The Acoustic Energy and Fidelity Imports room at the 2023 Florida Audio Expo reminds me that we all love the cost-no-object rooms at these events. They dazzle and show what is possible. When we all reach for the wallet, however, many of us fall short of bringing that equipment home.
I have spent a non-trivial amount of time with the “Big Stuff” and the halo pieces, which has given me a distinct love for products that push far beyond the quality that their price point infers. Fidelity Imports, which had basically all of the rooms on the 10th floor of the 2023 Florida Audio Expo, had systems that varied wildly in price. The room which stood out the most, and the first one to prompt a second look, was the Acoustic Energy room.
Words and Photos by Marc Smazik
Speakers tend to get the most coverage by the press, but these deserve theirs–at $4,999/pr USD the Acoustic Energy AE 520 loudspeakers ($4,999/pr USD) punch way above their weight and I would love to get them next to some bigger names and see what shakes out. The Acoustic Energy sound was so darn livable. They made just the right amount of bass for a room the size of a hotel suite while never overrunning the rest of the sound.
The highs of the Acoustic Energy were tight and crisp without becoming abrasive. For cabinets that are just over three feet tall, they disappeared into the room reasonably well. The image reached well outside the speakers. Interestingly enough, all of the drivers in these beautiful walnut veneered cabinets are carbon fiber–even the tweeter.
Without electronics these Acoustic Energy AE-520 speakers would just be statuesque paperweights. The Soul Note amp (A1 integrated, $3,999) and DAC (the $6,999 D-1) are definitely not letting this setup down. I only heard a digital source via the Innuos streamer for my brief visit, but it was an overall nice pairing. I would love to hear these electronics with some other speakers, and see what their limits are.
Overall, this is a great example of what thoughtful equipment selections can accomplish without
wrecking a bank account. I highly recommend swinging by and seeing this super-livable gem of a
an Acoustic Energy and Soul Note system from Fidelity Imports..
If you would like to hear even more coverage from FLAX 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
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