Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active

It's not surprising that more and more people are interested in hi-fi equipment that is luxurious, beautiful, and offers excellent performance, but at the same time is as simple to use as a network speaker. Some audiophiles believe that increasing the comfort of our music experience automatically reduces the sound quality. If we have a pile of sources and amplifiers connected with expensive cables, if our living room has been transformed into an anechoic chamber, if before each listening session, we carry out an elaborate procedure of warming up the system while checking the humidity of the air and the voltage in the socket, we deserve great sound, and if we buy easy-to-use active loudspeakers, we don't. Is it true? Manufacturers of audio electronics have already discovered that it can all be simplified. Almost every new all-in-one system is an instant sales hit because all you have to do is add a pair of decent speakers and your home stereo is ready. But what if you could go one step further and eliminate the need to buy any electronics? This mission has already been undertaken by many companies, as the idea itself is not new or revolutionary. However, it has usually involved rebuilding budget boxes so that, with additional electronics inside, they don't cost a fortune. The result was cheap speakers powered by poor electronics, meaning lots of compromises and a sound far from ideal. Now Pylon Audio introduced its first series of wireless speakers. And it has done it quite differently.

The belief that any attempt to make our lives easier will close off the path to great sound is somewhat historically rooted. Many technologies came to the market before they were perfected, so audiophiles are used to saying that compact discs sound worse than vinyl, solid-state amplifiers are worse than tubes, files are worse than physical media, and wireless equipment is a total triumph of convenience over high fidelity. It's also not insignificant that after many years of investing in exotic equipment and collecting records, it's hard to come to terms with the idea that the same effect could have been achieved by buying wireless speakers. So, if it's technically possible, why haven't we all switched to such gear? Well, first of all, many audiophiles started building their stereo system a long time ago, and although they have made many modifications to it over the years, the general architecture of the setup hasn't changed - it still consists of a source, an amplifier, and loudspeakers. Getting out of this scheme is difficult and doesn't always pay off. Things look different when starting from scratch. It seems to me that loudspeaker manufacturers are just beginning to recognize this. However, most of them assume that high-end equipment is bought by experienced audiophiles - people who probably already have tens of pounds of expensive electronics at home. And wireless speakers? These tend to be aimed at younger people with lower requirements and modest budgets. We tend to associate network speakers with cheap, small plastic boxes. That's why we think that only traditional passive speakers can be good enough for audiophiles, and wireless ones can't.

To improve the sound of their stereo system, enthusiasts focus on improving its weakest link. In the case of wireless speakers, such a bottleneck may be what the cables have been replaced with. The signal is most often transmitted in a compressed format, so the quality limitation does indeed occur, and it happens already in the air. However, the progress in this area is very fast. Even Bluetooth can be used to transmit high-resolution audio. And since we are no longer limited by what happens between the transmitter and receiver, we can exploit the potential of high-tech speakers. And that's precisely what Pylon Audio decided to do, taking the excellent Jasper series speakers and converting them into wireless sets. This is how the Jasper Active series was created. And since we reviewed the Jasper 23 floorstanders over a year ago, let's see how their "streaming" counterpart, the Jasper 23 Active, will fare in a listening test.

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
The Jasper Active series consists of three models. In addition to the described speakers, there are larger 25s and monitors to choose from.

Design and functionality

Since I don't like to repeat myself, I won't describe once again how these speakers look and how they are built, at least as far as the passive part is concerned. I'll only add that the Jasper 23 in the active version has lost none of its charm since the whole operation was carried out non-invasively. The cabinets have identical dimensions, and no additional elements such as an amplifier attached to the rear panel or an enlarged stabilizing plinth were added. It's extremely rare that the only difference between passive loudspeakers and their wireless counterparts is the connectors panel. In the standard version, of course, we saw beautiful terminals accepting bananas and spades. Here, on the other hand, we have a power jack with an on/off switch, a balanced input (XLR), a USB socket for service and software updates, an input sensitivity switch (three positions to choose from), and a button for pairing.

Basically, that's where the external differences end. The cabinets are, of course, large enough that putting an amplifier with a wireless module inside them was not a problem, but I still liked the fact that it was done in such an elegant way. And what about ventilation? I suspect that the amplifiers used here don't heat up that much, since they operate in class D. On top of that, there are two sizable bass-reflex ports just above them, which is actually very clever, because the louder we listen, the more effective this natural cooling is. Oh, and one more thing - this time I got the veneered version, and I fell in love with these speakers again. Pylon Audio is now one of the best manufacturers of loudspeaker cabinets in the world, and you don't even need to go into specifics or enumerate the companies that use the help of Polish carpenters (Audio Physic being perhaps the most famous among them). Just look at the quality of the woodwork and everything is clear. The catalog lists only two veneers (American Walnut and Morocco Ebony) and four default lacquers (black and white, both in matte or gloss), but for an extra charge, you can order any color from the RAL palette, which means customers are limited only by their imagination.

So how ordinary passive speakers were converted into active wireless sets? The Polish company has already proved that it's not afraid of challenges, but developing its own amplifiers, creating a signal transmission system, obtaining the appropriate certifications, and implementing an application for mobile devices is a huge operation that would consume a lot of time and money, and could ultimately prove unprofitable anyway. Rather than hijacking the project, Pylon opted for an off-the-shelf solution. However, it's not just some random electronics, but the hardware that was chosen for its performance, sound quality, and compatibility with all platforms and services relevant to music lovers. The system was created by the WiSA association, which develops, markets, and sells wireless surround sound technology for smart devices and home entertainment sets. The consortium, which is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, works with leading consumer electronics companies, technology suppliers, retailers, and industry partners to promote the idea of surround sound, and above all - which was especially important in this case - to offer components that allow lossless signal transmission. If you've never heard of WiSA before, you should know that Bang & Olufsen, Buchardt Audio, Dynaudio, Electrocompaniet, Klipsch, LG, Piega, and Savant already use this technology.

What does it look like in the real world? An identical module combining a wireless receiver and amplifier is installed in each speaker. The latter pumps up 150 watts to each driver. The power amplifier operates in Class D, and an advanced DSP processor allowed the Polish designers to tune the speakers just right. As the head of Pylon's engineering team, Sławomir Wieruszewski, told me, passive Jaspers were the benchmark here, but if customers demand it, the company will be able to create other presets to achieve a slightly different sound (perhaps new modes designed for speakers operating in harsh acoustic conditions, for example). From the customer's point of view, there is another key element that we receive in the kit. It's a central unit named Stereo Hub, a small device resembling a Wi-Fi router. It was created by Platin, a company cooperating with the WiSA association. In terms of the build quality of the case or accessories, this is no high-end product, but the key here is the technology that allows for lossless signal transfer.

I must say that at first, I had mixed feelings about this device, but it's not such a stupid solution. Other devices, such as a compact disc player or TV, can be conveniently connected to the Stereo Hub, so there is no need to plug many cables into the speakers. In addition, both of them are the same (we don't have a "master" and a "slave"). The biggest advantage, however, is the fact that the Stereo Hub takes care of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and, most importantly, it's compatible with such systems and services as Spotify Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and Roon. The device offers an analog input (RCA), three optical and one coaxial input, one HDMI port, and one USB-B socket, so you can easily connect, for example, a turntable with a built-in or external phono stage, a gaming console, a TV and a computer. Interestingly, the Stereo Hub comes with a pretty cool remote control, but it doesn't stop there, as we can control the speakers via the Pylon Audio app, available in iOS and Android versions.

The process of installing the speakers and configuring the system is very simple. When I'm testing such equipment, I make my life easier by using a LAN cable, but here there is no such possibility because we won't find an RJ45 socket on the rear panel of the Stereo Hub. We are left with an antenna, but that's not a bad thing, because we connect the equipment to the network via the Google Home app. If you already have it installed on your phone, it only takes a minute and you're done. At this point, all that remains is to pair the speakers with the hub, which we already do in a physical way, using the buttons. The Chromecast gives us other benefits, and one of them is that although I didn't find information about compatibility with the TIDAL Connect system in the speakers' specifications, the TIDAL app immediately detected the new hardware. Spotify Connect and Roon also worked seamlessly. As for the Pylon Audio app, I have no major complaints about it. It looks nice and allows the user to play with different settings, which are in vain in Google Play, Spotify, or TIDAL.

The downsides? I've already mentioned the lack of a LAN jack on the hub. I know that most users would choose Wi-Fi anyway, but the networks in our homes are heavily loaded these days, and it's nice to know that the equipment we care about most is immune to connection problems. However, since Jaspers use the WiSA system, we may see newer, better-equipped central units in the future. A few days ago, System Audio introduced the Surround Hub model. It was created with the idea of building a wireless home theater system, but it has a LAN port as well. Maybe Pylon Audio will also go this route?

You are probably wondering whether the Jasper 23 Active has any competition on the market. Yes, but it's hard to find speakers that meet the same goals and are similar in size. For example, the same wireless system is used by System Audio Legend 60.2 Silverback and Buchardt Audio A700 floorstanders, but both models are much larger than the Pylons, so putting them in a medium-sized room will be risky. Dynaudio Focus 60 XDs look cool, but they need a streamer with a built-in preamp. There's also the KEF LS60 Wireless, about which things have become strangely quiet after the initial rapture. The Piega Premium 501 Wireless Gen2 look tempting, but they were just introduced, so I didn't have a chance to try them. Oh, and the Devialet Phantom I. It's a slightly different category of equipment, though. Finally, one more very important piece of information - when the Jasper Active series was introduced, the dimensions of the socket panels in all Jaspers were standardized to allow customers to upgrade their speakers by going active. Only will anyone want to do it? It strongly depends on the sound quality, so let's listen to what these speakers have to offer.

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
Whether in a lacquer finish or a veneered version, the Jaspers look beautiful.

Sound performance

Since I reviewed a passive version of these speakers, I can't say that I proceeded to the listening with a completely clear head, without expectations. I liked the Jasper 23s very much, so theoretically I should expect a similar sound, but replacing a classic crossover with an amplifier and equipping such loudspeakers with a small box that is supposed to replace at least a few audiophile devices connected with expensive cables may change the outcome completely. It's more than a minor modification - it's turning the concept of the entire stereo system upside down. Perhaps that's why I didn't consider a scenario in which the active Jasper 23s would show a sound comparable to the one I got from their passive variant with gear and accessories worth many times more than the speakers themselves. Given the talent of Pylon's engineers, I was betting that the sound would be good, but math is absolute. You have to pay €7500 for the active floorstanders, straight away adding the price of the Stereo Hub, which is €800. Passive Jasper 23s cost €5500, so the upper limit of what I should expect should be the sound of ordinary Jasper 23s with electronics and cabling for about €3000. It could be something like an Audiolab 7000A with a 7000N Play streamer and budget Tellurium Q cables. That seems reasonable, but the drivers used in these loudspeakers have an extremely large appetite for power, so a 70-watt integrated amp is not and will never be an ideal partner for them. To put these considerations into some context, let me remind you that I reviewed the passive Jasper 23s in two systems - the first consisted of the Auralic Aries G1 transport and the Unison Research Triode 25 amplifier, and the second was built around the Auralic Vega G1 and the Hegel H20 power amplifier. Even taking cabling and accessories out of the equation, these are worth more than the price difference between the passive and active versions of the Jasper 23s. So while I could imagine that Polish loudspeakers without such expensive support would sound good, it seemed very unlikely that it would be a similar level of performance.

After just a few minutes of listening, I knew I would have to revise my views. So I'll write it as simply as I can - these are not just fancy, easy-to-use loudspeakers designed for people who prioritize comfort and minimalism over sonic qualities. This is not an attempt to reach new customers, and by "new" I mean affluent, but completely inexperienced, with little understanding of audio equipment and convinced that a €1500 soundbar or a €3000 car audio system is the pinnacle of hi-fi technology. These are simply magnificent, 100% audiophile speakers, which - just so happens - only need a hub to work smoothly. Their sound is extremely dynamic, natural, full, and versatile. Most shocking, however, is the overall level of quality. Do you want to know how much? Then I'll just say that the passive Jasper 23s performed so well, yes, but in a system with the Hegel H20. With much cheaper Unison Research Triode 25, not necessarily.

My mathematical considerations from the previous paragraph have become somewhat outdated. Now I'm not sure that it's possible to assemble a system with which the passive Jasper 23s will play better than the Jasper 23 Active for €3000. As if that wasn't enough, in the sound of the active Jaspers I noticed most of the advantages of the passive version, but I could hardly find the downsides. The low frequencies, whose extension and insufficient mass I complained about in that review, worked like a machine here. The bass was deep, dense, decisive, pleasantly pulsating, adequately powerful, and fast, and it had this great, pleasing paper-like tone to it. And yet, these are the same drivers, the same enclosures, the same bass-reflex ports. The high frequencies were, to my ear, a little bolder and more willing to enter an area that may already seem slightly risky, but without which the sound is not quite open, properly illuminated. Of course, all this took place in an atmosphere typical of Pylon Audio's speakers of exemplary correctness, calmness, composure, and putting the music first. This seems to me to be extremely important, as Pylon's customers appreciate it very much. In constructing active loudspeakers, the Polish company may have lost sight of this goal. Fortunately, it didn't, so when we get used to the idea that wireless loudspeakers can play so well, we switch back from audiophile mode to music lover mode and soak up new recordings, knowing that nothing will surprise us.

How was this achieved? I have only two explanations. The first is that the Polish designers are well aware of the sound and requirements of the passive Jaspers, which have been on the market for some time, so they were able to choose the amplifiers that work best with these speakers. Scan-Speak drivers were certainly key here. Revelators have a lot of advantages and one major disadvantage - they are extremely power-hungry. Their high demand for watts sometimes makes unusual things happen. For example, we can make a comparison between two amplifiers, one of which is an expensive, finely tuned tube design offering 20-30 watts, or a solid-state integrated amp operating in pure class A, and the other - a relatively inexpensive, far less luxurious solid-state model putting out 100-150 watts per channel. It's almost certain that the cheaper but more powerful amplifier will be better. For the Revelators, the quality of the electronics is of course important, but only when you meet condition number one and satisfy their appetite for electricity. Only then they will show all their qualities. Pylon Audio has taken care of this, so the effect is great.

My second theory, explaining the lack of downsides I pointed out in my test of the passive Jasper 23s, is that the Polish company has made an effort to develop its own DSP setup. In active loudspeakers it essentially takes over the role of the crossover, giving the engineers much more possibilities. And since nothing stood in the way of gently correcting the shortcomings resulting, for example, from the use of relatively small woofers, it was done without hesitation. Probably that's why the bass of the Jasper 23s Active is so impressive. The most important thing, however, is that it was not exaggerated, so you can still hear a bit of pleasant warmth and a great three-dimensional stereo stage too. Above all, what we get here is a healthy, dynamic, clear, and convincing sound, which contradicts the so-called five-minute rule. Yes, in the first contact, these speakers are very impressive, but afterward, they just refuse to get boring. So these new speakers are still the very good Jasper 23s I knew, but... Heck, I'll say it - better!

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
The amplifier and hub were supplied by Platin, a member of the WiSA association.
Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
We can connect up to eight external sources to the hub. Not bad!
Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
These drivers are seen less and less often even in hi-end speakers.

Build quality and technical parameters

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active floorstanding speakers are a wireless version of the Jasper 23. They use three drivers from Scan-Speak's Revelator series, selected on the basis of a series of acoustic measurements and many hours of listening tests. Responsible for the bass and midrange are a pair of the famous Revelators in the 15-cm diameter version, recognizable by their characteristic notches, whose task is to control the distortion of the diaphragm and dissipate standing waves. High frequencies have been entrusted to a silk tweeter with an ultra-lightweight vibration system. It is worth mentioning that during the design of the Jasper 23s, the latest "toys" at the disposal of the factory were used, including an anechoic chamber and a laser accelerometer. As a result, an enclosure devoid of cuboid forms was designed, characterized by aligned acoustic centers of the drivers in the most critical mid-high section, and minimized diffraction. High rigidity has been achieved through thick MDF boards, with the front being made using sandwich technology. All Jasper Active Series loudspeakers use WiSA, a widely recognized wireless standard in the audio industry for lossless audio transmission. The Jaspers easily connect to other devices that work with this technology, and using the dedicated Stereo Hub, you can freely use the electronics you already own, such as CD players, converters, or TVs. Available for iOS and Android devices, the Pylon Audio app allows you to easily configure the system. The Stereo Hub is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules for convenience and speed and balanced XLR analog inputs for the highest quality wired connection. The active version of the Jaspers offers compatibility with services such as Spotify Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay, and Roon. The Jasper 23 Active is driven by an amplifier module discreetly integrated into the back of each speaker, with 150 watts of power per driver. It operates in modern, energy-efficient Class D, which translates into excellent sound quality and power savings. An advanced DSP processor allowed the designers the freedom to tune the speakers, optimizing the sound of the design as originally intended.

Pylon Audio Jasper 23 Active
Jaspers' curved housings are even more impressive from the back than from the front.

System configuration

Audiovector QR5, Equilibrium Nano, Unison Research Triode 25, Hegel H20, Auralic Aries G1, Auralic Vega G1, Marantz HD-DAC1, Clearaudio Concept, Cambridge Audio CP2, Cardas Clear Reflection, Tellurium Q Ultra Blue II, Albedo Geo, KBL Sound Red Corona, Enerr One 6S DCB, Enerr Tablette 6S, Enerr Transcenda Ultimate, Fidata HFU2, Melodika Purple Rain, Sennheiser HD 600, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, Meze 99 Classics, Bowers & Wilkins PX5, Pro-Ject Wallmount It 1, Custom Design RS 202, Silent Angel N8, Vicoustic VicWallpaper VMT, Vicoustic ViCloud VMT.


Pylon Audio is a brand that started modestly, first introducing budget loudspeakers and then slowly but steadily raising the bar. Years passed, and the Polish factory made huge progress, presenting better, prettier, more refined loudspeakers. Today in its catalog you can find such gems as hi-end Jaspers, powerful Amber mkII floorstanders, or Jade 20 retro-style monitors. The company itself has undergone a similar transformation. It has changed its headquarters several times, invested in machinery, acquired new investors, distributors, and industry customers, most of whom are world-renowned loudspeaker manufacturers ordering whole cabinets at Pylon's carpentry shop. Creating wireless loudspeakers, the company decided to reverse this pattern, rolling out the heavy guns right away. On the basis of the Jasper series models, Polish designers created speakers so good that after a while I started asking myself what's the point of building a stereo setup using separate components. It would be justified if the sound of wireless speakers sucked, but - sorry, dear friends - here it just doesn't. It could be even better, but in order to achieve that, you need to buy passive Jasper 23s, and then spend at least double that on electronics and cabling. Of course, it doesn't mean that I will put all my equipment up for sale today and buy Jasper 23s Active. However, if I were starting from scratch, knowing that building a system consisting of speakers, an amplifier, a streamer, and properly selected cabling would mean the same expense, I think I would go for the easy option because all the time saved in finding the right configuration of hardware I could immediately devote to listening to music. And that is priceless.

Whether in a lacquer finish or a veneered version, the Jaspers look beautiful.
1 / 11

Technical data

Speakers type: Floorstanding, dynamic, ported, wireless
Drivers: 2 x 15 cm (Scan-Speak 15W/8531K00), 1 x 26 mm (Scan-Speak D2608/913000)
Analog inputs: 1 x balanced (in speakers), 1 x unbalanced, 1 x 3.5 mm (in the hub)
Digital inputs: 3 x optical, 1 x coaxial, 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB-B (in the hub)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon, Bluetooth 5.0, DLNA, UPnP
Dimensions (H/W/D): 99.2/16.6/40.1 cm
Price: €7500 (speakers), €800 (hub)
Manufacturer: Pylon Audio

Sound performance



Editor's rating


StereoLife High End

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