Every once in a while, a new product comes along that re-defines a category. A disruptive product or technology is introduced and people say OMG, did you see that? I had that kind of experience when I encountered the AIRPULSE™ Model One Wireless Active Monitor at the breakthrough price of $995 a pair by Phil Jones. Phil is the original founder of Acoustic Energy UK and designer of their flagship classic, the AE-1 Compact Monitor. Those of you that know me know I love the AE-1, a true classic of the audio arts.
I was the original AE distributor in the USA during ’92-’94, having fallen in love with the AE-1 at the Bristol Show in England. The AE-1 was a stunning listening experience, I couldn’t believe its power handling capability (200 watts) and how much bass came out of a 5.5″ woofer in such a small enclosure. It went on to become a best seller in its category, still found in recording studios and audiophile systems worldwide today.
Phil and I missed working together then, he had left AE before I started selling them. We also missed working together when I was the Boston Acoustics rep out in LA back in the 80’s, by the time I left in ’86, Phil was just joining them to design the Lynnfield series. Talk about six degrees of separation! You can imagine my delight now, announcing that I’ll be selling Phil’s new AIRPULSE™ Model One, our two paths have finally crossed again and I get to sell his latest marvel.
At the ground breaking price point of $995.00 a pair, the AIRPULSE™ Model One re-defines the complete high-end audio system as we’ve known it. Combining a new state-of-the-art speaker with a built-in 24/192K DAC/Preamp, Bi-Amp’d Power with DSP error correction, plus Bluetooth® AptX 4.0 reception from wireless sources, or any digital or analog source, the AIRPULSE™ Model One sets a remarkable new standard of performance and value.
The proprietary features of the AIRPULSE™ Model One are benchmarks in the field of driver and cabinet design. From the Hardwood Cherry veneer exterior, the cabinet walls are 1″ (25mm) thick with robust internal bracing and acoustic damping to eliminate cabinet-induced coloration from vibration or resonance. The rear control panel is black anodized aluminum, inset for a flush, elegant fit.
The heart of the Model One is the 5.5″ Phil Jones Signature Woofer: The dual-layered hard anodized aluminum cone is combined with a large edge-wound voice coil, a neodymium motor to provide a high magnetic flux that covers the entire voice coil resulting in low harmonic and inter‐modulation distortion. The voice-coil is thermally coupled to the aluminum woofer cone, which acts like a heat sink. This cleverly dissipates heat from building up in the voice-coil, eliminating thermal dynamic compression, enabling the speaker to be played at high levels for long periods of time with no distortion. This is the design feature that made the AE-1 so famous its become a “classic” among people who know speakers worldwide. Stereophile Magazine’s John Atkinson said of the AE1 “…it redefines the art of miniature speaker design” in his 1995 review.
The tweeter assembly is marvel of thinking outside the box. This new ribbon design is 3″ tall and horn loaded with phase correction to keep the high frequencies directional and coherent to the listener, not bouncing off the ceiling, walls, or floors. This produces the ideal dispersion pattern, focused over a broad listening area with enough “throw” to actually reach your ears coherently, the direct sound of the recording without interference. The result is palpably realistic stereo imaging, the kind found on full range electrostats. Thats why I’m in love with this product already!
The Model One lets you listen to your favorite streaming apps wirelessly via Bluetooth® AptX 4.0 from your SmartPhone or any Bluetooth® enabled source, or plug in using the RCA or Balanced XLR Analog Inputs, or choose between coaxial or optical digital inputs through its internal 24/192K DAC / Preamp for 24/192K hi res audio.
What we have here is 3x times the performance for 1/3 the price, at $995 a pair the Airpulse™ Model One is the best speaker value proposition in the audio industry today. I believe in Phil Jones designs, as an owner of the original Acoustic Energy AE-1, I can give this speaker my highest recommendation, it’s an evolutionary modernization of the original, dramatically updated with all the latest thinking and all new parts, from one hell of a speaker designer. This is a prime example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
I’m so sure you’re going to love the AIRPULSE™ Model One that it comes with a 60 day return privilege; listen to them at home, if you’re not convinced after listening to them that they’re among the best speakers ever created, you can return them for a full refund as long as they’re undamaged and returned complete in the original factory packaging. Watch the video for a 360 degree spin.
The Phil Jones Story
Phil’s life story is fascinating, like most of us, its full of twists and turns, ups and downs. He’s doing his best work ever now but its all really an evolution based on experience, see if you agree:
Phil Jones was born in the mid fifties in London UK. Phil developed an interest in music and electronics at an early age; by the time he was 9 he made his first am receiver and by the age of 11 had started to learn the guitar.
By 13 he had switched to play the bass guitar and by 1969 he made his first bass guitar , hand carving the neck and winding his own pickups to his own designs.
He may have been one of the first musicians to play fretless bass guitar. Because he was not sure where to position the frets so by default his first instrument he made was fretless!
Phil was always a “hands on” guy who grew up in a modest home where money was tight. He would find old TV and radio sets in dumpsters just to dissemble them for the parts, in order to make amps, speakers and guitar FX pedals. His first distortion pedal (fuzz box) was made by using a Woodbine tobacco tin as the housing.
In 1970 Phil took an apprenticeship with the Post Office telephone company, then the only phone company in the UK. Eventually going to university (sponsored by the phone company) earning a degree in telecommunications electronics. During his time with the phone company, one day Phil was called to the offices of Western Electric Company in Cardiff, then known in UK as Westrex. Phil never heard of this company then but met a man there who became his mentor on loudspeakers, Reginald Solomon. Reg Solomon was the area manager of Westrex and a highly revered Cinema Sound acoustical engineer.
Phil was torn between being a musician and engineer, and in 1976 he went to the Welsh college of music to study classical double bass under the late Earnest C Haigh, ( the former principle bassist of the Royal Philharmonic orchestra). At that time the college did not deem a bass guitar as a proper instrument which is why he learnt to play the upright bass instead. During his time in college he subsidized his living by taking on work as a musician, playing for BBC television and also in several local bands. This was in Cardiff and in the mid 70s Phil became good friends with Pino Palladino , another Welsh bass player , now bass player for the Who and after all these years Pino and Phil remain great friends.
After graduating from Music College, Phil was offered the job as principle bassist with the Welsh Symphony Orchestra but he declined as it was not the type of music career he wanted to pursue. Instead he was actually flat broke and was somewhat despondent with the musician lifestyle. He fell back on his education in electronics and took a job with the Decca Navigator Company. He ended up working in the United Arab Emirates and later Iran maintaining the navigational grid, for oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. During that time Phil was caught up in the civil war in Iran at the time when the Iranians ceased the US embassy and held all the staff hostages. He was even shot at by snipers himself, luckily they missed him! During his almost 2 year stint in the Middle East. Phil recalls social life was non existent so he went over, armed with 40 kg of books and ever single AES paper on loudspeakers. All Phil did was study every day I was there on loudspeaker design, apart from dodging bullets!
By mid 1980 Phil had moved to London and took a position working for Vitavox. An established loudspeaker company that manufactured high end audio horn speakers, cinema speakers and loudspeakers for the British navy. His mentor was David Young the son of the founder of Vitavox. David Young was a brilliant mathematician and loudspeaker designer and he taught Phil many of the tricks of the trade in manufacturing loudspeakers. Phil even leant how to make multi-cellular cinema horns by hand from David.
By 1981 Phil had started his own business in concert sound systems rental, providing super high quality PA for major artists such as Elis Costello and Bobby McFerrin and venues around London ( Brixton Reggae Festival, Notting Hill Carnival, Hammersmith Odeon, Chelsea Football stadium and Royal Albert hall, to name a few). He pioneered the application of true sub woofers for concert sound (being able to play high SPLs right down to 25Hz) and also researched power compression in loudspeakers. He was the first ever to coin(?) the phrase “Power Compression”. With his research and knowledge of high power speakers, he was one of the first in the world to employ the use of “Ferrofluid” (a magnetic liquid) in compression drivers for mid and high frequency PA horns. In 1984 Phil’s dream of owning a recording studio came to fruition and from then on he developed super compact high performance near-field monitors with all metal diaphragms he developed.. Later he founded Acoustic Energy and the first speaker he designed in his recording studio was the iconic AE1. This speaker became the benchmark for all other compact monitors. This loudspeaker was used by world famous artists and recording studios such as James Taylor and Abbey Road Studios, London. Even Clint Eastwood owns a custom audio system for his movies designed exclusively for him by Phil.
In 1990 Phil departed Acoustic Energy, the company he founded due to a dispute with his partners. He shortly worked as chief designer for Wharfedale Loudspeaker Co. in Yorkshire, England. During that time he was offered a position as a senior engineer with JBL and also Boston Acoustics. He was flown out to both companies and since it was in that October, Phil fell in love with New England so he took the position as head designer at Boston Acoustics. He was responsible for all the Lynnfield series loudspeakers and was awarded US patent as the inventor of the “Amplitude Modification Device “(US Patent No 5689573)
In 1994 Phil founded his own company again with some New England investors to create Platinum Audio. The first products were evolutions of his classic 5 inch metal cone speaker designs, The Platinum Solo being the most popular model and gained a solid reputation with stellar reviews in all the high end audio magazines worldwide. Stereophile magazine listed the Solo as a recommended component. Platinum speakers were used by many top artists such as Bob James and the English band Yes. Phil has credits on albums by both these artists. In 1995 Phil’s Platinum Quattro won the Excellence in design Award from Audio Video Interiors magazine in USA.
Best of CES
In 1997 Phil created his most advanced loudspeaker of all time: The Platinum Air-Pulse 3.1. This speaker was awarded a US design patent (US Patent No D397117). This loudspeaker also won the most prestigious Golden Sound Award in Japan.
In 1996 Phil needed further investment to grow Platinum Audio. However the investors did not have the same goal or vision that Phil had and sadly they drove the company into bankruptcy.
For a while Phil designed and consulted for a small USA speaker company in Raleigh NC Soliloquy loudspeakers and designed all of their products.
Phil decided to start all over again from the beginning. He sold his home and everything he owned and moved to China to build a factory. At this time the writing was on the wall that the manufacturing base would be China, So Phil and his family moved to China to start a new business and factory from the ground up. The new company was called American Acoustic Development: AAD. Phil designed and built many of the manufacturing tools for his new products. He not only made high end audio speakers but also sold into the lucrative PA speaker market in Asia which fueled the finance for growth. AAD had won many awards worldwide and even had a front cover feature on Stereophile magazine July 2007 with the radical AAD Silver One. An affordable high end speaker, with sound to die for ! This speaker also featured one of Phil’s United States utility patents (7,929,726)
In 2003 AAD partnered with the biggest loudspeaker manufacturer in China Edifier. Phil also took the position of Chief of Design on Edifiers products as well as AAD.
He also started a new brand making bass guitar amplifiers. Something Phil always wanted as he was a bass player. His goal: make the absolute finest bass amplifiers on the planet. The brand is PJB, Phil Jones Bass and now PJB is regarded as the world’s finest bass amplifiers.
PJB is still growing and used by some of the greatest names in the musician world. Walter Becker from Steely Dan, Verdine White from Earth Wind and Fire, Nathan East who plays with Eric Clapton, Victor Wooten, Pino Palladino and many more know PJB is the best bass amps money can buy. The PJB Briefcase was such a unique amplifier it too was awarded a United States patent (D514,089).
AirPulse brand came because Phil believed that the high end audio market was shooting itself in the foot. His goal was to make the finest sounding audio equipment at affordable prices, not requiring extensive expertise in choosing separate components to match each other.
2017: The Model 1 loudspeaker was born. The first product of a great lineage, to be coming to market.