The model 5B compact monitor represents the entry level into the Aerial line of loudspeakers, but shares the lofty aspirations of its higher priced siblings. The $2,200 per pair 5B was designed to offer the rich and dynamic performance that Aerial is known for, in a package small enough to fit any room.
• Read more Aerial Acoustics Reviews here including a review of the Aerial 10T
• Read other audiophile bookshelf speaker reviews here from the likes of B&W, Revel, Paradigm, PSB and many more.
The Aerial monitor is a two-way sealed box design with a long-throw seven inch woofer with high-end features such as a magnesium alloy frame and a bilaminate composite cone. The one-inch titanium dome tweeter is the same driver used in all other Aerial models, minus the flagship 20T which uses a ribbon. Reference level components are also used in the crossover network such as high-purity copper wiring, premium passive components and silver solder. The crossover design allows for bi-wire and bi-amp operation.
The drivers are housed in an extremely solid enclosure made of one inch MDF with serious internal bracing to keep things as inert as possible. Construction of the cabinet is top notch and the smooth black finish is exceptionally fingerprint proof. It should be noted that the Aerial enclosure is a little larger than most of its competitors in the monitor marketplace, a tradeoff which was surely rooted in performance over packaging primarily to allow the large woofer breathing room.
Aerial offers optional 25 inch high stands specifically designed for the 5Bs, which are highly recommended. The stands are sturdy 40-pound sand filled units with spikes to improve coupling to the floor. Aerial outfitted the 5B with threaded inserts in the bottom of its cabinet allowing for bolts to thread through the stand into the speaker, resulting in a very secure platform for the Aerials to perform from.
One listen and you will understand that all the effort put into the 5B was effort well spent. Their sound is as powerful as any monitor I have ever heard and delivers bass much deeper than expected, provided you have an amplifier that doesn't have a problem with impedances that dip into the three-Ohm range. The 5Bs image beautifully and have an extended frequency range thanks to the titanium tweeters, which are open and responsive but never fatiguing.
Read The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2