome based waveguides.

Listening Impressions:

These have to be the biggest disappointment so far. I was actually pretty stoked to get to review something that is not directly from the bottom of the barrel. Expectations are like that, these just hurt my feelings they sound so bad.

Here is the story.. I would say these speakers sound like apple ear buds, but that would be insulting apple ear buds.. there is a missing chunk from the midrange is so bad that it makes me physically ill. I'm listening at my new desk setup where because of the tight space I have them 1 foot from the front baffle to the rear wall and they still cannot get it together in the lower midrange. I've spent 4 hours now working on positioning toe-in/out, etc.. but I can't get rid of the tonal problems. This is embarrassing for $250. They sound is quick, but that is quite possibly because of the fact that is it just skipping over anything hard to produce at speed.

These waveguides are the definition of shouty. My guess is this is a product of some random dillhole making a thing that looks like a waveguide to stick a tweeter in, it's really bad. JBL will work for years on each wave guide that they produce.. this was someone's afternoon in front of a 3d modeling program while eating a sandwich and listening to headphones more than likely.

The bass response seems absent and the 58Hz could not be a bigger lie. These things are lucky to hit 80Hz, and they are definitely not +-3dB anywhere below 1k. By my ear the upper midrange and treble are bubble shaped, but reasonable flat, everything else is shit, piles and piles of shit. If this is the same voicing that they have on their other products I would avoid all of them like the plague.

The P4's are loud, "clear" and horrible. I keep turning them down when anything that I like comes on because it is just ear piercing. This is not good, on any scale. If these speakers were mine and cost less I would calmly disconnect them and bring them to the front yard and hit them with a baseball until it was nothing but wires and wood pulp.. take that and hang it in the front yard as a warning to other speakers.

...but we can fix these, they have a crossover.

Looks like someone got drunk and forgot a few parts of the crossover, this is embarrassing and audioengine should be publicly shamed for putting out a product like this. The blip from 10k-20k is from the horn loading and the close mic measurement.. it can be ignored.

Anechoic measurement before the first reflection. I could not get more resolution than this because of the weather. But the results are very similar to what I had been seeing with the close mic measurements

DSP correction profile. This is the worst driver integration I seen from any of the speakers I've tested. To not at least level match the drivers and make sure they are crossing over at the same point is ridiculous. Both speakers measure the exact same way, and it matches other measurements I found on the web so I know this is not just an anomaly of poor quality testing.

Corrected Listening Notes:

Overlapping vocals on Chemical brothers The pills won't help you now are correct, although a little bright. Drums are good. highs are hot, but not in the way, just exposed details. Phase issues, or port issues are bothering me about the bass response. The bass extension seemed to be hiding behind the overdone treble, it's out of the way so the speaker actually sounds deeper.

Toe-in/out is a big tweak, it help roll off the treble quite well. Good lord these are nice now, just hit the right amount of toe in and the imaging solidified. Damn near perfect near field projection. Bass is still a bother, but that's just a part of a small ported package. I'm done, these are good it's a little sharp at 4k still, but that's not really all that bad on most recordings. These actually sound a little warm once corrected flat like many flat dome based speakers, a product of dispersion no doubt.

Final Thoughts:

The audioengine p4 looks like it was designed to be a good speaker, and then my best guess is that some idiot in the marketing department said "make them louder and have more bass" at the point of frustration the engineer just pulled the resistors off of the tweeter and move the port tuning higher to create a shouty mess that smothers the lower midrange and bass extension. These were forced to sound wrong, and this "voicing" is a disaster. It would be a great speaker if they just took care of the problems that they created. In a living room you might be able to ignore some of what I've seen here, but it's not going to be right. Near field I would stay very far from these unless you plan on applying the DSP corrections.

Corrected they sound great. I have not heard many speakers in this price range, but these sound excellent after the DSP is applied to them. I would say I'm about +-1dB above 700Hz and you can't ask for much better than that. Bass is still a mess with the correction, but it sounds pretty good for what it is.

Click here to get the DSP correction file for these speakers.



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