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I reviewed the Audio Pro C5 MKII back in December. It is a superb multiroom speaker that I think makes an excellent alternative to Sonos products if you want something a bit more aesthetic than a black box. 

During the review, I became aware of the impressive range of speakers available from the brand. I noted the unusual omission of a soundbar within the range. Instead, Audio Pro has opted to go down a more traditional design route and has a selection of TV speakers in either bookshelf or floor-standing formats.

It is an interesting choice because there has been a trend for fancy surround sound formats in recent years. There are a growing number of premium soundbars that claim to achieve things like Dolby Atmos surround sound using a multitude of speakers to reflect the sound around your room.

Therefore a 2.0 system like the Audio Pro A48 floor-standing speakers may not sound as appealing as the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus with its 7.1.4 speaker configuration.

However, it all depends on where your priorities are. The AMBEO is inevitably better at surround sound, but it can’t really compete with pure sound quality when each speaker on the A48 has two 5.25″ woofers and a dedicated tweeter.

Specification / Features

Audio ProA48
Amplifier:Class D amplifier
Output2x130W + 2x30W
Tweeter1" textile dome
Woofer2 x 5.25"
Input Ports1 x RCA
1 x TOSLINK optical digital (PCM only)
1 x HDMI ARC/TV
Outpout Ports RCA subwoofer output
Multiroom Functionality Audio Pro Multiroom
Network Compatibility802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 and 5GHz
Streaming Features Wifi with AirPlay 2, Google Cast, Spotify Connect and Audio Pro Multiroom, Bluetooth 4.2
Audio FormatsMP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, Apple Lossless
Dimensions 870 x 215 x 265mm

Design

Being floor-standing speakers, these are physically large and take up a much larger space than a soundbar would.

Each speaker doesn’t weigh quite as much as I would have thought. They are lighter and smaller than my Monitor Audio speakers.

The speakers themselves are about as attractive as a pair of floor-standing speakers can be. You have a choice of either black or white. I like my speakers black, but it may have been good if there were additional colour options, such as wood.

One downside you have compared to a soundbar is the thick cable that connects the powered speaker to the passive. For most TV setups, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue as you can run the cable behind any furniture, but you will have to consider cable management if you want things to look neat. On a positive note, that’s a lot less cable management than a passive speaker system.

I would have liked a USB input, allowing me to use these with my PC directly. Instead, I had to use the FiiO K5 Pro and RCA cables, though I could have used optical.

For TV setups, you can just use the HDMI ARC port. You may note that this is not eARC, but that isn’t really needed because you don’t need the bandwidth that high-bitrate surround sound audio requires. The old-fashioned optical TOSLINK has enough bandwidth for uncompressed 5.1 (and below).

In Use / Sound Quality

For testing, I used them in my main TV room, where I have the Monitor Audio Silver 6 floor-standing speakers (plus centre, surrounds, and a gigantic Monoprice Monolith 12 subwoofer) paired up with a Yamaha RX-V685 AV receiver. In this setting, I switched my system to 2.0 for a fairer comparison.

I also tested it against my old Bose SoundTouch 300 (which had an RRP of £600) and the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus. The Audio Pro A48 is being marketed as a soundbar killer, and it is similarly priced to the AMBEO Soundbar Plus, so they make a good comparison.

There was no comparison to my Bose SoundTouch 300. It is a good upgrade to TV speakers, but it doesn’t have any fancy surround sound when used by itself, so the performance is poor compared to two large floor-standing speakers. The Bose really needs the companion subwoofer if you want it to provide the enjoyable low frequencies that are needed for many movies or gaming.

The Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus is a different beast. This is the first soundbar I have tried where I felt I could be happy with a soundbar vs a dedicated surround speaker.

Personally, I’d buy the AMBEO over the A48, purely because I watch a lot of movies with surround sound.

However, as good as I find the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus overall, it really can’t compete with a pair of large floor-standing speakers when it comes to the overall sound quality. The Sennheiser has lots of small speakers to produce surround and physically can’t fit anything too big inside it. The A48 has all its performance condensed into the large woofers and tweeter per speaker.

If you are not that bothered about surround sound, the A48 is better. It’s significantly better for music, but I also prefer it for TV and gaming (I am not that bothered about surround sound for games).

Acoustically, these are superb, bridging the gap between your typical active speaker and a passive system. There is a richness to the bass you won’t find on any soundbar. There is no harshness to the highs, and I find vocal, both in music and TV, excellent.

I’d say my Monitor Audio speakers are better, but they are bigger and require an AV receiver to drive them. You’d likely be spending more than £1200 for a 2.0 system in this scenario.

These can also be part of a multi-room system, and you can get a dedicated subwoofer for them. So you have some upgrade options and features that an AV receiver and passive speakers may lack. 

Obviously, one of the big selling points for Audio Pro is the multi-room functionality and music streaming. I wouldn’t say it is quite as good as Sonos, but it is close enough. You have a wide selection of music services, including Spotify, Tiday, Amazon Music and more. YouTube Music isn’t built in, but Chromecast is, so you can stream that way. Similarly, with Spotify, it uses Spotify Connect, so you need to use the Spotify app to access your music.

Price and Alternative Options

The Audio Pro A48 are priced at £1200 for the pair, and there is the more affordable A38 for £900.

You can improve performance by pairing the speakers with a subwoofer. There is a choice of the SW-5 at £280 or the SW-10 at £360.

There are not many active floor-standing speakers on the market, and none that I am aware of at this price point. The Q Active 400 at £2300 or the KEF LS60 wireless floor standing speakers at over £5k are the only options I can find.

The KEF LSX II at £1100 or Dali Oberon 1 C at £950 are the closest options I can find at a similar price point. They are active bookshelf speakers with HDMI ARC, but they are not quite as powerful as the Audio Pro A48.

The Sonos Arc plus Sub Mini would set you back about £1330 and this is likely to be the best alternative if you want the multi-room features. This has the advantage of superior surround sound with Dolby Atmos support. I’ve not tried the combo of Arc and sub, but I don’t think the Arc can compete with the overall sound quality, volume or rich bass that the Audio Pro A48 can achieve.

You then have a choice of premium surround sound soundbars, which include:

  • Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2ch Dolby Atmos/ DTS:X Soundbar @ £1300
  • Samsung HW-Q990B 11.1.4ch Cinematic Soundbar with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X @ £1300
  • Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar Plus 7.1.4 Channel Dolby Atmos Soundbar @ £1300

Alternatively, if you don’t mind the faff of separates and cables, you would be best to get passive speakers and an amplifier. Pricing can easily go beyond £1200. The Yamaha RX-V6A AV receiver is £700, it would give you the flexibility to expand to a 7.2 system, including Dolby Atmos, and it supports HDMI 2.1 4K/120Hz. The Monitor Audio Bronze 500 at £600 would take you to £100, plus you’d need cables etc.

Overall

The Audio Pro A48 speakers are superb. Describing them as a soundbar killer might be a stretch, but they are an excellent alternative speaker with few competing speakers and none at this price point.

If you don’t want the faff of lots of wires, and value general sound quality over surround sound performance, then these certainly are a soundbar killer.

Audio Pro A48 Multi Room Floor Standing Active Speaker Review Rating

Summary

The Audio Pro A48 speakers are superb. Describing them as a soundbar killer might be a stretch, but they are an excellent alternative speaker with few competing speakers and none at this price point.

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Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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5 Comments

  1. Sorry but anyone looking to buy a soundbar will not even bother looking at floor speakers as it’s completely different categories.

    What someone does need to do is jump on the Sony HT-A9 band wagon but actually make a dedicated center speaker and have them all wireless. That will be the game changer or if Sennheiser releases rear speakers then that will be a power house.

    1. Yeah, I have to agree, but they have been marketed as a soundbar killer.
      And, to be fair, for things like TV, where I am not that fussed about surround sound, these are superb.
      I completely agree, Sennheiser really could do with surround sound speakers to give you the option to take the performance to the next level. It is madness that you can add four subwoofers and I can only assume that’s to give them the option to launch surround-sound speakers at some point.

  2. James-I have 2 A48 speakers L/R 0f my lounge TV and they are GREAT for my purposes but what would the SW10 add? not much perhaps as this sub would seem to be more effective with the smaller Audio Pro active speakers that do not have the low bass capability of the A48-am I right or should I go for the SW10??

    1. Good question, you are probably right now that I think about it. I did a quick Google search and Audio Pro themselves have suggested pairing the SW10 with the A48 on Facebook here. I was hoping to find user comments on something like AVForums but can’t see anything. I imagine there will be some benefit, I know a lot of people pair up multiple subs for example (including massive Monoprice Monolith V2 that are in my pictures). I guess the main thing to concern would be return on investment, are you likely to see a significant difference from the £350 investment?

      I didn’t get the chance to use one of the subwoofers so can’t comment from personal experience.

      I will pass the question over the PR I deal with and see what they suggest, though obviously they will be biased towards selling more Audio Pro gear!

    2. Oh I have just seen you asked this on the Audio Pro site and they responded with “Yes it is. But it will only make a small difference to what A48 can produce.”

      I emailed them and asked for a technical explanation for any benefits it will provide.

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