Aerial Acoustics Model 9 Loudspeaker Reviewed
By: Jim Swantko,
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The Aerial Acoustic model 9 is a full-range, floor standing, loudspeaker built to compete with the best in the under-$10,000 arena. The $8,800 Model 9 is almost at the top of the Aerial food chain occupying the spot below the venerable 20T V2 and offers many unique features which help it stand apart from the competition. To be a contender at this price point you better come with the sonic goods and look damn good while doing it, the Aerial 9 does both in my opinion.
The Model 9 is a bit of a visual paradox in that when viewed from the front it's very slender measuring only eight and a half inches wide. View it from any other angle however and it looks imposing, even ominous. The cabinet is shaped in such a way that it grows in width and height as your eye moves from front to back. I know there are many acoustic advantages to this geometry which is surely why the cabinet was designed as such, but the fact that it very interesting visually adds points in my book. The impeccably constructed cabinet can be finished in any of six gorgeous finishes to blend into any décor, make mine titanium please.
Pop the cloth grille off the front of the unit and you may be startled by the sheer number of drivers. Yes, you counted correctly there are six of them. Included is the tried and true Aerial one-inch titanium dome tweeter, a six-inch midrange and four seven inch woofers. The woofer enclosure is vented out the bottom of the cabinet to allow for deep bass extension, and flexible speaker placement minimizing rear wall interactions. The choice of multiple small drivers rather than a single large one pays dividends in terms of bass speed and accuracy, both of which are present in spades. The small woofers also allow the midrange unit to integrate seamlessly with the woofers resulting in a more coherent performance. The titanium tweeter is clear, detailed and airy without ever coming across as harsh or etched. It simply goes about its job without drawing attention to itself exactly as it should be in my opinion.
The Model 9 is one of those speakers which seem to excel at everything it tries. Play some hard rock or metal and feel the 9s kick you in the chest. Put on some jazz and let the 9s soothe away the headaches of the day. If orchestra is more your cup of tea, the 9s will absolutely shock you with the dynamic range that it's capable of creating. If ever there was a Swiss Army speaker, the Aerial Model 9 may be it. Their dynamics can control are well suited for home theater applications with bass to keep up with even the biggest car crash chase scenes.
- The Aerial Model 9s are fantastic sounding speakers. They are true full-range speakers which play deep, fast while preserving detail and texture. The 9s have the ability to pull you deep into the music and never push you away.
- The construction and finish of the Aerial 9 is nothing short of excellent. Thoughtful touches such as the external adjustable floor spikes are much appreciated. Gone are the days of endless speaker lifting and tilting to adjust the floor spikes. With the Aerial design it can be done with one hand, in seconds and no backache.
- A wide array of cabinet finish upgrades are available to allow the customer to make their 9s look as elegant or eye-popping as they wish. Again, I'll take mine in titanium.
- As with all Aerials the 9s will reward top notch electronic choices placed in front of them. They have the ability to let the user hear every improvement made upstream, especially amplification.
- The Model 9s are large speakers, there is no way around that. If you think you can hide these speakers think again, but then again why would you want to? They also play best in large rooms which give them room to breathe.
- Before you decide to write the check and take the Aerial 9s home with you make sure that you have some serious amplifier power. While they will play just fine with lower powered amps they truly sing when they are given copious amounts of current.
The Model 9s are kindred spirits to my own Aerial 10Ts, which is probably why I like them so much. Like my 10Ts the 9s, and all Aerial products for that matter, play in a relaxed manner, which allow for endless listening sessions with zero fatigue. What good is a speaker that can dazzle you for twenty minutes then run you out of the room? The Model 9's bass is lightning quick, punchy and deep and can really rock out when asked to. They can play an extremely wide range of music from rock to jazz to classical and sound fantastic with all of it. If you are looking for a full range loudspeaker that can honestly do it all, then the Model 9 must be on your audition list.