Famed for its acoustic design by Phil Jones and based on the original AE1, the AE1 Classic LE will retain the same instantly recognizable twin front ported cabinet, spun aluminium cone and 25mm magnesium alloy dome tweeter and offer the same sweet, detailed and engaging sound. The decision to end the life of this highly renowned audio gem is derived from some of the bespoke parts no longer being made available to AE.
AE-1 Classic LE / pr.
It’s 26 years since the AE-1 first wowed reviewers and became the audio-industry benchmark for compact loudspeaker design. To celebrate the AE-1 was relaunched in 2006 in its completely original form. Designed from the outset as a semi-professional monitor, painstaking attention to detail in the design and construction of cabinets, crossovers and baffles ensure the new AE-1 Classic LE reproduces complex, dynamic material as faithful as the award winning original.
Time may move on but the principles of accuracy, transparency, reliability, and listening ease that made the AE-1 such a success first time around don’t change. The AE-1 Classic LE embodies those principles once again. The AE-1 Classic LE is modeled on the original Phil Jones designed AE-1 from around 1990. Our aim was, within the limitations of component supply and manufacturing, to make the AE-1 Classic LE as close to identical as possible. Thanks to improved components and manufacturing consistency, the AE-1 Classic LE is better.
Seriously Small – Seriously Good
The original AE-1 introduced new techniques in almost every element of its design and construction, each one aimed at making a better nearfield monitor. It was, for example, the first professional monitor with a ceramic sandwich aluminium cone, the first to increase power handling by using the woofer cone as a heat-sink , the first to incorporate a metal dome tweeter, the first to feature a latex fibre/powder composite lined cabinet, and the first to demonstrate beyond doubt that a seriously small speaker could be a seriously capable monitor.
The AE-1 Classic LE technical highlights feature in the Classic just as they did in the original. The bass/midrange driver is UK manufactured in-house at Acoustic Energy using a spun aluminium cone only 0.2mm thick. The cone is hard anodised on both sides to create an immensely rigid sandwich component and then bonded to an aluminium voice-coil former. The intimate bond between metal former and cone means that the entire cone area is used for heat dissipation. As a result, and despite its small dimensions, the AE-1 driver offers generous power handling and suffers minimal compression.
Welcome though it is, power handling is not the primary reason for the choice of an aluminium cone. Aluminium’s combination of light weight and rigidity means that cone break-up is delayed till well above the crossover frequency. And thanks to the aluminium cone, bass/mid driver and magnesium dome tweeter, the AE-1 Classic is one of very few speakers of any type that can genuinely claim pistonic operation over the full audio bandwidth. The result is extraordinary tonal accuracy that reveals the shortcomings of most other monitors.
Near ideal drive unit performance however would mean little if the AE-1 ‘s cabinet panels sang along in sympathy. That they don’t is thanks both to the inherent rigidity of the AE-1 Classic LE construction and to the unique latex composite lining of the internal walls.
The AE-1 was the first truly accurate, high power compact near-field monitor. We believe 20 years later the AE-1 Classic LE is the only speaker to reach its predecessor’s standards.
The original AE-1 built up a loyal band of well known users – studios , musicians, engineers and broadcast organizations. A few examples:
Abbey Road Studios , Air Studios, Alchemea , Alleycats, Bad Earth Studios, Beulah Studios , Billy Ocean, Boomerang Sounds, Brownhill Studios, Channel 4 Television , DEP International Ltd., Domaine Productions , EAR Productions, Fairground Attraction, Goldsmiths College, Haxton Studios, ICC Studios, James Taylor, Mick Hucknall, Kevin Maloney, Polygram I Island Music, Paragon, Parkgate Studio, Red Bus Studios, Radio Norwood – Holland, Redwood Studios, Roger Waters Music UK Ltd., Rollover Studios, Seal, Strongroom, USDF Productions, UB40, Virgin Records Ltd., Whitfield Street Studios.
|Compact Monitor Comparison Chart|
|Brands:||Acoustic Energy AE-1||ProAC Response D1||KEF LS50||AerialAcoustics5B||B&W CM5|
|Bass/Mid Unit||4.4″ dual aluminum||5″ Glass-Fiber||5.25″ Aluminum||7″ Paper||6.5″ Kevlar|
|Tweeter||1″ Magnesium Alloy||3/4″ Silk||1″ Aluminum||1″ Titanium||1″ Aluminum|
|Crossover||3rd Order @ 3KHz||N/A||2.2 KHz||2.5 KHz||4 KHz|
|Power Max||200 Watts||100Watts||100 Watts||200 Watts||120 Watts|
|Freq Response||± 3dB 70 Hz – 22 KHz||38 Hz-30 KHz||± 3dB 79 Hz-28 Khz||± 2dB 60 Hz-22K||±3dB 50 Hz-28K|
|Sensitivity||86 dB||87.5 dB||85 dB||86 dB||88 dB|
|Impedance||8 ohms||8 ohms||8 ohms||4 ohms||8 ohms|
|THD*||< 0.3%||N/A||< 0.4%||N/A||< 0.5%|
|Compression*||< 1 dB||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dimensions||11.6″ x 7″ x 10″||12″x6.5″x10.25″||11.9″ x 7.9″ x 10.9″||13″ x 7.9″ x 10.8″||13.4″x7.8”x11.9”|
|Weight||16.5 lbs||20 lbs||15.8 lbs||22 lbs||19.6 lbs|
|Price||$1999 incl freight||$3,500||$1,500.00||$2,500||$1,500|
|Notation: All Specs Derived From Manufacturer’s Websites, N/A means no rating has been published. All models recommend stand-mounting|
|*Thermal Dynamic Compression occurs when the voice coil heats up; AE is the only brand that uses its cone as a heat sink to suppress dynamic compression|
|*THD stands for Total Harmonic Distortion|
For the lowest compression, lowest distortion, and highest power handling, nothing beats the AE-1 Classic LE, the most compact, best in class and best value among the world’s top rated compact monitors. This is the speaker that all the others derive from and still the best after 25 years. Now is your last chance to own this Classic speaker, once they’re gone, there will be no more made.
|Dimensions||14 x 16 x 13 in|
Piano Cherry or Piano Black
110mm ceramic sandwich aluminium cone. 32mm edge-wound voice-coil
25mm magnesium alloy dome
Symmetrical third order at 3kHz
Compatible with amplifiers rated at up to 200 Watts into 8 Ohms
70Hz – 22kHz ±3dB
86dB for 2.83V at 1m
Total Harmonic Distortion:
Typically less than 0.3%, 200Hz to 20kHz
Less than 1dB for 16dB gain at 250Hz
Dimensions (H x W x D):
295 x 180 x 255mm
7.5kg (single, unpacked)