Cambridge Audio Aero 2 Bookshelf speakers

On budget boxes' bread and butter world, points of difference are not large, yet - by advertising requirement - frequently overstated. In engineering terms similar, although individual models may be stylistically varied. Stages of divergence are extremely down to fine elements, manners of finessing what's apparently cupboard line and exactly the same drive unit to give the designers' desire. That is why the brand new Aero 2 is really fascinating - because it does not do this!

Look to the top drive unit over the woofer. Where you'd usually visit a modest dome tweeter - made either from metal, plastic or material - there's a Balanced Mode Radiator fitted. The BMR layout came technology developed in the nineties, that was all about creating fiat panels that produce music. Essentially, across bigger parts of a room than normal cones or domes, the driver can throw out a broader array of audio to get certain size. They have shown their effectiveness from soundbars to in-car setups, in a variety of programs - so why don't you place one in a little standmount speaker?

The Aero does only this - running a 46mm BMR using a standard 165mm paper cone woofer unit. See I did not say 'mid/bass' here; if it was any other loudspeaker I'd have done exactly this. Here's the clever bit - by choosing a BMR a single drive unit can be used by the designer for several frequencies from 250 Hz using the bass driver managing everything underneath. Contrast that to a standard loudspeaker, where the driver that is bigger runs to 2kHz, after which the tweeter from 50Hz roughly takes over.

The drivers of the Aero are, obviously, bespoke; the BMR is the really latest fourth generation component - which designer Dominic Baker says is not older compared to BMRs in any other loudspeaker that is accessible now on sale, a number of which are still running gen layouts.

It's British designed and bespoke made at the facility of Cambridge Audio. The bass driver is also, and uses paper for the Aero's cone stuff as the designer believes it is still among the stiffest substances relative to weight about - as well as a light, but powerful cone is what is needed to give precise atmosphere going skill.

In direct contrast to most of the smart stuff that is going on, the cupboards themselves are anodyne-appearing budget boxes, although they are not lighter and better constructed than they appear. The designer considers that using elaborate swoopy sides - cherished by many competitors - is than sonics about styling, and says it can really create difficulties, also. That is why the Aero gets a good-damped MDF carton using one largish reflex interface on the front baffle; there is an alternative of dark or black walnut finishes. No biwiring choice is offered - Dominic Baker considers the price/benefit ratio your system is not like throwing the same sum of improvement cash rather than more.

Sound quality

The second you place the Aero 2s with ears, you realise you are listening to something drastically distinctive from its competitors. This small loudspeaker has in some ways an astounding sound, offering the kind of evenness and dispersion throughout the group and treble you had usually just get from an electrostatic.

Attempt this on the Aeros, yet, and you also get a much more even, subtle and balanced performance, totally devoid of loudspeaker drive units fighting to keep abreast of events' sound. The group and treble are not so rough you could listen right to the mixture, while the bass guitar bounces around with ease and energy, attractively incorporated using the remaining activity. Many folks - this reviewer contained - adore this kind of thing, because it's completely surprising from a set of £350 loudspeakers; really in a few ways it's nearer to the svelte performance you'd expect from a large 2.5-way design of a high end floorstanding loudspeaker. It's musical; grain or devoid of pain, balanced and couth.

But those used to the scene of crashing kicking and banging budget boxes will probably be disappointed - they will accuse of not having enough morsel the Aero of being overly considerate. And they will say it's 'dull' because it does not 'kick ass'. Listen attentively, yet, also it does - as the 6in motorist in the Aero changes a whole lot more atmosphere than most 4in-equipped competitors. It reveals itself better able enough to resist the rigours of strong contemporary music including Kanye West's Say you'll. In a medium to largish you really can feel the electronic percussion hit. There is a great awareness of solidity, as well as the capability to not go softer with less compression clear. To be honest, though, that there is no enormous, lumpy peak around 100Hz that gives showroom sound to many little standmounts a seemingly large, bassy (along with all the one-note bass guitar to fit).

The grade of the treble is outstanding; Genesis's Robbery, Assault and Battery has some wonderful hi hat and ride cymbal work as well as the Aero 2 reveals how smooth and fine it may be; there is no awareness of grain or coarseness in the BMR, plus it spreads out round the area wonderfully. Yet, occasionally a bit additional morsel will not be nasty; it is nearly as when the unit is over not rough and it practically does not look appropriate on a budget loudspeaker whose first job is to amuse. It is an unusual comment to make maybe, but definitely with subtle high quality front ends that small bit overly refined with thumping rock music can be practically sounded by this speaker.

It is a different matter with classical, obviously, where the Aero soars. It provides a large scale sound with a correctly represented orchestra, on the Berlin Philharmonic's performance of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. You get a natural and processed sound totally surprising only at that cost.


In the event you hadn't seen afterward, I really like the new Cambridge Audio Aero 2s; they are an exotic small loudspeaker that is just not constructed for great reason - and in rather the same manner as its competitors. The effect is an incredibly open and smooth sound in the cost, one that shares in some respects with a high end electrostatic than the usual cheapo box loudspeaker. Go and hear the Aero 2 if you can afterward, and do not be put off by the appearances that are staid, because the nature is just the opposite.

Cambridge Audio Aero 2 Bookshelf speakers photo