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Acoustic Energy Corinium

As company histories go, the story of Acoustic Energy is refreshingly straightforward. Since its formation in the late 80s, it has made loudspeakers - and those speakers have generally been both relatively affordable and reasonably compact. There have been no detours into other product categories or one-off trinkets for oligarchs - everything that the company has built has followed a fairly recognisable theme.

The Corinium is Acoustic Energy’s new flagship, and is a single model rather than a range. The design doesn’t ignore what has gone before - but it does tweak the premise a little. This is the most expensive speaker that Acoustic Energy has ever produced and, while not the tallest speaker in the range (that honour actually goes to the AE520 which has acted as the flagship until now), it is the largest overall. The price is a side-effect of the engineering at work, but the way it uses this overall size is something that Acoustic Energy has paid heed to. 

Essentially, the Corinium is a big speaker that behaves like a small one. The 29mm soft dome tweeter (made from a fabric material that’s lighter than carbon-fibre) and the 120mm midrange driver sit together at the top of the cabinet, handling everything between 25kHz and 260Hz. At the bottom of the cabinet, separated from the upper drivers by a distinct gap, is a pair of 140mm bass drivers that handle 260Hz down to the 38Hz lower roll-off. This arrangement is intended to mimic a small standmount speaker being supported by a subwoofer - which is a clever nod to the way in which many people used the very first speaker that Acoustic Energy ever made, the AE1. The crossover that governs this relationship is bespoke, and makes use of components that cannot be found in the more affordable models. 

The drivers are mounted in a 6mm aluminium baffle which fronts a cabinet with curved sides and a four-degree rearward lean to help with the time-alignment. The Corinium is made from sections of ‘Resonance Suppression’ composite that vary in thickness depending on where they are being used and how much energy is being handled by that area. A set of outriggers and spikes form the connection to the outside world. Around the back, on the small rear spine of the cabinet, you will find a pair of bass ports, a smaller circular one venting the top drivers and a larger letterbox-shaped one for the bass unit chamber. 

Sound Quality 

The Corinium has been extensively benchmarked against other speakers during its development. This is far from unusual, but the sheer range of models that Acoustic Energy roped in for this is notable - and it included a number of designs that are quite some way from the traits that might normally be associated with the company’s ‘house sound.’ This is potentially a source of some concern - there is a risk that in trying to make the Corinium do much, it might miss out on some of the things that Acoustic Energy has historically done well. 

The Corinium certainly has traits that I haven’t always associated with the brand in the past. There is a fluency and tonal sweetness to the speaker that ensures that music that needs to be delivered with a little emotion can sound truly lovely. Voices and instruments are consistently well handled, and the upper frequency response is free of any particular emphasis. Instead, it sounds rich and believable from the threshold of audibility down. It isn’t forensically detailed, but equally you never feel as though anything in the recording is being lost. 

There is also an impressive sense of space and airiness to what the Corinium does. It’s not as simple as saying it makes everything sound big, because that really isn’t a desirable trait with small-scale material. What the Acoustic Energy does very effectively is both convey the correct perception of scale to music; rising and shrinking to fit the need. It’s a benefit you really only notice when you stop and listen to another speaker that isn’t as accomplished. 

The only aspect of the Corinium’s performance that is likely to divide opinion is the bass extension. This is not a speaker you could describe as ‘bass light’, but there is a leanness to the presentation that means that some similarly-sized rivals sound weightier. The low end is extremely well integrated with the upper registers though, and it has an agility and articulation that means that even very complex material is handled with effortless control and cohesion. 

And it is here that the Corinium reveals that, whatever new skills it has learned, it still knows how to be an Acoustic Energy. The manner in which it attacks high tempo and exciting music is a delight. You stop making any form of critical appraisal of what you’re listening to, and simply revel in the music instead. That low end that seemed fractionally light allows the Corinium to attack complex bass arrangements like a terrier chasing a ball, and it makes for a performance that is genuinely exciting to listen to. When you head off into the world of electronic music, the Corinium is a near-perfect partner, delivering huge levels of musical engagement. A final welcome twist is that it is impressively forgiving of less-than-stellar recordings too. 

Living with

At first glance, the Acoustic Energy’s quoted measurements seem benign. The claimed sensitivity of 92dB/w is impressively high, and suggests it doesn’t need a huge amount of power to go loud. The caveat is that, with an impedance of four ohms, it does need a fair bit of current at the same time. It would be a stretch to call the Corinium hard to drive, but it does benefit from an amplifier with a decent power supply and plenty of current delivery.

Every other aspect of the Corinium is very accommodating, though. It doesn’t need much effort in terms of placement, and is impressively immune to being close to walls as well. The two ports seem to work at fairly low velocity, and this makes the Acoustic Energy a usefully room-friendly speaker. So long as a little toe-in is applied, it will do what it does under almost all conditions. 

This speaker should sit in your room without issue too. There are four finishes available, three of which (black, white and ‘Tectona’ wood) are no cost options. The fourth option (and it must be said, the best) is what Acoustic Energy refers to as ‘British Racing Green’ but is in fact lighter than the classic car livery, and metallic. This looks absolutely brilliant, but does add an extra thousand pounds to the asking price. Even allowing for this extra cost, the build and finish of the Corinium is up to the standard needed to compete. The Acoustic Energy is both extremely well bolted together and also possessed of a level of cosmetic detailing that feels every bit as impressive as the established order at this price point.  


Moving up to a new price point is never easy, but Acoustic Energy has done a fine job with the Corinium. This is a speaker capable of hugely impressive levels of tonal realism and emotional engagement when you need it, and the dynamism to be a complete hooligan when you don’t. It’s a very well-balanced and capable speaker.

Listening notes

Penguin Café Handfuls of Night

A stunning album that sounds vast at some points and intimate in others, and filled with superb musicianship. The Acoustic Energy takes it all in its stride and never sounds anything other than in control at every point.

Imogen Heap Ellipse 

A wonderful combination of one of the best voices of the past 20 years, impressive musicianship and electronic flourishes, allows the Acoustic Energy to show how effortlessly it can handle differing musical styles without sounding anything other than brilliant.

Scratch Massive Communion

A live album from this underrated French duo shows the Corinium’s ability to hit hard and fast while staying consistently tonally sweet while it does so. The result is Fun with a capital F. 

What the press say

Why you should buy it

If you have broad musical tastes, and want a speaker that will do justice to all of them while dialling into most listening spaces and looking good while it does so, the Corinium is a very good place to start looking. 

Video review

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