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Review AirPulse A200 active monitor speaker
Active monitors are increasingly popular. And manufacturers know that too. The segment up to about 1000 euros is particularly interesting, because it is 1. no loss. And 2: a reasonable quality is achievable for that money. And that makes it interesting for both target groups. We test the new AirPulse A200. Designed by none other than Phil Jones.
AirPulse falls under the Edifier group. And of course we know that from desktop speakers and small monitor systems. We recently tested the S2000 Pro. Very interesting with a price tag of only 500 euros per pair. Incredible. This AirPulse sells for between 900 euros and 1000 euros over the counter. Yes: twice as expensive. But then you do get a speaker with a ribbon tweeter and a whole bunch of inputs. Among which:
We see very prominently at the top of a ribbon in a horn housing. We are not a direct fan of horns, because it is often very 'in your face'. There are always exceptions of course. And let's be honest: it's a taste issue. We love ribbons, on the other hand. They are fast, open and detailed. And feeding a ribbon in this class… class!
Below the ribbon we see an aluminum woofer for middle and low. The ribbon gets 10 watts to work with, the woofer 55 watts. A hear doesn't need that much. So that 10 watts is more than enough. We cannot find the crossover, but we are guessing that it is around 2000 Hz. Maybe a bit higher - 3500 Hz - to de-stress the ribbon. And an aluminum woofer can handle quite a bit.
We connected the two monitors in the study. This way we can play with it all day long. As a source we used a sony dacje on a pc and a Sonos Connect via coaxial in. We've tried Bluetooth - and it works - but haven't played with it much. Coaxial in and through the DAC sounds better. Especially the analog input from the Sony surprised us. That certainly sounds pleasant.
All in all, this seems like a very realistic set-up in a realistic space. Our office requires about 25m2 in size, acoustically comparable to a living room and the controlling electronics are in balance with the speakers.
The AirPulse A200 sounds surprisingly complete with a tendency towards open and clear. We expected that when we see the horn, ribbon and aluminum woofer. The measurements - to be found further on - also show this. Although the low is on steam from about 50 - 60 Hz, the speaker certainly does not sound bare. Provided you place it correctly, of course.
We played all kinds of music. From vocal work to electro-pop, rock and even classical piano. We do not recommend very heavy classical or somewhat brighter piano pieces, but the AirPulse A200 will swallow the rest without a grumble. And for a speaker in this class, we find that really impressive. We know enough equally priced, passive models that cannot do this.
We found electronic music in particular to pass through this system very well. Massive Attack sounds spacious, full and dynamic. And that music makes good use of the speed of the ribbon to bring out the detailed layers. Effects come into the room wonderfully and are placed remarkably precisely. We really hear everything on these monitors.
If we switch to Amelie, the piano can - certainly via the internal dac - come out a bit fierce. That gives some unrest. But things are already better via the Sony DAC and analog input. A tip: get a good converter and the analog input of the AirPulse A200; that often goes better.
The small remote control that AirPulse provides works fine in itself. The only thing is that controlling the volume is a bit slow and without feedback. We have not had any other problems.
The measurement clearly shows that it builds up low from about 50 Hz. We also see a small 'attenuation' around 1 kHz and an increasing high. We expected that. A small peak around 16 kHz may need to give some extra air. The extension of the ribbon runs neatly after 20 KHz. at 22 kHz it is filtered out.
The A200 from AirPulse is a very interesting monitor that many music lovers can enjoy. The soundstage is open, fast and airy. With a lot of detail. However: the horn makes it somewhat direct and less suitable for some dynamic classical work (for example).
The measurements are neat, but show a small limitation in the bass. That is certainly no shame in this class. However: those who like solid and tight low, better look a class higher. We don't gamble in this class that things will get better.
Distortion in the bass is on the high side for our taste. Actually, it is only in order around 200 Hz. Then he dips below 1% to stay there too. Is it audible? That is the question. Is it a shame in this price range? No absolutely not. We have seen these values more often in the past. Especially with more compact speakers.
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