Speakers: 2 x 1.9cm tweeters, 1 x 10cm woofer
Amplifier: 40W Digital class D
Dimensions: 13cm x 25cm x 15cm
Inputs: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm aux, ethernet, RCA
Streaming: Spotify Connect, Apply Airplay,
As we’ve mentioned, there’s very little to distinguish the C5A visually from the C5 – but that is in no way a criticism. If you were as beautifully put together as the C5, you’d probably want to stick with your look too.
The idea is for it to become an unobtrusive and elegant presence in your home – hence it comes in white, battleship grey or black. While the gold control panel on top makes it feel like the kind of middleweight home speaker you’d pick up from Oliver Bonas.
That control panel includes buttons for power, source selection, Bluetooth toggling, pause and play and four preset playlists, plus an aux in jack, but doesn’t feel cramped at all. There’s an extremely satisfying action to those buttons too.
No, it’s not a dealbreaker. But it does add to the overall vibe of a solidly built and properly considered bit of kit. See also, the handle on top of the case for shifting the thing around: it’s a sensible addition which helps balance the overall look of the speaker too.
The microphones which pick up your commands to Alexa are set behind the handle, at each end of an LED volume indicator which also lets you know when Alexa’s got her ears pricked up – that’s the only tweak to the C5A from its predecessor. It all sits together extremely nicely.
Aside from whether it looks nice on a shelf in your kitchen this, really, is the only thing that matters for the Addon C5A. You’re not about to take it to the park with you, unless you’ve got an extension cable – as unlike the C3, there’s no rechargeable battery on the C5A. But other than that, there isn’t much, really, that it can’t do.
The bass fills a room even at low levels – though it needs a little tweaking from its out-of-the-box settings to coax it into life, as the treble gets lost in the bass rumbles – and there’s a level of expressiveness to the sound picture which punches way, way above the C5A’s weight and price point.
Metronomy’s It’s Good To Be Back showcases the Addon C5A’s strengths: even with layers of acoustic guitar, it’s remarkable how composed, coherent and satisfyingly full it all sounds while also pulling out the subtle accents in the production that give the whole thing a propulsive feel.
There are a couple of minus points. Streamed radio sounds pleasingly crisp, though perhaps lacking a touch of that fullness. The audiobook of Bob Mortimer’s …And Away streamed from Audible sounds decent enough but has a tendency to crackle a little.
A couple of times over our testing period we noticed the streamed radio briefly drop out before coming back in, but the vast majority of the time it was as solid as a rock.
Software and features
The only downside to the C5A that we can see is the fact that it brings you into the orbit of Audio Pro Control. The dedicated app which allows you to fiddle about with the EQ and your integrated music and radio apps is a bit of a stinker.
The app allows youto set up your WiFi and Amazon Alexa, and you can name your different speakers, tweak the bass, treble and volume, set favourite playlists and sleep timers, and set any alarm clocks you need. But, it’s a bit ugly and wobbly, and there are online complaints abound about how fiddly it can be to get the thing to hook onto your WiFi and to link and unlink speakers.
While we didn’t have any of those problems, there was certainly some lag between app and speaker.
The microphones in the C5A are sensitive enough to hear a call of, “Alexa: play Radio 1,” from downstairs, and one other extremely handy feature is the inclusion of a USB port for charging your phone, tablet or whatever else while you’re streaming from it to the speaker.
The verdict: Audio Pro Addon C5A speaker
As you might have guessed, we really, really, really liked the Audio Pro Addon C5A. The power and detail of its sound immediately puts it toward the top of its class on its own, and it can handle pretty much any genre you can throw at it with aplomb.
On top of that, it’s a lovely thing to look at and feels like it’s built with the intention of taking up residence in your front room for the next several decades. We wouldn’t bet against it making good on that either.