Acoustic Energy 7.1


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Visit site
I have been on the prowl looking for a 7.1 matching speaker package that will compliment my Onkyo 609 receiver and I have just noticed this: Acoustic Energy Neo Max for under 2k.

This looks to be a good deal and was wondering if anyone has had good or bad experience with AE.

For the price, I don`t think you will find a more complete package but I`m curious to know what sonic performance to expect from this.


New member
Sep 5, 2010
Visit site
I have the old Neo 3's and love them. For what I paid for them, don't think I could have got better.

Think that package maybe overkill for that Amp though. I had the 606 amp and it worked ok but couldn't drive the Neo's hard enough. The AE speakers are 8ohms and I think the Onkyo is only rated at 90 watts at 8ohms and the Neo 4 fronts can take up to 200watts and the rears Neo 3's 170 watts.


Thanks lesmallet, yes, you are right about the overkill. Though, I think that isn`t such a bad thing after all.
I`m in no danger of damaging the speakers by driving them too hard and, in time, when I do come to upgrade the Onkyo AV amp (which won`t be for some time), it does allow me to go that bit higher without the additional cost of having to upgrade the speakers.

It`s good news that speaker manafactures are starting to take note of 7.1 packages and I`m quite impressed with the price. Shopping around online usually means a cheaper price than that quoted at product launch. So, maybe in a short time, I may even get these for around £1500 to £1700. What a steal that would be!


New member
Aug 22, 2007
Visit site
I've been looking at this package too. It does seem to get great reviews and is a good price in 7.1.

It's causing me a few dilemmas though. I remember speaking to someone from a speaker company a while back who talked about trying to keep the drive units (and ideally the cabinets) in a surround package the same size to help with tonal matching. I don't know how accurate that is, but I'm something I've always kept in mind.

Also, with regard to the front pair, I presume the bigger you go the better they'd be for stereo listening without the sub, but with the sub, I haven't got a clue which would be best. As such, I don't know if I'm better with the Neo 4, Neo 3 or even Neo 1 at the front!

I don't have any dealers anywhere near me for a demo, so I'd love to hear the opinions of anyone that's tried them. A comment from AEJim would be nice :)


Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
Visit site
Hi guys!

Glad to hear your interest in the Neo Max package! It's a pretty formidable set-up and should be enough for all but the most extreme Home Cinema enthusiasts, should you have the room for it!

In terms of ideals with regards to matching surround speakers, THX would recommend all channels being the same speaker crossed over at 80Hz in-line with the sub (or subs). This works well, though the next best option is the one-brand multi-speaker package as is very common from most major manufacturers - hence the Neo Max system.

It would be hard to squeeze seven Neo 4's in a conventional living room but they do offer massive power handling and volume capabilities so are especially handy for main channel work where most of the strain is taken in heavy movie track use.

This type of system would therefore compromise the size of the centre and surround channels for domestic considerations but in keeping the same tweeters and woofers across the range, integration is retained as surround effects move around the room. Tuning of individual speakers is also important as you can obviously affect the sound greatly with crossover design so the key information frequencies, usually mid/bass and tweeter level are designed to be very similar on all models in a well designed multi-speaker package. When levels are adjusted correctly there should be no obvious change in a sound effect passing through all channels on a Neo Max package and this is something we test for in use subjectively by ear as well as by measurements.

With regard to amplification - One of the myths of Hi-Fi is big speakers being hard to drive, the opposite is generally true! A pair of Neo 4's will be far easier to drive than most stand-mounts! The Neo 4's are 91dB sensitivity with minimum impedance of around 5 Ohms - they will be very loud even at relatively modest amp volume settings on nearly all modern amplifiers.

The thing large speakers with many drive units need is good current supply, every drive unit has to be controlled and a good power supply works akin to torque in a diesel engined car - it may not have the flashy figures of a high-revving petrol engine but can pull a caravan far easier! Watts in this respect don't mean that much, far more important is a substantial power supply - the more recent Onkyo's have been pretty good in this regard from memory and one thing about having a 7.2 set-up is that you're much less likely to drive it as hard to get to high SPL's compared to what you would on a smaller 5.1 system. The more clean current your amp can deliver the less likely you are to drive your speakers into distortion.

If it was my personal choice for front stereo speakers then it would depend on the room - the Neo 3's are very decent speakers and enough for most UK living rooms, the Neo 4's however easily go an octave lower and add real "meat" to the low frequencies with kick-drums and the like having impact you can feel - mid-range detail is also improved as it's a true 3-way design. They aren't actually very difficult to position either, not causing as much "boom" if placed near a rear wall as you would expect.

I've never been keen on adding subs for stereo, I find the speed and integration is rarely as satisfying as the bass from a well designed speaker on its own, often having an impact on timing which is crucial for musical enjoyment. In a Home Cinema set-up I'd go the opposite route and suggest two subs are generally better than one as they fill out dead spots in a room (those areas where bass seems to get sucked out) better than one sub ever can - it doesn't necessarily mean going louder, you'd usually set each sub a little lower in volume than you would with one big sub, but the room integration is just far more satisfying with two!

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any specific questions!




Dear Jim,

thanks for extraordinary comment,

as a happy owner of Neo V2 5.1 (3s) I´d like to know what is the best possible AV receiver match with this system in a room of 5.5 x 4.5m...

I´ve been using Pioneer VSX-1120 (brought from the US with 1000W voltage converter, pretty much the same specs as EU VSX-2020 without second HDMI out) for almost a year, however I still feel some kind of lack of authority and somewhat bright sound coming from the suspicion is that Pioneer´s MCACC calibration system is just not my piece of cake...

what other brands would you suggest in order to get most of the Neo system, out of your experience?



Latest posts