Acoustic Energy AE1active

Page 4 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
AEJim said:
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. ;)
Thanks for that
Interesting
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
13
18,545
jonathanRD said:
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.
Thanks Jonathan! :)

This was how the toned down cherry looks for those asking, it's still a fairly rich colour, just not quite as orange! (Only pics I had of it on the phone, sorry for quality!)



 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
AEJim said:
jonathanRD said:
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.
Thanks Jonathan! :)

This was how the toned down cherry looks for those asking, it's still a fairly rich colour, just not quite as orange! (Only pics I had of it on the phone, sorry for quality!)
The nicest finish
Ever since I've seen the brighter orange I've liked it.
Really looks good.
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
13
18,545
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
Probably because it's the one that is most likely to make AE the most money ?? ;-)

With apologies for my rude interjection.... just seen the @AEjim bit...
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
 

AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
74
13
18,545
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
I like the 100's simply because I think they're a great speaker, regardless of price. The fact they're cheap, small, unfussy and not hideous to look at (in my opinion) are all bonuses. I have never yet heard them sound anything but enjoyable - I've demoed them to a couple of dozen dealers and feedback is universally the same (feel free to ask any stockists their honest opinion!).

I basically just wrote a far more comprehensive review of them in this reply but thought better of it and deleted as I'll only get accused of bias and self-promotion. I simply have very little to fault about them and always enjoy listening to them, that's my personal view.

I welcome anyone else to have a listen, they're widely available in the UK and most other places, if you hate them or otherwise feel free to come back and say so for balance! :)
 
AEJim said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
Probably because it's the one that is most likely to make AE the most money ?? ;-)

With apologies for my rude interjection.... just seen the @AEjim bit...
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
Interesting. Your company seems to go against the general grain in that sense then. Are youy saying you sell more of the upper priced units or your mark up is simply higher on these?
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
Al ears said:
AEJim said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
Probably because it's the one that is most likely to make AE the most money ??   ;-)

With apologies for my rude interjection.... just seen the @AEjim bit...
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
Interesting. Your company seems to go against the general grain in that sense then. Are youy saying you sell more of the upper priced units or your mark up is simply higher on these?
The perils of manufacturers getting involved in forums ... .

I know that Cyrus, to name one, regularly monitor but never get involved.

Understandable.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
178
51
18,670
Al ears said:
AEJim said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
Interesting. Your company seems to go against the general grain in that sense then. Are youy saying you sell more of the upper priced units or your mark up is simply higher on these?
In my experience it's the high priced (and cost more to make) models you sell less of, but attract the higher markup.
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
46
3
18,545
First of all, I will try not to make too many comparisons with my old ATC SCM11 + Nord passive kit that the AEs have replaced. All I can say is that I have not wanted to swap them back at any point since the AEs arrived some four weeks ago.

The music that I’ve focussed on for this review includes the following:

From NAS (FLAC):

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Tamacun (Rodrigo y Gabriela) Authentic quality

Fleetwood Mac - Sara (Best Of)

Steely Dan - Almost Gothic (Two Against Nature) (HD)

Alison Krauss - Paper Airplane (Paper Airplane)

Yo Yo Ma - Attaboy (The Goat Rodeo Sessions)

Vivaldi - Concerto in D for 2 violins (HD)

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb (Echoes - The Best of Pink Floyd)

+ a much bigger range from Spotify. Although sound quality is slightly better from the local NAS, the AEs do not an issue of this and sq from both Spotify and internet radio streams is very listenable. Music genres have included rock, classical, dance, soul, funk, pop, acoustic and jazz (sorry but no thrash or hip hop - personal aversion here).

The speakers sit on their custom-built AE stands (67cm high) and are located close to a rear wall (20cm away). I use a Linn Akurate DSM1 streamer/preamp and they are connected by 4m/5m lengths of XLR cable. I do apply some room correction using Linn’s own SPACE settings that are accessible via their PC/Mac software Konfig. It mainly removes some bass at 48hz although there is a little more tweaking at 85hz where the software has identified particular issues with room frequencies (nodes) that could affect sound quality.

Without SPACE switched on, I find the AE actives a little too lively in their bass response although this can be tamed a little using the -2db bass switch on the back of the cabinet (this helps but is not as accurate as the Linn settings allow which is understandable). In other rooms and with the speakers further way from a rear wall, I doubt you would experience any such issues and bass/treble switch settings on the speakers would be down to personal preference.

The appearance of the speakers has already been commented on by a number of posters and it is good as the photos show. Finish is excellent and their dimensions pleasing to the eye. I have only seen the piano black version so cannot comment on the other two finishes but I believe that Paulq has the cherry finish.

What impressed me from the off was that these speakers sound extremely engaging. You are drawn to the music in its entirety. Apologies if this sounds odd but explaining sound qualities is not easy. The sound is very good at a holistic level; I found no particular frequency or sound dominates or detracts from the whole. I think that many good/excellent speakers achieve this and the AEs score very highly. They are just so easy to listen to and as many other posters, well versed with active designs have commented before, it doesn’t really matter how loud you play them; they still retain their even-sounding qualities. Whatever this ‘musical’ ingredient is, I’m not sure how it comes about; one possible contributing factor might be the integration between bass and treble drivers. Whatever it is, notes seem to flow easily and seamlessly.

As regards volume, despite the quoted 50+50w amp output from each speaker, they will go more than loud enough for most small/medium sized rooms. I’m not in a position to comment on how they would sound in a large room but would imagine that if you’re in the market for large floorstanders, this review will be academic. Regarding volume, a comparison with the ATCs wouldn’t go amiss; the SCM11s would go incredibly loud (fed by 400w per channel from the Nord) but I used to find this extreme volume almost painful to my ears.

The AEs also have a deeper bass response than the sealed-cabinet SCM11s. This might explain why I’m finding them easier to live with as well as more engaging.

The width and depth of the soundstage is extremely good; it is not essential to sit dead centre of any sweet spot to appreciate this although perched at the apex of the ideal listening triangle, you will get the best out of the AEs. I find the AEs more ‘holographic’ than the SCM11s. Like Davedotco stated with reference to his Adam actives, the AEs have the ability to disappear and just leave the music in front of you. You can also listen into the depth of a mix without it becoming too separated or where instruments lose their rhythmic qualities.

Detail is there in abundance although it’s not of the cold, analytical, variety. It is easy to separate instruments in a complex mix e.g in the Gabriella track, the different guitars can be placed as well as how the hand hits the guitar body in a percussive effect. The rhythm of music is reproduced strongly and songs hang together well.

I haven’t found that any specific genre of music suits the AEs as they appear to sound great with classical, rock, pop, jazz, vocal etc. In this respect, they share the fuss-free qualities of the ATCs. One feature that has struck me with the AEs is their ability to play the trailing ends of notes and sounds. For instance, a triangle’s ’ting’ decays well over time and sounds like it should; i.e it has a ring and a reverb. The strum of acoustic guitar strings (a percussive sound) can be heard alongside the actual note of the string itself. I hesitate to use the term ‘warm’ as this would be an over statement, but there is such a quality to the overall sound which is extremely pleasing to the ear.

To summarise, although there’s no such thing as the perfect speaker, the AE1a come as close as possible for me at this amazing price (£1000). They sound great and they look great. They go loud without hurting and yet play at lower volumes with delicacy and finesse. They will rock with the best or sooth you with Mozart or Miles. My better half (who has an excellent ear for music and was once a serious player of classical trumpet) described these speakers as ‘authentic’ in their reproduction of instruments. As one reviewer has mentioned; at this price, these speakers are a steal.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
I have not heard the AE1x so can't really comment on them, but so much of what you say resonates very strongly in the context of some of the active speakers I have tried at home. Most of these were from the professional side of the divide but the transparancy, clarity and even handedness that you mention is common among the better pro models.

Clearly there needs to be some perspective here, we are talking about relatively budget models and some are clearly much better than others, just like hi-fi speakers.

Should you need to fill a larger space, there are models around the price of the AE1x such as the Lyd 7 or 8 that will reproduce the music on a larger scale and others with different presentation to suit your requirements and taste. Just like hi-fi really!
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
@Pedro2

Thanks, good info without going into the usual hifi superlative vocabulary. Much obliged.

May I ask, do they subjectively sound punchy and how do they fare at low volume?
 
drummerman said:
@Pedro2

Thanks, good info without going into the usual hifi superlative vocabulary. Much obliged.

May I ask, do they subjectively sound punchy and how do they fare at low volume?
Good question, I'd like to hear about this as most of my late-night listening is at this level and it's something never referred to in reviews.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
1,098
743
20,070
Super write up, thank you.

When they were launched I heard them at the Bristol Show and they sounded super. But they were literally the first thing I heard, so couldn’t make a definitive judgment. Then again, I’ve always liked the AE I’ve heard, and I’ve followed them for many years. Used to drive past their Cirencester head office every day too, when we lived nearby. A good part of the world for speaker makers!
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,245
11
19,195
A wealth of information on this thread. Excellent. Read the HFC review too.

A pity about the only wood veneer option costing £200 extra but at least it’s a decent looking, high-gloss job.

This seems an amazing package and thanks to Jim for the designer’s insights. (And photos etc.)

I have just read a review of someone using AE100s with his Marantz M-CR611 (very successfully) and - naturally - wondered about the AE1Actives with the same as a ‘front-end’.

Just pondering. Can’t afford to change at present.
 

humberian

New member
Apr 22, 2014
1
0
0
Hi Jim; nice to read your comments- Ive been the very happy owner of a pair of your Company's AE120 floorstanders for nearly 20 years. Excellent loudspeakers !

AEJim said:
Hi Drummerman,

I'll try to answer your questions! 

The amps are made by one of our main suppliers to our specification, we use various companies for cabinets, amps, drive units etc. Nothing we have made for us is "off the shelf" though, all is to our design and spec and we have very good long term relationships with these suppliers so they know our standards well. Some of the more expensive drive units are still hand-made in Cirencester, the Actives are all hand-finished and tested here too. They have a +/- 1dB tolerance from the reference.

The amps themselves were developed back in 2012 and we still have the original set running in a prototype pair of the Actives, they are basically unchanged from then and that original pair has something like 5000+ hours use on them with no problems. We ran them all day, every day for radio listening in our sales office for a couple of years as part of our long-term durability testing (they sounded better than our old radio too. ;)) We also showed that pair at the Munich show in 2014 and ran them at full volume from an iPad for the duration to much praise from listeners! (Input sensitivity from the RCA's has since been increased for the purpose of plugging in mobile devices with lower voltage outputs).

We chose class A/B primarily for sound quality; class D is very good now but in our testing at least the class A/B sounded a little sweeter in the treble and subjectively a touch more natural and "musical" to our ears. 50w per drive unit was chosen as an optimum which offers more than enough power, but for short bursts shouldn't be too much to blow drive units if something is plugged in at full volume (there is also an internal fuse for backup). Practically it was also the largest output amp that wouldn't require additional external heatsinks, the rear metal panel being sufficient, it can get quite warm but never too hot.

Some internal pics:

And specs (from the manual):

Input Sensitivity*1 104dB for 1VRMS @ 1kHzBandwidth*2 42Hz-28kHzHorizontal coverage*3 130 degreesVertical Coverage 120 degreesPeak SPL*4 115dBMaximum SPL*5 105dBAmplifier Class A/B with linear power supply.Amplifier Power LF: 50WHF: 50WCrossover 3.5kHz 4th Order Linkwitz-RileyWoofer 140mm chassis with Alu/Ceramic cone.Tweeter 27mm Alu dome with WDT waveguide.Cabinet 18mm MDF with bracing and damping panels.Inputs RCA and Balanced XLRControls Volume adjust 0dB to -infHF shelf +/-2dBLF shelf +/-2dBPower connection IEC C13Voltage selection Manual switching

*Notes:1 Measured at 1m using pink-weighted MLS noise.2 Measured at 1m using pink-weighted MLS noise, +/-6dB limits.3 Measured at 1m using pink-weighted MLS noise, +/-6dB limits.4 Measured using a toneburst signal.5 Measured using a band limited sine sweep.

 

Let me know if there's anything else you want more info on!

Cheers,

 

Jim.
 

radiorog

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2013
124
12
18,595
Al ears said:
AEJim said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
Probably because it's the one that is most likely to make AE the most money ?? ;-)

With apologies for my rude interjection.... just seen the @AEjim bit...
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
Interesting. Your company seems to go against the general grain in that sense then. Are youy saying you sell more of the upper priced units or your mark up is simply higher on these?
Clearly you don't watch the apprentice all ears. If you have something at RRP of £200, and something of £200,000, which do you think will produce the most profit. ? I can assure you the profit on the latter will be more than £20.
 
radiorog said:
Al ears said:
AEJim said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@AEjim

Why are the AE100 passive your pick of your products?
Probably because it's the one that is most likely to make AE the most money ?? ;-)

With apologies for my rude interjection.... just seen the @AEjim bit...
If you think we make the most money on our entry-level product you’re sadly mistaken! Quite the opposite in-fact. :)
Interesting. Your company seems to go against the general grain in that sense then. Are youy saying you sell more of the upper priced units or your mark up is simply higher on these?
Clearly you don't watch the apprentice all ears. If you have something at RRP of £200, and something of £200,000, which do you think will produce the most profit. ? I can assure you the profit on the latter will be more than £20.
That's why I mentioned mark-up. The proffit on the last one may indeed be more than £20 but that's not much good to the company bank balance if you only ever sell one.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
2,030
326
20,070
"Clearly you don't watch the apprentice all ears. If you have something at RRP of £200, and something of £200,000, which do you think will produce the most profit. ? I can assure you the profit on the latter will be more than £20."

That's one way of looking at it. But if you take it on percentage terms, the cheaper items often give you more of a mark up. That's why some companies, such as Richer Sounds, have a 'pile it high and sell them cheap' policy . They would rather sell in volume and lower profit rather than huge profits with a small turnover. I know making hi-fi products is different but higher price doesn't guarantee bigger profits.
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
46
3
18,545
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@Pedro2

Thanks, good info without going into the usual hifi superlative vocabulary. Much obliged.

May I ask, do they subjectively sound punchy and how do they fare at low volume?
Good question, I'd like to hear about this as most of my late-night listening is at this level and it's something never referred to in reviews.
I also often listen at low/medium volume levels (approx 60 to 70db) and the AEs sound fine. The detail and overall character remain. Not sure if this is low volume to you both however.
 

Paulq

Well-known member
Dec 2, 2007
332
13
18,895
Pedro2 said:
I also often listen at low/medium volume levels (approx 60 to 70db) and the AEs sound fine. The detail and overall character remain. Not sure if this is low volume to you both however.
Hey Pedro

Glad you are still enjoying. I have spent only limited time with them so far but all good up to now - hugely enjoyable to listen to.

Just wondered what you do with the following:

1 - Do you leave the amps switched on (so the white light is on) all the time or turn them off? My natural inclination is to turn them off when not in use but I also don't want to eventually wear the switch out.

2 - Where do you have the volume set to on the back of each unit? I have tended to have mine set to around 1 o'clock as you look directly at it then use the ADSM volume. Just curious.

@AEJim - what would your recommendation for each of the above be?
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
46
3
18,545
Hi Paulq,

I tend to switch off at night; not sure how much power they consume or whether they’ve got a standby setting. Not really thought about the switch durability.

As regards volume setting, I’ve got mine on max setting with the Akurate set to a max of 85 using Konfig. There’s also a -12db default setting in Konfig on sensitivity which I’m using. Tried it at 0db but found the volume to be too loud around 55 so put it back to -12db. Think it’s a bit hit or miss really. Have you tamed the bass yet? They’re a great little speaker!
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
Pedro2 said:
Al ears said:
drummerman said:
@Pedro2  

Thanks, good info without going into the usual hifi superlative vocabulary. Much obliged.

May I ask, do they subjectively sound punchy and how do they fare at low volume?
Good question, I'd like to hear about this as most of my late-night listening is at this level and it's something never referred to in reviews.
I also often listen at low/medium volume levels (approx 60 to 70db) and the AEs sound fine. The detail and overall character remain. Not sure if this is low volume to you both however.
For me around 80 -85 for a short while but this can be loud.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
Paulq said:
Pedro2 said:
I also often listen at low/medium volume levels (approx 60 to 70db) and the AEs sound fine. The detail and overall character remain. Not sure if this is low volume to you both however.
Hey Pedro

Glad you are still enjoying. I have spent only limited time with them so far but all good up to now - hugely enjoyable to listen to.

Just wondered what you do with the following:

1 - Do you leave the amps switched on (so the white light is on) all the time or turn them off? My natural inclination is to turn them off when not in use but I also don't want to eventually wear the switch out.

2 - Where do you have the volume set to on the back of each unit? I have tended to have mine set to around 1 o'clock as you look directly at it then use the ADSM volume.  Just curious.

@AEJim - what would your recommendation for each of the above be?
I would put the volume on the aeactives to 7or 8 out of ten.

Then set the preamp so the listening level on the volume is between 11 and 3 o'clock
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS