Acoustic Energy were established in 1987 and are a well know British hi-fi company specialising in loudspeakers. Based in the Cotswolds, Acoustic Energy began life focussing on the professional audio market. They have a wide range of loudspeaker products starting from the Reference down to the Aego compacts. At the Sound & Vision Show in Bristol, Acoustic Energy showed their latest product: the AE1 Active.
Acoustic Energy AE1 active
The AE1 Active has been released to celebrate 30 years of Acoustic Energy. Dynamic Headroom poached a seat in the busy room and sat down for a listen.
The setup was simple enough: a Bluesound Node 2 acted as source & preamplifier and were connected to the AE1 actives using an interconnect. The speakers sat on dedicated stands from Acoustic Energy and really look the part.
This is a sophisticated yet minimal system which delivers audiophile purity without tons of boxes in your room. The Bluesound Node had a USB stick inserted in the back containing the music.
What I heard in the room was most impressive. The sound was very much on the front foot (to use a football analogy), being very engaging and enthusiastic. The Acoustic Energy AE1 Active fill the room in a most impressive way. They are so good that it has me wondering why I have so many large boxes sitting on a hi-fi rack.
Active speakers are very much on-trend right now and it is easy to see why because you get a more compact system whereby the amplifier is designed to match the loudspeaker. It takes away the guess work, improves sound quality and wraps it all up in a neat package.
At £499, the Bluesound Node is a decent enough device. However, you could squeeze plenty more out of the AE1 Actives by pairing them with a higher-end preamplifier / DAC combo.