(Review) Acoustic Energy AE109² – Budget-Friendly Performance

acoustic energy ae109

I met up with the folks from Fidelity Imports while at the Florida International Audio Expo and came home with the AE109² made by Acoustic Energy in England. I also brought home the Gold Note IS-10 integrated amp which will have its own review here soon. The AE109² is Acoustic Energy’s entry-level floor stander with a 2.5-way design. The AE109² is $999.99 per pair here in the U.S., making it a fairly attractive offer for those who are looking for a speaker that won’t break the bank but sounds good too. Let’s take a look at how the AE109² stacks up in our review.

Unboxing and Setup

The unboxing experience isn’t my favorite as the box opens along the long side meaning you have to lift the speaker out of the box rather than lift the box away. Granted as someone who opens a lot of boxes this is something I notice, but for most end users isn’t probably something to even worry about. After getting them out you can screw in the spikes and get them positioned in your space. Something I like about this design is they do very well close to the wall even with a rear slot port. They do perform a bit better out from the wall a foot or so but you won’t make much compromise if you need to position them closer to your back wall.

I set these up with a variety of electronics, from the Gold Note IS-10 to an Arylic B50 as well as my McIntosh MC250. They are reasonably easy to drive as they are fairly efficient at 89dB and have an impedance of 6Ω. If you are using an integrated amp you don’t need to be worried about pushing these speakers, though with some extra power you do get more bass which is typical of most all speakers. They have a very wide dispersion making these great speakers for a theater or living space as you can easily enjoy them with friends and family without feeling like you are missing out when not in the “sweet spot”. The tweeter is set back in a waveguide to help with dispersion as well as align it with the woofers to keep timing perfect. It is also worth mentioning that these speakers are heavy for their size. They actually weigh almost as much as my Sonus Faber Sonetto Vs coming in at 16 kg or 35Lbs. While this is not particularly heavy in the grand scheme, most smaller budget speakers are much lighter. Weight can play a role in sound quality, as lighter cabinets tend to vibrate more causing resonance issues.


The AE109² sounds good, especially considering the cost. There are not a ton of speakers out there for 1000 bucks for the pair, and even fewer sound great. We reviewed the Magnepan LRS+ last year and they cost the same, however, they are much more finicky to own. While the Magnepan do sound better to me, they also require a beefy amp and perfect placement to get the most out of them, they also don’t make for great sharing speakers as the sweet spot is razor thin compared to the AE109². If it were my money, I would choose the AE109² in most cases. The AE109² is super easy to listen to for hours, it has a smooth warm tonality that won’t fatigue your ears. The soft dome tweeter provides enough top-end to deliver a detailed performance while avoiding being overbearing. The mid-range is very forward, where most of your music lives, and the bass response is enough to enjoy a wide variety of music.

The IS-10 from Gold Note is a very direct integrated amp, playing the music with no tone control. This is a love or hate feature as some people like to EQ their gear to their preference, while others want to listen to the music unchanged and appreciate it for how it is. The Arylic B50 however will let you add loads of bass or treble. You can certainly make these speakers muddy with too much bass, especially as the woofers are pulling double-duty as mids as well. The Bass can take over if you crank it up and bury the mids. The Treble adjustment can get near fatiguing when all the way up as well, though the soft dome tweeter tames it well even when turned up. I tend not to mess with tone controls much other than for testing and trying out different sounds, so for me, the Gold Note would work well with these speakers, as does my Marantz and MC250.

For those that have been reading for some time, you will know my music tastes are pretty varied and I listen to all sorts of music. One of my Favorite Bands is Rainbow Kitten Suprise, an indie folk rock band. They have loads of great music, though the song that is probably my favorite and was my introduction to RKS, is “Cocaine Jesus”, a gritty story of addiction. The song is reminiscent of a Modest Mouse song but with a little more rock and roll. The vocals are smooth soft, and detailed enough, Ela’s voice (pre-transition) is rich and at times raspy adding to the grit of the song. The drum is fairly simple throughout the song with a slamming snare during the bridge that creates the foundation for the dramatic lyrics. The low end isn’t the most detailed but there is enough clarity to make out the bass guitar and kick. The Mids have good texture throughout the song which is where these speakers really seem to shine. Counting Cards is another great song from the same Album, RKS, which has a more forward bass line and you get pretty good tonality and texture on the strings.

I played Caroline Glaser’s “Leave it Alone” as it can really showcase how well a particular piece of gear handles the sound stage. The song is mastered in a way that can really make your room sound massive. The AE109² performs fairly well width-wise but lacks some of the depth available in the song. Imaging is also fairly good left and right but again the depth falls a bit short. For a speaker in this price bracket, it performs well, but it is not a giant killer. Another song that has great staging is Jeff Goldblum’s “My Baby Just Cares For Me” (Live) Haily Reinhart is the Vocalist of the song and Jeff Plays the Piano with the Milfred Snitzer Orchestra. Haley’s voice is just wonderful though not quite as delicate as it could be. The Sax solo on the other hand is great on the AE109², the growl is detailed and realistic, as are the rest of the instruments. The imaging puts all the pieces of the band where they should be on the stage if just a bit shallow.

Switching gears I wanted to play something electronic with a variety of speeds and range. “Lost in Cosmos” By Kozah fits the bill. It has an ambient background with a low slow drum building behind a violin and synth. It gives way to a slow piano solo then the synths come back building up more and more to a drop with a quick drum solo. The song’s speed changes as does the attitude to a faster more upbeat climax before going back to a fading piano. The song would not be out of place in a space-based drama, you can almost visualize the scene building to a tense moment right before tragedy hits and the scene fades to black. The AE109² does very well conveying the feeling of the song and putting me in the scene that my mind created.

For me, the AE109² is not for critical listening sessions where you pick apart song details. Rather it is for relaxing and enjoying music while your mind drifts and the music becomes a soundtrack for your thoughts. It is a fun speaker you can turn up and jam to with your family or friends, it is forgiving and easy to listen to. I would be more than happy to have this speaker in my family room and have no complaints, they wouldn’t replace my Sonus Faber Sonetto Vs and they aren’t meant to. They are great speakers for a budget-friendly system that won’t leave you wanting for more, at least not right away, the upgrade bug is hard to avoid.

Pros and Cons


  • Easy to place
  • Easy to drive
  • Wide sweet spot
  • Non-fatiguing
  • Classic Looks
  • Heavy non-resonant cabinet


  • Can get muddy with the bass turned up
  • not the most detailed


  • Frequency Range: 41Hz – 26kHz
  • Sensitivity: 89dB
  • Peak SPL: 115dB
  • Power Handling: 175W
  • Crossover Frequency: 275Hz, 2.5kHz
  • Impedance: 6 Ohms
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 860 x 165 x 250 mm
  • Weight (each speaker): 16kg
acoustic energy ae109

Associated Gear

  • Goldnote IS-10 integrated
  • Arylic B50 Integrated
  • Marantz SR7009 Preamp
  • Mcintosh MC250 Power amp
  • Rotel CD-11 Tribute
  • Audio Technica LP-7 Turntable with Quintet Blue, and Red
  • Macbook Air M2
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • Fiio M9
  • Audio Quest Evergreen cabling and power conditioning, Prosper Cables Speaker Cables


The AE109² is truly a budget performer, they offer a good well rounded sound for 1000 dollars for the pair. They can blend into nearly any room due to their forgiving placement needs. They handle a wide variety of music well though can be a little heavy-handed with delicate vocals. They play well off axis lending them to be great for theater or family room speakers you can enjoy with others. They are also very easy to drive, both the Arylic and my MC250 only have 50 watts per channel and neither had any issue driving the AE109². You could set up your first system or even a second system for under 1500 bucks and have pretty darn good sound from it. These make me want to check out Acoustic Energy’s higher lines to see how they build on this very solid foundation. I had a great time with the AE109² and can easily recommend them to someone looking for a speaker in this price range. If you add a sub to these then you can take some of the low-end work from the AE109² and have a formidable speaker as the mid-range is great and the only complaint I have is more inherent to being a 2.5 way speaker. The bass can sometimes muddy the midrange, but if you put that work on the subwoofer and not rely on the AE109² for that punch you can get more out of them. If I was looking for another pair of speakers I would consider buying them myself to use in my front room.

For purchasing info click the link below

Acoustic Energy

U.S. Distributor:

Fidelity imports

Fidelity Imports provided Hifi Chicken with a pair of AE109² for the purpose of this review, Acoustic Energy, Fidelity Imnports nor any other affiliate paid in full or part for this review.

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