Take Flight – Aurender S5W Wireless Speakers Review
S5W – Aurender is quite a huge name in the Audio Industry, and they are well known both with the novices as well as with the ones who’ve been into high-end audio for ages, although Aurender usually focuses on streamers rather than on Speakers. The price for today’s speaker set is 3000 USD, so most comparisons will be with less expensive speakers, but those will include the set from Taga Harmony I reviewed before, as well as A5+ from Audioengine, and Edifier S1000DB.
Aurender is such a prestigious name that you know this review will be interesting in one direction or another, just because they are the company behind this speaker pair. This being said, Aurender is not exactly known for their speakers, but rather for their Streamers and Servers. The idea behind today’s speaker setup, the S5W, is to have a pair of speakers that is completely wireless. This means that there is no connection between the speakers either, like it would be with most Bluetooth enabled Speakers. Instead, they use a little Wifi / Connection dongle that connects either to your computer or your smartphone to play. The speakers rely on batteries, which are easy to find, usually Bosch batteries for power tools, but inside the package you can also find a pair of power adapters, if you want to connect each speaker to a power outlet. You can expect the best of warranties with Aurender, and as you’ll see in the review, the inner parts of the speakers are also top notch, and chances are you won’t need to worry about the warranty for years to come.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Aurender, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Aurender or anyone else. I’d like to thank Aurender for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with Aurender S5W. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Aurender S5W find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
Okay, so here I couldn’t get many photos because, like with most speakers, the package is rather huge. Except for the part where they are really nicely packaged with soft foam to keep them safe, I need to add that Aurender really did include a ton of extras with their speakers, and you will find everything you may need, and even more.
I’m talking about the package including a Transmitter USB dongle, a Manual, two DC power adapters, one for each speaker, a remote control, and even a USB OTG Adapter to use the speakers with your smartphone. Overall, this is one of the best packages I’ve seen for speakers, and there is hardly anything else you may require with your speakers.
Power Supply – DC24V/2A adaptor or Bosch battery 18V/6Ah
Input – Wireless Audio Stream from USB dongle
Tweeter – Scanspeak Illuminator D3004/6020-10 (1 inch, 4 ohm dome)
Mid-Woofer – SEAS Excel W12CY-003 (4.5 inch, 8 ohm)
Bass – Load Bass reflex
Acoustic Sensitivity – 85.5dB at 2.83V/1m
Bandwidth(-6dB) – 50 Hz to 22 kHz
Crossover – Digital Crossover 2.0 kHz 4th. order
Amplifier – Built-in, 2×50 W amplifier
Size/Weight – 220mm(h) x 156mm(w) x 185mm(d) / 5.2 kg
Accessory – Transmitter USB dongle / Manual / DC Power adaptor / Remote Ctrl
Battery – (Bosch 18V /4/5/6Ah) (Battery not included.)
6A(BAT622) 50 Hours, >30 days
5A(BAT621) 40 Hours, > 25 days
4A(BAT620) 30 Hours, > 20 days
Build Quality / Aesthetics / Design / Placement
Okay, so here starts the fun part of this review, because the build quality of those speakers is insane.
I need to start with the fact that each speaker is made of metal, the casing is made of metal. This means that you don’t have to worry about their build in any way and what’s even better, if you have pets and such, the tweeters come with a little metallic grille that will protect them from wandering hands or paws.
Each speaker is actually rather heavy, and those were clearly not intended for portable usage, but rather for a cable-less setup where you can place them anywhere you want, or even take them outside, but those are not walking speakers, like I managed to point with the Vifa Copenhagen 2.0, in my Video Review of it.
The Aesthetics are also stunning, the speakers have a minimal impact on your overall room design, but for what is worth, they look pretty cool. I like the fact that they are black and that they blend in well with the background, at least in my room.
Now, let’s start talking about how they work, because this is why you’re here. First, the battery, is very easy to fit and use. They rely on very easy to source Bosch batteries, and for what it’s worth, those batteries are not overly expensive either, but they are much better than whatever batteries most companies implement in their products, simply because they were designed to last in usage with power tools. I even purchased two batteries and a charger for this review, as those are not included in the package.
Each speaker has a little antenna on the back, which helps it connect to the USB Dongle that feeds it signal. This means that you could in theory purchase bigger antennas if you needed to place the speakers further apart, but in my tests, I placed each speaker at a distance of about 10 meters from the other, and the dongle somewhere in between. The dongle still has connection, at least in my apartment, even when I move one of the speakers to another room, it still keeps singing. The USB Dongle also works with a smartphone, which I found quite lovely, as it means I can simply move the speakers to my kitchen and blast some music while cooking, without having to worry about turning on my computer and using it.
I have taken a few photos of the inner parts of the speakers as well, and as you can see, the work of Aurender is pretty flawless both inside and outside.
When it comes to placement, there are two buttons on the back of each speaker, one for a little bit of High, and one for a little bit of extra Bass. There is also one power button on the back of each speaker, to turn them off while using batteries, so you can enjoy them without having to recharge quite that often. I noticed that I keep the bass boost turned off, and the High turned on in most rooms. Happily, the speakers are not very sensitive to placement, and you will get a very good instrument separation, imaging and soundstage regardless how you position them, and, I could even say that you’ll get a good result even if you glue the speakers to a wall, or place them more mid room. I am able to walk around my room, or even workout, and I still get amazing sound. I did notice, however that the speakers like to be placed as high as possible, my speaker stands are already much higher than most other speaker stands, the s5W sounds even better when placed above my Edifier speakers, so the higher you can position them, the better they sound.
If you’re worried about the battery, it takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to charge each battery, with the Bosch charger, and their life is really really long. Like, even if I forget the speakers mostly turned on, and play them a good few hours every day, and at pretty good volumes, the battery lasts me more than one week.
Overall, the speakers are impressive, very well constructed and put together, the battery life is amazing, and they are easy to use, position, the signal strength is excellent, and I am very pleased with every aspect of their functionality and design.
Here, I should start off by saying that the design of the speakers has some inherent limitations. I am talking about the mid woofer driver, which is about 4.5″ in size, which limits the lows and bass extension a bit. This makes the bass stop at about 70- 80 Hz, so there won’t be much of a sub-bass to talk about with the S5W.
This being said, the overall sound can be described as very punchy, very dynamic, clear, crisp, pretty accurate, slightly bright in tuning, with a smooth overall texture, and very wide / airy, with a top-both treble extension.
The bass is pretty limited in the low extension, and that stops at about 80 Hz, so you won’t hear much sub-bass, and even parts of the bass will feel like there should have been more low rumble delivered to you. But this is a physical limitation of the driver, not an issue with the speaker itself. Where it exists, the bass is very quick, clean, and provides a good amount of punch.
The midrange is very sweet and the textures are insanely good, pretty close to what a flagship headphone can do, and usually speakers need to cost quite a bit more to get the same amount of detail and textures compared to a headphone. The midrange is very sweet, and there is a tendency of the speaker to make everything stand out as sweeter than usual, which works well for pretty much every music style out there. There are no dips or peaks, and I could say that the speaker itself is pretty linear, which means that you won’t hear the mids or voices sucked out, or any instruments standing more forward than it should be.
The treble is the interesting part, because I’ve been using the speakers with the treble boost almost exclusively turned on, leading to a rather sparkly and crisp presentation. There is a slight bright tilt in this setting, and I totally love it. The treble is never harsh or too much, rather, it is very airy and extended in a fun way, leading to a huge soundstage, and to a very holographic presentation.
Speaking of which, the S5W made me understand why some folks would want to invest high amounts in a speaker setup, like, the amount of dynamics the S5W is quite amazing. I only heard such dynamics with pretty expensive headphones and IEMs, and now, finding it on a speaker totally made my music experience better. Although there’s not much of a low bass extension, the punchiness is also top notch, making the entire speaker sound pretty impressive.
Okay, so there may be a few questions about the actual desktop usage of those speakers, as they clearly are not portable speakers. Transportable, yes, but portable not at all.
Starting with the volume, you should notice that you can get them to be loud enough for the neighbors to be knocking on your door, or about 100 dB, but that’s about their limit, and there will be audible distortions if you go too loud with the volume, which is something to take into account with the S5W.
You could use the speakers to throw a little part, with about 20 – 30 guests, and have some music playing in the background, but those are not speakers to blast and most certainly are not concert speakers, so you shouldn’t expect them to rattle your walls, especially considering that the sub low extension is rather limited.
Something else to consider while on this page, is the fact that since the sub low extension isn’t great, you should know that at this point you can’t connect a subwoofer to the speakers, since they connect to your source via their own USB Dongle, and the only way to get a better bass extension is for Aurender to either release a subwoofer, or a new version with more low extension.
The speakers are very stable, and have rather high rubber feet, so they will sit safely regardless of where you place them, and as I pointed out earlier, you can enjoy them regardless of the placement you chose. Aurender even chooses to disclose the names of the drivers their S5W relies on, so you can check with other designs, and see that they are indeed pretty versatile when it comes to how easy to place they are.
One important aspect is whether you can use those speakers to watch movies, and play games, and the answer is yes to both. There is absolutely no lag, and I’ve been using the S5W for both competitive gaming, as well as for watching movies, and I couldn’t detect any kind of delay, even when playing something really fast that relies on very precise timing and sound, like Osu.
Overall, those are amazing speakers, and I am able to enjoy them pretty loud as well, but I wouldn’t name them party speakers, as in, they won’t blow your insides out with volume, but they can get plenty loud without any audible distortion.
There can’t be a pairing part in this review since those speakers connect to their source via their own dongle, which will sound the same regardless what it is connected to, well, unless your digital source has some DSP going on, situation in which they will sound different from your computer to your smartphone, but regardless, I’ll be comparing the S5W with a few speakers I heard and owned throughout the years.
Aurender S5W vs Edifier S1000DB – Starting with the price, the S1000 DB is about 10 % of S5W. This means that it probably has a huge disadvantage, right? Well, it actually does. In terms of sound, the S1000DB sounds compressed, dirty, sucked out, and pretty boring, although they do go a bit lower in the bass, given their larger bass driver. This being said, the bass on S1000DB is pretty dirty, slow and boomy, regardless of how you place them in your room. Of course, there isn’t much of a purpose to this comparison, other than to actually show that a 300 USD speaker pair does have its disadvantages, and the build quality is also not very good on S1000DB, where you can see why the S5W from Aurender costs this much, they are assembled very nicely, sound very nicely, have excellent battery life, excellent extension both ways, and just in general are pretty amazing speakers.
Aurender S5W vs Audioengine A5+ – When it comes to A5+ vs S5W, I can say that at least A5+ from Audioengine are much much better build than the S1000DB from Edifier from the previous comparison. This being said, you can still tell that the S5W from Aurender is made better. The important parts here are that A5+ is pretty much as easy to set up as S5W, but the sound is entirely different. A5+ is thick-ish, has a pretty warm overall midrange, the A5+ also has a pretty forward midrange, and a rather recessed treble, to the point where I wasn’t able to EQ the A5+ to get the kind of sparkly treble, and air I desire. On the other hand, with S5W, you get that amazing treble instantly, and if you need a bit more sparkle, you can even engage their High boost, which doesn’t make the sound more harsh, but just a bit more sparkly.
Aurender S5W vs Taga Harmony 806F – Now then, Time for a comparison with a setup that’s a bit more complicated. You can expect the set up process of the Taga Harmony to take a lot longer than the wireless S5W. Of course, for the price you can expect the S5W to sound much more refined, more detailed, more clear and just more clean overall. The fun part, though, is that when comparing the two, you will notice that the S5W and 806 from taga are exactly opposites. Where I just love the midrange and the treble on S5W, but the bass doesn’t extend well, on the Taga Harmony, they are way too smooth and lack the air and sparkle for me, but they have one of the most impressive bass in that price range, being quite good at delivering a punchy impact.
Value and Conclusion
There’s no denying that the Aurender S5W comes at a pretty hefty price, and they are one of the most expensive speakers I tested to date, but in all honesty I heard speakers costing north of 10.000 USD, that didn’t impress me as much as this 3000 USD setup does, especially when it comes to dynamics, refinement, clarity and how airy the treble is. Indeed, for 3000 USD, you could purchase many other interesting speakers and headphones, but the S5W has a few unique key features that make them easy to recommend, like the fact that you won’t need another Amplifier, as the AMP is built in each speaker, you won’t need to bother about the DAC either, as the only part you will need besides the speakers is the USB Dongle, which, if you lose, you can always order a replacement for.
The build quality of the speakers is quite excellent, as this is a fully metallic speaker, with every part carefully designed, including the inner parts. Quite heavy physically, but also very reliable, in everything, including the strength of the Wifi connection.
The sound is exactly what you’d expect if Aurender made a speaker, a very transparent sound, with excellent clarity, punchiness, dynamics and which is actually pretty linear, pretty much excellence as expected of Aurender.
On this note, the S5W makes it to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as one heck of a wireless speaker, and although they do cost a pretty hefty price, they do bring something new to the table and make an interesting entry in the speaker world for Aurender.
At the end of this review, if you’re looking for a lavish, high-end speaker that is wireless, easy to position around and to blend in with the environment, if you’re looking for a speaker that you can use even to throw a party, or to delight yourself with gentle songs, all the way to rock and metal, you should totally check Aurender S5W, as it really sounds good, even for its price, especially if you like a little less bass in your music, they are punchy where the bass makes itself heard.
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Full Playlist used for this review
We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!
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