Review of Acoustic Energy Aesprit AE 309

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by MikeNagy, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't been on this board or invloved in HT very long, but I am an avid music listener and I think I know enough about sound to offer up a review of these (for now discontinued) British floorstanders.

    I posted a review right before the database problem on HTF and it was subsequently deleted. That's a good thing in a way, because my review was made too prematurely.

    I listened to the AE's extensively, using vocal, classical, jazz, electronica, classic rock, alternative, heavy metal, punk, and rap. (What can I say? My musical tastes are ecclectic) I also did an A/B shoot-out between the AE's and my up-until-now favorites, Paradigm Monitor 7's, doing a upper mids/highs test with a few electronica, vocals and light alternative tracks, then a bass/lower mids test with heavy metal, punk and rap. The reciever used was a Marantz 7300ose and the wiring was all Nordost Flatline.

    Some of you may be cringing at my choice of Paradigm Monitors to compare the AE's to. My justification is that they are a common speaker that most people have heard, and that a lot of people like. Secondly, the Paradigm Studio series may have been a better competitor, but with the new v3 incarnation, their cost is prohibitively high and my local dealer didn't have any Studio 60 v2's left.

    I did my comparison at Definition Audio Video in Redondo Beach, CA mainly because all the guys there are just audio enthusiasts working because they love making sweet audio and video systems. (BTW I am not affiliated with them at all, I just wanted to let people know that they're a good audio shop because of the people who work there).

    I started out listening to a demo cd that one of the guys had. It had mostly alternative and vocal music, with a few electronica tracks. The music was more on the higher end of the spectrum and had mostly female voices (if there were voices present) and generally a laid-back set of tracks with a mellow quality. The two electronica tracks seemed out of place on the cd; theyre were very fast harmonies along behind a slow gentle melody.

    The AE's really shined with this music. The soundstage was very enveloping, and the speakers captured that warmth and mellowness while not being muddled...all the notes were very well defined without sounding bright. The intermittant guitar chords were a nice constant, even tone with realistic falloff.

    The Paradigm's did well here also. There wasn't the same level of definition and clarity as the AE's, but the warmth and mellowness was captured almost equally. The paradigm's sounded a little fake or warbly at various times, but not so much that it made itself very noticable. The soundstage wasn't quite as wide with the Paradigms as with the AE's, but both sounded pleasant with this music.

    Then I moved to a "bass test" cd that I created from a wide array of different types of bass in different types of music. I had AFI's God Called in Sick Today, which features melodic as well as shouted vocals and a very-present bass guitar. Representing heavy metal was Rammstein's Du Riechst So Gut which has gravel-y lyrics, an electronic backdrop and of course the thick, fast and heavy guitar work that is what makes metal awesome. Next was Dre's Still D.R.E. which has a pumping bass line, a melody in the upper highs, and vocals in the lower-mids, with not much inbetween. Last but certainly not least was U2's Walk On which is a symphony of smooth melodic lyrics, a precise (at times) guitar melody on top of a nice bass guitar and drum foundation.

    The AE's did AFI pretty well. They lacked power in the lower-mids to really represent the bass guitar well, however, it was well defined and clear nonetheless. The upper end was beautiful and smooth in a dark way, just as it should be. The vocals were clear in spite of the heavy guitar at times. In fact, everything was always clear and defined in spite of anything. There was no blurring of the notes. I could easily pick out the individual instruments. The same goes for Rammstein. The AE's were lacking in the lower mids, but everything was very clear and well defined yet again. The lack of lower mids was even more of a pitfall for metal, because the music lost that testosterone-driven soul that it should have had. With Dre, the AE's could not adequately do the bass (of course...you need a sub for rap) but most importantly, they did not blur the vocals with the bass, the highs were clear and kept to themselves, and everything was again well defined and clear (are you seeing a trend here?). U2 sounded great on the AE's. The seperation of all the different elements of the song was essential for good reproduction of the sound because there is so much going on at once. Again, lack of power in the lower end made that "soul" from the bass guitar fade away considerably.

    The Paradigms passed the bass test better than the AE's did. AFI was thicker and richer than the AE's...but it was also muddier. There was blending of the sound in the mids and lows. The highs were still clear, and a little more laidback and less harsh than the AE's. Overall the result was very plesant, but a little blurred. Ditto for Rammstein. There was more presence in the lower end with the Paradigms than with the AE's, but it was a tad blurry. The bass response with Dre was much better than the AE's. It was punchy, it was present, and it made the track sound a lot more full. There was more blurring than the AE's, as always, but it didn't really sound unplesant. The blurring in Walk On was, however. It just sounded like one big sonic blob instead of a collection of seperate instruments and voices. Other than that, it still sounded full, clear, and good.

    Overall, I would say that the AE's are very clear, they have a great soundstage, and they have good definition. The bass is lacking in oomph, resulting in music lacking "soul" and movie probably lacking "punch", but the bass is FAST and tight and controlled and the notes are discrete. Paired with a sub that can go a little higher than average and can match its speed, this would make probably the best for the money. [​IMG]

    Speaking of money, these speakers as well as the whole Aesprit line are a steal right now. They have been discontinued, but you can still find a few here and there, and for added savings, most dealers are willing to part with their demo units for not too much money. [​IMG]

    Acoustic Energy Aesprit Series
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    I have received word from Acoustic Energy
    that the AE Aesprit range has NOT been discontinued.
     
  3. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    Good times [​IMG]
     

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