Audioengine recently released their latest product the N22 desktop amplifier. The N22 is a compact, high-end desktop amplifier which retails for $199. At first glance, its sleek design certainly stands out. The components are enclosed in a stylish satin-black cabinet that is only 7 inches tall, 5.5 inches deep, and 2.75 inches wide (4 inches wide at the base). The large silver volume knob on the front makes it super easy to adjust volume. The small, minimalistic design makes it easy to fit the N22 in any bookshelf.
The N22 runs at a cool 22 Watts per channel and is designed for compact/bookshelf speakers such as Audioengine’s own P4 speaker set (which I will have a review for coming soon). The amp features two audio inputs—one stereo minijack and one pair (left/right) of RCA jacks—as well as a power-only USB port for charging an iPod or iPhone. I should note that while it does have a USB port, the N22 does not support USB audio or data transfer. The back of the N22 also has variable-level preamp outputs, as well as gold-plated 5-way binding posts for connecting speakers.
What do all those inputs allow you to do anyway? Well, you can easily connect your iPod, iPhone, computer, speakers and/or headphones directly into the N22. All of which end up sounding great. I tried connecting my iPhone, headphones, and a pair of the AudioEngine P4′ and let me just say — Wow. I’m impressed. The N22 also sports a high-end headphone output (using the Burr-Brown/TI OPA2134 op-amp) designed for higher-end headphones. In my tests with a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones, I was quite pleased with the performance and sound. However, it should be known that most any headphones or earphones will work fine, especially for a more casual listener.
For those of you (like myself), who tend to either forget to turn off your gear or just like to leave it on, the N22 amp will also go into a power-saving mode after a period of inactivity. Audioengine also includes speaker wire, a 1/8-inch miniplug-to-miniplug audio cable, a set of RCA audio cables, an external (auto-switching, international) power supply, and nice gray cloth carrying bags for the amplifier and accessories.
The Audioengine N22 at $199 is hard to beat, it is one the best amplifiers in its price range. Of course, as with all AudioEngine products, you can test out the N22 for yourself for 30 days (what they call the 30 day audition) and if you’re not completely satisfied with it you can return it for a full refund. So why not try it out?
I would like to thank Audioengine for sending out the N22 for review.