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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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