Unconvinced by single-box streaming speakers? Audio Pro’s A38 mixes wired and wireless connectivity with a traditional stereo approach, discovers Ed Selley. Read our Audio Pro A38 Review.
SWEDEN’S AUDIO PRO makes a wide range of powered speakers, and by the time you reach the second-to-largest A38 model, they are split into a stereo pair with a powered main and passive partner. This is an approach that takes up more space than a single box but, as each tower is fairly compact and the whole setup only needs a single mains connection, the difference is perhaps not that significant.
Priced £ the A38 pairing is relatively conventional in layout terms with each floorstander sporting a 1in textile dome tweeter and a pair of 4.5in bass/mid drivers. The tweeter is recessed behind a flush mesh grille, with Audio Pro also suppling magnetic fabric grilles to cover the full array.
Power is rated at 2 x 75W via internal Class D amplification, and there’s onboard EQ to help tweak the performance in room. This is managed by Audio Pro’s app, which is also the gateway to a well-sorted streaming platform with direct support for Qobuz, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Deezer, plus internet radio services to boot. There’s also AirPlay 2, Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect and Bluetooth, in addition to stereo analogue optical digital and HDMI ARC inputs on the back plate of the ‘master’ speaker. In other words, there are very few ways you cannot send content to the A38. There’s even an RCA subwoofer output should you be needing more bass.
|PRODUCT||Stereo wireless active speaker system|
|POSITION||Below Audio Pro’s flagship A48 system|
|PEERS||KEF LSX II; DALI Oberon 1 C; Klipsch The Fives|
Slim ‘n’ sonic This isn’t the prettiest speaker I’ve ever seen. Where the single-box options at this price point and up go for a selection of lively materials and finishes, the A38 is more prosaic, with just black and white options available for its square-edged cabinetry. It would be a stretch to call it ugly, though, and the diminutive nature of the speakers (83cm high and only 19cm wide including the plinth stand) should work in most rooms. Used with a TV, you’ll only need to work out how to hide the trailing HDMI cable. Furthermore, for the asking price the A38 feels impressive, with points of contact like the remote and app being nicely designed.
Out of the box, the ‘flat’ bass setting of the A38 was a little high to be truly effective, but with that corrected in the app, the performance became extremely good. Revisiting the Tony Scott thriller Unstoppable on Disney+ (fun film, very sophisticated soundtrack) showed the A38 to be able to deliver more than respectable bass extension with excellent detail and control. The attempts to slow the runaway train have a satisfying crunch and weight to them, and the layers to the soundmix (onscreen action, news reports and music score) are all discernible thanks to the clarity on offer. There’s no shortage of power either, so the A38 shouldn’t struggle in all but the largest rooms.
Master speaker (right) has inputs including HDMI ARC
See also TOP 10 Subwoofers
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|DRIVERS (PER CABINET)||1 x 1in textile dome tweeter; 2 x 4.5in bass/mid|
|ONBOARD POWER (CLAIMED)||2 x 75W Class D|
|CONNECTIONS||HDMI ARC; optical digital audio input; USB (service only); stereo analogue line-in|
|REMOTE CONTROL||Yes, plus app|
|DIMENSIONS (INCL. PLINTH)||190(w) x 832(h) x 210(d)mm|
|FEATURES||Bluetooth (v4.2); dual-band Wi-Fi; Apple AirPlay 2; Google Cast; Spotify Connect; Tidal Connect; EQ adjustment; user presets; status LED; magnetic grilles; FLAC, ALAC, WMA, AAC and MP3 playback; 32Hz claimed low-frequency response|
Dialogue is another strong point, benefiting from the speakers’ mid-range solidity, while the natural width afforded by the two separate enclosures makes for a convincingly spacious performance.
Musically the A38 is also very convincing, powering its way through The Heavy Heavy’s Life and Life Only with a pleasing combination of tonal richness and useful attack on the faster tracks. You can argue that this probably isn’t the device for truly getting the best out of high-res audio, but the A38 sounds perfectly listenable with Spotify and Tidal streams, and again the size and width of the soundstage is a boon.
What results is a compelling way to boost the sonic performance of a TV and enjoy streamed audio – via a variety of methods – at the same time. The A38’s delivery is more than able to keep more expensive one-box wireless speakers honest, and the overall feeling is that it has to be seen as a bit of a bargain at the asking price.
Floorstanding cabinets - albeit smaller than usual - give the well-connected A38 an impressively wide and largescale sound.
Best Audio Pro A38 prices in the US ?
Best Audio Pro A38 prices ?
See also TOP 10 Subwoofers