Acoustic Energy AE22 monitors

Could these speakers finally replace your battered old Yamaha NS10s? Acoustic Energy certainly thinks so

Acoustic Energy was founded in 1987 in West London, and soon gave birth to the AE1, a professional nearfield studio monitor designed with performance and longevity in mind.

The brand, now known as AE Pro are passing the torch onto another studio monitor, the AE22, which is available in both passive and active configurations.

Out of the box

Everybody has a love-hate relationship with Yamaha NS10s. They might be difficult to work with for long periods, but their mixes sound great elsewhere, so we love them.

The people at AE looked at the properties that made the NS10s so popular in the studio, and designed the AE22 with these same attributes in mind.

So what we have here is a closed-cabinet non-reflex speaker, with a low distortion and crossover frequency of 2KHz.

Rather interestingly, the resulting off-axis consistency is good, while the time-domain performance is very impressive.

Hands on

The AE22s measure almost double the size and more than double the weight (15kg each powered speaker) of the NS10s.

The front-panel of the sturdy cabinet features rounded edges on two sides and hosts a 200mm LF driver and a contoured, metal plate incorporating both the HF driver assembly and the AE logo.

A matrix of LEDs discretely displays the status of each of the controls available on the rear-panel as well as any clipping occurring on both LF and HF power amplifiers.

The rear-panel is mostly occupied by a large, central heatsink, with audio inputs and controls on the left and IEC mains and power switch on the right.

Both balanced and unbalanced connections are available on a single Neutrik combo XLR/jack socket, above which are mounted four three-way rotary switches.

The switches control: HF adjust with Cut (-1.5dB), Flat or Lift (+1.5dB) from 2KHz, MF adjust with Cut (-2dB), Flat or Lift (+2dB) at 400Hz and LF adjust with Cut (-3dB at 70Hz), Flat or Extend (+3dB at 40Hz).

The sensitivity switch toggles between -3dB, 0dB and +3dB operation. The 100-watt LF and the 60-watt HF power amplifiers will max out with a 900mV 400Hz sinewave on the 0dB setting.

Sounds

Trading in our NS10s for the AE22s on the meterbridge, we decided to also include our trusty KRK V6s alongside them.

We ended up running the AE22s quite loud from the off and not only did they handle it well, they also provided accurate, tight low-end information you don't get from KRKs or NS10s.

When we mix with the Yamahas we'd touch the cones to feel what the bottom-end was like and add the tactile information to what we were actually hearing.

The AE22s do that for you: the bottom-end isn't extended but it's so tight that that we found it really informative.

Top-end is clean, not overly crispy and just as useful as the low-end.

But where the AE22s really shine is in the midrange. It's solid, crystal clear, not tiring at all, but equally obvious when it comes to balancing vocals on a track.

These are remarkable speakers. They're not designed to impress, but rather to assess the sound and give the engineer a clear picture of what needs to be done. As a result they come highly-recommended.

MusicRadar Rating

5 / 5 stars
Pros

Excellent sound quality overall. Gorgeous mid-range. Great low-end information.

Cons

Large and heavy.

Verdict

A top-quality professional monitoring system: accurate, detailed and easy to listen to.

Features

• CABINET: Two-way closed box loaded • FILTER NETWORK: 3rd order Bessel at 2.0KHz • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 60Hz-40KHz ±3dB • MF ADJUSTMENT: ±2dB @ 400Hz Q=0.5

Description

The Acoustic Energy AE22 ACTIVE monitor boasts over 200Watts of power across its dedicated LF and HF power amplifiers and LF / MF and HF gain and equalisation controls to tailor the sound to the studio or music program. The AE22 is based on a heavyweight 250 x 350 x 330mm sealed cabinet featuring a new 200mm alloy bass driver and a 25mm ring-radiator tweeter with neodymium magnet. This active version features both balanced and unbalanced XLR input and separate power amplifiers for each driver.

Type of Monitor

Active

HF Driver

• HF DRIVER: 25mm Ring radiator, neodymium magnet • HF AMPLIFIER POWER: 60 watts RMS • HF ADJUSTMENT: ±1.5dB @ 2KHz to 40KHz

LF Driver

• LF DRIVER:200mm pressed alloy cone, under-hung 50mm voice coil • LF AMPLIFIER POWER: 100 watts RMS • LF ADJUSTMENT: +3dB @ 40Hz Q=1, -3dB @ 70Hz Q=1

Audio Inputs

• ANALOGUE INPUTS: XLR balanced/1/4” jack unbalanced • INPUT SENSITIVITY: 0.9volt @ ±3dB • INPUT IMPEDANCE: >10kohm

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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