The Airpulse A100 active speaker system has gained attention for its outstanding sound quality, but it also offers several intriguing aspects beyond its audio performance. From its global branding variations to the mysterious ownership of the manufacturing company, the A100 keeps enthusiasts and audiophiles curious. Moreover, the involvement of renowned loudspeaker designer Phil Jones and the connection to Andrew Jones, another notable speaker designer, adds to the intrigue. Additionally, the A100's versatile positioning as both a hi-fi system and a desktop speaker for computer use provides further topics for investigation. In this blog post, we delve into the captivating features and delve deeper into the background of Phil Jones while exploring the performance and design of the Airpulse A100.
Who is Phil Jones?
Phil Jones, the designer of the Airpulse A100, is a highly accomplished figure in the world of loudspeaker design. Born in the UK in 1954, Jones developed a passion for music from a young age, focusing on the bass guitar and building his own instruments. He became fascinated with loudspeaker design at the age of 16, driven by his curiosity to understand the intricacies of speaker construction. After studying bass guitar at the Welsh College of Music and working in the electronics field, Jones gained valuable knowledge and experience at various loudspeaker companies. His dedication and expertise eventually led him to found Acoustic Energy, Platinum Audio, Phil Jones Bass, and American Acoustic Development (AAD).
Design and Construction
The Airpulse A100 boasts a thoughtfully designed cabinet constructed with 19mm MDF, providing a sturdy and acoustically optimized structure. The internal surfaces of the cabinet, except for the rear panel, are covered in high-density acoustic foam, further enhancing the overall sound quality. With its bass-reflex design, the A100 features a large elliptically-shaped horn-style port located at the top of the rear baffle. The drivers, including the horn-loaded ribbon tweeter and the bass/midrange driver, demonstrate the speaker's commitment to quality. The ribbon tweeter, designed by Phil Jones, is a genuine ribbon tweeter and is protected by a stiff black metal mesh. The bass/midrange driver, featuring an under-hung voice coil and a neodymium magnet, is rebated into the front baffle, ensuring seamless integration.
Electronics and Amplification
The Airpulse A100 utilizes Texas Instruments' TAS5754M Class D IC-style amplifiers to independently drive the tweeters and bass/midrange drivers. With 10 watts allocated to each tweeter and 40 watts to each bass/midrange driver, the A100 delivers robust and accurate sound reproduction. The system offers various input options, including two analogue inputs (Aux and PC), an optical input, and a USB input. Bluetooth connectivity is also available, utilizing a Qualcomm V5.0 CSR8645 chipset with aptX decoding support. The rear panel provides line-level low-pass filtered audio outputs for subwoofer connection and a 5-pin DIN socket to send speaker-level signals to the passive left-channel loudspeaker.
During listening sessions, the Airpulse A100 showcased its exceptional sound quality, impressing with its precise imaging, tonal accuracy, and articulate reproduction. From James Taylor's 'Sweet Baby James' album to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon,' the speakers delivered rich and engaging performances. The A100 demonstrated a balanced tonal response, with detailed highs from the ribbon tweeter and well-defined bass/midrange from the dedicated driver. While the speaker could benefit from deeper bass extension, it remained satisfying for most listening scenarios. The speaker's limitations at high volume levels were noted, suggesting that it performs optimally in smaller to medium-sized rooms. Overall, the Airpulse A100 offers a highly satisfying listening experience, especially when paired with a subwoofer for extended low-frequency response.
The Airpulse A100 active speaker system stands out not only for its remarkable sound quality but also for its intriguing features. Designed by loudspeaker industry veteran Phil Jones, the A100 showcases meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. While its mysteries, such as global branding variations and the enigmatic ownership of the manufacturing company, contribute to its allure, the A100's sonic performance is its true highlight. With its ribbon tweeter, robust bass/midrange driver, and thoughtfully designed cabinet, the A100 delivers an impressive listening experience. Although it may have limitations at higher volume levels and deeper bass extension, the A100 shines in smaller to medium-sized listening environments. Overall, the Airpulse A100 embodies innovation, exceptional design, and captivating sound reproduction.