What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 8 Jul 2013, 3:37pm

Audio Pro Allroom Air One

Tested at £500
100100
5

Best wireless speaker £400+, Awards 2013. The Air One really puts the cat among the pigeons – it’s a class-leading wireless speaker

Write your own review

For

  • Superb fit and finish
  • Beautifully rounded, entertaining sound
  • Excellent integration
  • Very good feature set
  • Nice to use
  • Decent remote

Against

  • Nothing

If star ratings were based on first impressions, this test could be over before it’s begun. Wrapped in a choice of red, black or white leather, the Audio Pro Allroom Air One feels like a quality item – even the removable speaker grille matches the fantastic finish.

MORE: Awards 2013

Audio Pro Allroom Air One: design

Audio Pro Allroom Air One

The impressive build quality and sophisticated finish are complemented by a high feature count and satisfying user experience. You can set up AirPlay a number of ways: there’s the Audio Pro app, and you can also go through your internet browser.

The quickest way, though, is to plug your Apple device into the USB socket on the rear of the Air One and when prompted, allow your handheld device to transfer its wi-fi settings to the speaker. This happens in a matter of seconds and it’s a feature absent from rival speakers.

If you don’t have your own wireless network, fear not. Press the Direct Link button on the remote control and the speaker creates its own network. Connect a computer or handheld device and as long as it’s DLNA enabled, you can stream straight to it.

Audio Pro Allroom Air One

Alternatively you can also use the Audio Pro’s USB socket to hard-wire (and charge) your iDevice and play it through the speaker.

A credit-card-sized remote control is supplied and, unlike those packaged with the B&W A5 and Cambridge Audio Minx Air 200 speakers, it’s easy to get to grips with. The buttons are a decent size and the speaker is quick to respond to your prodding.

Audio Pro Allroom Air One: sound

The system is great to use – and things get even better when you start playing music through the Air One. It produces a wonderfully balanced, integrated sound, with refinement and finesse in spades. Hurts’ Somebody To Die sounds elegant and charming.

Vocals ooze quality as the speaker immerses the listener in the drive and emotion of the song. Strings sound dramatic and sharply defined but never bright or hard.

Switch to a track with more grunt such as Daft Punk’s Doin’ It Right and lows have weight and body, but the Air One doesn’t sacrifice any of the control or precision required for accurate timing. The track repeats some seriously deep and tricky-to-control bass notes, but the speaker handles them confidently.

We found that placing the unit 30cm or so from a rear wall gave a good balance between weight and clarity.

Audio Pro Allroom Air One: connections

Audio Pro Allroom Air One

Switching between AirPlay, Direct Link and the speaker’s USB socket we found subtle differences. The wired connection sounds a little more solid and composed, but the differences between the three aren’t huge.

The Air One also has an optical digital input – which means it can also double up as a soundbar. The speaker is quite tall though, so it could obstruct your screen if you don’t have a spare shelf to place it on. If you can accommodate it, your TV sound will be much improved.

Audio Pro Allroom Air One: verdict

The Audio Pro Allroom Air One isn’t just a mouthful to say, it’s going to be a handful for the other speakers in this sector. It’s not the cheapest wireless speaker we've tested, but it justifies every penny.

MORE: Best AirPlay speakers 2014

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