Powered speakers offer a simpler setup, guaranteed compatibility between amp and speakers, and increasingly, powered speakers are adding more inputs and other features. But what compromises reveal themselves when you have a pretty much all-in-one system? And can an audiophile find happiness in a setup like the A300 Pro speakers?
The heritage of the company is quite strong. The AirPulse design team is headed by Phil Jones, who was the founder of the highly respected British audio company Acoustic Energy. The AirPulse A300 Pro has magnificent build quality. It would enhance any listening environment based on looks alone. Unlike some powered speakers, it has a wide variety of inputs including AUX, USB, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth, Balanced Inputs, and Unbalanced Inputs. A user would only need a music source for a complete, high-quality system. In some cases, you may want to put the speakers on stands. I found the A300 Pro powered speakers reasonably priced at their stated price level, and competitive with anything at the price, and better than many other speakers.
AirPulse A300 Pro Dual Active Audio Home Speaker
- The AirPulse A300 Pro has superior build quality.
- There are enough inputs to satisfy most users.
- A well thought out remote control
- Convincing bass and smooth treble
- A well-matched, powerful amplifier in each speaker (120 watts for low frequencies, 10 watts to the tweeters)
- Would like to see an option for an all-black speaker for some installations.
- Getting the best stereo image and high frequencies requires sitting in the ‘sweet spot’.
The AirPulse A300 Pro is an interesting speaker. I’ve been skeptical of powered speakers for many years, mainly because I like to mate speakers and amplifiers based on my own needs and biases. Still, with high-quality powered speakers like these A330 Pros, it’s getting obvious that manufacturers can do an excellent job of speaker/cabinet/amplifier matching. With a variety of inputs available, powered speakers like the A300 Pro get very, very viable.
Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
6.5 inch Aluminum Cone Underhung Design Mid-Woofer
Digital Amplifier With Xmos Processor
L/R(Treble): 10W+10W, L/R(Woofer): 120W+120W
AUX, USB, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth. Balance Input, Unbalanced Input
Balanced:1100±50mV, Unbalanced: AUX:700±50mV, USB:550±50mFFs, Optical:500±50mFFs Coaxial:500±50mFFs, Bluetooth:500±50mFFs
100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz
(WxHxD) 225 x 385 x 350mm
25.6Kg (56.6 lbs)
29.4Kg (65 lbs)
Powered speakers, AirPulse A300 Pro, bookshelf speaker, speaker review, review 2021
The A300 Pro has some unique features, even for a powered speaker. The speakers have individual power supplies, so there are AC cables for each speaker. Uniquely, the two speakers don’t need an audio connection between them. Instead, AirPulse uses a wireless protocol between the speakers. It’s built on the microchip’s proprietary technology known as KleerNet. The radio is transmitted over 5.2GHz and 5.8GHz spectrum and with a 22MHz radio bandwidth the technology guarantees lossless transmission of the audio signal. The speakers are paired out of the box, but you can manually pair them if need be which should not be required in normal use.
Another unique feature of the A300 Pro’s is that it takes balanced inputs, a plus for audiophiles whose source equipment supports balanced audio. In addition, the speakers can take in standard analog audio through RCA inputs, USB for computer connections, optical connections via a standard optical connector, or coax. The A300 Pro speakers also support Bluetooth 5.0.
The A300 Pro cabinet is constructed with 25mm high-strength MDF. To ensure the best signal transmission, the speakers use well-regarded TRANSPARENT internal speaker cables.
As for electronics, the A300 Pro speakers use a Texas Instrument digital power amplifier TPA3251, each cabinet has woofer output power no less than 120W and tweeter output of 10W. The speakers also use XMOS xCore200 multi-core processors, and a Texas Instruments TLV320AIC3268 digital processor.
The tweeter is a horn-loaded ribbon tweeter; the mid-range and woofer combo uses a 6.5-inch aluminum cone.
The speakers themselves are heavy, about 30 lbs. each, which is heavy for even a powered speaker with amplifiers. Rapping on the side of the case shows how good the damping is. There are simply no resonances.
After UPS delivered the big box to my front door, I used a hand truck to get the package inside. 65 pounds was not something I wanted to inflict on my back. Everything was well packed, and the speakers were individually wrapped in a soft cloth bag. To the side was an accessory box with a well-written manual, AC power cords, along with a USB, a fiber optic cable, and an RCA cable. It’s rare to see manufacturers pack this array of cables, leaving customers to fend for themselves. Even better, the cables were of good construction quality. There is also a remote with included batteries.
I placed the speakers on my TV stand/equipment case. Each speaker was about 2 feet from my flat-screen TV. I plugged in the AC power to each speaker and flipped the power switch on the back. The left and right speakers instantly paired. For an audio source, I plugged in the optical out from my Bluesound Node 2I streamer, which is an endpoint for my Roon system. That gave me access to files in high resolution, and with Tidal I had access to MQA files as well. So, plenty to listen to. During the review period, I also checked the analog inputs and did a bit of streaming via Bluetooth, but most of the listening was to my own collection of ripped FLAC files, and a large number of high-resolution files that originated on my server, or were streamed from Tidal. For portions of the review, I also listened to some SACD discs played back on an Oppo 203 disc player.
The remote can power the unit on and off, adjust volume, and select inputs. There are tone controls to fine-tune the speakers on the back of each speaker. For my room, I slightly elevated the bass and treble controls. There are no pops when powering on the speakers, or when switching inputs. The right speaker has a small display at the bottom that tells you what input is active.
The manual for the speakers suggests you sit at the apex of a triangle with the speakers toed in if necessary. That’s standard advice for direct radiating speakers and I followed those instructions.
AirPulse also recommends the highly directional tweeters should be at ear level, which is how I set them up.
My overall thoughts on the sound are positive. Listening in a living room the speakers threw a good stereo image. At first listen, the A300 Pro speakers sounded a bit too forward in the mid-range, which is not a surprise in a large room. I made some slight tweaks to the bass and treble and the speakers sounded better. As mentioned, the tweeters are very directional and moving just a foot or two off-axis diminished the sounds of strings and percussion instruments. These speakers really want you in the right position, but once you are there you get rewarded with a solid stereo image and excellent frequency response.
The Bass seemed solid down to about 40 Hz, and that matches the speaker’s specification. Some listeners may want to add a subwoofer, but with most of the classical, rock, and jazz I listened to the speakers gave me a solid low-end.
Vaughan Williams – Pastoral Symphony and Tuba Concerto 24/192 FLAC
For speakers this is a good test of high frequencies and imaging. On the A300 Pro system, the orchestra was nicely spread between the two speakers. Low frequencies were natural.
Sona Libra- Cal Tjader
CD rip in FLAC. Some Afro Cuban Jazz. A classic recording from 1963, but in this 16/44 FLAC the instrument positions are in sharp focus and there is a clear front-to-back effect that precisely places the musicians.
Damien- Omen III
A great Jerry Goldsmith film score. CD rip in FLAC. The almost 10-minute-long last track, ‘Final Conflict’ features an enlarged orchestra and chorus. It’s a thrilling piece of music, and a test for any speaker system, which the A300 Pro speakers passed beautifully.
Jennifer Warnes – The Well
CD rip in FLAC. A 2001 recording of the very talented Ms. Warnes. A good test of a speaker is how well it reproduces a human voice, and Warnes sounds warm and in the room on this great recording of a singer who deserves wider acclaim.
Jongen and Poulenc Organ Concerto – 24/192 FLAC
This high-resolution file is a great test of bass as the organ plays low peddle notes. I thought the bass from the A300 Pro speakers was more than adequate. A subwoofer would have brought out an even lower octave, but the bass was quite good as is.
As I’ve mentioned, the speakers seem like a good value compared to the competition. They are a bit fuller featured than other similar systems, in terms of a variety of inputs and being able to connect balanced sources. As the amps are matched to the speakers, you’re spared having to find components that will work well.
- Among the best in build quality
- Ease of hookup, with no wires between the left and right speaker
- Ability to use balanced inputs
- Easily accommodate high-resolution sound
- The speakers sound bigger than they are and can nicely fill a room with full-range audio.
- Very good sound for the asking price
- Optional grill cloths for those who want a less ‘techie’ design
- Optional subwoofer matched to the speakers
- A little wider dispersion from the tweeter. It’s important where you sit for the best sound.
- Headphone output would be nice.
$2000.00 seems a lot for a pair of large bookshelf speakers, but you must remember that you are getting finely tuned, well-matched amplification here. In my extensive listening tests, I found the A300 Pro amplified speakers to be of very high quality, matching or surpassing other speakers I’ve heard in a similar price range. They have a similar spectral response to the beloved KEF LS50 speakers I have in my master bedroom, and while the KEF costs less, they need amplifiers or a high wattage receiver to drive them.
The AirPulse A300 Pro speakers come from a heritage of studio monitors. I found the sound likable and appreciated the flexibility of inputs and outputs, something I don’t find on every amplified speaker system.
Who are these speakers for? I think they are an excellent match for an office system, where you are trying to minimize cables and components. They will work well in a small to medium-sized living room or den, either on a cabinet or on some stands. The sound is excellent and won’t let down buyers who have high-quality source material to play. The remote is comprehensive. I think the only thing missing is an HDMI input for TV audio, but clearly, these speakers were designed for audio, not video. If you want to connect to a TV, you could use the analog outs on the display.