This is my review of the AirPulse A200 Active Speaker System, interesting for me because it has a balanced input.
One of my very first reviews was for the original Edifier Spinnaker Bluetooth speakers, many years ago, 2013. They were lovely and I described them as ‘dock busters’ at the time. The review is still here. AirPulse and Edifier are now related through investment from Edifier. Phil Jones is the AirPulse chief designer and he has now leant his considerable expertise to these AirPulse A200 Active Speakers. Phil Jones was a founder of Acoustic Energy in 1987 too, so there is pedigree in this product with not just Acoustic Energy and Edifier but also Phil Jones’s expertise in bass player amplifiers.
Out of the box
The speakers come double boxed, always a good start with each speaker wrapped in its own cloth bag (even better start) before being placed in a plastic carrier, there’s no scrimping here and perfect delivery is assured.
The AirPulse A200s are active speakers, meaning they have the amplifier built into (in this case) the right-hand speaker that processes the signal that then drives itself and the left speaker through a 5 pin DIN interconnect cable. This means there is a power source and the interconnect provided in the box, as well as a remote. Various ancillary cables are included for connecting sources. All in all it is a nice package that is well thought out.
Connectivity choice with these speakers is really very good. They offer stereo RCA inputs and stereo balanced XLR inputs. Also included are optical and coaxial inputs for digital sources. Finally, there is Bluetooth connectivity.
Tweeter: Phase Correction Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
Mid-Woofer: 5.5″ Aluminum Cone Neo Power Mid-Woofer
Power:L/R(Treble) : 10W + 10W, L/R(Min-Range and Woofer) : 55W + 55W
Signal-Noise Ratio: L/R:≥90dB(A)
Input Sensitivity: Balance Input 1000±50mV，AUX Input 550±50mV，Bluetooth Input 1000±50mFFs，Optical Input 350±50mFFs，Coaxial Input 350±50mFFs
Frequency Response: 46Hz-20KHz
Input Interface: AUX, Balance Input, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth
Cabinet Size (WxHxD):203 x 355 x 295 (mm)
Net Weight: 19 Kg(42lbs)
The quality of the speakers in touch is very nice indeed. There is a very smooth cabinet to facia interface and the front is neatly presented in matt black with the hex screws holding the ribbon tweeter and woofer very neatly indeed. There are substantial rubber feet that are particularly reassuring.
While I’m here, the remote is neat, small (lose-able?) but neatly formed and it feels good in the hand. It is better than most I have to say and it controls the inputs as well as volume. There is a mute button that is easy to find.
I’m using my networked Oppo Sonica DAC with balanced cable output to the input terminals. Separately I’ve played with the RCA inputs using Atlas Mavros interconnects. My source is Tidal premium mainly. I’ve used my Nexus 6P for Bluetooth mode.
Oppo Sonica DAC with balanced cables
I have to say that initially I was a bit non plussed with the sound. However, I realised that I had the speakers way too far apart (2m plus) and I was gearing up for a big room sound that was not fair at all on these speakers. So, first conclusion, these speakers are for near field listening, and they are good.
Repositioned a meter or so apart, on stands, and everything is better and how it should be. I am bound to say at the start they are a fraction bass light for me, this is interesting because Phil Jones is a bass player. I had a play with the tone controls on the back of the right speaker and I managed to the balance I was after following not too much tweaking. There is also a volume level button on the right speaker too, after which you can use the remote or your source to manage your ears.
Finally, bass control is pretty good and the speakers are performing nicely. Back to Yo-Yo Ma’s ‘Inspired by Bach’ music and the cellos sounds is deep, full and delightful. I’m finding the speakers very musical and delightfully tight and fast. Wow! Have a listen to Omer Klein’s ‘Blinky Palermo’ to hear tight pianos, rhythmic plucked strings and jazzy beats and to hear the best of these speakers.
I am finding the soundstage rather narrow and I need to have the speakers at ear level to get the best stage I can find, the speakers are quite ‘toed in’, I’m thinking the ribbon tweeter is the reason for this where I am more used to KEF’s Uni-Q drivers. Once you are in the sweet spot, though, these speakers offer a nice sound and solid image and they feel very rhythmic.
Having said all this there is bags of detail in here from the speakers. These are some of the best pianos I have heard at this price level. Bruce Hornsby’s ‘The Way It Is’ sounds great and the detail is really good.
Bluetooth with Nexus 6P
The Bluetooth connectivity is good and easy to do. I don’t think you are buying these speakers for their Bluetooth connectivity at this price range but it is a useful input and compliments their functionality.
if you think about the fuss of buying amplifiers and cables and the like these are very competitive
These guys are quite pricey, but overall I’m pretty impressed with the vibrant image and detailed sound here. There’s plenty of power here and they turn up nicely and if you think about the fuss of buying amplifiers and cables and the like these are very competitive, price-wise. There is the convenience of less wires to think about too. I think, if you are looking to buy these because they are active, they’re a great solution for you. The wide range of inputs are really excellent and it is a big thumbs up with the balanced input option if you ask me.
They go loud
The remote is neat
There was a bit more in the bass
The speakers are retailing at £799 and can be purchased from Amazon. I’ll get further retail detail later and will post as I get it.