I am in the company of the Monitor Audio Gold Airstream S150 Anniversary Bluetooth Speaker, as I review and type. The Airstream S150 Anniversary celebrates 30 years since Monitor Audio’s breakthrough Gold Dome Tweeter, introduced in 1986. This Bluetooth Speaker is just that, a simply great sounding speaker with no frills or, importantly, choices. It is just a really really nice Bluetooth Speaker.
Basically, I cannot articulate the design concept any better than the blurb on the press release, so brace yourself….
The compact S150 is constructed from a mineral-filled polymer for excellent rigidity and damping to form the ideal acoustic environment for the cluster of four specialised drivers, comprising a proprietary gold dome C-CAM® tweeter flanked on angled baffles by dual 3”-CAM metal cone bass drivers augmented by a rear-firing Auxiliary Bass Radiator (ABR). The C-CAM drivers are powered directly by dedicated Class D amplifiers, generating forty watts in total, which are fed by a high resolution DAC and optimised by intelligent digital processing to ensure the ideal balance of detail, dynamics and dispersion within Bluetooth range.
There we are. So the speaker itself is a Bluetooth 4.0 with aptXTM system allowing you solely to stream music (or radio); what I like particularly about this speaker is it is just Bluetooth so there are no choices with it, just pair and listen. There is a USB charging output to save you plug space but apart from that and a 3.5mm jack input for non-Bluetooth things that is it. It has a high-resolution DAC and advanced Digital Signal Processing. There is a 1⁄4” UNC (20tpi) thread insert at the back for wall mounting. The S150 Anniversary comes in a gold finish that is very stylish indeed.
S150 Anniversary Specification
You will see from the specification below the low-frequency response is not really there, so if you are after a room shaking bass response you are in the wrong place but, listening to Mos Def, as I am now, the sound and low-frequency responses are adequate.
Frequency Response: 80Hz – 25kHz
Maximum SPL: 99dBA (both channels driven at 1W@1m)
Power Output Bass: 2 x 25 Watts / Tweeter: 10 Watts
Driver Complement: 2 x 3” bass drivers with C-CAM metal cone technology
1 x 20mm Gold C-CAM dome tweeter
System Configuration: ‘Race-track’ profile ABR (Auxiliary Bass Radiator) rear mounted
Auxiliary Input Impedance/Sensitivity: 10kΩ/ 300mV
Signal to Noise: SNR 92dB
A.C input voltage: 90-264V (auto-range)
Amplifier category: Class D
Power Consumption: 0.3Watts (standby) 40Watts Maximum
Works with: Any Bluetooth device
Bluetooth version: 4.0 with aptX support.
Colour/Finish – special anniversary edition gold
Weight 2.26Kgs (5lbs)
Approvals ETL/ CE/ Fcc/CB/ Erp
S150 Anniversary Performance
My review sample was suitably run in so it was plug and play. I have been listening to this S150 Anniversary every day for a good week now in the kitchen, my office, in the bedroom, everywhere. I have been using it partnership with my Nexus 5 phone streaming Tidal, mainly, TuneIn Radio and PowerAmp.
I have found I am using the speaker a lot for many reasons.
- It is just Bluetooth and it pairs easily, the aptX is as good as I have heard. Bluetooth is often dull in my experience, not here
- The vocal is crisp and precise so the radio, commentary and news, are clear as a bell
- The sound is big enough, for kitchens and the like
- Volume control is in hand
- There is no remote control to lose
- It is eminently portable
In respect of soundstage, the speaker has a presence, it is loud, and you can turn it up without distortion so that is great. There is no imaging to speak of, given it is a single point but since I am not going to listen to it critically, I see no problem. I have found the bass to be lacking but I am being a touch picky here as it is fine in everyday listening. As I have mentioned I have found the vocal to be exceptionally good and clear. The detail from the speaker is remarkable. Listening to the ‘Jazz Giants’ playlist on Tidal there is plenty to hear in the music and I am very keen on this presentation. The speaker dynamics and their precision are also noteworthy, just listen to the punchy execution of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” on this S150, amazing.
The detailed audio presentation is a notable feature
I find the quality of this S150 to be very good indeed. The detailed audio presentation is a notable feature and the simplicity of the offering is to be commended, I really like this speaker and paired with Tidal they are fine companions. At £150 it is a very good value purchase, as it seems to me… 10 out of 10 for me. __________________________________________________________________
Monitor Audio’s Airstream S150 Anniversary Special Bluetooth speaker is retailing near £150.
For more information, visit: www.monitoraudio.co.uk