Acoustic Energy AE5 Floorstanding Speakers

AE5

4-Way Bass Reflex Speaker - (2)5.25" Woofers, (2) 5.25" Mid-Bass, (2) 5.25" Mid, 1" Tweeter

User Reviews (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6  
Spinoza   Audio Enthusiast [May 06, 2011]

Bought AE5s in 2004 and have used them ever since. They are currently connected to a dCS Puccini front end and a pair of monoblock Bel Canto power amplifiers - no preamp needed in the system. The performance of the complete combination in my view, particularly using SACD recordings, is almost as good as it gets - unless you happen to be one of those fortunate enough for whom money is no object.

The character of the AE5s has been captured by earlier reviewers. The key words that spring to my mind are "detailed sound", "fast bass response" and "sound qualkity independent of volume". The speakers are well suited to classical music - my main interest- however for the "heavy metal brigade" listener, they may feel the speaker is slightly lacking in the 20-30Hz frequency response band.

I agree with an earlier reviewer who bemoaned the fact that AE ceased production of the AE5. My understanding is that this corresponded with a strategic decision by AE to re-position themselves in the HiFi market, particular with regards to speaker manufacture. The AE5s were described as 'Reference' quality and represented the best that could be done by the British engineers at the time. In my view their achievement has stood the test of time - I have yet to hear better for similar priced designs.

Being now old in the tooth, I can't see me changing my system, however I would urge anyone who gets the chance to hear the AE5s to do so. They are not common, but if you get the opportunity indulge yourself!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bunty   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 04, 2010]

I use the AE 5's with my Arcam P7 and AV 8, they are the best speakers I haver herard, and still in mint condition, I was thinking of selling the complet system but wasn't worth it because I would never get what Ithey are worth, so I will keep my system, and like James says, if you get a chance of these speakers just grab them.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JamesDadd   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 15, 2010]

Bought direct from AE in 2003 I continue to be amazed by these speakers. Since getting them the rest fo my system has been significantly upgraded, and recently I have auditioned amplifiers at dealers using alternative speakers (AE3, B&W804, Canton Vento 890DC), I have been even more impressed when I got the auditioned amps home. They may be an old design now, but they are still the most detailed speakers I have heard, and have plenty of bass for me, but it are always completely under control. I don't see me ever upgrading from these speakers, no matter what equipment I upgrade to in the rest of my system. If you find a pair for sale, give them a try, you won't be disappointed. I just don't understand why AE stopped making such a great speaker.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
brucehgc   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 21, 2009]

I think this is the best loudspeakers of AE history,the sound is very excellent ,It can say the AE5 is better than
B&W N801 except Bass HZ,maybe the price is a little poor,10000.00 USD is OK .
My power is Jeffroland 8TI 250W

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Salvo   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 23, 2000]
Strength:

Imaging, midrange, details, details, details, build, finish - and the sound, oh, the wonderful sound.

Weakness:

Price, maybe a little dark and hooded, need plenty space and welly.

Let's get it right from the word go. I'm an audio scavenger - I don't have megabucks to spend on a system or components, but I listen to anything and everything I possibly can.
My own system isn't very expensive or worth much, and I like the way it does things.
However, every so often I'll get a bug up my butt and listen to some equipment that's way out of my league just to remind myself how damned good recorded music can sound.
It was on one of these excursions that I was afforded the opportunity to listen to these wonderful speakers.
I've heard a couple of high-end designs over the past five years or so (haven't really been into hi-fi that long) including the B&W Nautilus range as well as some of the less pricey high-end AE models (I own a pair of entry-level Aegis Ones), but I have yet to encounter a pair of speakers which move me in the way these AE 5s did in the short while I spent with them.
The speakers, finished in piano black high-gloss veneer, were driven by mono'd Plinius SA 50s fed by an EAD Ultradisc (the exact model I am not too sure about) and a Plinius M16 pre-amp (I'm pretty sure, although I may be mistaken).
I own an EAD T1000 and DSP 1000 combo, and although it's not the greatest thing around, I like what it does with my Harman Kardon 1400 amp (which will be replaced with a Plinius 2100i as soon as I can find one used).
Anyhow, the cabling on the Plinius/AE5/EAD system was Transparent all-round, and according to the dealer, obscenely expensive. (I have yet to fully appreciate the value of cables - mine are Cable Talk all-round - pretty crappy, I know ;->)
The first thing that struck me was the incredible transparency of the set-up - this wasn't a vague/diffuse sound, but rather unbelievably clear and precise, almost as though every musical moment was being "painted" out in front of me.
Of course, this is not something completely alien to me, but it was the first time that I could actually get a sense of "seeing" the "brush strokes" as they traced onto the soundstage.
Imaging was completely, utterly holographic - this was one of the rare times that I could easily, without really resorting to heavy concentration, "see" images in the soundstage. These images were also dynamic, to such a degree that I at first thought the soundstaging was "loose" or "wobbly" (I have this problem with my system at home - so I know what a vague soundstage "looks" like :->) but no, what I was hearing was (and feel free to call me liar) the players moving around - all this was presented a naturally as you could wish for.
Dynamically, the AE5s surpassed all I've heard except the B&W 801s. Transients were lightning fast and the bass on offer was tight and wonderfully powerful, never was there the feeling that the bass was plummy or overcooked - it was spot-on.
The mids were astonishing. Anyone who's ever heard the AE1 will know what a special midrange these wonders possess - now imagine multiplying that exquisite naturalness and transparency by ten-fold. You're not even close.
I was completely riveted and captivated by the amount of detail and sweetness on offer.
Soundstage was enormous, both vertically and horizontally - also, the speakers completely disappeared when the music started. There was absolutely no way one could tell where the sound was coming from.
Timbres were as natural as I've heard, with celli being reproduced in such a way that one would swear Maria Kliegel was just there - in the room. The resonances in the instrument body were relayed with a complete naturalness.
Voices were rich, full and beatifully textured - especially female vocals.
The AE5s drive and rhythm cannot be faulted, even with The Who's Live At Leeds they remained perfectly composed even to extremely high levels and never showed any signs of hardening.
The only critique of these fantastic speakers may be in their treble performance.
Make no mistake, it's still glorious, but some may prefer it even more open and informative. As it is, it strikes a fine balance between richness and crispness, and to my ears it sounds great. Although I've heard some listeners say that they might be just a tad hooded or shut in (this is a common complaint with all AE speakers, but I don't think that it's a serious fault and, to my mind (and ears!) is much preferable over a harsh and strident treble. But each to his own.
In summary then: The AE5s are among the most impressive speakers I've ever heard - like I said at the start, I'm not much of an audiophile, more like a seriously cash-strapped enthusiast with lots of time to burn.
They look fantastic, sound the bizzo in no small way and have the ability to very easily take the breath away. They are, however, very, very pricey (at least to my very, very thin wallet) and this puts them out of the league of most enthusiast. The recent AudioReview poll shows the majority of us don't spend more than $6000 on our entire systems, so it's a shame that this speaker won't make a lot of people very happy.
In any event, it's still a superb component and I would urge anyone, regardless of spending power, to listen to a pair. You won't regret it.

Recordings used:
Shostakovich Cello concerto 1&2 - Naxos (amazing recording, these guys are getting better and better)
Neil Young - Silver and Gold HDCD
The Who - Live At Leeds (Remastered)
Miles Davis - Scetches Of Spain
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
Rolling Stones - Goat's Head Soup and Exile On Main Street
Bliss - Adam Zero/Colour Symphony - Naxos
Mingus - Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Allman Brothers Band - Beginnings (Remastered)
-------------------------------------------------------

Similar Products Used: Acoustic Energy AE 1 series II, Infinity Reference 51i, B&W Nautilus 801, AE2 series II, B&W CDM 7NT, Dynaudio Contour 1.8, Sonus Faber etc...
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
andrew   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 13, 2001]
Weakness:

Well i cant really say,somthing was missing,maby a little more low hz downunder would be nice,but the quality and quantity is plenty.

Acoustic energy is well known for there ae1 monitor.The monitors seem to maby be a little more smooth,but that might be due to the incredible dynamics of this speaker.The bass response was purley amazing,pinpoint accurate,and reflexed to the rear wich gives better depth in presentation.I listened to a number of recordings and let me tell you,there werent many that were recorded with the total precision required,as far as soundstage goes.No matter what the recording is like though,this speaker still gives a trumendous sence of air,its just the exact placment of instruments that deminishes.

The one thing missing though and i think this was due to plinius sa100 was lower end bass,the bass that was presented in low hz was incredibly sharp though,fast passed and authoritive.The speaker was driven really hard,and the clarity was still so precise that it started to prick my ears,this is why i say some lower hz and smoothness would be nice to equall this out,but i think this is greatly due to the amplification.

My over all opinion though is that this speaker is incredibly fast paced and accurate,bringing out every little sound with extream authority and sharpness.I think that alot of speakers do the same but make it easier to listen to,just a little more smoothed on each note would be better to my ears,especially at high volume.
Conclusion:The most precise speaker i have yet to here,maby a little too precise,To me it tends to become a little pricky,But driven with a maching amp should equal this out and transform this speaker into a incredibly accurate,fast,powerfull and aired transducer.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-6 of 6  

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