The Audio Professional A26 is a strong sufficient stereo system, however it falls wanting being a charming one. Trendy aesthetics and versatile connectivity apart, the efficiency doesn’t fairly meet expectations at this worth.
- Clean presentation
- Small measurement aids positioning
- Versatile connectivity choices
- Not probably the most charming of sounds
- Higher worth will be had elsewhere
- Evaluation Worth: £500
- Bluetooth 5.0/aptX-LL
- Frequency vary: 45Hz – 20kHz
- Suitable with SW-10 subwoofer
- 1-inch textile dome tweeter, 4.5-inch woofer
The Audio Professional A26 are powered bookshelf audio system from the Scandinavian hi-fi model which have designs on being an alternative choice to a soundbar.
Audio Professional have been round for many years, constructing small audio system with a giant sound. It’s possible you’ll recognise the identify from its newer and well-liked Addon wi-fi speaker vary. The A26 provides extra strings to its bow, placing themselves in rivalry as an alternative choice to a soundbar.
The value is a not-inconsiderable £500, however it could possibly be argued that the extent of versatility on supply right here offers them worth over a equally priced soundbar. Let’s discover out.
Audio Professional A26 worth and availability
The Audio Professional A26 went on sale in early 2020 for £500 / $500 / €500. They’re obtainable in each black and white finishes.
Audio Professional A26 design – Sensible lookers that aren’t fussy about placement
- Properly constructed
- Distant will be fiddly to make use of
A Scandinavian model makes a minimalist-looking product – who would have thought it? The final pair of bookshelf-sized Audio Professional wi-fi audio system that handed by way of Trusted Evaluations have been the LV2e, and the A26 are much more spartan in look. Accessible in fashionable black or white finishes, the A26 are nothing if not neatly attired.
At 238 x 150 x 200 mm (HWD) they don’t take up a lot house, and the cupboard gives the look of not simply being nicely constructed, however constructed to final. Their measurement opens up a number of placement choices: they’ll sit on a desktop, bookshelf or on a pair of speaker stands.
The entrance of the speaker is roofed by a magnetically linked baffle (gray or black, relying on the colourway). On the left speaker you’ll discover an LED mild that signifies the mode the speaker is in: blue for Bluetooth; white for Wi-Fi; inexperienced for auxiliary; purple for TV/ARC.
The left speaker can also be the place the connections are housed, with each audio system that includes a rear bass port (so give due consideration to placement close to partitions) and speaker terminals for connection to at least one one other. At 4m, the speaker cable provides some muddle – however it’s innocent except you’ve obtained a lot of trailing cables in your TV/hi-fi house.
Included within the field is a 3.5mm aux cable that opens connectivity to a laptop computer, for instance. The pervading sense of Scandi cool continues with the slim distant’s brushed end and clicky buttons. It isn’t at all times probably the most sensible, because it must be pointed straight on the speaker or else it received’t register a press. I discovered it fiddly, too, requiring a second press more often than not.
Audio Professional A26 options – Loads of methods to get audio in
- HDMI ARC for TV connection
- Helps Audio Professional’s multi-room system
The A26’s connectivity is the place it begins to make its most fervent case on your money. There are wired and wi-fi choices, and in case you have multi-room succesful Audio Professional audio system, then the A26 will be grouped with them for an Audio Professional-centric system.
Wi-Fi is about up by way of the Audio Professional app, however initiated by way of the Wi-Fi Join button on the again of the fitting speaker. With the aptX-LL Bluetooth supported, it ought to ramp up the velocity of transmission and synchronise sound and video with minimal latency. You’ll want an aptX-compatible gadget to reap the advantages, which guidelines out iOS units.
The management app hasn’t obtained a lot of a facelift, so it’s nonetheless the identical one I used to check the A10 wi-fi speaker. It isn’t an app I take advantage of typically (I’d somewhat play from the native app), however it does supply integration with music-streaming companies akin to Qobuz, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music (clicking Spotify ferrets you away to the precise app), in addition to enjoying songs regionally saved on the smartphone/gadget. One somewhat chafing facet of the app is having to log in to the likes of Tidal and Qobuz for every speaker.
Settings will be perused by clicking on the cog icon and, for the A26, there’s a Digital Encompass setting (which makes the efficiency barely larger) and a Midnight mode, when you don’t wish to disturb others together with your night-time watching. I’ve not had a problem with the app – it’s straightforward to make use of – though some customers have reported stability points.
Bodily connections embrace an aux enter, an RCA sub-out for including Audio Professional’s SW-10 subwoofer (or some other, when you so select). There’s additionally an optical enter for connecting to a TV (or 4K Blu-ray participant) and HDMI ARC, which turns it right into a soundbar. When linked to a TV, the Audio Professional A26 solely accepts PCM audio, so that you’ll must dive into your TV’s sound settings to alter this.
Sadly, when you have been pondering you can create a 5.1 system – you’ll be able to’t. Essentially the most you are able to do is add a further subwoofer.
Audio Professional A26 sound high quality – Clean sound lacks fireworks
- Entertains with TV/movies
- Somewhat laid-back angle
There’s an odd facet in regards to the Audio Professional A26’s efficiency. Having streamed music and hooked it as much as a TV, there are components that work nicely in addition to a couple of oddities.
Let’s begin with music. With its 4.5-inch woofer, there’s a slight heat and softness to bass frequencies with music performed over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. However much more noticeable is the A26’s laissez-faire manner. The impact is a somewhat modest sense of describing highs and lows.
The A26 could make a din with KMFDN’s Extremely, however the mid-range lacks finesse; vocals sound somewhat misplaced amidst the fury of the monitor. The general tone is a pleasing and clean one, although, however that additionally blunts its effectiveness with music that requires some verve and punch.
It’s happier with slower-paced tracks and silky vocals akin to Playground from Terence Blanchard’s 25th Hour or John Legend’s Once more, respectively. The tinkling of the ivories in each tracks produces outlined top-end notes which can be nice if protected in how they sound by way of the A26’s textile dome tweeter. The slower tempo of Once more helps the A26 deal with Legend’s vocals with extra readability than it does in additional energetic tracks. It’s good, but additionally considerably staid, by no means fairly delivering an engrossing sound.
Planted on a pair of speaker stands with a 4K Blu-ray of Dunkirk, the soundtrack and motion of the opening scene takes place in a convincingly large soundstage. Bass dealing with is weightier and firmer (dwelling cinema aficionados will wish to contemplate that sub-out connection), and the A26 presents a tall-ish soundstage because the Stuka planes dive-bomb the troopers stranded on the seashore.
Dynamically, it commits to a extra entertaining sense of highs and lows, though there’s a niggle with slight dropouts in quieter scenes that I observed in A Quiet Place.
For on a regular basis TV viewing, the A26 offers house to dialogue and renders speech in a transparent and intelligible trend. There’s no sense of heat – tonally it sounds nicely managed – and that large sound is bolstered by strong steering of results throughout the soundstage. The soundstage is pretty flat and missing depth, however you wouldn’t count on way more from a stereo system. Plus, having tried the A26 with motion, horror and musical movies, they’re an entertaining different to a correct soundbar – though to not the tune of £500.
Audio Professional A26 conclusion
As a wi-fi speaker-cum soundbar different, the A26 placed on a strong present. Their music efficiency could possibly be extra assertive, and there’s a scarcity of nuance and readability to their mid-range, however they simply about enchantment.
With TV/movies the audio system exhibits extra potential, however for a lot much less cash you can get the Sonos Beam, which is helpful with movies and music. For these already invested within the Audio Professional ecosystem and out to get audio system for the entrance room, maybe give the A26 a extra thorough look – however the worth appears somewhat prohibitive when you’re not within the Audio Professional ecosystem, even within the face of their versatility.
You can purchase the Audio Professional A26 if…
- You’re after a flexible wi-fi speaker
You need to use the A26 as audio system for the TV, on your desktop, or stream to them such as you would some other wi-fi speaker. There’s lots use you can get out of them.
You shouldn’t purchase the Audio Professional A26 if…
- You’re after worth
There’s no denying that the A26 are versatile, however to not the tune of £500. Not when as an choice for TV viewing there’s the Sonos Beam for £100 much less.