After the success and 5-year run of the Acoustic Energy’s well-loved 100 Series, the design team decided it was time to shake up the budget Hi-Fi arena and look to raise the bar once again and introduce an entirely new Acoustic Energy 100 Series.
The new 100 Series, available from as of now, isn’t just an upgrade, it’s a completely new design from the ground up, says the maker. The design brief was to try and maintain the compact dimensions and sleek appearance of the previous 100 Series, but offer a more mature, refined and bigger sound with greater bandwidth and power.
First in line for an upgrade was the main drive unit; the 4in paper cone used for over a decade has performed admirably but the company felt it has run its course. Therefore, the decision was made to move up to a 5in driver – this time utilising a four-layer voice coil with flux rings to enable the dynamics, headroom and clarity demanded from the series design engineers. This of course created a new problem of size and keeping those compact dimensions.
Enter HDF (High Density Fibreboard). The engineers came to the conclusion they needed more internal volume to achieve maximum benefit from the new 5in driver. After much calculation and experimentation, the decision was made to move to HDF – unheard of at this price-point and usually limited to the very high-end. HDF provides the option of using thinner cabinet walls with no loss in acoustic performance, the mass and stiffness of the 15mm HDF being the same as the previous 18mm MDF. The result of this move is a small 15% increase in cabinet size but a 30% increase in internal volume gained over the previous 100 Series speakers.
The final piece of the puzzle was retaining the integration and musically rewarding character the slimline 100 Series cabinets benefitted from. For this, a new 25mm soft-dome tweeter and waveguide was developed to match the new bass driver, taking a leaf out of the 500 Series book and pushing them as close together as physically possible thanks to a cutaway trim.
Aesthetically the new 100 Series retains similar lines to the older generation but cleaner and more refined. Cabinet veneer finishes have also been improved along with a dedicated flared trim on the bass port and higher-grade binding posts.
MD and Chief Design Engineer Mat Spandl, says, “We knew the previous 100 Series was going to be a hard act to follow so we had to do something special and rewrote the design book for loudspeakers at this price. The result is a compact, slimline budget speaker range that we believe will raise the bar again and be unparalleled at the price.”
The new Acoustic Energy 100 Series will retail from £229 to £599 and comprise of the AE1002 bookshelf, AE1092 floor-stander, AE1072 centre and AE1082 active subwoofer, with a new AE1202 flagship floor-stander following in the Spring. All speakers are available in Black and Walnut vinyl veneer with the AE1002 also available in White.