Acoustic Energy AE1 Classic review

Acoustic Energy AE1 Classic standmount speakers are certainly classics, but not quite the best around Tested at £1000

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Classics, certainly. But not quite the best around


  • +

    Substantial build

  • +

    an open and informative sound


  • -

    The treble can be provoked

  • -

    they could sound a touch more organic

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Being consistently successful for more than 20 years isn’t easy, but the Acoustic Energy AE1 Classics have managed it with aplomb.

They’ve evolved in that time, of course; this version features cabinets that are glossier on the outside and thicker on the inside.

But they’re still lined with concrete – not everything changes.

If pampered with high-mass stands, the AE1s summon a coherent, expansive soundstage with the emphasis on integration and focus.

An eloquent midrange
With the Creation’s Biff Bang Pow, there’s casually efficient timing with tautly expressive low frequencies and an eloquent midrange that’s on the lean side but loaded with information.

This confidence carries through to the top of the frequency range, although careless system matching will put their hackles up.

This edginess, and a slight lack of fluidity compared with some here, prevents the AE1 Classics receiving an unequivocal recommendation – but they seem set to endure for a while longer yet.

See all our hi-fi speaker Best Buys

Follow whathifi on Twitter

Join whathifi on Facebook

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test