Airpulse A200 Active Speakers and ST200 Stands.

In my first review for Airpulse I get to experience these active speakers designed by the legendary Phil Jones.

Disclaimer:
This review is sponsored by Airpulse.
This is my unbiased view on the A200 active speaker system.
Audrey, Kay & Airpulse have been very kind and gifted me this set of monitors.
The A200 is originally priced at £878 but it is on discount now for a limited time only at £699
The Airpulse ST200 matching stands were purchased by myself at a discount and normally retail at £109.99.
The stands are filled with Atacama “Atabites” which can be found on Amazon.

You can find the A200s and more on the Airpulse website:
https://gb.airpulsepro.com/collections/frontpage/products/active-speaker-system-1

Readers can enjoy 40% off when they use code: A200FORU

Review equipment and software:
Airpulse A200 active speaker system.
Airpulse ST200 matching stands.
Burson Audio Conductor 3X Performance balanced DAC.
iPad Pro 2019 10.5″.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
Technics SL-1200 MK2 turntable.
Ortofon Quintet Red MC & Nagaoka MP10 MM cartridges.
KECES Audio ePhono MM/MC balanced phono stage.
KECES Audio ePhono Power low noise linear power supply.
Van-Damme & EDGE Analogue cables & interconnects.
Not pictured in this review:
iBasso DX80 and Apple TV 4K were used to test the coaxial and optical channels.

Music:
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3784071

The Audiophile Cafe readers can now receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click the following link for more:
https://try.qobuz.com/tqs_fr/?qbzs=society&qbzc=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE&utm_source=society&utm_medium=partner_page&utm_campaign=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE


What’s in the box:

A200:
1x Active speaker.
1x Passive speaker.
1x IR remote.
1x RCA to RCA audio cable. (1.5M / 5ft)
1x 5-pin din speaker cable by TRANSPARENT cable. (5M / 16ft)
1x Toslink cable (1.5M / 5ft)
1x RCA to 3.5mm jack plug.
1x Instruction manual.

ST200:
2x Bottom plates.
2x Stands.
2x Top plates.
1x Pack of mounting hardware and tool.
1x Alignment template for rubber feet.
10x Rubber feet.
1x Pair of white cotton gloves.
1x Instruction manual.

Airpulse haven’t skimped here. Each speaker comes in its own cloth sack which in turn is in another bag. The peripherals all come neatly packaged in a separate box.
Everything is neatly and securely enveloped in polystyrene then boxed up. That box then gets packed inside another box.
The ST200 matching stands come in the same style of packaging and include all the required hardware, tools and an alignment template for the rubber feet..
Airpulse have included a pair of white cotton gloves to ensure careful handling of the stands and speakers.


Specification:
Power Output: L/R Ribbon Tweeter: 10W+10W
L/R Mid-Range: 55W + 55W
Signal-Noise Ratio dB(A): ≥90dB(A)
Input Interface: AUX, Balance Input, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth
Input Sensitivity:-
Balance Input: 1300±50mV
Aux Input: 550±50mV
Bluetooth Input: 500±50mFFs
Optical Input: 350±50mFFs
Coaxial Input: 350±50mFFs
Noise Level: ≤25dB(A)
Frequency Response: 46Hz~20KHz
Tweeter: Phase Correction Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
Mid-Woofer: 5.5″ Aluminium Cone Neo Power Mid-Woofer
Cabinet Size (WxHxD): 203 x 355 x 295 (mm)
Net Weight: 19 Kg (42 Pounds ) / Set


Build Quality:
Airpulse have pulled out all the stops.
From the inside out these speakers exude cutting edge technology, fine tuning, robust build quality and a premium fit & finish to round it all off.
The same can be said for the matching stands.
The finish of the A200 is a high gloss cherry wood veneer over a 25mm rigid MDF housing with a satin black finish on the front bezels, which contrasts the cherry veneer really well.
The stands are equally refined and match the speakers perfectly.
When the speakers are either on their provided feet or *secured to the stands they are a hefty pair weighing in at 19kg. Include the stands without being filled and they aren’t going anywhere. Fill the stands if you buy them, with Atabites or sand and you will not be disappointed. I loaded mine with Atabites and it has well and truly anchored them to my floor.
*The stands and speakers are securely attached with included bolts which thread up into where the A200 feet were attached using the existing threads. There are small gaskets that sit between where the feet were and the top plates of the ST200 stands.
TRANSPARENT Audio provide the A200s with their internal wiring and the included 5 pin DIN cable that connects both speakers. These are audiophile grade cables which are robustly made with the speaker cable being a decent copper/coffee finish and sporting 5 meters of length allowing for optimal positioning.
The remote is a plastic and simple device but it works well and up to this point seems sturdy enough.

Setup:
I initially thought setup may be a little complicated but it was soon apparent that this would not be so.
Although you can use the input/volume knob at the rear of the powered unit, I have barely touched it due to the remote working really well and doing everything that the selector knob does. Next to the volume/selector you will find the bass and treble controls. I found these to not make a vast change in sound, rather a subtle tweak in the low and high frequencies.
The A200s have 5 inputs altogether. Bluetooth, balanced, AUX ( single ended ), coax and optical.
At the time of this review I had the Burson DAC connected via the balanced input, The phono stage on the single ended channel, Apple TV 4K via optical and I tried the iBasso DX80 player with the coaxial input.
An iPad Pro was paired to the A200s over the bluetooth connection.
Pairing over bluetooth is very easy. You only need to select the bluetooth input and your source device will pick it up straight way.
The handshake is fast and once paired the connection is stable.
I would like to add here that I noticed no difference between the bluetooth signal when compared with either the coaxial or optical.

Sound:
I’ve heard and read some reviewers label these as dark sounding or that there isn’t a lot of sub bass.
I would call them neither dark nor lacking in the low frequency department.
In the first few days the low end sounded restricted and my first impression was I may not enjoy these as much as I had hoped, luckily after just a week of breaking them in the bass has evolved into something far more pleasing to my ears.
If there was an option to buy a sub to compliment these speakers, I wouldn’t want it.
The bass they produce now is one that is extended and accurate with a lot of punch and low end grunt. They hit the lowest tones really well, even when punishing them with the hardest of techno tracks. Sub bass is present and they sweep sublimely low. I have experienced zero distortion across the board on any of the sources. In my opinion a sub would be an overkill addition to a pair of monitors that fill my living room with tight, at times jaw dropping bass that lends itself to most genres.
The mids that the A200 produce have officially broken me. I’m well known for not enjoying a lot of midrange and if I use EQ I tend to use a V shape. Heavy on the bass and highs, easy on the mids.
When I say these have broken me I mean it in the most complimentary sense. What I hear is a smooth rich tapestry of vocals, strings and woodwind that resolves my music collection in a manner with which I am not accustomed. Paired with a soundstage that fills my listening space I have found a new fondness for midrange, realising if it’s done right, it can sound sublime. Airpulse have got this dialled in just right.
The high frequencies produced by the horn loaded ribbon tweeters are simply beautiful.
They are resolute in their delivery. Razor sharp precision complements an airy full bodied high end that does not miss a note.

Airpulse have created an active speaker with a super quiet background, a soundstage that is spacious, full of depth and headroom that commands respect.
Separation is phenomenal and makes live concerts especially enjoyable to listen to.

Hugh Masekela’s “The Coal Train” on Qobuz in Redbook quality hits like a freight train and I can almost imagine him on stage meters away from me .
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here both on vinyl were both newly discovered for me with sounds being heard that I realise I had missed in the past. It would be remiss of me to not listen to some form of electronic music in this review.
Juan Atkins “Track Ten” from the Back To Basics Ep hits hard and with the heft and fast pace that Techno truly deserves. Orbital, Aphex Twin, LFO and Kevin Saunderson have all been played hard and loud and the A200s just keep giving.
I don’t know where this idea of being too dark sounding comes from. The A200s in my experience are dynamic and full bodied with a good balance across the frequency range.


Summary and recommendation:
Airpulse have created a weapon. The A200 hits like a freight train with pin point accuracy and depth that will fill your listening space with great ease.
I am using these in a “Hifi” environment, yet as a DJ I am very tempted to eventually get another pair, maybe their bigger brother the A300 as I feel they would be ideal as a near field monitor in a DJ studio/system.
They’re not the cheapest pair of active speakers especially if bought with the stands and adding filling material into the over all cost. Do I think they are worth the £878 price tag?
Yes. I’ve used lot of monitors over the years, in the studio, in the clubs and at home and I can’t think of one pair I would swap out for these.
The power delivery, build and sound quality are justification alone, The premium finish that make them a pleasure to have in the living room just emphasis this. The ST200 stands are a steal coming in below £200.
The A200 are a great all rounder and would fit right in whether in your listening room or studio. With the added bonus of not requiring a sub to fill in the gaps, bluetooth connectivity and the convenience of a remote control they really are a worthwhile investment.

Thank you to all of my readers for your continued support.
Please remember to follow, like, subscribe and share.
And a huge thank you to Audrey and Kay for arranging this for me and the blog.

All my very best. Hoping you are all safe and well. Paul.

The Audiophile Cafe is sponsored by Airpulse. Enabling the blog to improve content for you the readers.

Published by The Audiophile Cafe

40 something audiophile, writer, disabled carer, bookworm, gamer, parent, uncle... I love listening to great music on great gear.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: