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Audio Pro C20 review: a wireless speaker that offers even more, and sounds even better

 Audio Pro C20 on a wooden table, with a candle nearby.
Audio Pro C20 on a wooden table, with a candle nearby.

Audio Pro C20: Two minute review

The Audio Pro C20 has a lot of connectivity options. As anyone familiar with the category of best wireless speakers knows, a box of drivers that's able to harness your home's Wi-Fi network can offer superior sound to that afforded by a Bluetooth connection, whether music is accessed via Google Cast, Apple's AirPlay, 'connected' services such as Tidal Connect (which actually lets you stream losslessly in 24-bit hi-res, where AirPlay taps out at 16-bit CD quality) or a dedicated multi-room app such as the Audio Pro Control app. And the Audio Pro C20 offers all of this.

But just quickly, let's explain why Audio Pro's latest wireless speaker is worth your time from a technical perspective. First off, pinging music over Bluetooth from phone to speaker incurs compression. Wi-Fi's higher bandwidth means you can listen in (very) high resolution, up to 24-bit/192kHz. Now, a Wi-Fi enabled speaker accesses your chosen tunes from the internet (or local drive connected to it) rather than from your phone itself – and if you walk into another room or take a call, as long as you stay within range of your Wi-Fi router, the music keeps playing.

Why explain this in the intro to a product review? Because Audio Pro gets it. The Swedish company's been in the game for 40 years and the firm gets that we want more than one open gate leading to our music. Also, we now have plenty of kit we'd like to physically connect our shiny new speaker to, if possible (and thank you very much in advance). So, on top of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming, Audio Pro has added to the sizeable C20 a compelling array of ports on the back: an RCA in (for turntables with an RIAA amp), a phono MM in (for moving-magnet cartridge decks without a phono stage), an RCA sub out (if you wanted to connect a dedicated subwoofer to it), a Toslink Optical in (for CD players or budget soundbars, say) and the arguably the biggest draw of the lot – an HDMI ARC in, so it can go straight into your TV and challenge some of the best soundbars. So long as it'll fit beneath it without obscuring the screen, that is.

Audio Pro C20 on a table, with a mug of coffee and a smartphone beside it
Audio Pro C20 on a table, with a mug of coffee and a smartphone beside it

What you need to know is this: this thing sounds fantastic, offering clarity, depth, excitement and finesse, even at higher volumes. The control app is easy to navigate and corrals all of your chosen music streaming services – but of course, you could go into each app on your phone and click the little Google cast or AirPlay icon to see the C20 ready to connect.

Audio Pro calls the C20 the complete solution for music and TV and it's hard to argue. It's also hard to imagine a home interior, color scheme or decor style that the Audio Pro C20 couldn't be friends with – and the grille can remain on or easily be whipped off, if you prefer to see its three talented drivers.

The metal top plate adds an extra touch of class and the buttons click nicely, in a build that feels both reverent to traditional techniques and yet strikingly modern.

The fact that it comes from a long line of hits means it doesn't come cheap though. I've written odes to Audio Pro's beautiful speakers and I helped review the slightly smaller Audio Pro Addon C10 MkII for TechRadar's sister site, What Hi-Fi?, so I can personally vouch the five-star rating there (and the multiple awards it subsequently gained), although I fear those likely didn't do much to keep prices low.

In summary, it's chic, it's unique and it's (virtually) the complete package. Why virtually? If you wanted a 3.5mm in for your headphones (or 4.4mm, 6.35mm, or XLR), you won't find it – you'd have to go the the FiiO R9 for that. The C20 is for the enjoyment of shared music. And what an experience that is.

Audio Pro C20 review: Price and release date

  • Unveiled January 8, 2024, shipping from March 2024

  • $550 / £450 / €550 (around AU$820)

The Audio Pro C20 is available for pre-order now, and ships from March 2024. In the US, it costs $550 and in the UK, it'll set you back £450, hardly a trifling sum, whatever whistles and bells it sports.

That said, the competition here isn't much more affordable. Yes, the Q Acoustics M40 HD is (excellent and) a music system squirrelled into a set of speakers, but as far as wireless connectivity goes, it's a Bluetooth only one. Then, there's the fantastic FiiO R9, with all of the connectivity and hi-res wireless streaming smarts you could wish for, as long as you'll provide your own speakers or headphones.

Sonus Faber and Naim also offer similar solutions – see the Naim Mu-so Qb, a 2019 release which doesn't boast an HDMI ARC input, support, or the Sonus Faber Omnia, which does – but while the former is now available for similar money to the C20, the latter is a lot more expensive…

Audio Pro C20 from the back, showing the ports
Audio Pro C20 from the back, showing the ports

Audio Pro C20 review: Specs

Audio Pro C20 review: Features

  • Built in RIAA amplifier

  • Google Cast, Apple AirPlay and Audio Pro's own multi-room audio option

  • HDMI ARC

By adding a phono stage to its latest masterwork, Audio Pro C20 can be plugged straight into your devoid-of-phono turntable (as long as it sports a moving magnet cartridge), allowing you to simply power it on, select 'phono' on the Audio Pro's top plate, lower that needle and get into the groove. Got one of the best turntables with an RIAA amp inbuilt? That's OK too, there's a separate RCA line in for you too.

Of course, this is Audio Pro, so the new C20 also features the winning multi-room option triumvirate that the company introduced with the 2021-release Addon C10 MkII: AirPlay 2, Google Cast, plus its own multi-room audio capability. You also get Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth (v5.0) and HDMI ARC – so you can hook it straight up to your TV.

Thanks to a combination of these these things, you can also re-stream music (including vinyl from your turntable) to other Audio Pro speakers you may have collected from its A, C, or D-series, in a wireless multi-room system around your home (and you don't even have to start making holes in your walls).

The C20 also offers the option of connecting an external subwoofer via its sub-out (the company would direct you to its own Audio Pro SW-5 or SW10) enabling you to enhance the C20's bass performance even further, should you wish – although I didn't find this necessary.

Finally, two C20’s can be set-up as a stereo pair using the Audio Pro app, or even via Apple Airplay 2. I think you'll agree, that's a lot of options. If you want a 3.5mm headphone jack, you won't find it… but do you really?

Features score: 5/5

Audio Pro C20 top-plate closeup, with a hand pressing one of the buttons
Audio Pro C20 top-plate closeup, with a hand pressing one of the buttons

Audio Pro C20 review: Sound quality

  • Clarity, neutrality and detail in spades

  • Ample bass clout without muddying the soundstage

  • Not an omnidirectional solution

Simply put, the Audio Pro C20 sounds very good indeed, whether physically hooked up to your TV or turntable, or when commanded to play music by your phone. You might anticipate having to make a compromise when buying a jack-of-all-trades box – a minor hit on sound in return for something that works with everything – but not so here.

Coheed and Cambria's In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth: 3 accessed on Tidal Connect is a raucous proggy album and the C20 never shies away from any of it, serving indomitable energy across the frequencies in a cohesive but rigorously regimented mix.

Given delicate string progressions such as Joni Mitchell's A Case of You, Mitchell's textured vocal soars above her dynamically agile and three-dimensional Appalachian dulcimer (and James Taylor's emotive acoustic guitar) where each musical passage is given enough space to have the necessary impact the track.

When handling TV content, the C20 is an easy (easy!) step up from anything my Sony TV's speakers can do, opening out the sound and offering that extra ounce of detail through intakes of breath and clacks of high-heeled shoes on cobbles in Shetland.

It's not a Dolby Atmos solution, of course, and the sound isn't particularly omnidirectional (owing to the C20's design), but there's a wide soundstage here nonetheless.

However I listened to it across the course of my testing, the C20 continued to delight and entertain with its myriad connectivity perks, ease of use and gifted audio chops.

Sound quality score: 5/5

Audio Pro C20 on a wooden table, with a smartphone to show scale
Audio Pro C20 on a wooden table, with a smartphone to show scale

Audio Pro C20: Design

  • 2x 30W and 1x 130W digital class D amplifiers

  • Removable grille

  • Choice of three finishes

The Audio Pro C20 is available in Soft Satin White, Stylish Grey or Classic Black. The woven fabric front is fixed to the C20 by magnets and can be easily removed, giving the option of two very different looks, depending on your favored aesthetic.

I like to take off the grille off to better hear (and observe) Audio Pro's iconic eyes-and-nose style driver configuration, as seen in the brand's beloved T3+, C5 MkII and C10 MkII, for starters. Here, you get two 30W and one 130W Digital Class D amplifiers, powering the C20's dual 1-inch tweeters and a 6.5-inch woofer.

At 41cm across,19.6cm high and 22cm deep (and weighing in at 6.2kg, which roughly the same as a gallon of paint), the C20 is a substantial thing and while it fits under my wall-mounted TV just fine, those thinking of using it as a soundbar will need to think about that height.

My 'Stylish Grey' sample is just that. The gold-tone top plate (with solo LEDs to denote which source you're using as well as lights around the six preset buttons) also helps and while the gold accent on the grille is gone (as seen on the C10 MkII) I don't miss it. Do I miss Audio Pro's glorious rock 'n' roll leather handle? A little, but I also concede that this isn't  proposition is not meant to be especially portable.

It's always been hard to find fault with Audio Pro's build quality, and the C20 is no exception.

Design score: 4.5/5

Audio Pro C20 on a TV stand, with a Sony TV in the background, connected via HDMI ARC
Audio Pro C20 on a TV stand, with a Sony TV in the background, connected via HDMI ARC

Audio Pro C20 review: Usability and setup

  • Simple, app-guided setup

  • App can handle your music – or not

  • No supplied remote

After powering the speaker on (in case it needs to be mentioned, the C20 needs to be plugged in to power at all times), you're quickly guided to the Audio Pro companion app, which will add the C20 to your Wi-FI network and generally do the rest. During my time with it, it neither crashed nor tripped up even momentarily.

On the app, the 'Browse' tab (which seeks to keep your music all in one place) will open Apple Music natively through 'open on Apple Music' if using an iOS device, but third-party streaming services (such as Tidal) will require you to login again if going this route. You can also select the C20's source here, whether that's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, phono, line in (I hooked it up to the FiiO R9 before setting it up and it did a fantastic job), optical or TV.

The central 'Device' tab in the app is meant to organise your speakers rather than your music, so here you can name your speaker, (either the model, or its placement in your home, such as 'kitchen') and with the C20 there's a three-band EQ tab for bass, treble and subwoofer out.

The third and final 'Settings' tab basically lets you choose which services are displayed on 'Browse', as well as an FAQ section and details on the app version you're running.

Audio Pro hasn't supplied a dedicated remote control in the box (although if you're using the HDMI ARC to your TV, you can just use your TV's remote for volume) and honestly, I don't miss it, because the app does the heavy lifting – or of course, you can use the premium top plate.

Usability and setup score: 5/5 

Audio Pro C20 app, three screen-grabs on gray background
Audio Pro C20 app, three screen-grabs on gray background

Audio Pro C20: Value

Obviously, if you don't have the expendable income to afford such a speaker, it doesn't matter how good it is – you won't be buying it.

That said, Sonus Faber will offer you something with a similar spec sheet that's double the price, while Naim has an older option that offers less in terms of connectivity, but sounds excellent, for similar money (see below for a comparison of these products).

My advice? You will not be disappointed with the sound-per-pound value here.

Value score: 4.5/5 

Audio Pro C20 review: Should you buy it?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Audio Pro C20: Also consider

Audio Pro C20 review: How I tested

  • Tested across seven days 

  • Used as a TV soundbar, wireless speaker, wired to the FiiO R9, wired to a turntable and as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker

  • Listened to a variety of music; watched three episodes of an action-packed TV show

When testing the Audio Pro C20, the only connection I didn’t use was the subwoofer out – because honestly, I really like Audio Pro's tuning within its speakers and never felt the need to try to augment the low end.

The analogue inputs accommodated both pre-amplified and non-amplified turntables, the digital optical was used for a CD player, the line in for FiiO R9 (as a source device), my TV was hooked up to it… and, of course, Bluetooth and my home Wi-Fi network were handy for using it with my iPhone.

And then it's the usual: listening to lots of familiar music from my reference playlist, (as well as three episodes of Shetland on TV, which I'm really into and highly recommend – yes, I know I'm late to that particular party) at a variety of volume levels, for the duration of my testing.

As a brief aside, I removed the grilles for the duration of my testing – it's what I always do whenever possible. Why? The fewer physical obstructions between you and your music, the better…