Audio Pro C20 review: big, boisterous sound

This single-box speaker solution delivers big, clever sound for a well-judged asking price

T3 Platinum Award
Audio Pro C20 review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Audio Pro C20 is big and clever - and relatively affordable at the same time. In looks, specification and sound terms, it seems more expensive than it actually is - so, try as I might, I can’t think of how to put any meaningfully negative spin on this single-box speaker.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Bold, expressive and insightful sound

  • +

    Nicely made and finished

  • +

    Extensive specification

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Phono stage is nothing special

  • -

    Emphatically not a soundbar

  • -

    Likes a fingerprint

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‘Putting it all into one speaker’ has gained quite a lot of validity as a concept lately, to the point that even the most venerable and/or self-consciously ‘audiophile’ brands are at it - at a price, of course - in creating the best wireless Wi-Fi speakers

With the C20 on review here, however, Swedish entry-level hero Audio Pro wants to add more than a dash of performance to all that convenience - but without charging an arm and a leg. 

It’s an admirable ambition, of course - but executing a concept is, as we all know, quite a different thing to coming up with the concept in the first place. So how does the Audio Pro C20 fare? 

Audio Pro C20: Price & Availability

The Audio Pro C20 is on sale now, and in the United Kingdom it costs £450. It goes for around $550 in the United States, and is AU$900 or thereabouts in Australia.

This makes it one of Audio Pro’s most expensive one-box speakers - but given the sort of functionality it’s packing, it still looks like notable value against any number of similarly specified alternatives. 

Audio Pro C20 review: Features & What's New?

Audio Pro C20 review

(Image credit: Future)

Starting with the end of the chain and working backwards, the Audio Pro C20 is fitted with a 165mm mid/bass driver in the centre of its front panel, with a 25mm tweeter on either side. This driver array is powered by a total of 190 watts of Class D amplification (130w/30w/30w), and is reinforced by a slot-shaped bass reflex port venting at the rear of the cabinet. 

You have quite a few options, both wired and wireless, when it comes to getting audio information on board the C20 in the first place. Dual-band Wi-Fi is available, naturally, enough, and there’s Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC and AAC codec compatibility. Wi-Fi means Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Cast are available, and as well as being accessible via the control app you also have the option of the ‘Connect’ version of both Spotify and Tidal. Add in internet radio and wireless connectivity seems to be thoroughly covered.

As far as hard-wiring sources into the C20, take your pick from an HDMI ARC socket (which allows your TV to get involved), line-level and phono-level stereo RCA inputs (so there's support for a record player), and a digital optical input. There’s also a subwoofer pre-out if the Audio Pro’s 41Hz - 23kHz frequency response seems a bit bass-light to you.

The one thing the C20 doesn’t have when compared to any number of its Audio Pro siblings is an onboard battery. This is a strictly mains-powered device - but then again, it’s pretty big and at over 6kg it’s hardly the most portable.

Audio Pro C20 review: Performance

Audio Pro C20 review

(Image credit: Future)

With one exception, the Audio Pro gives an enormously positive account of itself where sound quality is concerned. Whether or not that exception is significant, only you will know.

Using both Apple AirPlay 2 and Tidal Connect to wireless stream music to the C20 results in a big, organised, properly controlled and winningly energetic sound. As the cabinet dimensions, the size of the mid/bass driver and the amount of power it receives all seem to promise, there’s plenty of low-frequency presence here - but the Audio Pro is no mindless thumper. Low-frequency information, while deep and impactful, is detailed and quite sprightly - so as well as sheer bass substance, the C20 expresses rhythms with a degree of skill and keeps momentum levels high.

It’s just as detailed and just as expressive higher up the frequency range, too. The top-end bites politely, with just about enough treble substance to balance out the treble brightness. In between, the mid-range balances detail and eloquence against drive and attack - and just about gets away with it. 

There’s a fairly obvious point-source of sound here, of course - the C20 isn’t even pretending to offer an idea of stereo. But nevertheless, it can create a large and quite expansive sound, and there’s decent separation as far as the spaces and gaps on a soundstage are concerned. Add in a very passable facility with both the board dynamics of ‘quiet/VERY LOUD’ and the more subtle harmonic dynamics apparent in a solo instrument, and the Audio Pro is obviously a wireless speaker to be reckoned with.

Audio Pro C20 review

(Image credit: Future)

And it’s generally no slouch where wired sources are concerned, either. Using its digital optical input lets you know its on-board DAC is more than capable of doing justice to the Technics disc-player attached to it - and even though your TV will need to be on stilts if the C20 is going to sit beneath its screen, the results via its HDMI ARC socket are very gratifying too. Through both of these inputs, detail levels are high, bass presence is considerable, and the overall tonal balance is sensibly judged too. 

After all of this energy and entertainment, switching to the Audio Pro’s integrated phono stage is an underwhelming experience. Vinyl heard this way has little of the vigour of sound every other input seems to enjoy, and dynamic response is squashed as surely as detail levels. The pre-amplification here is by no means a catastrophe, but it’s a fair bit less impressive than the rest of the C20’s functionality.

Audio Pro C20 review: Design & Usability

Not every Audio Pro speaker looks like this - but lots of them do, and the C20 is simply a scaled-up version of the ‘koala-face’ speakers with which the brand initially established itself. And like all of those speakers, the C20 is properly built and finished, clean and unfussy in its design - and all the better for it.

At 196 x 410 x 220mm (HxWxD) it’s no substitute for a soundbar, no matter what that HDMI ARC socket might suggest. But unless you position it in front of your TV, it wears its relative bulk well - and that’s helped by the choice of finishes (‘classic’ black, ‘soft satin’ white or ‘stylish’ grey) that Audio Pro offers. 

The grille that covers the entirety of the front panel is magnetically attached, so there are no unsightly lug-holes if you decide to remove it, and the matte finish is quite sophisticated too. But be aware: it collects fingerprints as readily as a scene-of-crime investigator.

Audio Pro C20 review

(Image credit: Future)

As far as setting up and controlling the C20, you can choose between the straightforward, stable and logical control app that’s free for Apple iOS and Google Android, or the brief selection of physical controls housed in a little metal plate on the speaker’s top surface.

The app isn’t much to look at, but it does pretty much everything and does it reliably. Here’s where you can get the C20 onto your local network, incorporate it into your Audio Pro multi-room system, integrate your favourite music streaming service(s), browse internet radio, save as many as six presets… and take care of all playback functions too, of course.

The integrated controls, meanwhile, are limited to input selection, volume up/down, play/pause, skip forwards/backwards, initiate Bluetooth pairing, and define/select preset. Just like the control app, there’s little flashiness and plenty of efficiency here. 

Audio Pro C20 review: Verdict

Audio Pro C20 review

(Image credit: Future)

The Audio Pro C20 is big and clever - and relatively affordable at the same time. In looks, specification and sound terms, it seems more expensive than it actually is - in the most positive of ways. 

As long as you aren’t prioritising its integrated phono stage, which is the Audio Pro C20's one weak point, this single-box speaker is a very pleasant combination of looks, functionality and performance indeed. It’s a fairly big speaker, yes, but its personality is bigger still. 

Also consider

If it’s the wireless multiroom aspect of the C20 you fancy, you could do a lot worse than check out the Sonos Era 300. It looks a bit odd where the Audio Pro looks mildly stylish, it’s true - but it sounds great and the Sonos ecosystem is second to none. If the full-on functionality of the C20 is what appeals, though, then price-comparable alternatives are pretty thin on the ground.

Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? magazine and website – since then, he's written for titles such as Wired, Metro, the Guardian and Stuff, among many others. Should he find himself with a spare moment, Simon likes nothing more than publishing and then quickly deleting tweets about the state of the nation (in general), the state of Aston Villa (in particular) and the state of his partner's cat.