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Floorstanding Speakers

Acoustic Energy AE320 Loudspeakers: Vastly Underrated

Looking for a pair of full-range floor-standing loudspeakers that won’t crush your bank account? The Acoustic Energy AE320 are the real deal and solid value.

Acoustic Energy AE320 Floorstanding Loudspeaker Lifestyle

I know it’s odd for me to say that the brand new Acoustic Energy AE320 loudspeakers are underrated, but my experience with the brand here in North America would suggest that the audio/video press isn’t really all that excited about it.

Reviews from across the pond are aplenty, but I don’t recall reading too many reviews of their products in domestic publications and my review of the Acoustic Energy AE1 is pretty rare. Tarun from “A British Audiophile” had a similar listening experience with his review pair and we discussed it during our recent YouTube broadcast.

Neither one of us understands why the audio/video press doesn’t love this British loudspeaker brand because their products are first-rate.

The AE1 was so good that I actually fought the distributor to let me listen to them for another month but they were the only demo pair and I looked back twice at the boxes as the nice lady at FedEx standing behind the 3″ of glass during the pandemic put them on the belt and they disappeared behind the wall.

The bigger point is that Acoustic Energy offers three tiers of loudspeakers that offer rather exceptional performance for far less than other brands and I would include Spendor, Harbeth, ProAc, KEF, Paradigm, and Q Acoustics on that list.

Acoustic Energy AE320 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Walnut
Acoustic Energy AE320

The brand new Acoustic Energy AE320 definitely benefit from more power even with their generous 90 dB sensitivity rating. Tube amplifiers work really well with the Acoustic Energy speakers but they definitely work well Naim, Arcam, NAD, and Rotel.

I would also steer clear of amplification that is too neutral sounding. The 100 Series speakers have a warmer tonal balance than their more expensive siblings but that changes with the 300 Series and its aluminum tweeter.

So avoid Acoustic Energy at your peril but trust me when I say that these speakers have flown under the radar in North America for far too long.

The AE1 would be my first choice in an active loudspeaker and at any price.

Heading up the 300 Series, the new AE320 is a true, 3-way slim-line floor-standing loudspeaker with compact dimensions and suitable for medium to large sized rooms.  The AE320 uses three latest generation 130mm drivers, one mid-range and two bass only units. 

Acoustic Energy AE320 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Black
Acoustic Energy AE320

Featuring AE’s own design ceramic aluminum sandwich cone (specially developed for the 300 Series) with an ultra-shallow profile and high force, long throw motor system, this new driver boasts improved dispersion, extended bass slam and overall power handling. 

The 28mm aluminium tweeter offers high power handling and a low fundamental resonance to reduce distortion. However, the main benefit to this new design is the excellent dispersion characteristics thanks to its Wide Dispersion Technology waveguides.

The waveguides shape the acoustic output of the tweeter to match the woofer and provide a wider sweet spot in the listening environment. 

The 18mm high density MDF cabinet utilizes proprietary bracing technology derived from the award-winning Reference Series, to reduce cabinet colouration and allow the new transducers to breath freely within the listening environment. The slot shaped duct port on the rear of the speaker augments the bass output and has been carefully developed to reduce the effect of air turbulence with a clean, undistorted bass performance.

Acoustic Energy AE320 Floorstanding Loudspeakers White
Acoustic Energy AE320

The base of the cabinet is pre-loaded with an inert mass material which adds damping and reduces cabinet colouration. The mass loading coupled with 8mm floor spikes help stability and provide a solid foundation for the drive units to operate without resonances from the cabinet interacting with the floor surface. 

The result of this latest drive unit technology and enclosure design is a slim-line, powerful floor-standing loudspeaker for the discerning listener when refined audio quality coupled with elegant aesthetics are paramount. 

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Mat Spandl, MD and Chief Designer comments “Since launching the 300 Series we have been constantly asked to produce a larger, more powerful model to bridge the gap between our 309 and 509 floor-standers. So welcome to the AE320… offering a substantial upgrade over the highly successful and well-reviewed AE309, this new series flagship is set to raise the performance, style and value bar once again.”

Price & Availability

The new Acoustic Energy AE320 is available in high gloss Piano Black or White and Real Walnut wood veneer cabinet finishes from authorized retailers from October 2021. UK SRP per pair is from £1,599 / $1,990.

Specifications:

  • Drive Units: 130mm ceramic aluminum sandwich cone 
  • Tweeter: 28mm dome 
  • Bandwidth: 35Hz -30kHz 
  • Sensitivity: 90dB 
  • Peak SPL: 116dB 
  • Power Handling: 200w 
  • Crossover Frequency: 380Hz / 3.4kHz 
  • Impedance: 8ohms 
  • Design: 3 way 
  • Dimensions: 1000 x 175 x 320 (HxWxD, Exc. Spikes) 
  • Weight: 26kg (each) 
  • Finishes: Piano Gloss Black, Piano Gloss White and Walnut real wood veneer

For more information: Acoustic Energy 300 Series

Related Reading

Active vs. Passive Speakers

Naim Audio Uniti Atom HE & Acoustic Energy AE1 Speakers

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Geoffrey de Brito

    October 9, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Sorry, I’m sure the AE320 are indeed fine speakers but I suspect that the new HECO Aurora 1000 has the AE320 beat. Don’t shoot the messenger!
    $1600.00 a pair with 93db sens. and 22Hz-42.5kHz
    https://www.heco-audio.de/en/speaker/aurora/aurora/aurora-1000

    Andrew Robinson reviewed the one below in the lineup, the Aurora 700 and raved about it. He stated that its useful bass did indeed reach the advertised measurement. So I expect the Aurora 1000 will as well. If so, no need for a sub.

    Also no metal tweeter, instead a silk dome and tech that widens the sweet spot. The clincher for me is the woofers. Heco looked at the best of much older woofers known for sounding really good and then created new drivers that emulate the older drivers with modern tech. Special kraft paper membranes.

    Love to see you do a review of those.

    • Ian White

      October 9, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Geoffrey,

      Those do look interesting. Where are they made?

      The Acoustic Energy speakers are really good though. The AE1 were one of the best speakers I’ve reviewed in years. Beyond impressed.

      I tend to take raves from other reviewers with a grain of salt after 23 years. So should viewers and readers. Reviews are a guide. Nothing more.

      I do prefer silk dome tweeters so I’m kinda interested.

      I will reach out and thank you for bringing those to my attention.

      Best,
      Ian White

  2. Jim Farrell

    October 9, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Strangely, given the above comments, my very first hifi speakers were Heco Interior Reflex standmounts (made in Germany I believe) followed by Acoustic Energy AE 109 floorstanders. Both great budget speakers.
    Heco seem to be having a bit of a resurgence recently. Their Direct series look utterly fantastic (in a retro kind of way) but have been reviewed relatively poorly. I will need to take a look at the Aurora models.

  3. Bob Rapoport

    October 12, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your reporting on the AE320, I’m the USA dealer for Acoustic Energy and have been a loyal AE fan since the AE1 came out 35 years ago. US consumers can reach me at bob@essenceelectrostatic.com or visit my product page for the AE320 at https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/acoustic-energy-ae320-speaker-system-pr/

    I agree with you about flying under the radar, AE is still gaining traction in the US market due to the great work done on the AE1 Active and the new 500 Series. Your reporting will help expose the AE story to more people and I am thankful for your enthusiasm for the brand.

    All the best,
    Bob Rapoport, CEO
    Essence For Hi Res Audio
    727-580-4393

    • Ian White

      October 12, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      Bob,

      We’re hoping to do an AE320 and AE109 review before the end of 2021.

      I’ve been a huge AE fan for a long time and the AE1 kinda blew me away last year.

      Best,
      Ian White

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