Those of you who visit the Raleigh showroom probably know Ivan, our long-time audio guru.  Well one morning, a few weeks ago, Ivan gave me a cross look and said he needed 15 minutes of my time ASAP.  I’m thinking to myself, “what in the world is wrong with Ivan? He seems really upset about something and I have no clue what it is!” As it turned out the joke was on me. I had been out of the office on a business trip and did not know the new Aerial Acoustics Model 5t had arrived while I was away.  

Ivan had them set up in one of our listening rooms.  It only took about 30 seconds for me to think, “Michael Kelly has come up with another great one.”  It reminded me of the way that I felt when I heard the 7t for the first time a few years back.

The ears at Audio Advice have always been fond of Aerial speakers and we’ve been carrying them since 1992. They are handcrafted with loving care and great engineering prowess up in the Boston area.

The Specs

Aerial Acoustics Model 5t bookshelf speakerThe 5t is a new bookshelf speaker.  If you’ve seen the Aerial Model 6t or 7t, you know that the cabinets are just gorgeous. The 5t has a similar shape, wider in the front than the back.  It’s about 15“ tall, by 8” wide in the front and a little over a foot in depth.  These are built in the typical super braced Aerial fashion weighing in at 23 pounds each.

The curved walls plus the internal bracing make for a very solid enclosure. These hold about a 7” custom bass driver using a cast aluminum frame with a Papyrus blend cone, a new tweeter very similar to the one found in the 7t, and the typical no-holds-barred crossover common in Aerial speakers, using silver solder and Teflon wiring.  They have some pretty cool spikes on the bottom and a front-firing slotted port which allows them to work great in a bookshelf or up to 2’ off the wall. I also really like the new magnetic grill.

So, how do they sound?  

My first impression was to make sure we did not have a subwoofer turned on somewhere.  These guys go very deep into the bass for such a small cabinet.  The tonal quality is just like the 6t or 7t, super neutral, with a sound that just grows on you.  

You’ll never get tired of this sound and the more you listen, the more you will hear small details you never heard in your favorite songs.  The small cabinet equals a huge soundstage.  I heard depth both across and front to back that many speakers costing 4 times as much do not come close to.  You also pick up on all these micro dynamic changes that I feel really draw you into the music, fooling you to think it just might be a live performance.  I think this is a function of the really well-designed crossover and cabinet.  

They have a sense of really good timing that just makes you want to pull out more music. My 15-minute listening session stretched out way beyond that as I found myself wanting to play more and more songs, just to see how awesome they would sound on these speakers.

Like the 6t and 7t, they come in a beautiful high gloss Rosenut or Nero metallic black at $3795/pr.  A very high gloss Ebony is available for $4195/pr.

If you are an Aerial fan or in the market for a great small speaker, you really ought to come hear these.  Just don’t let Ivan mess with you like he did me!