In May 2011, Edifier released the new EDIFIER logo, and the AIRPULSE brand was also officially unveiled at the press conference. The AIRPULSE brand is operated by a joint venture between Edifier and the brand’s chief designer Phil Jones. AIRPULSE has since been considered a sub-brand that Edifier intends to target the high-end speaker market. Although as early as 2005, Phil Jones has used the AIRPULSE brand to launch 7001, Silver Reference, and many professional audio and musical instrument products. The participation of Phil Jones in Edifier Speakers also started at the S2000 in 2004. But Edifier uses the AIRPULSE brand, and the product launched in collaboration with designer Phil Jones—AIRPULSE A200—is the first.
The launch of Airpulse A200 means that Edifier officially began to fulfill the wishes of the Airpulse brand in 2011. And as a pioneer of the high-end brand of AIRDULSE, what kind of speakers can it bring?
The overall positioning of Airpulse A200 is to reproduce Phil Jones’ 7001 speaker ten years ago. The S2000MKII planar diaphragm tweeter is copied from the speakers used in the Silver Reference series of AIRPULSE. The A200 speaker is reproduced from the treble on the 7001. The A200’s mid-woofer is also a brand new model. After seeing its structure and design, it will be understood that it is a high-cost, high-position work among similar speakers. Speakers with such driver configuration cannot be seen in the traditional HiFi brand in the past at this price level.
New Driver Technology
The design goal of AIRPULSE A200 is to make a cost-effective speaker system. The loudspeaker must be designed and produced by Edifier itself, thereby reducing the cost relatively. When you see the two drivers of the A200, you will find that both the ribbon tweeter and the mid-bass unit are completed with high design goals and high-cost solutions.
The ribbon tweeter of Airpulse A200 is reproduced with the aluminum ribbon speaker used on 7001. It is said that this speaker’s subjective listening satisfaction is better than the treble on the S2000MKII. But we have not heard how much it differs from the 7001 direct comparisons. Of course, it isn’t easy to make such a thorough comparison.
The ribbon tweeter is a type of flat-diaphragm loudspeaker made of a thin metal material. Generally, aluminum, beryllium, titanium, and other materials are used. The A200 uses the most common aluminum strip. Because it is a conductive material, it is both a diaphragm and can be placed directly in a magnetic field and driven directly.
The width of the aluminum diaphragm is about several millimeters, and the length is about 50 millimeters. Its thickness is thin, more than ten microns or thinner—very lightweight, generally within 50mg. Compared with the traditional dome tweeter, the equivalent vibration mass of the whole unit is more than ten times smaller.
The aluminum strip unit is very light, vibration is very sensitive, and the inertial effect is low, so the speed response is very fast. However, aluminum strips are relatively light and thin and are relatively fragile. Since the aluminum strip itself is a conductor, its impedance is very low, and it cannot be directly coupled with the amplifier. It must pass through an impedance matcher, and the quality of the impedance matcher will affect the sound performance. Also, since the aluminum strip must be stretched with a very appropriate strength, if the strength is not adjusted correctly, it will affect the sound performance. Besides, the aluminum strip itself is a ductile metal with its metal fatigue problem, and its tension will become loose with the increase of use time.
The ribbon tweeter is a kind of flat diaphragm speaker. When used as a speaker tweeter, it can be kept in the same vibration plane as other drivers. Being in the same vibration plane makes the phase distortion of two or more speakers of the speaker easier to solve.
Aluminum Diaphragm : Short Voice Coil & Long-stroke Woofer
Airpulse A200 uses a newly developed 5.5-inch metal diaphragm mid-woofer. The speaker diaphragm is made of aluminum. The most critical technology is that the A200 uses a short voice coil design with low distortion in the mid-woofer and linear force in the magnetic field. To ensure a sufficiently low-frequency power response, a long-stroke design is used as a driver with a caliber of only 5.5 inches.
Long-stroke means that when the speaker works, the moving distance of the diaphragm driven by the voice coil is relatively long. We can see that when the low frequency is strong, the woofer diaphragm will front and back to do piston movement and vibration. The vibration is realized by the voice coil, moving the piston in the speaker to push the diaphragm.
Short voice coil long-stroke, not only the width of the voice coil is much shorter than the width of the magnetic field, but also to ensure its vibration distance, the voice coil does not exceed the area covered by the magnetic field. Of course, if you reduce the maximum displacement of the vibration, the voice coil can also easily ensure that it stays within the range covered by the magnetic field, but the stroke range is significantly reduced.
The long voice coil and long-stroke mean that the voice coil’s width exceeds the width of the magnetic field. It is necessary to ensure that the entire voice coil can cover the whole magnetic field width when the front and rear maximum displacements are reached.
The long-stroke driver needs to ensure the force’s linearity within the width of the magnetic field at the maximum amplitude. But the voice coil extending outside the magnetic field will be slightly affected by the fringing magnetic field. The bigger problem is that the apparent increase in voice coil significantly increases the equivalent vibration weight.
The short voice coil provides relatively more linear force and less distortion. But only a small part of the magnetic field covers the voice coil, wasting space. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a higher magnetic density to ensure sufficient efficiency. So here we must use neodymium magnets as magnetic steel. The small voice coil can also significantly reduce the entire equivalent vibration weight, minimize resistance, and provide better high-frequency response for the mid-woofer.
Airpulse A200’s mid-woofer also uses this structure design; the increase in cost stems from the much shorter voice coil requires a stronger magnet to ensure efficiency.
Function and Internal Structure
In terms of overall frequency division and dynamic management, the A200 uses TI TLV320AIC3254 DSP. Separate frequency allocation, dynamic, and power management for the high and low speakers are the same as those on the S2000MKII. This DSP is often useful for the Edifier system. It eliminates the bass signal in the metal diaphragm during frequency division and dynamically manages the tweeter’s power.
In the digital power amplifier part, A200 uses three TI’s TAS5754 digital power amplifier chips. That is a Class D amplifier. The chip supports 192kHz digital signal input, and the PWM frequency is 768kHz. One of them is responsible for the amplification of the two tweeters, providing 10Wx2 continuous undistorted power. The other two drive a woofer, providing 50Wx2 output power. Such power distribution is consistent with S2000MKII.
In terms of analog signal input, AIRPULSE A200 uses PCM1802 ADC to do A/D work after analog signal reception. It corresponds to the analog input of the unbalanced RCA interface. And the balanced input part has added a PCM1804 ADC chip. The reason is that PCM1804 can support analog differential signal input. That is, it becomes accurate “balanced”. It supports AD conversion up to 24bit/192kHz and has a dynamic range of 112dB.
For digital signal input, A200 uses the PCM9211 chip. The chip itself has ADC functionality and was used in earlier R series products. Here, the role of PCM9211 is to receive digital signals. A200 provides a coaxial and an optical fiber S/PDIF signal input. Support up to 24bit/192kHz. It uses the CSR8645 Bluetooth receiver chip, supports APT-X encoding, and theoretically provides better sound quality.
Appearance and Main Functions
In terms of appearance, the shape of AIRPULSE is more traditional and solemn. For the board, the Edifier uses MDF 25mm thickness. The sound-absorbing cotton inside the speaker adopts wave-shaped surface sound-absorbing cotton. The speaker uses a solid wood veneer of cherry wood.
And from the back, the input interface of AIRPULSE A200. A pair of XLR balanced analog input and RCA unbalanced input, coaxial RCA and fiber interface input, power switch. And the three knobs on the top are made of pure aluminum materials with precision processing, and the hand feel and texture are excellent. The RCA input can provide a high-frequency and low-frequency gain of ±3dB, which is a tiny adjustment from the sense of hearing. Under XLR input, the high and low gain adjustment can not be used.
The overall sound quality of Airpulse A200 has been dramatically improved compared to S2000MKII. Its sound has become more like a whole, balanced and smooth in the delicate, fast in the burst. The ribbon tweeter shows a very smooth and gentle transient response. Compared with high-end silk diaphragm, its dynamic tension and density are slightly superior, and extremely high-frequency resolution is superior.
Regardless of the performance of vocals, instrumental music, the A200’s mid-frequency details are rich, presenting the nature of the high-frequency connection, and the calmness and gentleness of all styles of music. Especially the unique sense of gentleness makes the whole sound very stretched and full.
Edifier Airpulse A200 Specs
- WEETER:Phase Correction Horn Loaded Ribbon Tweeter
- MID-WOOFER:5.5″ Aluminum Cone Neo Power Mid-Woofer
- POWER:L/R(Treble)10W + 10W, L/R(Min-Range and Woofer) : 55W + 55W
- SIGNAL-NOISE RATIO:L/R:≥90dB(A)
- INPUT SENSITIVITY:Balance Input 1000±50mV，AUX Input 550±50mV，Bluetooth Input 1000±50mFFs，Optical Input 350±50mFFs，Coaxial Input 350±50mFFs
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE:46Hz-20KHz
- INPUT INTERFACE:AUX, Balance Input, Optical, Coaxial, Bluetooth
- CABINET SIZE (WXHXD):203 x 355 x 295 (mm)
- NET WEIGHT:19 Kg(42lbs)
- GROSS WEIGHT:22.7Kg(50lbs)