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Audioengine N22

Desktop audio amplifier

17 Reviews | 1 question - 4 answers

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Our take on the Audioengine N22

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.

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.

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

Awesome product. Can't go wrong with this unit and the Audioengine D1 to make your computer audio a must have listening experience. Just need good speakers. I'm using Klipsch reference series 5-1/4" bookshelf speakers and it sounds fantastic.

PAS, Alabama

Featured Video:

What's in the Box:

  • 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

Product Highlights:

  • 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

Audioengine N22 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

17 Reviews

Great Product

Written by: PAS from Alabama on October 11, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Awesome product. Can't go wrong with this unit and the Audioengine D1 to make your computer audio a must have listening experience. Just need good speakers. I'm using Klipsch reference series 5-1/4" bookshelf speakers and it sounds fantastic.

Pros: Great clean power. Small footprint. Use good cables.

Cons: None so far.

audioengine n22

Written by: larry from Pennsylvania on August 23, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

excellent amp haven't had any problems--want a little more punch? this amp will do it



The best!

Written by: CHITOWNKICK from Illinois on July 16, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These speakers are great. These speakers, paired with the NAD 7050 and a set of Mediabridge ULTRA Series Speaker Cables yield a great system for a very, very reasonable price, < $1300. I'm very happy with this system.



Excellent Headphone Amp for Work

Written by: Bearcat86 from Fort Worth, TX on February 3, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This amp does what I intended to use it for. I needed a little more punch to my iPod while listening through headphones at my work, but I have very little space available on my workstation. I toyed with the idea to use a portable amp but just really wanted something that is continually powered and available when I needed it. This design is simplistic and unobtrusive so it is not a distraction for me or anyone around me. I currently listen through ATHM50s, and the music sounds excellent and seems to be presented as it is recorded. I mainly listen to Jazz, Metal/Rock/Pop and Acoustic recordings. As mentioned in some reviews I read, you will hear the inferiority of some recordings, i.e. some crackling and popping, but there is not any noticeable distortion via the amp during quiet passages. I also intend on purchasing higher end headphones which I read can be directly wired to the speaker amps (like the HiFiMan He-6) if I need more power, so I feel I'm covered for any purchase down the road. I also have dual input from my iPod and computer so that I do hear notifications as they come into my computer. I wish I knew about this amp earlier, I would have used it for my home computer and bought the complimentary AE P4 speakers and subwoofer.

Pros: Compact design, simple aesthetics, small footprint, powerful enough for any headphone, reasonable price, vast improvement to iPod/MP3 player amps, dual inputs.

Cons: None for my intended purpose.

Excellent Amp for Some Applications

Written by: Rob from Fresno on October 25, 2014

With all of the inflated specifications prevalent in the home audio industry the sound that 22 watts of honest, well refined power will get you is impressive. For the last few years I've been using this amp to drive a pair of inefficient (83DB) AV123 ELT525M's and it's more than up to the task. I've also used this on a pair of larger Polk RTI-A3's and the amp performed equally well but while approaching it's power ceiling to achieve a comfortable but loud listening level in a medium sized room. The headphone amp is a very useful feature and drives my Grado SR-80i's impeccably. The upright configuration is excellent for a desk and overall it's a good looking amplifier. If you need it, the subwoofer output allows you to pair your bookshelf speakers to a powered subwoofer for a more complete 2.1 listening experience. The volume knob is a bit cheap looking, but not too bad. Overall the N22 is an excellent amp to drive a pair of bookshelf speakers whether for a desk, or if you prefer or are restricted to a more compact stereo system. While solidly built it isn't constructed with the most elegant materials, but for it's price and size it's difficult if not impossible to beat.

Pros: Capable of accurately driving just about any modern bookshelf speakers to a loud volume. Good looking. Upright configuration saves desk space. The integrated headphone amplifier is very capable. Easy to set up and use.

Cons: It looks good, but not great. It would be nice if Audioengine produced a successor or alternate with a more premium design. Bluetooth connectivity would be useful for some applications.

Great Desktop Amp

Written by: gman from Baltimore, MD on August 5, 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.

Pros: - 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


Audioengine N22

Written by: KeithK from Fairbanks, AK on 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.



Audioengine N22

Written by: daveh239 from Sun City West, AZ on February 5, 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.



Little Black Box of Goodness

Written by: WDH from Frederick, MD on 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.

Pros: 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.

Cons: 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.

Perfect for My Application

Written by: MikeLBC from Long Beach, CA on 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.

Pros: Small Feature Packed for the Size Plenty of Power

Cons: None

High quality sound; low quality construction

Written by: Rich from OH on 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.



Little Engine That Could

Written by: David from York, PA on 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.

Pros: sound, cost, looks, easy install, ability to run powered sub, large volume knob

Cons: none so far

Simple and Powerful

Written by: Accuraty from Champaign, IL on 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!

Pros: The sound is clean and powerful, just what I wanted and expected.

Cons: 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.

Audioengine N22

Written by: Anonymous from Wisconsin on February 1, 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.



Great Desktop Amplifier

Written by: Schlepnik from Fort Wayne, IN on 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.

Pros: Compact size and quality build.

Cons: There is no hash mark on the volume dial.

Excellent clarity and value

Written by: NuvoUser from Minneapolis, MN on 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.



Audioengine N22

Written by: James from Afghanistan on 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!




Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download the Audioengine N22 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

Features and Specs

Performance Specs
Watts RMS per Channel (8-ohms) 22
Watts RMS per Channel (6-ohms) Not given
Watts RMS per Channel (4-ohms) Not given
Frequency Bandwidth 20-22k
THD 0.02%
Minimum Impedance 4 ohms
Signal to Noise Ratio 95
Digital Music Features
Built-in DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) No
High-resolution Audio Playback No
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Total Analog Inputs 2
Phono Input No
Optical Digital Inputs No
Coaxial Digital Inputs No
USB Input No
Preamp Outputs Stereo
Headphone Output 3.5mm
Dimensions and Warranty
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


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

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

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 huge...

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Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I have had a pair of Audio Engine A5+ powered speakers hooked up to my computer at home for a couple of years and have been very impressed with the quality. I needed good power in a small package for a desktop system at work. The N22 seemed like the obvious choice. [ Michael  Feb 03, 2016 ]

1 question already asked

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 ]