- Wonderfully immersive and cohesive soundstage
- Clear dialogue and powerful bass
- Robust build quality
- Not as detailed as regular tweeters
- Bass requires careful tweaking
- Not the prettiest
Review Price £1,350.00
Manufacturer: Cambridge Audio
What is the Cambridge Audio Aero?
It’s a range of home cinema speakers equipped with Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) drivers instead of tweeters, potentially giving them several benefits over regular speakers.
The package we have on test here is made up of a pair of Aero 2 bookshelf speakers for the front channels (£350), a pair of Aero 3 surrounds (£300), the Aero 5 centre speaker (£250) and the Aero 9 subwoofer (£450). Also available are the £650 Aero 6 floorstanders.
Cambridge Audio Aero – Design
Aero’s relatively affordable prices make their strong, sturdy and surprisingly heavy cabinets all the more satisfying.
They come in choice of two finishes – dark walnut or black. Ours were dark walnut, an old-fashioned, conservative colour that look pleasant and should blend in nicely with most décor.
Pull off Aero 2’s black cloth grilles and you’ll spot those BMR drivers in all their glory, above a conventional 6in cone. Both are framed by black rubber surrounds. Unusually, the binding posts on the back stick out as opposed to being housed in a recess.
The 430mm wide Aero 5 matches Aero 2’s build quality pound for pound, while Aero 3’s unusual twin-driver design brings extra versatility to the table.
The two BMR drivers placed at opposing angles allow you to use them as bipole speakers in a 5.1 system, with both drivers outputting the same sound.
Alternatively they can be used as ‘dual monopoles’ in a 7.1 system, where one driver outputs the surround channel and the other outputs the surround back channel.
For that reason, there are two pairs of binding posts on the back to hook up the relevant cables from your receiver. Because you can mount Aero 3 flush against the wall, these posts are placed in a recess.
The black cube-shaped Aero 9 subwoofer is reassuringly hefty but its compact shape is more living room friendly than you might think.
Next read: Best Surround Sound Systems
Cambridge Audio Aero – Features
So how does BMR technology work? Unlike most tweeters, which are usually dome-shaped and create sound using a pistonic in-out motion, BMR drivers are flat and combine pistonic movement with surface vibration to disperse the sound wider than a regular tweeter.
That’s helpful if you have a weird room layout, as you don’t need to be as fussy about where you place them.
According to Cambridge Audio this brings a couple of other big benefits. The first concerns the crossover, or the point at which certain frequencies are passed between drivers to ensure that the best-suited driver is handling them.
Here, the crossover between the BMR driver and 6-inch cone happens at 250Hz, not the usual 3kHz where the human ear is most sensitive to differences and distortion. In theory than makes everything audibly smoother and more coherent.
And because the BMR drivers are handling everything above 250Hz, the 6-inch cones are effectively subwoofers, focusing purely on low-frequencies.
Cambridge Audio has already used the technology to great success on its Minx range of compact speakers, and claims to be the only company now using the latest third-generation spec.
The subwoofer boasts a whopping 500W Class D amplifier and blasts out bass using a 10-inch front-firing driver and a 10-inch down-firing passive radiator. It sports volume, crossover and phase controls on the back, alongside stereo and mono LFE inputs.