Acoustic Energy have been very busy of late and the latest fruits of their labour come in the guise of the brand new 500 series loudspeakers. And here in Cheltenham we have a UK exclusive as we are the only store in the whole country to have these in stock and ready to listen to until September!
The ones I have the pleasure of blogging about here are the AE 500’s which are a compact stand mount featuring some rather clever newly developed carbon fibre drive units designed to offer unparalleled levels of performance, quality and value. Acoustic Energy say that their aim is to make the speaker sound smoother and more transparent. Shall we see if they have succeeded?
I connected the AE500’s up to a Rega Brio amplifier and Apollo CD player using a Rega Couple interconnect and Chord Company Odyssey speaker cable then sat down with a cup of tea and a pile of my usual favourite demo CD’s.
The first thing that struck me about these little marvels was how open and detailed they sounded and how they managed to image from way left and right of the speaker cabinets. This is something quite rare in a speaker at this price!
I played the title track of the album Starfire by Jaga Jazzist and about half way through it gets all complicated and very proggy and throughout the little AE500’s it sound fully controlled and powerful. No one part of the music was being coloured by any of the rest making it so easy to hear and follow everything all at the same time! This piece of music is always a good test and the AE500’s made it sound totally engaging.
Next into the Rega Apollo CD player was the totally gorgeous piece of musical loveliness that is Angelina by Marillion from the equally marvellous album Marbles. The AE500’s again opened the sound-stage up. I closed my eyes and the speakers totally disappeared leaving the music just hanging in the air in front of me. This piece has a very deep bass line throughout and a soaring guitar motif and is recorded in such a way that puts the music in a huge acoustic space. This comes over convincingly on the AE 500’s. This is one album you must own if you have even just a casual interest in rock music of the prog variety. A majestic masterpiece from a band at the peak of their powers! Just make sure you get the double CD version!
Now a sizeable chunk of this magic comes from the carbon fibre drive units. Their very rigid but lightweight nature ensuring great mid-range definition and increased transient speed and clarity. Acoustic Energy have succeeded in their goal to make a smooth sounding loudspeaker, which is a great thing in this age where most companies make their speakers sound way too bright. This makes the AE500’s the type of loudspeaker that you can listen to for hours as they are not at all fatiguing.
The cabinet construction is rather special too using Acoustic Energy’s new 18mm Resonance Suppression Composite or RSC for short. This is basically a method of putting one cabinet inside another with a damping layer between them thus greatly reducing cabinet resonances which would otherwise colour the sound.
These speakers are a must listen if you are interested in a really high quality but still small solution to put on speaker stands (preferably) or bookshelves (at a pinch). If you have a yearning for owning a pair of those classic Acoustic Energy AE1 from the old days then look no further these little marvels will put a grin on your face a mile wide!
Finished in a choice of Piano Gloss Black, Piano Gloss White or American Walnut wood veneer finishes the AE 500’s will look great with any home decor. Come in to the Cheltenham store for a demo and a cup of tea or coffee …… we might even have biscuits! Let your ears be the judge, but we’re sure you will be very pleasantly surprised.