The concept of a “flagship” loudspeaker almost immediately creates the impression that said product will be priced well beyond the financial means of most audiophiles and mainstream music listeners. Walking through CAF 2023 reinforced that idea until I stumbled into the Fidelity Imports room that was showcasing the brand new Acoustic Energy Corinium.
Acoustic Energy has been part of the British high-end loudspeaker scene for more than three decades; fans of the brand have always prized the speed, detail, and clarity of its loudspeakers and there is no question that the company found a niche in the middle of the market. I have already reviewed the affordable AE1 and AE100 MK2 loudspeakers and was extremely impressed with both.
The new Acoustic Energy CORINIUM are aimed at a very different type of customer, however, and priced accordingly.
After 3-years of development, Acoustic Energy stopped teasing us with images of their new flagship loudspeaker and finally made it available for purchase.
Compared to other “flagship” models from the competition, the CORINIUM is actually less expensive but these high performance loudspeakers still require high-end electronics and sources to demonstrate their capabilities. Expect to spend $15,000 to $20,000 on a complete system here — but I do think you could get away with spending less if the system only utilizes one source.
From MD and Designer Mat Spandl: “The new CORINIUM is a loudspeaker that’s markedly more dynamic, more live sounding, and more musically involving than any previous generation of the product we’ve designed before. This has been achieved by developing brand new drive units, careful selection of crossover components, and creating an enclosure that’s both acoustically and aesthetically stunning.”
The new tweeter design incorporates a unique soft dome material that’s lighter than carbon fiber. This supports lower coloration and increases high-speed transients and detail.
Building on the carbon fiber mid and bass drivers used in Acoustic Energy’s 500 Series, the new drive unit design was developed with an ultra-rigid version of the carbon fiber cone, driven by a long-throw voice coil.
In addition, the new carbon fiber cone and surround help provide tonal qualities with the most natural sound and realistic musical performance.
For the twin bass-only drivers, the extra cabinet width allowed the development of a brand new 165mm driver to deliver a bass alignment that combines weight, speed, and slam to produce a big, powerful, controlled, and natural low-frequency response.
The 3-way crossover features high-quality components connected to the drive units using audiophile-grade internal wiring which features a patented arrangement of conductors to give the best possible musical detail and dynamic expression.
The new drive unit and crossover developments are housed in a beautifully curved, exquisitely finished inert enclosure.
The hybrid ‘Resonance Suppression Composite’ (RSC) cabinets boast a thickness of up to 45mm for optimal performance.
- Speaker Type: Floorstanding
- Design: 3-way Bass reflex-loaded with curved RSC cabinet and aluminum baffle
- Tweeter: 1 X 29mm Soft dome
- Mid-Range Driver: 1 X 120mm Carbon Fibre cone
- Bass Drivers: 2 x 140mm Carbon Fibre cones
- Frequency Range: 32Hz – 30kHz (- 6dB) / 38Hz – 25kHz (-3dB)
- Sensitivity: 92dB/m/2.83v
- Power Handling: 200 watts
- Crossover Frequency: 260Hz / 3400Hz
- Impedance: 4 ohms
- Dimensions (HWD – inc. spikes): 1100 x 235 x 385 mm (43 x 9.25 x 15.2 inches )
- Weight: 40 kg (88lbs)
- Finishes: Real wood veneer (Tectona), Matte black, Matte white, and Metallic British Racing Green
Domestic pricing is USD $7,499 | CAD $9,999.
£6,000 per pair is the asking price for customers in the United Kingdom which is certainly not inexpensive — but for a flagship loudspeaker in the current high-end environment?
Borscht. And not the crappy store-bought kind. Fresh borscht. Made by Bubie in her kitchen in Netanya from fresh beets picked in the Negev.
Fidelity Imports brought one of the first available models finished in Metallic British Racing Green to CAF 2023 and they did not disappoint.
Powered by another Soulnote power/pre-amplifier combination and Innuos Statement Music Server, the Acoustic Energy Corinium produced some of the best sound of the show.
All of the characteristics of the AE1 that I loved; immediacy, detail, and speed were delivered by the Corinium, but the mid bass and below are a very different story.
Hotel rooms have horrendous acoustics so one must always take a system’s performance with a huge grain of salt at these shows — but the low end response of these loudspeakers was well defined, powerful, and extremely quick.
Electronic music had excellent pace and presence through this system; Daft Punk, Tangerine Dream, the Orb, Kraftwerk, and Radiohead kept my attention for over 30 minutes. That’s not bad for a crappy hotel room.
The midrange clarity and resolution were strong selling points; vocals are positioned in front of the loudspeakers with rather precise imaging and the degree of coloration ultimately depends on the rest of the system.
The Corinium don’t take up a lot of space and they would certainly work in a room such as my den which is 16′ x 13′ x 9′; their footprint is similar to the Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3 loudspeakers that we just reviewed.
Another thing that stood out was the tweeter; Acoustic Energy’s loudspeakers have a rather energetic top end and I expected the same from the Corinium.
Detail galore and a very airy presentation, but with none of the hardness that I heard from the AE1 when pushed rather hard using a passive pre-amplifier and desktop DAC/pre-amplifier connected to my MacBook Pro laptop.
Impossible to make a definitive recommendation, but the Acoustic Energy Corinium comes across as a very well designed and insightful loudspeaker with excellent low end response.
For more information, see our story on the Corinium loudspeaker launch.
Where to buy: $7,499/pair at Essence (British Racing Green Finish is +$1,000)
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