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Acoustic Energy AE22

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Acoustic Energy AE22

Postby El Sid » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:38 pm

There is already a technical review of the AE22s available from Resolution magazine, and Hugh has also done a very accurate review for SOS. I thought I will add a user review that I hope might also help anyone interested.

In my room, which is relatively well treated, I have used a large range of different monitors over the years: Genelecs (1030s 1031s), B&Ws (DM602 and 601s), Proac Studio 100s, Bluesky Media Desks, Adams A7s, and of course Yamaha NS10Ms, Auratones, and some other cheaper monitors from Alesis and Tannoy and the odd hifi monitor as well.

My favourite over the years have always been the Blueskys (with the one reservation of never having been able to get the subs to merge seamlessly with the satellites despite trying every trick in the book), and the NS10s. I have had trouble with all the other - ported - monitors. The bottom end of the Genelecs sounded too compressed for me and the other monitors have lacked the clarity of the NS10s. The Adam A7s have got close but I just couldn't get used to the softish sounding highs, and I found judging sibilant vocals accurately very difficult on them.

When I first read about the AE22s about a year ago I was intrigued but also slightly put off by the marketing comparison with the NS10s. I didn't want a middly monitor and the admitted and reported unevenness of the frequency response also put me off.
Still I kept on thinking back to them everytime I used the Yamahas, hoping that maybe there might be something after all in the marketing hype for the AE22s: that they will have all the good things of the NS10s but none of the bad....
My other difficulty was getting hold of a pair for testing here in Germany. There was no distributor here. Finally I felt that luck might be on my side and just ordered a passive pair from Digital Village.

These are unusual looking monitors but built beautifully and are reassuringly heavy.
I put them up on my desk in the same position where I have had all the other monitors in the past.
My immediate impression was that the highs are extremely foreword. But thankfully I remembered Hugh's recommendation of placing them almost horizontal to the desk and not towed in. I tried that and immediately the highs levelled out, and I started listening.

- These are extremely fast monitors. The transients are marvellously reproduced even in the lower mids and the bass region. For the first time ever, in my room, I had a feeling that the bass was arriving to my ears at the same time as the rest of the frequencies and not slightly delayed.

- Much more so than any other monitors I have had here I felt that the sound was not being generated by the boxes but that an accurate and real sound stage existed in front of me: the stereo imaging is large and revealing.

- I put up my test equipment and discovered that I am getting a frequency response of +/- 3db from around 80Hz to 8K (see photo).


All my other (ported) monitors had a +5-6db rise in the lower mids, probably thanks to my desks reflections, which made them sound muddier and warmer. It seems that the reports of the AE22s frequency response having been tailored to match real life studio listening conditions is accurate and not hype. This is a massive plus. I don't need to hear my final mixes with an eq inserted to compensate anymore.

- I listened to a series of solo instruments. All sounded natural and true to life and, for example and again for the first time here, the Tabla sounded as if it was playing actually in the room: a lovely experience.

- It is also possible to hear very low information, despite the monitors' being relatively bass light for their size, possibly thanks to the gentle bass roll off and not the usual sudden 24db per octave roll off typical of ported monitors. And of course there is no port distortion to muddy and mask the lower mid and bass info anyway.

- I haven't had these monitors long enough to have any extended work experience with them but I can already say for example that judging compression on them is a pleasure. I have had to edit and mix a large amount of male voice recordings over the past 4 days and I have never had an easier time deciding on the quantity and quality of compression needed. De-essing is another process that I've found easier and of course using eq on the male vocals has been much less guess work as I could immediately hear slightest changes in eq, again possibly thanks to the highly defined lower-mid response.

All in all I can highly recommend the AE22s to anyone looking for an accurate and reliable monitoring tool, and that is the reason anyway why I decided to write this in the first place!

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Re: Acoustic Energy AE22

Postby Phil Ward » Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:20 am


I only just noticed your AE22 review. It's good to hear that your hunch paid off and it's very gratifying to know that my and AE's efforts are appreciated.

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Re: Acoustic Energy AE22

Postby felixnauta » Mon May 05, 2014 11:17 pm

Thanks too much; for writing this useful paper, and sorry if my English does not the work.
But I must to request you for an exact answer and please tell me about the highs of this monitors.
I bought a pair of JBL LSR 308 and they are horribly sibilant in and around the 6 Khz -in the midhighs-.
I would like to buy a pair of AE22 and I need to care my money; please be sincere with your anwer about this thing. That's why for I had read a lot about other pro+ about; but I have not read too much about the cons-.
thanks in advance.
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Re: Acoustic Energy AE22

Postby Richie Royale » Wed May 07, 2014 12:01 pm

You wont be disappointed with AE22s moving up from the JBLs.
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Re: Acoustic Energy AE22

Postby IvanSC » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:13 pm

Have a look at my The Rock II review, but with the Rocks it was true love. Biggest issue for me was that I knew I would need better low end response and by the time I factored in a sub to go with the AE's I was so close to the price of the Rocks, it was an easy decision to make.
Enjoy the 22's though - great sounding speakers.
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