Acoustic Energy AE509 – HiFi Review
This is my HiFi Review of these Acoustic Energy AE509 floor-standing speakers, they are really very good indeed. I quite liked the 309s earlier this year but I was not blown away, they were nice and at their price point and a must audition. Similarly, the 509s are good at their price point but they have one outstanding characteristic, a solid low-end punch; it is engaging and all-round brilliant fun! You must be auditioning these if this is your price bracket.
The 509s are a ‘slimline’ floor-standing loudspeaker with compact dimensions, suitable for medium to large sized rooms.
The Acoustic Energy AE509 speakers feature AEs newly developed carbon fibre tweeters and mid/bass drivers, designed to match the pistonic power and accuracy of their legendary ceramic aluminium drivers. AE has improved self-damping for a smoother, more transparent sound.
The Acoustic Energy AE509 tweeter features a brand new 25mm carbon fibre dome. Carbon fibre is much lighter and better damped than other typical hard dome materials and provides a fast, natural sound. The new cast aluminium WDT waveguide on the high-frequency driver is positioned close to the mid/bass driver for optimum dispersion and is extremely stiff to reduce vibration being passed to the tweeter. AE hopes this innovation will “ensure sweet, clear and natural highs.”
The 125mm mid/bass driver includes a new oversized 35mm voice coil for low thermal compression and very high motor force factor, this is designed to provide a highly dynamic yet controlled bass response. The woofer says AE “has an optimised motor and suspension system for maximum linearity and lowest distortion ensuring mid-range definition, whilst the lightweight nature of the carbon fibre cone material increases transient speed and clarity.”
The drivers are housed in a new 18mm Resonance Suppression Composite (RSC) cabinets, evolved from the prestigious Reference Series. They feature a constrained layer composite to greatly reduce cabinet acoustic radiation (resonant noise, presumably).
The speakers are very nice to the touch and exude a high-quality finish. The speaker corners are rounded on the top and on the front side of the 509s. There is a cloth magnetic fit grille on the front covering up the front though I have dispensed with them for critical listening.
I have a pair of gorgeous piano gloss black Acoustic Energy AE509 speakers. They are also available in piano gloss white and American walnut wood veneer
The speakers come with steel spikes that need to be screwed onto the base, and they’re sharp for the record. Each one is adjustable for levelling purposes.
I have the Acoustic Energy AE509s installed in a dedicated space around two feet from the wall and 8 feet apart, I’m 8-10 feet away, the room is 10-12 feet wide. The Acoustic Energy AE509s are being driven by the epic T+A PA 2000 R, connected with QED Supremus speaker cable. The amplifier is delivering near 150W into the 6 Ohm impedance speakers. I have loudness off with the integrated amplifier to the speakers. My usual sources are a Bluesound Node 2i and a rather decent Oppo BDP 105 as a CD player and the source for the cinema experience, discussed below. I’m using a NAS drive for bit-perfect CDs too.
The Acoustic Energy AE509s look terrific in the room and as I’ve listened further, I have been moving them further away from the back wall.
With T+A PA 2000 R
my first impression is absolutely, chin on the floor, stunning, what a sound, I can’t believe it
Slightly childishly, having rigged up the Acoustic Energy AE509s in my listening space, I thought I would go for first impressions with a bit of EDM (Electronic Dance Music)!! The ultimate test when one is creating a first impression! Daft, I know but I do like a bit of Knife Party, Bonfire and Terror Squad, by Zomboy, not to mention Bangarang, by Skrillex. Awesome, and my first impression is absolutely, chin on the floor, stunning, what a sound, I can’t believe it. The bass is superb and I really wasn’t ready for it, I was not expecting a sternum crunching experience out of the box (the speakers are well run-in, apparently).
Growing up slightly for some critical listening after several days and a slightly childish start, I turn to a new track from the Chromatics, with their take on the Sound of Silence. There’s a match being lit at the beginning, I look up and left. A warm analogue crackling soundstage develops through a bass string and a vocal that draws you in emerges slowly. A fantastic track translated by both the Chromatics and by the 509s. Similarly captivating is Sweet, by Cigarettes after Sex with fantastic detail and a dominant atmospheric soundstage.
Finally, I wander across Nils Frahm’s Some in 24 bits. It is a wonderfully detailed and clear recording and the speakers translate perfectly.
With some well-produced funked-up modern jazz, the sound is equally comfortable and well delivered. Have a good listen to Nubyia Garcia’s latest album not to mention the Blue Note re:imagined album which is very cool at the moment. Here’s the TIDAL playlist I’ve used for this review, it is a bit eclectic but serves to illustrate where I’ve been and the fun I’ve had with these speakers.
Overall, I think the tone of these speakers is especially deep; to prove my point I need to listen to Moby’s Why does my heart feel so bad? The track builds to a crescendo with a resonant bass line and this delivery is handled really nicely in tandem with the T+A PA 2000 R amplifier. To confirm what I already realise I listen to the track 2049 at the beginning of the Bluray disc as the shuttle comes in to land. The sound is thumping and as you turn it up it loosens, slightly too much maybe, but we’re good.
The soundstage presented by these speakers is also noteworthy with the right track and recording. A dive into a 24 bit copy of Subterranean Homesick Alien confirms these speakers deliver a really good sound. What a track.
With Netflix as Cinema Speakers
As a family, we do like a bit of cinema and the Oppo BDP rigged up to a short-throw projector allows us to do this. I normally have the projector rigged up in 2.1 with a REL subwoofer and my Jern 14 DS speakers for excellent vocals and dialogue, I’m using the T+A amplifier here of course. So I rigged up the AE509s as a 2.0 set-up with the amplifier and the Oppo BDP as a source. We put Knives Out on for a full popcorn experience. The speakers are very clear in dialogue as well as car chases and manage the soundtrack, such that is, really well.
The all round performance of these Acoustic Energy AE509s is of note here. I’ve thrown a fair amount of bass-led Hip-Hop at these Acoustic Energy AE509s, Jazz, and general favourites and they have not let me down at all. I am very impressed with the low end and the room-filling capabilities of these speakers. Equally, with a piano or vocal song the capability is there, there’s no hint of confusion at all. The soundstage is good every time. With classic styling and a high-quality finish, there is not much here to be upset about. They’re just really, really good speakers, I’ll be a little sad to see them go, although they will take over from my KEFs in the front room whilst I wait for the lockdown to conclude.
Hmm… Can’t think of much here
(from the site)
Type: 2-way reflex-loaded floor-standing loudspeaker
Mid/bass drive units: 2x 125mm carbon fibre cone
Tweeter: 25mm carbon fibre dome
Frequency Range: 32Hz – 28kHz (+/- 6dB)
Peak SPL: 115dB
Power Handling: 175W rms
Crossover Frequency: 2.9kHz
Grilles: slim, cloth magnetic fit
Dimensions (HxWxD, exc. spikes): 1000 x 185 x 270mm
Finishes: Piano Gloss White, Piano Gloss Black and American Walnut wood veneer
Warranty: 3 years
Spec and more information here.
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