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Acoustic Energy AE100 Review

AE’s starter standmount looks like it wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Fortunately, no one told the AE100. Read our Acoustic Energy AE100 Review.

Acoustic Energy AE100 Review
1

DETAILS

PRODUCTAcoustic Energy AE100
ORIGINUK/Malaysia
TYPE 2-way standmount loudspeaker
WEIGHT4.5kg
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD)160 x 270 x 240mm
FEATURES1x 25mm soft dome tweeter
1x 100 mm paper mid/bass driver
Quoted sensitivity: 87dB/1W/1m (4ohm)

It would be hard to find a more understated two-way standmount than the AE100 anywhere, never mind this select gathering. But its designers would doubtless seek to mirror Harrison Ford’s assessment of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: “It’s got it where it counts, kid”.

Unusually for a speaker, the main driver is a long-throw type supported by a powerful magnet, which suggests both good control and the ability to go loud without appreciable strain or distortion. The tweeter sits in a wave guide dubbed Wide Dispersion Technology (WDT), the intended upshot being, well, wider dispersion and as a result better room integration.

As well as being the smallest speaker in the group, the AE100 is also the lightest and, yes, perfectly formed, too. Its 18mm MDF cabinet is nicely made with subtly radiused corners and a neatly applied and very smooth satin black wrap for the review sample with walnut as the only other option. The single binding posts conform to a trend across the group by eschewing bi-wiring.

2

Sound quality

It somehow always feels reassuring when the first speaker up sets the bar high but not quite out of sight, which is exactly what the AE100 does. And, confirming what we love about the current generation of entry-level standmounts, it isn’t interested in merely doing its best with the quality feed from the Hugo 2 DAC and Hegel H90 amp, but positively runs with it.

The meticulous, multi-layered, studio-pampered stylings of Donald Fagen’s wonderful The Night Belongs To Mona from what for me is his best solo album, Morph The Cat, sound smooth, velvety, cool and sexy – as fastidiously assembled and resolved as Mr F could wish for.

Almost certain to keep things sounding balanced and composed at the higher volumes that the AE100 has been designed to hit, I’d surmise the tweeter output has been dialled back a hair’s width or two, robbing the presentation of a little air and transient snap. Yet there’s also a lightness of touch and grainless quality to the mid and upper frequencies that lends the piano and massed strings on Diana Krall’s sensitive and beautifully arranged cover of The Eagles’ Desperado effortless grace, while Krall’s seductively smoky vocal is delivered with fabulous heart and finesse.

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3

BIRTH OF AN ICON

Acoustic Energy set up shop 30 years ago and the first speaker it made has gone on to become its most famous and enduring. The original AE1 was largely defined by what the older granddaddy of classy compact monitors, the BBC-designed LS3/5A, couldn’t do. It excelled where the mid-neutral old-timer was most obviously compromised – namely in bass power and extension, loudness and dynamic range. As such, the upstart from the Cotswolds became a firm favourite with the pro audio sector and audiophiles who appreciated what was, at the time, a unique skill set. What the LS3/5A was to speech, modest ensembles and small-scale classical music, the AE1 was to flat-out stadium rock.

The bass slot is designed to minimise chuffing calibrated synth soundscapes, machine-gun drum patterns, depth-charge bass and portentous, anchorman narration from Steve Blum – is riotous fun and proves that the AE100 can play really loud while retaining great control

4

Verdict

9 Total Score
Acoustic Energy AE100 Review

Understated appearance belies considerable ability

SOUND QUALITY
9
VALUE FOR MONEY
10
BUILD QUALITY
10
EASE OF DRIVE
8
PROS
  • Innately musical, fine timing and dynamics
  • goes loud
CONS
  • Treble lacks a little air and bite
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Best Acoustic Energy AE100 prices in the UK ?

The Acoustic Energy AE 100 is a compact stand-mount/bookshelf speaker drawing upon the design and technology of the AE 301 to deliver an invigorating and open sound from a very small reflex-loaded cabinet.
Design
The AE100 has been designed with an aim to achieve high SPL levels from an...
£199.00
out of stock
Acoustic Energy AE100 Speakers (Pair)
7RW20
× *£20 off all orders over £250*. *Sales items and some brands including Audio Pro, Pro-Ject, Kanto Audio and Audioengine are excluded from the discount code.
The AE100 speaker package consists of two pairs of AE100 bookshelf speakers an AE107 centre speaker and the AE108 subwoofer. AE100 Bookshelf Speakers The AE100 is a compact standmount / bookshelf loudspeaker that exhibits qualities which perfectly embody those of Acoustic Energy. It has been designed with a view to achieving high sound pressure levels from an extremely small enclosure.  AE107 Centre Speaker The AE107 delivers exceptional articulation and detail throughout the vocal range augmented by powerful bass performance from the reflex loaded rear slot port. The compact centre speaker can be sited within a cabinet shelf or wall mounted. AE108 MK2 Subwoofer Designed to work seamlessly as part of a multi channel system including the new AE100s AE109s and AE107 the AE108 is ideal for the modern home where controlled bass performance is required without compromising the living space.  At less than one cubic foot in size the AE108 can be positioned discretely and adjusted with the supplied remote control to achieve the ideal audio balance from the listening position. Finished in a choice of satin black or walnut vinyl veneer finishes the AE108 delivers a bass punch that belies its compact size.
£995.00
out of stock
Acoustic Energy AE100 5.1 Speaker Package Satin Black
The AE100 is a compact standmount / bookshelf loudspeaker that exhibits qualities which perfectly embody those of Acoustic Energy. It has been designed with a view to achieving high sound pressure levels from an extremely small enclosure. This is obtained principally through the use of a 4 inch mid-bass drive unit built around an ultra high force long throw motor system. Bass performance is augmented by a slot shaped duct allowing for a considerable cross sectional area while negating the issues of air turbulence.
£169.00
out of stock
Acoustic Energy AE100 Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) Satin Black
The Acoustic Energy AE100 MK2 Satin Black Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) are perfect for hi-fi setups for those wanting powerful sound from a compact unit. Acoustic energy took their acclaimed 100 series speakers and made them better than ever featuring bespoke technologies and stylish design. The 25mm Wide Dispersion Tweeter improves diffusion of sound waves to bathe your room in sound whilst the 130mm mid-bass drive unit features an ultra-high force long-throw motor system delivering punchy bass and full-bodied low-end. Ideal as freestanding bookshelf speakers or mounted on stands the AE100 MK2s look as good as they sound with a vinyl veneer finish that will blend into any environment.
£233.99
out of stock
Acoustic Energy AE100 MK2 Satin Black Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) -...

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