Aerial Acoustics 6T loudspeakers

14.04.2016..
Aerial Acoustics 6T
Aerial Acoustics 6T

Introduction

If you are an attentive reader of our webzine, you are aware of my predilection for high efficiency loudspeakers. In my opinion, the starting point is no more less than 95 dB. The music has to be “in room” and not “between the speakers”. More open and revelator speakers. More lively, immediate and present sound. Less interpreted and artificially Hi-FI. Hence, for my part, B&W, Kef, Monitor Audio and many other speakers with low efficiency, a complex crossover and eager of watts, perform all in the same way. More or less. And let us include giants like Avalon, Sonus Faber, Wilson. Not to mention Bose… I am not disdainful or superficial, though. I postpone the in-depth examination to a further review on ReMusic’s pages. The point is that Luca Righetti, MondoAudio’s dealer, as soon as he got the Italian distribution, proposed me the Aerial Acoustics 6T object of this review. A provocation by fate? Well, I read something about product and manufacturer and rose to the challenge.

 

Design

Aerial Acoustics, from Boston surroundings, is a company founded in 1989. The designer is Michael Kelly, a name quite famous in the States. He is acknowledged for an extraordinary hearing and a remarkable design capability. Experiences in ADS, where he deals with the production lines – at least ten thousand drivers per month - then Boston Acoustics and B&W. Aerial is a “slow brand”, intentionally. They privilege the stability in time of the designs, the high level of craftsmanship, the competent and qualified distribution.

 

Manufacture

As we have talk of sensitivity, let us start saying that the 6T speakers state 90 dB for 2.83 volts at 1 meter. With an impedance of 4 ohms, a minimum of 3 ohms, a low reactance, a frequency response of - 6 dB at 30 Hz and a power requirement of 25 watts minimum, but more than fifty recommended, the puzzle is complete. In synthesis, a good speaker “classically Hi-Fi” – multiway tower easy to insert in room – although with that modern trend that allows an easy driving, even if not so easy as we could expect from a true high efficiency.

Mid and woofer are AAC, with special papyrus blend cone. The tweeter are the Danish Scan-Speak Revelators modified on Aerial’s specs.

The crossover is a fourth order acoustic Linkwitz-Riley – in-depth HERE – with crossover frequencies at 600 and 4.000 Hz and physically separate networks.

The cabinet has 6 layer laminated, curved, stressed MDF walls, three full-size braces, tongue & groove joints, two layer curved, damped baffle, architectural veneers.

The grille cloth-covered, the curved steel with large hexagonal windows, and eight pairs of strong hidden Neodymium grille magnets are very well done.

The look is exceptional. I love the black lacquered wood, classic. It makes “disappear” the internal components, as the piano makers know very well. Here we are beyond. The metallized-lacquered wood is very fine with a mirrored surface and without visible corrugations.

The equipment comprises also a set of feet, spikes and spike coasters.

 

Aerial Acoustics 6T

Listening test

I test the speakers with the amplifiers Gryphon Antileon EVO, Cary Audio SA-200.2, and the two EAR Yoshino V12 and 534, my usual references, and other apparatus currently at my disposal. The 6T have proved to be an easy load and with remarkable power handling. From the first notes, they have kept their promises. Small-size double woofer, mid by the same manufacturer, true tweeter very extended: in one word, great sound “integration”. This is their key.

 

The treble are round and silky, the Revelator never fatiguing. The bass is typically bass reflex: “a lot”. Nonetheless, it is quite big and overflowing. The 6T perform as described on Aerial Acoustics’ website. A “slender” speaker with a “full-bodied sound”. The bass range is big and extended in the “warmth” part.

More on the volume and quality of the bass. The rear-facing port requires a certain care in placing the speakers at the right distance from the back wall. Here you can have a lot of fun trying different solutions.

 

A curious detail: the speakers have a paradoxical depth, performing with a great sense of presence “on the speakers” when you are very close to them. They show a very precise “sound little theater”, like a big mid horn of a high efficiency speaker.

Hence, in the close field the speaker plays a lot “in the speaker”. At the right distance to get a correct sweet spot – the best listening spot for direct radiation and less influenced by reflections - the image is wide and defined as we expect. Maybe that depends on the polar diagram of the components that describes the directional characteristics of a driver.

In this case, I suggest putting them at a good distance and not in “monitor” condition.

 

Pro

Although with a relatively small cabinet, it is a speaker to buy and never sell back. Musical, extended, fulfilling…in one word real.

 

Con

I prefer the high efficiency that “throws” the sound in the room. Here, considering the great outcome is a matter of tastes. Take care of the distance of the listening spot.

 

Maybe

A solid and mature design. More real and musical than other more extreme designs.

 

Quick metaphors and final recap

The Aerial Acoustics 6T are the pleasant exceptions that prove the rule. Even if a lover of the high efficiency, I could live with these loudspeakers without any doubt. They are beyond the usual multy-way low efficiency of a typical Hi-Fi design: those one easily fitting to the living room, more revelator at low volume than involving with high volume, with a scene between and behind the speakers.

Complete loudspeakers. Fulfilling, punchy with rock and natural with classical music. Revelator but never fatiguing. Transparent and pleasant. Easy to make perform. Easy to place – if you not consider the peculiarity of the emission in a very close field.

Their main feature is the “blend” among the components, the capacity of putting together and integrate the single ranges. This proves, together with a great selection and synergy of the drivers, that a good work has been made on the crossover.

 

Who they are intended for?

All-round loudspeakers for everybody and every musical genre. A mature choice if you want a lot without complications. The Aerial Acoustics 6T are an adult, mature choice. They are borderline speakers between the “temporary” speakers” (when you always say: “the new speaker will be better”) and the “extreme”, very complicate to set, amplify and – often – to listen. If you want to make a step forward, the 7T are available…

 

 

Timbric| extension in frequency, ability to faithfully reproduce the instrument and its harmonics

Exceptional with the natural instruments, slightly soft on the amplified ones. This a quality though, mostly in the long term.

 

Dynamics | micro (detail) and macro (absolute) transients extension and speed

With lots of watts, nothing to underline. The balance depends on the dynamic capabilities of the amplification, seen that the speakers have a very good undistorted handling power.

 

Image | ambiance, transparency, scene, sound planes, virtual stage, sense of presence, resolution

The scene between-and-behind the speakers is given back correctly and depending on the distance between the speakers.

 

Tone | general equipment setting, if present, or characteristic: e.g. warm, cold, changing, amber, glossy, mat ..

Neutral and balanced treble, mid and bass with a bit of warmth.

 

Emotion | the capacity of emotional involvement, depending a lot on couplings, an absolutely anarchic and personal parameter

An “easy” speaker, instinctively pleasant. It does not have idiosyncrasies and is very “liquid” and coherent at the listening.

 

Manufacture and Packaging | The manufacture is well done and of high quality. The packaging is card outside and wood inside with foam blocks as a support. Handy and light, although strong where required.

 

Price/quality ratio | A purchase that will not disappoint. A long blanket on many parameters to keep you satisfied for a long time.

 

 

Official technical specifications

Frequency Response: 35 Hz to 25 kHz ±2 dB, -6 dB at 30 Hz

Sensitivity: 90dB for 2.83 volts at 1 meter on axis

Impedance: 4ohms, 3ohms minimum, low reactance

Power Requirements: 25watts minimum, >50 recommended

Woofers: Dual 5.9″ (150mm) with cast magnesium frames, special papyrus blend cone, copper pole sleeve, dual magnets, 1.25″ coil, long and linear Xmax

Midrange: 4.8″ (123mm) with cast magnesium frame, special papyrus blend cone, copper pole sleeve, dual magnets, 1.00″ copper clad aluminum coil

Tweeter: 1″ (25mm) with thick machined aluminum plate, soft ring-dome design with machined wave guide, dual-magnets, 1.00″ coil, copper pole sleeve

Crossover: Fourth order acoustic Linkwitz-Riley, 600Hz and 4,000Hz crossover frequencies, 2 physically separate networks

Connections: Four gold-plated binding posts with included jumpers, bi-wire and bi-amp capable

Cabinet: 6 Layer laminated, curved, stressed MDF walls, 3 full-size braces, tongue & groove joints, 2 Layer curved, damped baffle, architectural veneers

Grille Cloth-covered: curved steel with large hexagonal windows, 8 Pairs of strong hidden Neodymium grille magnets

Dimensions: WHD 43.5 x 7.7 x 13.2″ (195 x1105x335 mm) height Includes Base and 1″ spikes

Weight: Each 65lbs (30kg) unpacked – 91lbs (41kg) packed

 

Official Italian dealer: to MondoAudio website

Official current price in Italy: 8,950.00 EUR per pair

Associated equipment: to my system

 

 

RIGHT OF REPLY | MANUFACTURERS FEEDBACK

Hello Mr. Castelli,
Thank you very much for your email and for reviewing our Aerial Model 6T. Regarding your questions:

  • The papyrus blend used in our driver cones is a way of utilizing natural material to randomize and break-up the standing waves in cones without affecting sonic transparency or delicate small signal details.
  • As is well known, system efficiency, bass extension and cabinet volume are directly related. Changing one affects the other two. The 6T design provides surprising bass extension, definition and sensitivity from a relatively small cabinet. The 6T is easily driven by most electronics, even smaller amplifiers, yet it can easily provide wide dynamic range and big scale with large amplifiers too. Very important, the 6T provides the natural sonic balance so critical to musical enjoyment. The graceful cabinet allows easy placement in rooms while providing exceptional overall performance typical of a much larger speaker.
  • Our network designs usually start with 24dB/oct layouts and measurements, but are ultimately adjusted by ear to achieve the most natural sound.

Thank you again for the time and energy involved in reviewing the Aerial 6T. We sincerely appreciate it. I am really anxious to read the English version!
Thank you very much and best regards,
Michael Kelly
Aerial Acoustics

20/04/2016

 

Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
Photo courtesy Aerial Acoustics
by Giuseppe Castelli
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