Airpulse A100 – Active Speaker System Review
Edifier is well known for its relatively inexpensive multimedia products. But for many years, budget speakers have not been the only direction of the manufacturer’s work; he has solutions for real audiophiles in his line. And one of these products is the youngest in the line active speaker system Airplus A100, which today appeared in our review.
Such audiophile systems are produced under a subsidiary brand – Airpulse, which makes it possible to make a clear distinction in systems for a wide mass of consumers and audiophiles. It all started with the fact that ten years ago the company’s management decided to explore new market segments and invited several well-known foreign specialists to cooperate. One of them was Phil Jones, a musician and loudspeaker designer with a vast amount of experience.
Phil Jones is best known as the creator of the Acoustic Energy AE-1 near field monitors, which are used extensively in renowned studios. While he work at Boston Acoustics, Phil launched the Lynnfield acoustics line, and in the late 90s, he created American Acoustic Development company, which designs and manufactures acoustics and amplifiers. In 2002, Phil founded another company – Phil Jones Bass, which specializes in the development of amplifiers for bass guitars.
Phil Jones provided the knowledge, Edifier provided the production facilities, and the result was Airpulse branded acoustics, which inherited a number of features from professional monitors. First of all – a proprietary horn ribbon tweeter with own design. At the same time, the system is quite adapted for home use: it has a remote control, a range of wired connection options, its own DAC, and even Bluetooth (with Aptx) support. Today we will talk about the most compact and relatively affordable model in the line – Airpulse A100.
The packaging is fully consistent with the premium device. The speakers came in a box made of unpainted cardboard, on which the name of the acoustics and brief characteristics were applied.
The speakers in the package are held in place by foam inserts and additionally packaged in fabric bags – given the glossy finish, such a precaution would certainly not be superfluous.
Cables and remote control are supplied in a separate box with a plastic cradle, where they are neatly stowed. Everything is covered with a transparent lid on top – it looks great, and it’s convenient.
The package includes two speakers – active and passive, plus many accessories:
- interconnect cable
- power cable 2 meters long
- USB A to USB B cable
- RCA to RCA cable
- RCA cable – 3.5 mm minijack
- optical cable
- thick foam speaker stands
- velcro cable tie
- remote control with battery
- additional speaker feet
- fabric gloves
- napkin for wiping
The manufacturer took care of the user as much as possible. There are even spare legs and gloves, not to mention very useful stands made of thick foam rubber, which allow you to get rid of unnecessary vibrations and slightly tilt the front plane of the speakers.
The length of the interconnect cable is 3 meters, which is enough to place the speakers wide and achieve a pronounced stereo effect. Everything is done very solidly, 5-pin connectors are used, the total diameter of the braided cable is about 8mm.
The optical cable also looks decent, silicone plugs allow you not to worry about the cleanliness of the connectors. Length – 1.5 meters.
The RCA cable – 3.5mm with minijack has a length of 1.7 meters, the connectors are “gold-plated” – everything is as it should be.
All the same can be said about the RCA-RCA cable. But at the same time it is long: 1.5 meters.
The USB A to USB B cable is pretty standard, looks just like other its counterparts. Length – 1.7 meters.
The remote control is compact, with nice rounded edges. It is powered by one CR2025 baterry, which is included in the kit.
Well, a nice bonus – fabric gloves and a napkin for wiping the glossy case. It is no more prone to touch stains than other varnished surfaces, but such care from the manufacturer deserves really high praise.
The Airpulse A100 available in three colors – black, white and red. We had a white version. The design is discreet, but at the same time very attractive due to the rounded corners of the case, the lacquer coating and the contrasting color of the emitters.
As we mentioned above, thick foam rubber stands are supplied with the A100, which help to get rid of unnecessary vibrations, and at the same time tilt the front plane of the speaker. This will be useful in desktop placements in close proximity to the user in order to point the speakers towards their head rather than their chest.
The speakers have a completely glossy surface. Nice, but requires regular maintenance, the dust on the columns is visible immediately and from afar. There are small rubber feet on the bottom. Well perform their function.
The active speaker is equipped with a number of indicators, to the right of which you can see the Hi-Res logo.
The name of the speakers is printed in the lower part of the passive speaker.
Top horn ribbon emitter with neodymium magnet designed directly by Phil Jones. The inner opening of the horn is covered with a metal mesh.
Below is a five-inch woofer/midrange driver with a high-strength magnesium-aluminum alloy diaphragm.
Below the speaker is a small screen showing the active input. And there is no other information there.
On the back of the active speaker there is a connection and control panel.
The passive speaker in this place has a small panel with a port for connecting to the active one.
The oval hole of the phase inverter is brought to the rear panel, so it is not worth placing the speakers close to the walls.
The body of the Airpulse A100 is made from 18mm thick MDF and is completely lined with wavy foam on the inside.
Connect the speakers to each other as usual. The Airpulse A100 has many options for connecting to sound sources, all connectors are located on the rear panel. There are two analog inputs with different sensitivity – Aux and PC (450±50 mV and 550±50 mV respectively). Plus an optical digital input and a USB-B connector.
When connected to a PC via USB, the speakers are immediately identified as an audio device and do not require the installation of additional drivers. The maximum supported sampling rate is 192 kHz, as stated by the manufacturer.
Wireless connection via Bluetooth 4.1 is supported – the version is not the latest, but the acoustics were released quite a while ago. But aptX is supported, today there is no way without it. Of course, we would like the HD version of this protocol, however, the regular version is also quite good.
Bluetooth connection is carried out in a standard way: after activating, the system tries to connect to saved devices, and if it fails, it activates pairing mode. We note the presence of an RCA output for connecting a subwoofer, which will certainly come in handy for lovers of deep bass and those who want to use the Airpulse A100 as a home theater component.
The rear panel has the power button and three controls. The uppermost one – the encoder without limiting the angle of rotation changes the volume, and when pressed, switches the inputs. The bottom two – potentiometers with limited rotation angle are responsible for adjusting the level of high and low frequencies. These settings cannot be adjusted using the remote control. Which is a little inconvenient, given the location of the handles on the back panel.
The remote control is extremely simple, and the size is small. On top is the power button, then we see a wheel that allows you to select inputs with a single click. Below are three more keys – volume control and mute. In the hand, the remote lies well, the buttons are pressed with a pleasant effort and a noticeable click.
Airpulse A100 sound really good. The big name of the creator in this case is not only a part of marketing, but also a really tangible difference in sound delivery in this price range. The presence of a ribbon tweeter and not the lowest price also did their job.
However, it is clearly not worth demanding much from a not too big speaker – there is only a hint of deep bass, nothing more. As noted above, if you still need it, an active subwoofer that can be connected separately can help here. On the other hand, the low-frequency range itself is well developed and completely devoid of mumbling – on the contrary, it has punch and speed, which are excellent both in double bass playing and in continuous kicks on bass drums in high-speed rock styles.
At the same time, the low-frequency range does not violate the overall balance of the mix and does not interfere with the perception of the mid-frequency register, which is fed quite smoothly. The musical material sounds, albeit not very smoothly – after all, we are not dealing with studio monitors, but you cannot refuse it in naturalness. At the same time, the detail is much higher than we used to expect from acoustics of this size and price category – here the Airpulse A100 really surprises.
The ribbon tweeter, which the manufacturer specifically announced, is also at its best here. High frequencies are not too bright, completely devoid of their traditional problems and give out a very detailed sound – the case when you can hear the smallest nuances of tracks, but at the same time not feel annoying accents in the high-frequency range. The tonal balance as a whole is built very well, the sound is soft and comfortable.
Rich equipment, wide connectivity and chic appearance – all this Airpulse A100. Well, the sound is worth every cent and maybe even more. Of course, you can’t call this acoustics budgetary, but in terms of cost-quality ratio, it clearly outperforms most competitors in its price segment. Note that only owners of large tables can consider the Airpulse A100 as desktop acoustics, although the manufacturer clearly hints at just such a use, adding dense foam rubber stands to the kit, allowing you to slightly tilt the speakers. But if you manage to place them on the table, otherwise they will not disappoint. Definitely our choice.
Airpulse A100 Specifications
- Tweeter: Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
- Amplifier System: Digtal Amplifer With Xmos Processor
- Frequency Rang: 52Hz-40KHz
- Input Mode: AUX, PC, USB, Optical, Bluetooth.
- Sub Out: 1200mV(max)
- Cabinet Size (WxHxD): 160x288x273mm
- Packing Size(LxWxH): 494x343x377mm
- Mid-Woofer: 5 inch Aluminum Cone Underhung Design Neo. Power Mid-Woofer
- Power Output: L/R(Treble)10W+10W, L/R(Woofer): 40W+40W
- Signal-Noise Ratio: L/R:≥90dB(A)
- Sample Rate Input Sensitivity: AUX:450±50mV PC:550±50mV, USB:400±50mFFs, Optical:400±50mFFs, Bluetooth:500±50mFFs
- Mains Voltag: 100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz
- Net Weight: 11Kg(24.2lbs)
- Gross Weight: 13.5Kg(29.8lbs)