Acoustic Energy AE1active

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MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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AEJim said:
distortion is incredibly low (and often results in listening louder than you think)
Yeah I can relate to that. They also seem to have a wider dynamic range as though the loud bits got louder. Likely because the speakers are able to respond to transients quicker. I really don't doubt that some of the better passive set-ups can do this too if you throw enough money at every link in the chain. But actives don't half give you one hell of a head start. In fact that's the main reason why I'd say everyone in the market for new amp and speakers should consider giving a good pair of actives a listen: if buying speakers was like running a 1km race, actives start 100m in front, so passives are playing catch-up from the second the pistol fires. Just my opinion based on my limited experience of both active studio monitors and hifi actives, and other opinions are available.
 

Pedro2

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Nov 29, 2010
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Good call Paulq!

I've already lost one reply on this far from outstanding website so I'll keep this brief. Not sure how you'll find the AEs in comparison to the Linn Katans; look forward to your thoughts. One thing I'm sure of is their musicality - they've got it in spades and I'm loving it. I'll save any comparisons with my old SCM11s for my longer review post. Last word for now; I am applying some Linn Space settings as they are close to a rear wall and need some bass removal. This is not the fault of the speakers, I hasten to add. It's the room acoustics and the physical set up of speakers close to a wall. Will be interesting to hear how you find their bass response compared to the Katans (sealed enclosure if I'm correct?) Anyway, give them a good listen and then decide. I'm not sure that they will out perform the Linn set up but may be a close one..... at £1000s cheaper! Have fun.
 

Pedro2

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Nov 29, 2010
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AEJim said:
Hi Pedro, I'm glad they're working out well for you!

You shouldn't be shy of using the +/-2dB trims on the back if you need to either, I often recommend using -2dB on the tweeter for a smoother response (depending on room). The "0" setting measures very flat but I think our most succesful speakers have always been a little rolled off as it sounds nicer in an "average" room with wall and ceiling reflections. Much will depend on furnishing, room shape and personal taste though. Adjustment of the trim controls is not detrimental to the sound quality, just alters the presentation slightly.

Cheers,

Jim.
Hi Jim,

Apologies for late reply on this one (missed it first time round). I've actually got both bass and treble settings in the neutral position as I'm using a Linn Akurate streamer/preamp as source. This has it's own room correction software and I'm using it to remove a major room node at approx 50hz as well as a slight reduction on the treble shelf setting. The results are impressive. Congratulations on a fantastic product!
 

Paulq

Well-known member
Dec 2, 2007
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AEJim said:
Cherry! It's no longer the glowing orange of the first batch. ;) That was matching the last passive AE1's which the colour sort of suited but I've had it toned down to a more natural shade now on the Actives! Still quite a rich finish but a little less luminous. I think you'll like it.

:)
I was teasing to see if you'd bite Jim.


I did actually see the cherry colour from a current batch at the demo I did recently and I really liked it. You did a good job toning it down from Tango!

Thanks for your input - it's good to hear about the thought and rationale you have applied when designing the speakers. I am in quite a fortuitous position of being able to listen to them back to back with my existing system which, as you may have gathered, uses the separate amp/filters method of being active.

I ordered the cables yesterday and they arrived today so am just waiting for the speakers to land at the dealers then we are good to go for some listening over the weekend I hope.
 

radiorog

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2013
124
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drummerman said:
@AEJim Refreshingly honest and informative from someone that surely knows.
Sounds a lot like promoting bs to me to be fair. After my audition of the active kef's against passive ATC the other day, although the kef's initially sounded fantastic, once you start to dissect and really listen to the sound, you realise they are not anywhere near the same league as the ATC, which produced way more information. If the AE's are are serious step up from the kef's, then I'm wrong, but I can't imagine they are being half the price of the kef's.

Sure different crossover systems creates a better sound, but there's obviously more to it than that once you hear them side by side other quality speakers. What about a speaker box full of solid matter and thus reducing the internal volume by 50% or more, and also filling it full of stuff that vibrates and produces it's own noises issues. Surely this can't be beneficial for a speaker design?
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
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You made some valid points there. As I mentioned before , I was expecting the active kef to come out on top in your review. So as AEjim has mentioned, maybe not easy to summarise that one companies active is better than other companies passive.

So we will have to wait for paulQ to share where he places the AE1's in his opinion.

And my sincere thanks to AEjim for sharing his knowledge here.
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
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18,545
MajorFubar said:
AEJim said:
distortion is incredibly low (and often results in listening louder than you think)
Yeah I can relate to that. They also seem to have a wider dynamic range as though the loud bits got louder. Likely because the speakers are able to respond to transients quicker. I really don't doubt that some of the better passive set-ups can do this too if you throw enough money at every link in the chain. But actives don't half give you one hell of a head start. In fact that's the main reason why I'd say everyone in the market for new amp and speakers should consider giving a good pair of actives a listen: if buying speakers was like running a 1km race, actives start 100m in front, so passives are playing catch-up from the second the pistol fires. Just my opinion based on my limited experience of both active studio monitors and hifi actives, and other opinions are available.
That's pretty much it really, they're still nowhere near as popular as passives or even that popular generally amongst Hi-Fi (many shops still have no interest in selling actives because they say there is no demand), but on a technical level they are simply better at doing all of the "Hi-Fi things" people are trying to achieve with expensive passive + amp combos.

Perhaps that's something for doubtful people to try - rather than comparing different models from different brands (apples and oranges) why not compare like for like with a company's own active and passive models? They may still prefer the passive but at least it's a legitimate comparison. :)
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
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Paulq said:
AEJim said:
Cherry! It's no longer the glowing orange of the first batch. ;) That was matching the last passive AE1's which the colour sort of suited but I've had it toned down to a more natural shade now on the Actives! Still quite a rich finish but a little less luminous. I think you'll like it.

:)
I was teasing to see if you'd bite Jim.

I did actually see the cherry colour from a current batch at the demo I did recently and I really liked it. You did a good job toning it down from Tango!

Thanks for your input - it's good to hear about the thought and rationale you have applied when designing the speakers. I am in quite a fortuitous position of being able to listen to them back to back with my existing system which, as you may have gathered, uses the separate amp/filters method of being active.

I ordered the cables yesterday and they arrived today so am just waiting for the speakers to land at the dealers then we are good to go for some listening over the weekend I hope.
It'll be interesting to hear your thoughts once you get them, should be with the dealer today! I'm always keen to hear what owners think, good or bad, about our products - it all helps when working on new designs! I think the value aspect of actives is as important a factor as the technical merits, a 200w+ amplifier and equivalent pair of speakers would generally come in at quite a hefty price. I've never heard the Linn Katan's so I'm keen to hear the comparisons! :)
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
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steve_1979 said:
AEJim said:
...I think the old AE2 Signature is probably the best overall speaker I've heard...
I bet an active version of the AE2 would be really good.

(hint hint go on you know you want to... ;) )
I'm sure it would! :D Sadly we can't make the AE2's the same way nowadays - tweeter (SEAS) is out of production, the London cabinet maker is long gone and their build and lacquering was second to none, even MDF isn't the same as it used to be - it's softer now which would affect the sound!
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
13
18,545
Pedro2 said:
AEJim said:
Hi Pedro, I'm glad they're working out well for you!

You shouldn't be shy of using the +/-2dB trims on the back if you need to either, I often recommend using -2dB on the tweeter for a smoother response (depending on room). The "0" setting measures very flat but I think our most succesful speakers have always been a little rolled off as it sounds nicer in an "average" room with wall and ceiling reflections. Much will depend on furnishing, room shape and personal taste though. Adjustment of the trim controls is not detrimental to the sound quality, just alters the presentation slightly.

Cheers,

Jim.
Hi Jim,

Apologies for late reply on this one (missed it first time round). I've actually got both bass and treble settings in the neutral position as I'm using a Linn Akurate streamer/preamp as source. This has it's own room correction software and I'm using it to remove a major room node at approx 50hz as well as a slight reduction on the treble shelf setting. The results are impressive. Congratulations on a fantastic product!
Thanks Pedro! Fair enough on the room EQ, I look forward to reading your full write-up! :)
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
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18,545
newlash09 said:
You made some valid points there. As I mentioned before , I was expecting the active kef to come out on top in your review. So as AEjim has mentioned, maybe not easy to summarise that one companies active is better than other companies passive.

So we will have to wait for paulQ to share where he places the AE1's in his opinion.

And my sincere thanks to AEjim for sharing his knowledge here.
Thank you,

I think it's very hard to compare design methodologies when there are dozens of variables and a good passive speaker is still a good speaker! (if anyone thinks I'm biased on active vs passive, don't forget passives do also still make up the bulk of our product range at price points above and below the AE1 Active.)

I think that message gets lost at times in active vs passive debates when there aren't like-for-like comparisons - It would be like saying petrol cars are better than electric and then comparing a Tesla Model S to a Dacia Sandero, then someone else comparing a Nissan Leaf to a 6.0 Mercedes S-Class... You'll not be getting particularly comparable opinions!
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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radiorog said:
drummerman said:
@AEJim  Refreshingly honest and informative from someone that surely knows.

 
 Sounds a lot like promoting bs to me to be fair. After my audition of the active kef's against passive ATC the other day, although the kef's initially sounded fantastic, once you start to dissect and really listen to the sound, you realise they are not anywhere near the same league as the ATC, which produced way more information.  If the AE's are are serious step up from the kef's, then I'm wrong, but I can't imagine they are being half the price of the kef's. 

 Sure different crossover systems creates a better sound, but there's obviously more to it than that once you hear them side by side other quality speakers. What about a speaker box full of solid matter and thus reducing the internal volume by 50% or more, and also filling it full of stuff that vibrates and produces it's own noises issues. Surely this can't be beneficial for a speaker design?
Making a judgement based on another completely different make/model is bad judgement.

The ae active is a straight monitor with no preamp, dac or DSP

You need to understand these things.

Once you add these things the cost is different.

Far from marketing bs
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
AEJim said:
steve_1979 said:
AEJim said:
...I think the old AE2 Signature is probably the best overall speaker I've heard...
I bet an active version of the AE2 would be really good.

(hint hint go on you know you want to... ;) )
I'm sure it would! :D Sadly we can't make the AE2's the same way nowadays - tweeter (SEAS) is out of production, the London cabinet maker is long gone and their build and lacquering was second to none, even MDF isn't the same as it used to be - it's softer now which would affect the sound!
For me AE2 are one of the best speakers and easily the best standmounts I've heard. They're definitely on my list to own one day. And with above info it looks like I will be converting them active myself, eventually.

Jim, great insight thanks for sharing.
 

radiorog

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2013
124
12
18,595
Andrewjvt said:
radiorog said:
drummerman said:
@AEJim Refreshingly honest and informative from someone that surely knows.
Sounds a lot like promoting bs to me to be fair. After my audition of the active kef's against passive ATC the other day, although the kef's initially sounded fantastic, once you start to dissect and really listen to the sound, you realise they are not anywhere near the same league as the ATC, which produced way more information. If the AE's are are serious step up from the kef's, then I'm wrong, but I can't imagine they are being half the price of the kef's.

Sure different crossover systems creates a better sound, but there's obviously more to it than that once you hear them side by side other quality speakers. What about a speaker box full of solid matter and thus reducing the internal volume by 50% or more, and also filling it full of stuff that vibrates and produces it's own noises issues. Surely this can't be beneficial for a speaker design?
Making a judgement based on another completely different make/model is bad judgement.

The ae active is a straight monitor with no preamp, dac or DSP

You need to understand these things.

Once you add these things the cost is different.

Far from marketing bs
Ahhh, ok fair enough. Will be interesting to hear them then.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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Any plans to release an active 3 way floorstander?

If so I'll order one now
Only requirement is larger than 8inch bass driver

I'll take it in orange and I'll settle for a prototype.
 
Andrewjvt said:
Any plans to release an active 3 way floorstander?

If so I'll order one now Only requirement is larger than 8inch bass driver

I'll take it in orange and I'll settle for a prototype.
Sorry, everyone knows prototypes only come in Primer Grey.... :)
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
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Al ears said:
Andrewjvt said:
Any plans to release an active 3 way floorstander?

If so I'll order one now Only requirement is larger than 8inch bass driver

I'll take it in orange and I'll settle for a prototype.
Sorry, everyone knows prototypes only come in Primer Grey....  :)
It can be primer pink and I'll still have it
 

Paulq

Well-known member
Dec 2, 2007
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I managed to get a spare hour this afternoon so made the trip to collect the AE1's which are now happily playing as I type. I have had very limited time to appraise them properly or indeed compare them with the Katans active setup but my initial impressions are very very favourable.

They perhaps lack a little in terms of absolute detail compared to my existing setup but there's not a lot in it and it's definitely valid to challenge whether there's £4k+ worth of difference. At first listen I'd have to concede there isn't. I have had a single listen to the playlist I tend to use when demoing new stuff and they didn't sound out of place with any of it.

Like Pedro2 I found the bass to be a bit rebellious but have cranked the EQ down to -2 whilst leaving the treble at zero and that made a definite improvement. I'll muck about with Linn's correction software when I get time and will also provide more thoughts as I get more hours with them.

They are good. Very very good.

And Cherry. Not Orange. (just for you Jim).
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
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Paulq said:
I managed to get a spare hour this afternoon so made the trip to collect the AE1's which are now happily playing as I type.  I have had very limited time to appraise them properly or indeed compare them with the Katans active setup but my initial impressions are very very favourable.

They perhaps lack a little in terms of absolute detail compared to my existing setup but there's not a lot in it and it's definitely valid to challenge whether there's £4k+ worth of difference.  At first listen I'd have to concede there isn't.  I have had a single listen to the playlist I tend to use when demoing new stuff and they didn't sound out of place with any of it. 

Like Pedro2 I found the bass to be a bit rebellious but have cranked the EQ down to -2 whilst leaving the treble at zero and that made a definite improvement.  I'll muck about with Linn's correction software when I get time and will also provide more thoughts as I get more hours with them.

They are good. Very very good.

And Cherry. Not Orange. (just for you Jim). 
Can you.post a picture of the new cherry finish?

I kinda liked the bright orange
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
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10,820
And thanks for the quick update. Glad that the AE1's are sounding very good as expected. And this is just to encourage you for a detailed impressions post :)
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
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18,545
Sorry, I can't quote as the forum just asks me to log-in every time I try! But good to hear you're enjoying them! Hopefully they'll only get better once they've been ran a bit and you've had a chance to play with settings etc. :)

@andrew - no immediate plans for a floorstander but the option is still open, we're letting the AE1 Actives settle down first and will re-assess probably at some point next year. We'd probably be aiming for a £2k retail price and they'd be 3-way with two additional 5"s + 150watt amp to power them. Whilst an 8" would be nice it doesn't really fit so well with the current design layout... two 5"s wouldn't be far off in terms of performance. :)

@Insider - Was just playing with a set of the AE2 signatures to show someone who'd brought some AE1's back for repair, lovely. ;)
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
178
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AEJim said:
Sorry, I can't quote as the forum just asks me to log-in every time I try!
Hi AEJim, when you have logged in, go to the thread & page you want to post or quote from, then whilst holding doen the Ctrl button, click the refresh button on your top toolbar (usually top left next between the arrow keys and the home key). That should make the quote option appear.
 

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