Audioengine N22

Desktop audio amplifier

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Item #: 772N22

Review Summary

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Expected: 10/30/2014
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Our take on the Audioengine N22

by Jim Richardson

Everything you always wanted in a stereo receiver, except the radio

An integrated amplifier is essentially a receiver without a built-in AM/FM tuner. You get power to drive your speakers, audio controls, and inputs for music source components. Connect an iPod, a computer, a network music player, or any other device that can play Internet radio, and you may find you have no need for an AM/FM radio.

Conventional wisdom says audio components must measure 17" wide. Audioengine has a better idea. The narrow, vertically oriented N22 amplifier fits easily on your desk, bookshelf, or kitchen counter.

Don't let its compact dimensions or unusual shape fool you. This amp delivers 22 legitimate watts per channel, enough to drive most bookshelf speakers to very satisfying volume levels in a small room. If you're sitting at your computer, with your speakers an arm's length away, you'll have power to burn.

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When the baby's asleep, and you just can't crank your speakers, plug in a set of hi-fi headphones. The N22's high-performance, low-noise headphone amplifier will make them sing.

The N22 is refreshingly simple to set up and operate. You get inputs for two analog audio sources and one knob for power and volume. That's it. If you're storing all of your music on a computer or an iPod®, what else do you need? A built-in USB power port lets you charge your iPod while you listen to your music. (The USB port is for power only, not USB audio or data transfer.)

The N22 includes a preamp output, so you can easily connect a powered subwoofer or Audioengine W3 wireless adapter.

Both audio inputs on the N22 are always on. There's no need for an input selection switch. The standby idle mode conserves power when you're not playing music.

Need speakers, too? The N22 is a perfect match with Audioengine's P4 passive bookshelf speakers.

From the review Audioengine N22 desktop amplifier
"If I were listening to a high-end audio system in my den, I'd expect to hear all of these tonal colors shine across a wide, deep soundstage. It was a pleasant surprise to hear it all while sitting in front of my computer, especially from a combination of amp and speakers that sells for around $450. For not much more than the cost of a good set of powered speakers, the N22/P4 system gives you a big step up in sound quality."

— Jim Richardson, Crutchfield Home Content Managing Editor


  • 22 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (20-22,000 Hz) at 0.02% THD
  • built-in high-performance headphone amplifier
  • 1 pair RCA analog audio inputs
  • 3.5mm stereo minijack audio input
  • 1 pair RCA analog audio outputs
  • USB charge/power port
  • 5-way binding post speaker connectors (pair of 5.75-foot speaker wires included)
  • power-saving idle mode
  • detachable power cord
  • 4-1/16"W x 7-1/4"H x 7-5/8"D
  • weight: 3.5 lbs.
  • warranty: 3 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) 22
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) ---
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) ---
Frequency Bandwidth 20-22k
THD 0.02%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 95
Number of Inputs 2
Phono Inputs No
Preamp Outputs 2
Width (inches) 4-1/16
Height (inches) 7-1/4
Depth (inches) 7-5/8
Weight (pounds) 3.55
Parts Warranty 3 Years
Labor Warranty 3 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Integrated amplifier
  • Power supply with attached 6' DC output cord (17.5 volt/1.8 amp)
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Two 70" Speaker wires (each with tinned bare wire on both ends)
  • 38" RCA patch cord
  • 78" Stereo mini-jack cable (3.5mm stereo mini-jack connector on each end)
  • Cloth drawstring cable bag
  • Cloth drawstring power supply bag
  • Cloth drawstring amplifier bag
  • Setup guide
  • Audioengine product brochure

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.


Overview: The audioengine N22 is a desktop amplifier with a headphone amp built in. There are two inputs, stereo RCA and stereo mini-jack, along with RCA preamp outputs and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

USB Port: On the back of the amp there is a powered USB output. Its purpose is only to power or charge a USB bus-powered device; for example it will charge an iPod but not control the iPod, and the audio signal is not transferred through the USB port. Audioengine offers wireless adapters (item numbers 772AW1 and 772AW2, sold separately) that can be powered using this port.

Inputs: There are two analog inputs, stereo RCAs and a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, both on the rear panel. The N22 has no input selector switch, so both inputs are live simultaneously; only one should be turned on at a time.

Speaker Outputs: The speaker terminals 5-way binding posts; they will accept pin connectors, spade connectors, single and dual banana plugs, and bare wire up to 12 gauge. Two 70" lengths of 16 gauge wire are included (with no connectors).

Preamp Output: The variable stereo RCA preamp output can be used to add an external amp, a powered subwoofer, or an audioengine wireless adapter (item numbers 772AW1 and 772AW2, sold separately).

Volume Control: The rotary power/volume control is on the front panel. It controls the volume for the speaker level, preamp, and front panel headphone outputs; turn fully counterclockwise to turn the unit off.

Headphone Output: A 3.5mm (1/8") headphone jack is on the amp's front panel. The speaker and preamp outputs are automatically muted when headphones are plugged in.

Rear Panel Connections:

  • Power: DC input for use with included power supply; 17.5 volt/1.8 amp
  • Input A: stereo RCA
  • Input B: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
  • Line Output: stereo RCA; variable; muted when headphones are plugged in
  • USB Port: powered USB type A; output only (no audio input)
  • Speaker Output: left and right 5-way binding post terminals; muted when headphones are plugged in

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Audioengine N22 desktop amplifier

Audioengine N22 desktop amplifier

by Jim Richardson
Audioengine N22 desktop amplifier

I've been a music nut since I was still in short pants. If I had a nickel for every hour I've spent in my den, listening to records and CDs through my hi-fi system ... I'd have a...

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Audioengine N22 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

12 people say:

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5 out of 5

Great Desktop Amp

Written By gman, Baltimore, MD on Monday, August 05, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
Great desktop amp! I have the psb Image B4 speakers with the psb SubSeries 125 subwofer. The B4 speakers are not that efficent. I had the nuForce Icon amp, which was nice but I don't think it had enough power for the B4's. With the Audioengine N22 I am getting the quality I wanted.
- Sounds great for what it is - Small amp, good for desktops - Drives the psb Image B4 speakers - Has preouts for subwofer - Headphone amp is built in
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Audioengine N22

Written By KeithK, Fairbanks, AK on Friday, February 15, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
I use this amp to drive a pair of NHT SuperOne speakers at my computer desk and it works well. I'm very happy with the sound quality. I have my iphone connected to the RCA inputs and my computer connected to the mini-jack input. I do, however, have a couple of nit-picks. One is that the USB port does not charge either of my iphones. When I plug the phone into the port I get a message on the phone that says "Charging is not supported with this accessory". I don't know if it's a problem with the settings on my phone or if I have a defective amp. But I can live with it. The other nit-pick is that the volume knob does not rotate as smoothly as I am accustom to on my other audio gear. It rubs against the face plate. But this is a made in China budget item and, again, it's something I can live with. Bottom line is the amp sounds great.
2 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Audioengine N22

Written By daveh239, Sun City West, AZ on Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
We needed a small amplifier for headphones because of a hearing problem. Otherwise, we had to turn the tv volume too loud. The Audioengine N22 was the perfect answer. It is small and attractive with clean simple attractive design. We did not find another amplifier that was as simple to use and as attractive.
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5 out of 5

Little Black Box of Goodness

Written By WDH, Frederick, MD on Thursday, January 24, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
I needed an amplifier for my Audioengine P4s that sit on my desk. What drew me to this one was the elegant design (it matches the P4s well in looks and function) and the pre-amp output on the back of it. You see, I don't want to fiddle with two different volume knobs between my mains and my sub (Klipsch SW308). So, the volume knob on this amp controls both such that the ratio between mains and sub is always the same. In general, the back panel is very well adorned, with RCA and 3.5mm inputs, a pre-amp out, and a USB charger there in case you need 'em. I didn't have any of the build quality issues that another reviewer had; everything arrived in perfect condition, and it's all quite sturdy. The volume knob feels good, and that's important since I use it several times a day. I thought I would miss a marker on the knob, but I don't; my ears know where the volume is. The blue LED is dim; good thing too, because I didn't want a reading light. Now, I believe that most good solid state amps will sound good as long as you don't clip them, and this one sounds like a good, solid state amp with my speakers and my headphones - clear and musical. The headphone jack on the front is a nice touch and very accessible. The amp is vented on top, but it never gets hot. 22 watts is not a lot, but it's plenty when the speakers are three feet from me. I haven't needed all 22 watts in the two weeks I've been using it, and I doubt that I ever will. A good buy.
Tastefully simplistic. The pre-amp out is great for a sub. Real binding posts! Sounds better than my Cambridge Soundworks amp. I didn't pay for frills that I don't use. Handy headphone jack on the front.
No DAC, but if you've already got a good DAC, you won't care. Would really like to have a low pass filter for the pre-amp out so that I don't bother sending very low frequencies to my mains.
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5 out of 5

Perfect for My Application

Written By MikeLBC, Long Beach, CA on Sunday, January 13, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
I have a small flat panel TV in my bathroom which is about 7' away from the shower so I couldn't hear it when I was taking a shower. My bathroom is small with very little counter space so I immediately decided on a ceiling speaker. I installed a Polk Audio SC6s speaker which allows for left AND right channel connections and ran the wires into a linen cabinet in the bathroom and hooked it up to the audioengine N22. I hooked up my TV using RCA cables and an old smartphone using a 2.5mm jack which then uses wireless access to Pandora. As for the sound, I am extremely satisfied. The N22 packs a lot of great features in a very small package.
Small Feature Packed for the Size Plenty of Power
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3 out of 5

High quality sound; low quality construction

Written By Rich, OH on Friday, November 30, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
First, the obvious and most important claim: The sound IS all it is praised to be. I purchased the N22 through Crutchfield in March 2012 along with a pair of Infinity 153 bookshelf speakers to drive my computer desktop audio (primarily CD-to-FLAC source), and have since added a pair of Grado headphones to my desktop experience. The N22 provides clean power to both outputs across the entire scale from dead-silence to max volume with no noise or distortion and little perceptible increase in heat output. There is little I can add to the already glowing reviews about the quality of sound from the N22.

What I had not read in previous reviews that has caused me to downgrade the N22 is the "Made In China" build quality. On my unit the rubber feet which hold the N22 in its upright position were not molded uniformly, so the amp wobbles when handled. The volume knob assembly is not set correctly to the interior board, so is visably cockeyed to the left. The 1/8" audio jack is similarly cockeyed, only to the right, and the interior spring/bypass for the 1/8 headphone jack seems finicky such that removing the headphones from the jack sometimes does not trigger the bypass for speaker-out, so I have to reinsert my headphone plug about halfway and wiggle it to restore audio signal to the speakers.

I don't believe my unit is "defective" in the literal sense, but there is little attention paid to fit/finish in these N22 units which is disappointing at its price-point.
9 out of 11 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Little Engine That Could

Written By David, York, PA on Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
so far so good. bought from the outlet website as an open box item. no issues so far, but have only had installed for about a week, have listened for about an hour each day and love what I am hearing. my computer audio system consists of an HP Pavilion Entertainment Laptop, with an AudioEngine D1 DAC. I had M-Audio AV-40 powered speakers, which I still love, but was looking for a little more bass without having to add a subwoofer. decided to use an older set of Polk Monitor 30 Series II speakers along with the AudioEngine N22 . so far it seems to be a very good pairing. the Polk Monitors are a superior speaker to the AV-40's and the N22 has proven to have enough power to drive the Polk's to volume levels that fill my entire town home without distorting. the sound from the Polk's is as good as I remember when running them with an old Adcom 60wpc amp. the N22 does not run hot, has no noise and is great looking on my desk. it is bigger than it looked in pictures, but I love the large volume nob. still not sure if I will need a sub or not, but it will be an easier decision since I can plug one right into the back of the N22 line out jacks. so far I am enjoying Pandora more than ever and my old Polk's all over again thanks to this little engine.
sound, cost, looks, easy install, ability to run powered sub, large volume knob
none so far
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5 out of 5

Simple and Powerful

Written By Accuraty, Champaign, IL on Saturday, August 11, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
I've wanted a way to get real sound out of my PC for years. I sorely missed being able to really feel music with depth and nuance that went beyond crudely amplifying the bass. Added an Asus Xonar DG card, this N22, and put a pair of 20 year old Klipsche KG 2s back in to service. I could not imagine being more satisfied for the small amount of money spent!
The sound is clean and powerful, just what I wanted and expected.
Hack: had to use a sharpie to put a small dot on the volume knob. Maybe I am old fashioned in needing such things though.
3 out of 4 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Audioengine N22

Written By Anonymous, Wisconsin on Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
Crutchfield, as usual, delivered on time. Product met my expectations for a small package integrated amplifier. Plenty of power to drive ceiling speakers in the kitchen using my iPod.
1 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Desktop Amplifier

Written By Schlepnik, Fort Wayne, IN on Saturday, January 21, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
This amplifier might be small in size, but it certainly delivers lots of clean power. The compact design fits nicely on the desktop. It's good looking too.
Compact size and quality build.
There is no hash mark on the volume dial.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent clarity and value

Written By NuvoUser, Minneapolis, MN on Sunday, August 21, 2011
I hooked this up to receive signal from an integrated whole-home audio signal, and it's been just great. Abundant power, very clean sound. It has a very solid, classy look and feel and high-quality haptics on the dial. Very pleased.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Audioengine N22

Written By James, Afghanistan on Saturday, February 19, 2011
Aside from having a stylish design, the AudiioEngine N22 Desktop Amplifier has
brought out the best out of my Sennheiser PX 360 BT headphones. connected to an
Iphone4G, the N22's integrated headphone amp significantly increased sound output,
tightened up the bass and smoothed out the midrange and highs over the Iphone's
headphone circuitry.
I'd best describe this amp's sound as clean, loud, and well detailed. You get plenty of
bang for your buck with this quality Desktop amp. Highly recommended!
3 out of 4 people found this helpful
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1 question already asked

I'm looking for a small amp to use in a room that's roughly ten feet long by seven and a half feet wide. It will be used mostly for playing jazz and classical recordings at moderate volume. I would be listening from four to six feet from the source, with the speakers, type as yet undetermined, on small desktop stands roughly spaced the same distance apart. I just wanted some opinions on whether 22 watts is enough power to fill that space, and if the N22 can be utilized as a stand alone amp (sans computer) effectively?Thank you so much for your input. [ Brian  Dec 08, 2013 ]
4 answers
  • Speaker sensitivity has a huge impact on how powerful an amp you need. With hi sensitivity speakers (90+db) like the Klipsch, you got plenty of power for a room that size. It can work as a stand alone amp. Just a volume control, no tone controls. [ PHILIP   Dec 10, 2013 ]
  • This amp has been sensational! I use it primarily for jazz too while working at my computer. It will certainly fill the size room that you are describing. As for power, it's going to depend on the type of speakers and how efficient they are. I'm using two bookshelf Focal Labs and they sound amazing. They are somewhat power hungry so, I, on occasion with get some dropout due mostly to the lack of continuous RMS to carry the load. Beyond that, I highly recommend this amp. [ STEPHEN V   Dec 09, 2013 ]
  • The Audioengine N22 is certainly powerful enough if you are using efficient speakers like the Audioengine P4s. I also play a lot of classical music and the volume levels are fine. I also have not been able to detect any distortion or other bad things. [ LLOYD   Dec 09, 2013 ]
  • Brian, I bought the N22 about a year ago to use in my private office at work. My office is about 15 x 15 feet. I have my computer plugged into the N22 with all my digital collection on a USB disc. I am playing it through two 2002 Definitive speakers. I can't turn it up more than 1/2 without it becoming painful. I have been very happy with the unit. The speakers may make a difference, then are both powered. Another nice thing is you can add a small sub, I haven't done this but have considered it. The other units I looked at were very expensive. Like I said, I have been very happy, great sound and definitely loud enough. I hope this is helpful. Mark T [ MARK R   Dec 09, 2013 ]

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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Audioengine N22, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_772N22/Audioengine-N22.html ).