Credit: Stephen Watson whatgadget.net
THE AIRPULSE A100 IS A WELL-BUILT BOOKSHELF SPEAKER WITH A 5-INCH WOOFER THAT OFFERS A QUALITY SOUND WHICH IS NEARLY THE COMPLETE HI-FI IN A BOX.
Last year we had the opportunity to review the Airpulse A80 and now we have spent time with the Airpulse A100 which is the upgrade on that model costing £659.
The Airpulse A100 is an award-winning pair of bookshelf speakers as they won an IF Design Award back in 2019. The Airpulse A100 joins the A200 & A300 speakers that make part of the active speaker range. These speakers come in three colours – Black, Red & White.
In this review, we have been sent the white model and when you remove them from the box I was instantly blown away by the look of these speakers they scream elegance and are not too big but are a real statement piece to your office set-up.
The speakers come with a glossy white finish that has a black horn and woofer and measures 160x 283 x 255mm (WxHxD) and they weigh just only 13Kg each meaning they are quite lightweight to move around.
When you remove the Airpulse Speakers from the box you are also provided with a number of accessories and cables such as:
- RCA to RCA
- RCA to 3.5mm Jack
- Optical cable
- USB Cable
- 3M Speaker Cable to link the right to the left speaker
- Power lead
- Remote control
- 2x foam-angled stands – Used to reduce vibration on your desk.
The Airpulse A100 is constructed using 18mm MDF and finished using a piano lacquer and features the same Xmos core as you would find the A300 model and also includes a horn-loaded aluminium ribbon tweeter which adds to the premium build and a 5-inch mid-woofer.
The right speaker has a small display at the bottom which indicates the source you are and you can switch the source by the provided infrared sensor on the small remote control provided.
Moving to the rear the speaker comes with a glossy black oval vent which is a bass port and has been designed to minimise wind noise. Now the right speaker is the master and the left is the slave. The right speaker is where all the controls and ports are on the rear they include 2x RCA inputs labelled AUX & PC, A USB port for a PC connection there is also an optical port and a sub-out option if you wanted to make a 2.1 system. There are also 3 rotary knobs that control the volume, bass and treble. There is also the power switch and AC-Input.
Specification wise the speakers include a digital amplifier with an XMOS processor. The power amplification part is made with 2 pieces of TAS5754 Class-D amplifier that offers a frequency response of up to 40 KHz. To avoid cross-talk between the two analogue ports the A100 uses a relay instead of a semiconductor switch. The SPDIF receiver is the PCM9211 which supports an input sample rate of up to 216 KHz. The Bluetooth audio receiver uses a Qualcomm Bluetooth chipset that supports APT-X decoding.
When it comes to setting up the Airpulse A100 simply plug in the master speaker into the mains and then use the 3M speaker cable to connect the two speakers together and then tuck away the speaker out of view.
Using the speakers is very simple you are provided with a small remote control which allows you to power the speakers, adjust the volume control and change the source. You can also control everything from the rear of the left speaker that has the rotary controls for bass and treble and volume but the downside is you would have to keep moving the speaker to adjust the levels. So the best thing to do is adjust the bass and treble then simply use the remote control for any further adjustments.
Last but not least positioning is important to use the foam stands as it will help with the direction of sound and vibration.
We first used them via the Bluetooth method and tested them by listening to a wide range of music. First up was a deep house album and was given a laid-back late-night feel to it but with a solid bass level that you can adjust at the rear of the master speaker.
I also played some Daft Punk and the A100 and the disco bass did not disappoint they really did sing big and are well-defined with the balance between the hi-hat and the deep symphony of bass that builds to a crescendo.
The A100 can also be connected to your TV using the provided Optical cable and really did enhance my listening experience especially when watching the football it sounded very natural without any syncing issues. We used them when watching the film Black Panther and the A100 speakers offered a real cinematic feel.
Overall, the audio performance was great from start to finish and it was a pleasure the experience. The A100 offers punchy and vibrant sound allowing you to adjust the bass & treble to better suit the genre of music I had on.
Volume wise the A100 was more than loud enough to fill my office or living room and I only had to have them on at mid-volume. If you increase to max volume my next-door neighbour who is hard of hearing might have an issue with the volume at that level.
The Airpulse A100 are a multi-use pair of speakers that can be used in a Bluetooth connection but also work just as well as part of a HiFi system.
It’s surprising how well these speakers sound with the perfectly engineered drivers for the tweeter and dome mid-woofers. This brings the experience that money can’t buy to a much more affordable price range. You can use the speakers via Bluetooth, USB or optical input ideal if you want to enjoy FLAC files as the optical input does a great job in decoding.
The AirPulse A100 is for people who search for the finer nuances and search for a specific detail in the song that they listen to. Once you find that instrument that brings out that detail that has been hiding in plain sight you won’t want to move back to anything else.
These speakers are great when it’s coming towards the end of the day and you just want to listen to some chill-out music. You will struggle to find a better ribbon tweeter at this price.
I would highly recommend these speakers to anyone starting their Hi-Fi journey or anyone wanting an affordable system (£659) that will grow with your listening preferences from Hard Rock to Chill out these speakers will perform every time.