Aerial Acoustics Model 7B Floorstanding Speakers

Model 7B

(2) 7" Woofers, 5" Mid-Range, 1" Tweeter

User Reviews (32)

Showing 1-10 of 32  
TK LP   AudioPhile [Jun 13, 2016]


These speakers have been in my system now for a little over 5 years. I purchased them used, as I have done for most of my equipment, and therefore was not able to audition them prior to purchase. I do live in a large metropolitan area, and do have access to auditions of many brands, but was not able to hear these. I did my research, and read all the reviews I could find, before giving the nod to these.

They did come in the original packaging, which was pretty extensive. I remember thinking it would likely take the Samsonite gorilla to damage these through the crating. Out of the box, inspection of the wood finish,(mine are black ash), revealed exceptional quality. A little knuckle knock on them revealed a very well braced, solid cabinet Set up was pretty straight forward, they were put about 3" out from the back, and 3.5" from the sides of my 14x20x8 listening room. Hook up was done by banana plugs, single wire, with jumpers in place.

I'm going to say now that my first listen was a major disappointment. The sound was as others described as thin, lean, and lacking any real bass. I immediately thought that I had made a mistake with this purchase, and thought of reselling them. Instead, I decided it was time to do an amplifier upgrade, my present amp was a Yamaha MX-1, rated at 200 watts RMS, with ratings down to 2 ohms. My original thought was that should be plenty of power for most any speaker, as it had always been plenty for all my previous speakers.

After about 2 weeks I was able to procure a Bryston 4B ST. Connecting the new amp, brought immediate life to the Aerials. The new amp really opened them up and made them much fuller, with much better bass. But, being one that occasionally enjoys listening at elevated levels, I found myself pushing the Brytston to clipping. As I really liked the sound I was getting, I searched for a more powerful Bryston, and found a great deal on a 14B ST about 4 hours away. End of clipping problems. I really cannot stress enough, the power sources' ability to deliver current necessary to drive these. The bigger Bryston really pushes the Aerials effortlessly. Everything I had heard or read about these speakers being non-fatiguing was true. Vocals, particularly female, are seamless and natural. Upper frequencies are airy and open, but never harsh. Bass is deep and satisfying, again, very natural.They are also very revealing in that they respond to any changes/upgrades I make in the system. They have responded particularly well to cable changes.

Recently I have added a pair of Aerials' SW-12 subs. They have integrated beautifully with the 7B's, and truly afford me full range without calling attention to themselves, (probably another review in itself). I also think that with the subs taking on some of the heavy lifting on the bottom end, that the mid and upper frequencies have benefitted as well.

I rated these speakers highly for performance, but down a notch for value, mostly due to the power requirements these speakers demand, meaning additional associated cost. They definitely require copious amounts of it. I've read reviews where users were matching these with AV receivers, or amps similar to my Yamaha, and although some were pretty glowing, I can"t help but think that they really aren't getting the full picture of the way these can perform.

I guess the best praise I can give these, is that they have stayed in my system so long, in fact, have hardly moved from original set up position. I'm 57, and have been an enthusiast since my early teens. I've listened to countless speakers in countless systems, I still frequent audio shops in the greater Washington/Baltimore metro area, and attend local audio shows, ands haven't heard anything that is realistically within my budget, including the newer 7T's, to consider making any changes. Any initial regrets I may have had are long gone, the Aerial 7B's are here to stay.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
dkely   AudioPhile [May 06, 2003]
Strength:

Treble: silky smooth, detailed and FAST Mid: Incredible vocals and piano is SO good sounding Bass: Amazing. Not too little, not too much, and so much detail – I never knew there was this much detail in bass Cabinet: THE most solid I have seen. And beautiful in Cherry or Rosewood Stands: Very, VERY solid

Weakness:

I could not think of any....

The speakers I have been living with since I was in college were a pair of Klipsch KG2s. I was VERY happy with these speakers for years. I felt they had tremendous bass, and were very dynamic. Years later a friend of mine got a pair of Aerial 7B’s. Of course I went over to listen to them. At first I was unimpressed. My Klipschisms were defiantly getting in the way. Then one evening I realized the 7Bs had MUCH more bass than my speakers did – and a LOT more detail – and this was with a lower watt TUBE amp. I then knew I needed new speakers… So last November, I started my search for new speakers. I first bought home a pair of brand new B&W 804’s. I was trying to spend less than $3500. I found these speakers to have WAY too little bass, and they were kind of funny looking. They also did not have the dynamics I was looking for rock music (Rush, Depeche Mode, Metallica, Sting), for classical, and for movies. They were also overly bright. I then tried a pair of brand new JM Lab Electra 926’s. They have a titanium(esque) tweeter, single mid, and dual bass drivers. Most everything I listened to was way too laidback. Some parts of some songs, like the solo acoustic guitar on “Big Love” on Fleetwood Mac The Dance, were exceptional. But the vocals sucked, and the bass was poor…. TOTALLY lifeless, even after 350 hours being driven by my Ayre/Cardas burn-in CD. I listened to Revel F30’s – they sounded even worse. I then listened to Theil – their new mini floor stander all the way up to their mighty 7’s. They all sounded too laid back for me… plus the ones in my price range had too little bass. I then tried a pair of Gradient Revolutions (with passive crossovers). They imaged MUCH better than all of the previous speakers, but lacked character. And they were seriously inefficient (like 80 db) and lacked ANY dynamics at ANY volume. From the same store I auditioned Joseph Audio’s new asymmetric crossover designs (in a word: yuck. I have NO idea what Sterophile reviewers are listening to), Montanans, Triangle, and some others… anything under $8,000 lacked bass I thought I had enough messing around, so I found an old used pair of B&W Matrix 801’s… the ones with the big 12” woofer. Well, WAY TOO MUCH BASS (yes, it is possible). It was totally unrealistic bass in my 12x20x8½ foot living room…. I then tried the Meadowlark Audio Heron-I’s. These were a demo pair (they are soon coming out with the Heron2’s), and were selling for $4000. This started creeping my price point up. The Heron’s were very sweet, but their dual 7” bass drivers and the transmission line cabinet ALSO had too much bass – and it was not as crisp as the Matrix 801’s. NOTE: I actually wanted to hear the new BASSIC transmission line Osprey – but the two Meadowlark dealers in Chicago basically said they would not order one until they sold their current Shearwaters and Herons – and they still wanted close to full price for these old models… In retrospect the only speaker that matched the 7B’s performance were the new Dynaudio Contour S3.4. There were three things I did not like about the new Dynaudios: 1) for $5000, I only got a 2 ½ way with 3 drivers. 2) to get a 3 way (with 4 drivers like the 7B’s) I would have had to spend $8000 – and they don’t even have those in the US yet 3) they look a little TOO modern. My budget was now up to $5,000. I next went to Quintessance in Morton Groove, IL. I waited to go there because I thought I knew what I wanted there: Audio Physics Virgo IIs (they use to be $5,000). I had heard the Virgo II’s driven by Spectral years ago, and thought they were outstanding. I brought to demo the new Virgo III’s (they just jumped up to $7500). I just could not get enough good deep bass, and the ring radiator tweeter seemed brighter than my old Klipsch horns! I then saw how OUTSTANDING the 7B’s looked in Cherry (my friend had black). I then decided to take home the Aerials. WOW! The bass was tremendous – so detailed, and just the right amount. The mid was so clear on Fleetwood Mac The Dance. And Metallica just rocks. And movies: absolute the BEST I have heard. But most surprising was the tweeter: the speed of a titanium tweeter is expected, but the sweetness of the Aerial tweeter is the most surprising of all! In real life the 7B’s Cherry wood cabinet is EASILY the best I have ever seen on a speaker – topping Dynaudio, B&W, Meadowlark, Joseph, even Audio Physic. With a new pair of Transparent Music Wave Super XL bi-wire the Aerial 7B is complete!

Similar Products Used: B&W Nautulus 804, Matrix 801, JMLab Electra 926, AudioPhysic Virgo III, Dynaudio Contour S3.4, Gradiant Revolution, Joseph Audio, Montana, Meadowlark Herron I, Revel F30, Thiel
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
youneverwalkalone   AudioPhile [Nov 20, 2002]
Weakness:

Placement and room care is a must.

Wow What a wounderful speaker. Beautiful highs, solid midrange and bass. Associated equipment: Classe, BAT, Linn, and Nordost

Similar Products Used: Thiel 1.6, Soliloquy 5.3, Martian Logan Scenario.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Audiophile [Feb 28, 2000]

For those of you with bad review or think these speaker have no bass. You are mistaken. Next time try better equipment to listen with them. ie Krell FPB600 you'll get awsome bass responce. Then you'll find out what a great value these speaker are. If you think that a lot of amp then you don't understand the word value. Value "speaker that preform outside their catagoty".

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim Da Bomb   an Audiophile [Aug 06, 1998]

Let's just say I wasn't impressed, especially for the price ($3500). IMHO the Manepan MG1.6 annihilated these speakers in every category.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
Chris Wynn   an Audiophile [Jan 05, 1999]

Flat and lean sounding. I found them un-exciting.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Chess`   an Audiophile [Mar 09, 1999]

Wow, after reading all the bad review on this product I was reluctant to try them out in my home over the weekend. But with the urging of the dealer for me to try them I made the plunge. What followed was an in depth review of all kinds of music. Everything from Santana to BACH, these speakers were by far the worst I have ever heard. Michael Kelly must have the reviews of his other speakers going to his head. I think he went out to design a good box with matched drivers thinking it must be good. He should have listened to these before they left the factory, drop the acoustics book brianiac and listen to these...pull them off the market or charge 1500 bucks for them. I will say the finish on the boxes was fantastic and the choices of wood were wonderful. After I returned them, the dealer said he likes the new model 5's better the 7's for 1000.00 less. The HT performance was only adequate. The cc3 center gets 5 stars as well as the model 8's and 10 t's. I will buy the model 8's I just hate to see a respected manufacture get bashed. I guess you can't win them all.
Model 7's one star

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
Robert Hauck   an Audiophile [Jun 07, 1999]

I have read the different reviews on Audio Review for a very long time and this is my first post. Reading some of the bad posts on the Aerial 7b's made me want to write my first. I am very familiar with the 7b's sound since I own a pair of the 7a's which is very, very similar to the 7b's. Michael Kelly, Aerial designer and owner, told me personally at an audio store that he basically came out with the 7b's only because the 7a's weren't selling that well only due to people thinking that a 2 way speaker isn't as good. Some of the reviewers here report that the speaker sounds lean and bass is terrible. The bass from the speakers is about the best bass you can get for the money. The problem is the speaker needs very good cables and should definitely be bi-wired for better control. I use to use cheap monster cable, 12 gauge, and the bass was terrible and bloated with little control, but I knew what the potential of the speaker. I now use JPS bi-wire superconductor speaker cables and the bass performance is awesome. The bass lines are very tight, defined with various bass textures. You can here this when a very good bass guitarist plays very fast with deep notes. The treble is even better than the bass in this speaker. The treble is extended with absolutely no hardness. The treble is so good that it can only be compared to planar speakers. If you don't believe me, dig up some reviews on the 7a's or 7b's. I'm sure Michael Kelly would send you literature because he did for me. The midrange is good but not exceptional. You won't hear every little detail. You will need to get the 10T's for this. However, I can hear a lot of details through this speaker. I can hear lips and breathing from singers like Diana Krull and the piano pedals as she presses them with her feet. I can also easily hear guitar cords snap and fine details on various instruments. The speaker is very dynamic. Your hearing or amplifier or pre-amp will fail before the speakers will. Home theater reported that the 7b's were simply better than their reference viennas. The 7a and 7b speakers are very smooth. If it sounds lean, then it's the equipment or especially the wires that can cause this. I use to use Audio Quest topaz interconnects before getting the JPS superconductor +'s. You talk about lean and especially bright in the top end. It gave me listeners fatique very quickly. This speaker has only improved as I have made many changes in my system which I will list below. The Aerial speakers are best described as a neutral speaker slightly on the warm side with great dynamics. You will have to look long and hard to find a speaker line that is much better than the Aerial line when it comes to Home Theater and music. Even then, I prefer the sound of my Aerial 7a's over the Thiels any day of the week. I know that there are others that are said to be very good such as Dunlavy, Hale, Thiels, PSB and some others. As for me, I love the Aerial sound very much. When my equipment outperforms the Aerial speakers, I know that I will have to spend 6k for a significant jump such as the 10T's or Merlin speakers. I can't understand why the 8's would get very good scores and not the 7b's. The 8's are a tad bit smoother and go deeper in the bass. You better have the power and room for this speaker with the side firing woofer. I know that in my room and at my local dealer, I preferred the sound of the 7a's and 7b's due to room acoustics and the side firing woofer. The 7's go flat to 35Hz at -2db and roll off to 30Hz at -6db. If you are doing home theater, I would recommend a subwoofer even if you had the 10T's. That's why Aerial is now making a highend sub.
Anyway, I hope that if someone wanted to find out about Aerial speakers that now they might decide to try them with my review even considering a few poor ones. Someone doesn't know what they are talking about when they say that Aerial speakers aren't musical. I rate these speakers five stars. They are simply great speakers.

Regards,
Robert
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

equipment:
Sony S7000 DVD player (also used as transport--Wow! It doesn't get any better as a transport than this). Read the awesome review on planethifi.com. If you want a great dvd player and awesome transport, buy the Sony S7700.
Theta Casablanca
McCormack DNA-HT1 (great amp with little recognition as to how good it is. Be prepared to spend a lot of money to substantially do a lot better.
Aerial 7a speakers
Aerial CC3 center channel (The best center channel made, period)
JPS bi-wire superconductor speaker cables and JPS superconductor + interconnects

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
John   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 05, 1999]

First, let me state for the record that having monitored the Audio Review site for several months, I've concluded that the majority of postings here are about reenforcement (positive and negative). For example, "I bought this product, therefore it is the best" rather than "this is the product I found to be the best, so I bought it". I find it interesting that the same gentleman below who claims the 7B is "the worst speaker he's ever heard" has also posted about the Aerial Model 8 as " the best speaker...". Let's face it, there simply isn't enough difference between these two products to justify this kind of spread -unless emotions come into play.
I've been auditioning speakers in the $3K - $8K price range for several months.I recently auditioned the 7Bs in my home. Let me say first that the cabinetry on the Aerial speakers is among the very finest available - veneers are book matched, corner joints are excellent and the finish is exceptional. Also, the packaging for these speakers says a lot about the quality standards of Michael Kelly and Aerial Acoustics. Speakers are wrapped in plastic, then Styrofoam, then masonite (3/8" plywood on the ends), then corrugated cardboard - the thing is just about bomb proof.

The 7B's are nearly full range - they don't go as low as some but do deliver a surprising amount of quality bass. In my room, they delivered all the tight, detailed bass that I need. The midrange is finely detailed, although tonally, I found it to be more on the dark side. The treble is sweet, but (I feel) a little closed in. Imaging and soundstage were as good as any floorstander I've heard.

What struck me about the 7B is that it is clearly a well thought out and "complete" product. It is absolutely coherent, very musical, dynamic and easy to listen to. Ultimately, the tonal characteristics of the 7B were not ideal for me. My system runs to the warm, dark side and the 7Bs compounded this attribute just a hair too much. I would thoroughly recommend this speaker to anyone with a more neutral system.


OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Eric   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 08, 1999]

I would agree that for the money, the 7Bs are quite nice. A little more "there" than the Sonus Faber Grand Pianos. However, the GP have better depth than the 7B. In fact, if there is one flaw in the Aerial line it is in depth. The 10Ts are easily better than the 8s. I have heard them both with the following system and the 10Ts were noticably better, especially in the bass. But the midrange was more transparent as well.
Meridian 508.24
Audio Research Ref. One
VTL MB-450
Cabling by Transparent

As one goes up the line (I have NOT heard the 5s), coherence from top to bottom gets better(I felt that the 7bs had a slightly prominant mid bass)and the 10Ts bass had definition AND weight that the 8s did NOT. Tonally, the whole line tends towards a MINOR darkening which I think is a GOOD thing for most sytems.

Overall, the line is VERY nice but has grown to be expensive.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 32  

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