Acoustic Energy Ae509 Review – Carbon dating

We always consider the price. When it becomes astronomical, we instinctively hold onto our wallets. Not everything expensive is incredibly good. That’s why we love hidden gems – excellent sound for a reasonable price. Here’s another candidate: the slim AE509 floor-standing speaker from British HiFi manufacturer Acoustic Energy, tested at 2600 euros per pair.

It exemplifies what can be done right. The design couldn’t be more straightforward: a tall cabinet with perfect veneer and four large spikes on the base – that’s it.

By Andreas Günther

Acoustic Energy Ae509 Review


PRODUCT Acoustic Energy AE509


TYPE 2-way floorstanding loudspeaker


DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 185×1,000x270mm


• 1x 25mm carbon fibre dome tweeter

• 2x 125mm carbon fibre mid/bass drivers

• Quoted sensitivity: 89dB/1W/1m (6ohm)

DISTRIBUTOR Acoustic Energy Ltd.

TELEPHONE 01285 654432


This simplicity also extends to the technical foundation. Removing the front grille reveals a classic D’Appolito configuration – two mid-bass drivers flanking the tweeter. But there are surprises. Most manufacturers would use metal or silk for the tweeter. However, Acoustic Energy uses carbon fiber, which is truly unusual. The carbon fiber weave is lighter than light metal yet equally stable. More importantly, it’s quick. This speaker aims to exploit its dynamic advantages. Turning the mid-bass driver around reveals a relatively large voice coil, which Acoustic Energy claims drastically reduces compression while adding drive to the sound.

The efficiency of the 12.5 cm cone is supposed to be fantastic. The tweeter needs to keep up, so it’s placed in a waveguide recess made of solid aluminum. The 2.5 cm diagonal in the center is woven and baked from thousands of carbon fibers. This concept’s consistency is impressive.

Everything we see and all our experience suggests this could be an exceptional speaker. Indeed, just a few minutes of listening left us thrilled. The cohesiveness of the sound was high-class – harmonious, balanced, with an extremely high feel-good factor. Many speakers in this price range reveal their construction, with identifiable signal and path differences between the drivers. The Acoustic Energy, however, is perfectly harmonious.

Performance: A Rock Symphony

The Who have pushed themselves to the forefront again with their new album “Who,” which is particularly rich in mix and instrumentation. The AE509 revels in this complex information, creating an encompassing symphony of premium rock. The dynamic impact on our eardrums was a feast for audiophiles. We recommend angling the cabinets slightly towards the listening position to maintain the breadth of the soundstage.

Classical Excellence

We fell in love with a new download: the Berliner Philharmoniker alongside pianist Mitsuko Uchida, conducted by Simon Rattle, performing Beethoven’s complete five piano concertos. You can sense the composer’s big anniversary approaching. These are all live recordings, yet the interplay is flawless, almost as if recorded in a studio. The horns’ melodies, the lurking cellos and double basses, and the mystical calm in the Largo of the third concerto are breathtaking. No coughing, just maximum attention in a superb concert hall. The Acoustic Energy AE509 brought this atmosphere to life with elegance and authenticity – a high art.

It’s rare to see carbon fibre employed for a tweeter like this


The AE509 is generally neutrally tuned, though the frequency response shows slight undulations and vertical angle dependency, as seen in the green 10-degree-above graph. The distortion graph on the right shows a consistent increase towards the bass, with the floor-stander reaching its maximum volume at 102 dB.


Acoustic Energy Ae509 Review

1 125mm midrange driver

2 Bass reflex slot

3 Single-wire binding posts

4 125mm mid/bass driver

5 25mm dome tweeter

Acoustic Energy Ae509 Review


The AE509 is in the middle of one of the most competitive speaker sectors, facing rivals like B&W’s 703 S2. The 703 S2 has a slightly bigger sound than the AE with more apparent detail, but actually the latter is just as revealing – just less forward.


If you’re looking for a speaker that delivers smoothness and cohesiveness at the top level without draining your savings, this is a top contender. Arrange a listening appointment with your trusted dealer.

The classic D’Appolito configuration still has immense power. It creates wonderful coherence in timing and sound image. Acoustic Energy executes this art perfectly. The experience was strong, and the look is stunning. Many other manufacturers would charge much more for this, but Acoustic Energy remains fair. This balance of internal, external, and audible values is excellently calibrated.

10 Total Score
Recommended Acoustic Energy Ae509 Review

One of the best mid-priced floorstanders around

  • Sonic speed and excitement; build quality and finish
  • Nothing at the price
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  1. Indeed, readers should be aware of competitors in this price range, as so rightfully must
    include the impressive KEF’s ‘R-series’ (2018) models; R3, R5, R7 -all, genuine 3-way designs.


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