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AcousticEnergy Owners & Discussion Thread


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First off, I'll declare my biases, I'd never look at buying passive speakers again, so that does limit my buying options. I've had my ADAMs now for many years, and I plan to keep them for many years to come. They followed a pair of Avantgarde Solos. Actives have the advantage of simplicity, less boxes and better integration between amplifier and speakers, and save on speaker cable purchase costs of course. OTOH, they are generally heavier compared to comparable passive speakers, and are more expensive as you are always buying a power amp as well. It's always to generalise on sound quality, but I've always been attracted to the detail and dynamics, as well as timbral accuracy of actives.

 

My desktop system for many years was a pair of AudioEngine powered speakers, not actives: the amplifier was in one box but the crossover was found in the signal stream between the power amp and the drivers, whereas active speakers place the crossover between the preamp and the power amp, and generally use a separate amplifier to drive each driver. This introduces a cost and complexity factor that means that active speakers are either full-range, 2-way or 3-way. The AudioEngines reached a stage where they required re-capping and a new volume pot, but I was disappointed to discover the circuit board components were covered in glue and unserviceable. Such a shame, time for new speakers?

 

My sudden need was driven by the pandemic, I spend most of each day videoconferencing and laptop speakers become quite fatiguing, ear buds become quite painful, so what could be better than new speakers as a legitimate business expense. Of course, if they also happen to be good for playing music, well, all the better. 

 

The AE1s arrived by courier, a heavy double boxed 20kg package. Fabulously well finished with a glossy piano white finish, each comes in it's own cloth liner/carry bag and can be handled with an included pair of white gloves. IEC terminated 1m power cords are included, as were a pair of RCA terminated 1m interconnects. The speakers can also accept XLR inputs. Each also has a volume pot and tone controls, located on the rear panel below the rear port. They also come with some magnetically attached cloth grills, through which you can see the small white LED that indicates that they are powered on.

 

I listened to them in two environments, firstly, as a desktop system, then for some fun, I swapped out my ADAMS and played them through my main system. My desktop system is a MacBook Pro, streaming Tidal or Flac files from my NAS, using some generic headphone mini jack to RCA cables. My main system is as described below in my signature. Firstly, like most speakers, these speakers need to be run in. Out of the box they were flat and lifeless with no bass, so I used them for their official purpose for a week before I did any listening. The AE1s excel as near field desktop speakers. The imaging, as you expect is solid and 3D and the speakers reproduce timbre up to the limits of the digital format. Whilst not the last word in dynamics, they are great in a desktop or small room environment. The best compliment any speaker can have is that it doesn't sound 'exciting', exciting speakers are always coloured and soon fatigue the listener, at least they do with this listener. Instead they are well balanced and each driver is well integrated with no obvious 'holes' or peaks. Perhaps the limitation is the 2x 50W amps a side. Bass extension is limited, as you'd expect in speakers this size, but reasonably detailed. memory can be misleading, but they seemed a step above the AudioEngines in resolution, dynamics and timbre. The appearance of less bass was almost certainly a combination of a rear bass port and more accuracy, with less boom. I'd be keen to try these speakers with an external DAC..

 

I connected them to my main system, good exercise in Covid times as they are both heavy speakers, this time I usied the XLR inputs. I was reminded immediately of the difference between a $2.000 speaker and a 10 year old $7000 speaker. The AE1s matched the ADAMs in imaging, but understandably lacked in all other areas, that's not a condemnation of the AE1s it's just the limitations of physics, small speakers and a large room. They'd work well in a desktop system, and would be the basis a good small room system with a suitable sub.

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  • 10 months later...

I use these as desk speakers for my PC, and although not run in, I can agree with what you described.

I am keen to see if the bass gets stronger, but I don't really miss it too much either. I wouldn't say the speakers sound thin or light, just that the bass doesn't take the spotlight.

I bypass my PC sound card and run them through a Chord 2Qute (on USB) with Chord Chameleon VEE interconnects.

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19 minutes ago, audio_file said:

I use these as desk speakers for my PC, and although not run in, I can agree with what you described.

I am keen to see if the bass gets stronger, but I don't really miss it too much either. I wouldn't say the speakers sound thin or light, just that the bass doesn't take the spotlight.

I bypass my PC sound card and run them through a Chord 2Qute (on USB) with Chord Chameleon VEE interconnects.

It maybe a bit different speakers, but I do own AE1 Mk2 Ref, and the bass goes down much much deeper than its size. Maybe it is due to front ported as I can feel the airs coming out of 2 front holes. Some of friend who heard couldn't believe the bass coming out of small monitors.

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44 minutes ago, vinilink said:

It maybe a bit different speakers, but I do own AE1 Mk2 Ref, and the bass goes down much much deeper than its size. Maybe it is due to front ported as I can feel the airs coming out of 2 front holes. Some of friend who heard couldn't believe the bass coming out of small monitors.

I have these ones: https://www.acoustic-energy.co.uk/products/ae1-active/

I don't see any mk2 or anything on them.

 

I suppose it depends what you compare to, i.e. what your reference is.

If you only compare to similar sized speakers then I wouldn't say they are light at all.

If you compare to all speakers, then I'd say they are rather light.

If you compare to real life then I'd say fairly neutral.

 

Keep in mind these have some adjustments at the back to tweak closer to what you like.

 

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Mine is fairly old model and no longer produced. 

 

In fact, they were sitting right next to a high-end floorstanders, and friends thought they were coming out of from them than AE1. And those who heard them in the backyard before seeing the AE1 was playing, they all couldn't believe it saying "are you serious, were musics coming out of this little p...y speakers?"

 

This is the exactly same speakers I have in Rosewood with same dedicated stands. Pictures are from the web.

 

Acoustic Energy AE1 MK2 Rosewood - Private HiFi ...

 

pies de suelo para altavoz

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for the write up on the AE1 Active. I have been looking for a new nearfield setup on my desk or possibly on some stands. I am down to these or Adam A5x (I think Navis are out due to 1 year warranty on the amp).

 

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2 hours ago, museic said:

Thanks for the write up on the AE1 Active. I have been looking for a new nearfield setup on my desk or possibly on some stands. I am down to these or Adam A5x (I think Navis are out due to 1 year warranty on the amp).

 

You'll see in my signature that I also have some ADAM HM2's in my second system, these are basically the passive version of the A5x. You wouldn't go wrong with either speaker, really it depends on how each integrates into your system

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13 hours ago, proftournesol said:

You'll see in my signature that I also have some ADAM HM2's in my second system, these are basically the passive version of the A5x. You wouldn't go wrong with either speaker, really it depends on how each integrates into your system

I liked the Adam t7v I was able to demo so it probably gives me a sense of the A5X ( I like having the power button on the front). The AE1 I can't demo as they are halfway across Canada to buy. I am a little worried about a speaker being to revealing as not all my iTunes library is loss less or high quality from ripping my CD's 20+ years ago. 

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5 hours ago, museic said:

I am a little worried about a speaker being to revealing as not all my iTunes library is loss less or high quality from ripping my CD's 20+ years ago. 

I don't think this would be a problem for the AE1 Active. They have a treble control at the back if it's too revealing for your taste.

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On 13/09/2021 at 6:53 PM, audio_file said:

I don't think this would be a problem for the AE1 Active. They have a treble control at the back if it's too revealing for your taste.

I talked with a sales rep and was given the same feedback (the guy I know owns the AE1s and he said he wouldn't put up with a harsh sounding speaker).

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On 12/09/2021 at 11:43 PM, proftournesol said:

You'll see in my signature that I also have some ADAM HM2's in my second system, these are basically the passive version of the A5x. You wouldn't go wrong with either speaker, really it depends on how each integrates into your system

Forgot to ask, how warm do you find the speakers get at the back after playing for a while?

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