Airpulse P100X Review – A Premium Retro Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

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Airpulse P100X Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Summary

The Airpulse P100X is a beautiful retro-inspired all in one wireless speaker. The overall sound quality is excellent, but it could do with a little more oomph considering the price.

Overall
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Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • All in one unit fits in well with room decor vs bookshelf speakers
  • Excellent overall sound quality with a neutral sound profile

Cons

  • Feels a bit underpowered for a £500 speaker

Last month I reviewed the excellent Airpulse A80 stereo speakers. This month I have been checking out the new Airpulse P100X, which is a multi-driver wireless desktop speaker system with a beautiful retro-inspired design.

Specification

ColourCherry Wood
BluetoothBluetooth 5.1 with APTX HD
Power Amplifiers2 x 10W + 40W
Mid-woofer4.5″ Aluminium Cone Underhung Design Neodymium Power Mid-Woofer
Audio presetsClassic, Dynamic, Monitor, Vocal
AC Voltage100-240 V / 50-60HZ
Input SensitivityLin In 400350mV, Bluetooth: 450350mFFs
Frequency Response52Hz-20KHz
Input ModeLine IN, Bluetooth
Dimensions (mm)300 W x 180 H x 200 D
Net Weight5.1kg/11.5lb

Design

The standout feature of the speaker and likely the main reason you would buy it is the design. It is a beautiful all in once speaker that should fit in well with the most stylish of rooms.  

The all in one design avoids the need for ugly cables connecting speakers together, and the overall footprint of the speaker means it is easy to place on furniture with limited space.

The speaker only comes in cherry wood which some people may find limiting.

One small detail I love about the P100X is the clunky power knob. Turning it to the right has a pleasant amount of resistance and then a reassuring clunk as you power the system on.

The bass and treble dials go up to 3.

The volume is a  digital control with unlimited rotation. While this makes it less satisfying to fiddle with but it allows you to use the remote to control the volume.

For connectivity, your only options are Bluetooth and RCA.

I have predominantly used this in the kitchen, which admittedly isn't the best for acoustics, but importantly the speaker is attractive enough that it didn't receive any critical comments from my partner. She is not a fan of all my big speakers.

Performance

The P100X has two 10 watt tweeters sitting left and right to the larger 40w mid-woofer providing you with a total power output of 60w. These are then driven by a TAS5805M Class D amplifier from Texas Instruments.

Bluetooth 5.1 with aptX HD support helps retain the quality of audio you stream to the speaker. You have an RCA input too, but I feel the overall design of this speaker lends itself more towards wireless streaming.

The remote is simple and the same as the Airpulse A80. It is functional but nothing special, and I found myself sticking to the knobs on the front of the speaker for most of the controls I needed.

It is a relatively powerful speaker considering the size of it, and it was loud enough for my kitchen. At the same time, I felt like it should offer a bit more considering the reasonably high price.

Similar to the A80, the out of box sound is quite neutral. With the hard surfaces of my kitchen, I felt the immediate need to dial up the bass. Testing it in my living room, with carpets and less hard surfaces in general, the neutral sound profile was pleasant, providing plenty of detail in the mids and highs without adding sharpness or sibilance.

With the bass dialled up a bit, you can get some nice lows, nothing overpowering, but enough the make hip hop and electronica come to life a bit more than the neutral default sound.

Price and Alternative Options

The Airpulse P100X is priced at £499.99, which I felt was a high price for what you get. However, looking at the competition, there is not much else out there if you specifically want an attractive retro style wireless speaker.

The Sonos Five would be the first thing I'd recommend considering at this price point. However, it is not Bluetooth, and certainly doesn’t have the same visual appeal as the P100X.

Alternative aesthetically pleasing wireless music systems include:

  • Audio Pro C10 MKII for £329 – I have never tried it, but it is well-reviewed and a What Hi-Fi award winner.
  • Either the Marshall Woburn II for £429 or the Stanmore II for £239. Both have good user reviews but some middling critics reviews. Apart from the aesthetics, the main appeal to the Woburn II is that it goes loud.
  • Ruark Audio MRx for £419 – A feature-rich speaker including internet radio but a lower power output of just 20W.
  • Harman Kardon Citation 500 for £489 – A more powerful and feature-rich speaker, but a more modern design and some middling user reviews.
  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin for £529 – Superior spec with good reviews but very modern design.

Overall

The Airpulse P100X is definitely the best looking speaker I have reviewed. It also offers excellent sound quality with a relatively neutral sound profile that can be tweaked with the treble/bass dials. It does feel a touch underpowered for a £500 speaker.

I would say that there is a premium being charged for the aesthetic design combined with Phil Jones engineering under the Airpulse brand. One issue here would be that Airpulse may not have the brand recognition to justify the high price compared to other premium brands such as B&W.

The design of the speaker allows it to stand out from the crowd. There are few retro-inspired Bluetooth speakers that I'd recommend over this.  

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