Aerial 10T Beware? Another Look & Buyer's Guide

In August of this year another Audiogon member posted an article in this forum titled ‘Aerial 10T Beware’ that cautioned other members about purchasing used 10Ts that he felt were being misrepresented by the sellers. In a nutshell he described the differences between older and newer pairs of 10Ts and criticized those who were listing their older 10Ts with MSRPs that reflected late production 10Ts. At the end of the post he states “I can’t believe how many older version 10Ts I see up for sale that are being advertised and sold as a $8300 list price new version model 10T when in fact they are a $5000 list price old version.” Obviously this member is concerned that this type of advertising will undercut his late model 10Ts value, and in fact, he has just listed his pair for sale. Well, there is no doubt that the MSRPs listed by members on this site are often incorrect and may be construed by some as misleading. However, I personally found this member’s post to be somewhat misinformed regarding the evolution of the 10T and it struck me as a bit self-serving, especially considering his are currently for sale. While this may not be the case (and I apologize if I have offended) I felt that further discussion of the evolution of the 10T would be of interest to those who either currently own 10Ts or are considering a purchase.

The first generation 10Ts began shipping in the fall of 1991. I became aware of them a couple of years later after they received a rave review by Anthony Chiarella and Michael Fremer in The Absolute Sound in the fall of 1993(Vol.18 Issue 90). The serial number of the pair under review was 010111 / 010112. A friend of mine was the first dealer for these in Colorado so I was able to hear the first generation and was mightily impressed. At this time the retail price was $4500; stands added another $500. This was an exceptional product for the price and I suspect the pricing reflected the fact that Aerial was a new company trying to get its foot in the door of a very competitive industry.

A year later in the late summer of 1994 the second generation (MKII if you like) of the 10T came out with a price increase of $500. You had a choice of black or rosewood stained walnut. For another $500 blond tiger maple was an option. I purchased one of the first pairs of this second generation with the serial numbers 010351 / 010352 in black without stands. A couple of years later I added the stands, which I felt, was a worthwhile improvement. For ten years now these have remained in my dedicated 2channel system, which says a whole lot about my opinion of the 10T given all the speakers I’ve gone through in the last 30 years.

The differences between the first and second generation are in the drivers. Noticeable improvements to the original design were realized with a new woofer and tweeter. The tweeter is made in Germany, and according to Michael Kelly, this new tweeter’s frequency response plot was the same as the original, but with superior transient response. This allows for better resolution and an improvement in soundstaging. The new woofer is made by Vifa and is mechanically more rigid and has an enlarged magnet structure. As good as the original woofer was, this one is even better allowing deep clean bass at even higher volumes. The midrange driver is a twin cone Kevlar design made for Aerial by Focal. It comes in half manufactured and is completed in house by Aerial. The midrange driver is the heart of any speaker and this one was retained in the second generation. However, it benefits from the improvements in the other drivers in that there is an even smoother transition between the drivers than in the earlier version.

There are a couple of ways to tell the difference between the first and second generations. The obvious is to give Aerial a call and have them check the serial numbers. Another way is to look at the tweeter. Both versions look a lot alike, both with a set of four outer hex mounting screws. There is also a set of four screws that are around the dome itself and it is here that you will find a difference. On the first generation these are Philips head screws and they are in the same location relative to the outer screws (11, 1, 5, and 7 o’clock) dividing the tweeter face into four equal parts. The original review in The Absolute Sound clearly shows this pattern. Aerial began advertising in the October 1993 (Vol. 16 #10) issue of Stereophile and periodically throughout 1994. In all of these issues it is easy to see these are first generation 10Ts. On the second generation the outer hex screws are the same, but the inner screws are Torx head screws (similar to a hex head) and they are located at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The inner and outer screws create four small triangle patterns. Beginning with the January 1996 (Vol. 19 #1) issue of Stereophile Aerial began new full-page ads that clearly show second generation tweeters. The second generation 10T got its first rave review from Wayne Donnelly in the premier issue of Fi Magazine (serial # 100735 / 100736, which Wayne purchased). The 10T made the cover of Stereophile in the April 1996 (Vol. 19 #4) issue with an outstanding review by Wes Philips and John Atkinson, both of whom were very impressed with the 10T (serial # 100739 / 100740). That same year Stereophile awarded the 10T Joint Loudspeaker of the year, along with the Dunlavy Signature SC-VI, reflecting the opinion of the entire Stereophile staff.

So what has changed since then? Not much really. Although there have been some subtle changes, the sort you would expect to see in any product that was in production for over a decade, nothing truly significant has occurred. Michael Fremer, in the original TAS review, had some criticism of the binding posts and the fact that they were difficult to tighten by hand. These are the binding posts I have on my 10Ts as well as my model 7s and model 5 that I use in a surround system. They have never bothered me and their quality is decent. But I do use pliers to tighten them. By the time Wayne Donnelly and Wes Philips reviewed them these had been upgraded. At this point in 1996 we also see another $500 price increase to $5500 ($6000 w/stands). In 1997 the price goes up to $6000; in 1998 another $500 to $6500; and again $500 to $7000 in 1999. At some time during this period Aerial had to address another regular complaint and that was the problem of hairline cracks developing in the Novalith heads. It should be very clear to anyone who owns or is considering the purchase of the 10Ts that this is a purely cosmetic issue and in no way effects the performance of the 10T. For the most part it really is not noticeable except on very close inspection and I wouldn’t be concerned with it. One of my 10T heads has a single hairline crack about an inch or so long that is hard to see, impossible to feel, and would be difficult to photograph. Keep in mind that the Novalith heads are a couple of inches thick and these are surface imperfections. It is my understanding that this was corrected by adjusting the Novalith formula, which was invented and trade marked by Aerial. The only other obvious change in the 10Ts is new stands ($700) that appeared in later production. I don’t know what Aerial’s thinking was here as the original Sound Anchor stands are excellent. To my eye the new stands are more visually appealing as they are a lower profile and my guess is this was more of a cosmetic change than anything else. One other change we see is Aerial started charging more for the rosewood stained models at some point, but I don’t recall exactly when. In the final production the black models with stands were $7700 and the rosewood stained models $8200, a $500 difference. Regarding the wiring mentioned in the original ‘Beware’ post, I am not familiar with this change, but you could certainly call Aerial if it concerns you. This will be at best a very subtle change if it’s noticeable at all. The original wiring was a special 99.997% pure copper wire and silver solder was used throughout.

The Aerial 10T (MKII) is a remarkable product not only in its design, but also it that it was in production virtually unchanged for a decade before being discontinued with the advent of the far more expensive model 20T. I know of no other product in the high end that lasted anywhere near this long, and that goes a long way in explaining just how good the 10T is. So far I have not yet had an opportunity to hear the 20T, but I have little doubt that as good as it may be it is probably not 3 times as good, just 3 times as expensive. It has, however, just been awarded, once again, Joint Loudspeaker of the Year by Stereophile and is getting rave reviews. Clearly Aerial has not lost its edge and its other models up through the model 9 are also excellent if not the level of the 10T (yes, the 10T will still outperform the model 9, but I’ll admit the 9 looks much nicer).

What should you have to pay for a used pair? The price increases listed above are very reasonable and reflect the success of Aerial, normal inflation, and manufacturing cost changes. In terms of the buying power of the dollar, there is not much difference between $5500 in 1996 and $7000 in 2003. Audiogon’s current Blue Book pricing shows a retail figure of $7000 and average used price of $3400. I’ve been watching the price of these used as long as they have been around and this sounds about right. Keep in mind this is an average price, which includes first generation models that generally fetch in the low-to-mid $2000 range (but there really are not too many of these). If they’re in good shape the first generation 10Ts have got to be one of the great used speaker bargains. I know of nothing that will come close in this price range. Most people will probably be looking for MKII models though and around $3500 plus or minus is what you might expect to spend excluding shipping cost. Naturally condition will effect the price and a nice pair from an original owner will always command the highest price, regardless of vintage as long as they are MKIIs. Regarding late production models, I have seen asking prices as low as $2900 and as high as $4500. Once again, condition, with or without stands, and the person selling them will account for the differences in price. You should be able to find a very nice pair for around $3500 plus shipping, perhaps less if your patient or can live with some cosmetic defects. Regarding shipping, do not buy these if they do not have the original packing. The quality of the boxes and packing of Aerial products has always been exceptional. Only Jeff Rowland’s flight cases are better! The 10Ts come in 3 boxes (5 with stands), two for the bass cabinets and one for the pair of heads. All 3 come banded to a wood pallet that should be reused to reduce the chances of damage. My model 7s also came on a wood pallet so this is not unique to the 10T.

Hopefully this history of the outstanding 10T will be of use to those seeking some of the finest loudspeakers ever made regardless of price. Properly set up in a well designed room (I’ve built two dedicated sound rooms, and believe me, a good room is the most important and most overlooked component in a high end system) the 10T continues to compete with the best out there, even a decade after the MKII came out. It does so much so well and compromises so little that you simply cannot go wrong at the price these are going for used. Even after 10 years I have not been able to part with mine and I’ve listened to a lot of the newer designs that have come out over the years. To improve on the 10T you have to spend huge sums and the law of diminishing returns becomes very real.

One final comment. Michael Kelly is one of the true gentlemen of the Audio industry and has always been fanatical about quality and detail. The build quality of Aerial products is exceptional, especially in their price range. If and when you should ever need service (I never have) you could not pick a better high-end company to deal with and I’ve no doubt Aerial is here to stay.

Enjoy The Music!
Wow! If the content of your message isn't enough to convince folks of your love for the 10T's, the 2000+ word length of your note should certainly convince anyone ;-)

You raise an interesting point about the real differences among various speaker versions and the time value of money. We probably tend to undervalue earlier versions of things (wear and tear aside) and also undervalue the original purchase price since inflation is often not considered. Thanks for the interesting post. (I assume you are not affiliated with Aerial in any way)
A great read. Your history of the 10t is right on the money. As a former 10t owner who jumped ship and returned recently with the purchase of Aerial 20t's all I can say is it's great to be back with Aerial.

Of all the speakers I've owned in the past, the 10t's are the ones I think of most. Probably the greatest bang for the buck out there used today.

Are the 20t's better?..........YES!


Paul :-)
Dude you must love those Aerials! Great info, if I'm ever in the market for a pair I'll certainly refer to this post, nice work.
Worth mentioning: later models had different cabinets, sourced from Denmark. Slightly different construction/shape to a small degree, better quality in a significant way IMHO. Also later ones had Xover changes in addition to driver changes.

All in all , great speakers no doubt. The 20T is a superb speaker as well. Everything Aerial had made is quite good, I have 5s and 6s and may have more at some later date.

Mike Kelly is a great guy too, one of the best.

Excellent and detailed post. I have sold things here that have had the price raised over time, but I always reflect the list price when I bought, sometimes adding that "current list is xxxx" in my ad posting itself.

And I echo the comments about the 10T and Michael Kelly; I met him once, MANY years ago, at a local stereo store when Michael Greene came and did his Room Tunes trick (Ed S: did you go to this Ensemble demo, when they were on Rt 101?).

What I thought was just an OK speaker was shown to be the gem it truly is when Mr. Greene finished with that room! I was amazed at the sound that came from them, and wished I could have afforded a pair (and the Rowland amps being used with them!).

A great speaker, and a good manufacturer. I haven;t heard the 20T, but it sounds like it'd be a winner, too.
Great post,
The only point I can add is that I had an older version and the very latest version side by side for about a months time and could actually see these differences. The wire harness was not such a subtle change. Completley different type of wire. Most all other changes were of a subtle nature but I spoke to Michael Kelly about the stands and the new stands were for sound inprovement along with a much better look with a platform lower profile and quite heavy alowing for opt casters or spikes,,, I had both the new and older stands,, to me the new stands are a big improvment and made the 10T look much better with a sleeker profile.. There are all those other differences already mentioned in both post but for the most decisive difference in the new and latest version is the sound,,, the latest version has a noticably better top end sound,,, the older version is a little too polite and unexciting sounding with less dynamics and what seemed to be a slower sound,,, I sold the older version for 2500 in 2000... I'm asking 4500 for my current latest version,,, well worth the extra effort and price.. If properly driven and used in a system with no weak links this speaker will perform as well as the recording will allow. I used Kimber Select KS 3035 spk cable and that cable became a no brainer and a great match for this speaker, a Zoethecus amp stand improved the 10T bass responce so much that I owned a Pair of REL Stadium subs that were no longer needed and used with the latest version 10T,,,, the bass knocked every bodys socks off,,, the system froze the listeners still and dropped their jaws every time. The new lastest version hits harder, faster (better dynamics) with a more open top end which was what Michael Kelly told me was the goal for changing the tweeter. I had the older version and latest version side by side playing in the same system.. The new 10T was the clear winner. I sold the older version and pd the extra thousands more for the better sound and sleekerlooks. Very good opening post.
ChamsUK: I had been to the store at that time, but not for that demo. I did meet M.K. at another seminar he did when they were at their current location in Nashua, and also on some later occasions.
11-07-00: Tswhitsel
The 10t is in another league compared to the 8b and can often be had used for less than the price of the 8b. I've owned 10t's for 5 years and continue to believe it is one of the best values in high end speakers.
Tswhitsel (Threads | Answers)

So what was your point..? From your opening post and looking at a copy of an old post your wrote,,, are you trying to defend the fact that your 10T's are from 1995 currently 9+ yrs old and only had a listed MSRP between 5000 to 6000 depending on the color and which makes your 10T the same older version I spoke about in my previous post and not truly the latest version which has all those changes and improvements mentioned in both post "10T Beware". I owned the same 1995 era 10T w/older Stands you currently own. Those were the older version 10T w/Stands that I sold in 2000 for only 2500. The new version 10T brand new at the time I also owned and had side by side and the brand new lastest version was much better sounding and sleeker looking in beautiful mirror matched RoseWalnut with those sleeker looking Sound Anchor Platform style stands also much better looking and cost 200 more. So are you trying to say that the 8300 MSRP latest version 10T should not be concidered worth more than a 10yr old older version 10T and that that 10yr old older version is OK to list in a for sale ad as having a new list price of 8300???? (no offence intended to anyone just some real facts). Peace
It should be noted that MikeC is the originator of the "Aerial 10t beware" thread, and both in that post and this, it reads like he has sour grapes at older 10T owners who list their ads with the final retail price of the 10T. He has emailed 10T sellers to this effect, as well, bitching at them to modify their ads. It seems he feels they may undercut the attempted sale of his own later-model 10T's, (currently listed) which he clearly feels are much higher (double?) the value of the early units. Thus his other thread and posts here mainly are self-serving in that he wants to increase the percieved value of the later speakers, which coincidentally he is selling right now.

So, not exactly clear motives here, and certainly some axes to grind it seems.
Mike C…..with your second response to my post it is clear you wish to engage me further so I guess some sort of a response on my part is obligatory. Frankly I find a bit of a competitive and argumentative edge to your latest post. It was this feeling that led me to start a new thread in response to your original “Beware” post because I thought that it was misleading to those not familiar with the 10T and that a different perspective might be of use to others interested in the 10T. However, I was careful not to be too specific or critical of your original post as it was not my interest to get into any unpleasantness, but simply to share my experience with my fellow Audiogon members, and offer a perhaps less biased opinion. After all, I’m not trying to sell anything here, except perhaps the idea that 10Ts are a great used bargain. I felt that your post denigrated the earlier versions of the 10T and it was that which inspired me to share with others what I believe is an exceptional product regardless of its particular vintage.

Obviously I’ve got your attention if you’ve gone to the trouble to read my old posts. But I’m sorry, I fail to see any relevance to comments I made about the Aerial 8B four years ago to our current discussion. As to the second sentence of mine you’ve quoted, if you will take a moment to re-read my “Beware” post above you will find that I clearly state exactly when I purchased my 10Ts, their serial numbers, and that they are the first of the MKII versions.

So you ask me what is my point? Once again I suggest you re-read my post above as I think I made myself perfectly clear and my point is pretty obvious: that all versions of the 10T represent a great loudspeaker design and are worthy of center stage in any well designed audio system. My particular pair, and how old they are, is really not particularly relevant other than in my description of the 10Ts evolution.

To be honest, I had to re-read your last post several times. I don’t know if your writing style of run-on sentences is something popular in chat room discussions or what, but it’s a bit hard to follow. Call me old fashioned, but a few more commas and periods would be helpful to your readers. As to your point, it is clear that it’s your opinion that the slightly newer look with “sleeker” stands and the “mirror matched RoseWalnut” finish is a worthwhile improvement. I’ll accept that, and as I already mentioned in my original post, I too find the new stands more visually appealing than the originals. But it is your comments about the sound and construction, both in these posts and personal emails, that I wish to address as I feel that would be of most interest to those reading this discussion.

By and large, Audiogon is a site that is of interest to those wishing to save money and at the same time build high quality sound systems of different levels. Certainly that is how it started out in the late 90’s. Of course with the expansion of the Internet it didn’t take long for the dealers of both new and used equipment to capitalize on a rather captive global audience. There will always be those with more resources who will pay top dollar to have the “latest and greatest” that the audio world has to offer. And they will always need an outlet to unload their “old” gear to those of us with more modest means, often at a significant loss. So a large part of being in this hobby, especially as a consumer of used gear, is to find the gems that are still great performers even if they are no longer in the news. I would qualify that statement by saying one should look for gear that was produced by companies that have proven themselves by the test of time and for which parts and reasonably priced service are still available. Any version of the 10T fits that criterion nicely.

One of the main functions of forums such as this is to educate and help other members in their pursuit of building satisfying audio systems within the context of several price points. There are a number of Audiogon members such as myself, who have been playing in this hobby since the 1960’s, or even earlier. I know that for myself I find the opinions of these “older” members of interest and value because we’ve built a lot of systems over the years and have seen much come and go in the world of audio. We also have many different tastes that will hopefully represent various options and perspectives on sound reproduction. For those willing to take to take the time to go back through the archives there is some really good information on this site. Unfortunately much commercialism has crept onto Audiogon, but that’s to be expected on any website as successful as the Gon. One has to be careful of what one reads here. There is a lot of sales hype and many do not hesitate to mislead a little (or a lot) if that’s what it takes to unload a piece of gear they no longer want or that they are afraid they are going to lose too much money on. Also, many here seem to need to justify the sometimes-exorbitant prices they’ve paid for their gear by putting down lesser-priced items. And of course the concept that newer is always better. It is this sort of posting that gets this author taking keyboard in hand and speaking out so that those with less experience are not taken advantage of.

In your first post here you make the statement that “the older version is a little too polite and unexciting sounding with less dynamics and what seemed to be a slower sound.” I will accept that there may be some subtle changes in the latest version of the 10T as I’ve not heard them (we can call them the MKIII version if you like, even though Michael Kelly did not see fit to differentiate them from earlier production….that makes me wonder a bit though). But, this statement is typical of the kind of misinformation I see frequently on Audiogon. Sellers who feel they need to justify their later versions by making what came before sound as if it was a poorly executed design that has only been made right by the latest updates. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I’ve lived with a pair of 10Ts for 10 years and contend your statement simply is not true. In fact, I’d say it couldn’t be further from the truth. But don’t just take my word for it, let’s see what the professional reviewers have to say about the MKII that you’ve found to be so unsatisfying:

In the first issue of Fi magazine (Jan/Feb 1996) Wayne Donnelly writes, “what’s so good about the Aerial 10Ts? To begin, the high standard of components and materials, the finish, even the packaging, all bespeak a strong commitment to quality and value for the buyer.” He then goes on to say, “the application of sound engineering principles—including superior resonance control and meticulous crossover design—and careful execution of details have produced in the 10Ts as boxless-sounding a box speaker as I’ve ever encountered. The 10Ts spatial reproduction is superb, rendering solid and stable images within a broad, deep, and tall soundstage” Finally he states “Perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of the 10Ts is their smoothness and octave-to-octave balance. From the prodigious low end up through the silky and non-fatiguing treble, there is no sense of any single driver’s intrusive presence, and in a good room no serious suckouts are heard. The 10T sings a beautiful song, and it sings with a single voice.”

The same year Wes Philips reviewed the 10Ts for Stereophile (April 1996). Even in an apartment listening room that is far too small for the 10Ts to perform their best Wes was extremely impressed. Some of his comments are “its transient speed, unbelievable power-handling ability, and total lack of cabinet colorations really brought out the kid in me….Get the impression that I found the 10Ts fast and uncolored? Did I ever!….In a nutshell, this demonstrated a long list of the Aerial’s strengths: it was uncolored; it was fast; it had exceptional low-level resolution; bass was well-articulated, specific, and deep…..Need I say that the Aerial 10Ts impressed the dickens out of me? They’re among a handful of speakers that seem to have no limit to their ability to kick the tar out of any dynamic challenge you throw at’em. They seem to have no overhang or blur caused by their cabinets, so they produce low level detail with exceptional clarity…in certain areas (particularly dynamic potential and uncolored immediacy), they are the equal of any speakers I’ve ever heard.” That same year Stereophile would award the Aerial 10T Joint Loudspeaker of the Year along with the $25,000 Dunlavy SC-VI.

In the January 1999 issue of Fi the Aerial 10Ts made their recommended components list with 3 out of 4 stars. Here they say, “beautifully built and easy to drive, this full-range floor-standing design was an instant success when it first appeared some seven years ago. Slightly upgraded since, the 10T, with its smooth octave-to-octave balance, prodigious bass output, and silky, non-fatiguing high frequencies, remains an excellent value.” Price listed is $6500 - $7500 depending on finish and $600 for stands. For comparison sake, some of the 4 star winners were Avalon Eidolons starting at $20,000; Avantgarde Trios at $40,000; and the Wilson Audio X-1 Grand Slamm at $75,000. The only four star speaker that came close in price was the Magnepan 20R at $10,000.

You also make the statement that “the wire harness was not such a subtle change. Completely different type of wire.” Perhaps you’d care to elaborate on that. In my experience all cable is copper, silver, or copper clad silver. As I stated in my original post the wiring harness used in the 10Ts is a special 99.997% pure copper. What is now completely different about it? Of course, as J.Gordon Holt pointed out years ago, cable is nothing more than a passive tone control. Whatever is used in the 10T, as long as it is of high quality (which of course it always has been), can be SUBTLY effected by the many different brands and models of speaker cables we audiophiles purchase. The subject of cable is very controversial on this site and in the audio press for a good reason. Lot of snake oil marketing and obscene pricing has seen to that. Be that as it may, when it comes to cable I’m sure you’ll find many debates on what improvement (or lack of) was realized with ANY change of wiring. The fact remains the Aerial 10T is still the Aerial 10T. While I have great respect for Michael Kelly and his design abilities, the fact of the matter is, marketing realities would dictate the need to make subtle changes in any design to keep making sales of any product that has been in production for over a decade. Cosmetic improvements and subtle tweaking not only refine a product, but also increase sales until a replacement is ready. In this case that would be the 20T, a speaker that took several years longer than originally planned by Aerial to be a worthy successor to the 10T.

In addition to the comments posted above by other members I have also received some personal email regarding my thread. One in particular was by a newer member who contacted you via email after reading your original “Beware” post this past August. At the time he was in the process of purchasing a used pair of MKII 10Ts from Gilbert, the owner of Blue Circle Audio. This was a local sale in Toronto that required no shipping or duty. He told me that when he read your post he got worried about what he was about to purchase. In his email he said “he told me all kinds of BS about huge cracks and that the Aerials are not for me and that they require huge monoblocks to be driven properly. Basically he made me feel bad about the purchase decision. He also made fun of my audio equipment saying it was mediocre.” He went on to say “the guy e-mailed me in one night at least 10 e-mails. He was using huge capital fonts to emphasize the importance of his "knowledge." He said the cracks are like volcanoes with deep cracks. I told him to taker a look at the advertised pics of my Aerials. He responded by saying "Oh yes they are indeed the old ones, overpriced, and not for you”. I have a pair of Rogue monoblocks M150 and also a CJ MV55 and ML 27.5. He didn't like any of my equipment. He said I needed Classe, the big monoblocks like 350W per side. He made fun of my speaker cables, Analysis Oval 9 and Monster Sigma, the older top of the lines. He called them mediocre .I had already paid half for the speakers and he told me to ask for my money back. I then called Gilbert and requested the serial numbers and then called Aerial Acoustics; they told me the speakers were made around 98-99. That places them in the new version category. For the cracks they told me "if you drop the heads they'll crack, otherwise no worries." I inspected the heads and found no cracks whatsoever.” He purchased the 10Ts for a really bargain price in my opinion and is very happy with them. The Rogue 150s will be used on top in a biamp configuration with a Rogue Zeus on the woofers.

After receiving this email I was certain that I was not the only one who interpreted your original post as negative with regard to earlier versions of the 10T. I’m glad I went to the trouble to write my history of the 10T for others who may have had a similar reaction. My question to you is to what purpose did you say all these things to this fellow? Why would you do such a thing? To me your excellent Audiogon feedback means nothing in view of this sort of behavior.

In another email I received a copy of your email where you tell the recipient “any version 10T is a very inefficiant speaker meaning its really a 4ohm speaker with a sens of only 85 (or 86) meaning it takes a REAL true high current capable amp that is fully able to completley double down and more into a min 3ohm load... It takes an expensive true high current amp with at least full current into a 3ohm load and even lower (the 10T can dip to under 3ohm)... Many second hand buyers buy the 10T cause it cost less money than a new pair when that owner needs to make sure he uses the proper amplifier which cost more than the speakers... Not many amps are capabile of properly driving a speaker like the 10T... You need an amp like the 250 Plinius or a pair of 250 Plinius in mono to get the 10t to play good...”

The spelling errors are yours, not mine. I fail to understand why more people don’t use the spell check feature on their emails. Anyway, your suggestion of the Plinius 250 is an excellent one and I’m sure a pair of these in mono would be outstanding. Pretty expensive though and probably overkill for most. Obviously you were satisfied with a Classe CA-300. While it is true that the 10T benefits from high-powered amps (they are 86dB/W/m), what you say is not really true. In Wayne Donnelly’s review he states “the 10Ts stable, non-exotic impedance and reasonable efficiency make them a good match with either solid-state or robust tube amps.” He used a Spectral DMA 180 and some big VTL tube amps for his review. According to John Atkinson the 10T “will play reasonably loud with an amplifier of around 100W….I wouldn’t recommend that this speaker be used with wimpy single-ended amplifiers, and tube amps should definitely be used from their 4-ohm transformer taps.” Fi magazine in their 1999 recommendation say “any fine tube or solid-state amp capable of producing 100 watts or more per channel into 4 ohms.” In my own system I’ve had excellent results with an older Classe DR-15 and an upgrade to the Classe CA-300 was even better and quite enough power. From there I purchased a single BEL 1001 MK3A after hearing a pair of BEL 1001 MK2 Final amps bridged into mono. These are 200 watts a side when bridged and bettered the CA-300 in my opinion even if not quite as powerful. I purchased a single BEL MK3A because I couldn't afford two at the time. This is rated at 50 watts/channel and I was quite satisfied with its performance for two years until I could afford to buy a second one. This pair was an excellent combination with the 10Ts. A couple of years ago I upgraded (downgraded in price for sure) to the new Bryston 4B-SST. I did not feel like I was giving up anything over the BELs and the bottom end of the Bryston is everything you’ve heard about it. To suggest that one has to spend huge bucks to effectively drive 10Ts is not true. One of the amps Michael Kelly used to recommend highly for use with the 10T was the Ayre V3 that is rated at 100 watts/channel. A couple of amps that would also work quite well and are priced used between $900 and $1200 is the older Classe Fifteen and Classe Twenty-five. Michael Kelly has also recommended the 4B- ST (around $1200) in the past although I’m of the opinion that the difference between the ST and SST is worth the extra money if you can swing it (around $2000 used). I also own a pair of Classe CA-100s that I use in my surround system to drive a pair of Aerial model 7s and a single model 5 for a center. The model 7s are a little more efficient than the 10Ts and I find one CA-100 to work fine even with DTS, but I also use as powered sub to help out. The model 5 is even more inefficient than the 10T and I use the other CA-100 on it using one channel for the woofer and the other for the tweeter. I have tried just one of these on my 10Ts and was surprised at how well they performed. That said, if you are going to use a smaller amp just don’t expect to play at really loud volumes. You would not want to damage a driver by constantly clipping a smaller amp. My whole point here is it is possible to effectively drive a pair of 10Ts with a modest investment. Amplifiers have not improved that much in the last decade and there are some great older ones going for pennies on the dollar.

Finally Mike, I am not suggesting that very late model 10Ts should not command a higher price or even that yours are unfairly priced. I expect you will find your buyer as there is always someone who is willing to pay more for something that is newer and has greater perceived value. Or in this case, believes what you say and goes no further in their research. But, and this is a huge but, if you can buy essentially the same speaker for $1000-$2000 less, I don’t believe you can argue which is the better value. A much more prudent use of that difference in money would be an investment in better source components, especially for someone on a tight budget.

There is more I could say on this subject, but I fear I’ve written another lengthy post. Thanks to all of you who’ve stuck with me. And thanks also for the nice comments above. Perhaps there will be more to say later…..Travis
Tswhitsel...I felt the original Buyer Beware was very informative.Mike was stating that there should be truth in listing of prices and desciptions when it comes to newer versions vs. older versions.If I was a first time buyer I certainly wouldn't have been scared off by that thread.
However I found your thread Aerial 10t Another Look self -indulging useless babble.
If a seller is truthful he or she would tell the buyer the history of the speakers and also when you are going to lay down some serious cash chances are the buyer has done their homework.
I also found your second response to Mikec to long and boring to read .You should keep it to 50 words or less or did you write it because you thought you had something to say??
Kudos to you Mikec your original thread is to the point and I for one had no problem understandind the message it was conveying but someone felt they had to try and best you and give us a history lesson on the aerial 10t.
Wow,,, I'm going to try to make this short.. I really don't like to type or read long post over something like this.. Its boring to me. Anyway my first post was to alert the prospective 10t buyer's of the many sellers posting ads for older version 10ts that retailed for much less than their true MSRP. If anyone thinks that as being wrong go scratch my butt. I received praise and many emails thanking me for the heads up,, To all those who wrote and emailed me a personal "thank you", your very welcome and I was glad to help. As for TW,, I really don't care,,, your post was obviously directly intended to get my attention.. You got my attention and I replied. Ed,, BTW how did you make out with your dispute? I now notice that all the current 10T ads are giving an honest orig MSRP. That was the sole purpose for all of my post.
Heh. obviously some people posting to this thread have really short attention spans to not be able to read more than a paragraph of text. Tswhitsel, I found your posts well written and thought out.
As a former 10t owner, I found it pretty interesting. If this kind of material can't be found here, then where else? Thanks for taking the time & effort for the term paper.
"Tswhitsel, I found your posts well written and thought out."

I'll second Ed Sawyer's comment. That post was a great read, and mirrors my own experiences with the 10t's I owned.


Paul :-)
Slacker…You know, the nice thing about forums such as this is one can say as little or as much as one wants. Another nice thing is you have the choice to read that which interests you and ignore that, which doesn’t. That’s just great that you found Mike’s original post very informative, but it is not your place to tell me or any other Audiogon member what they should or should not do in these forums. My post is intended for those who have an interest in the evolution and performance of the Aerial 10T. Your comments, however, clearly intend to provoke rather than offer anything new with regard to the 10T, a subject you appear to have no interest in. Perhaps you could find a topic that actually interests you, and with a bit of luck all the posts will be 50 words or less!
Mike C…this thread was not intended to get your attention, but the attention of those interested in the 10T. In fact, your name was not mentioned at all, but only reference to your thread, a thread that I personally found misleading. I even agreed with your main premise that MSRPs are often incorrect in Audiogon listings. My intentions were only to provide more information, including correct 10T MSRPs, for those interested in owning 10Ts. With the exception of my first paragraph that explains the purpose and inspiration for my thread, the entire piece concerns only the evolution of the 10T. Although your thread struck me as being self-serving, I even apologized in advance if I offended you if that was not your intention. You even opened your first response to my thread with the words “great post” before sharing your opinion on the differences you heard. Perhaps you should have stopped there rather than coming back at me with your second post demanding to know what my point was. Don’t your words “great post” imply that you got the point? Anyway, I have answered your questions (sorry if you found it too long and boring), but you have failed to answer mine. I’m sure there are others here besides myself who would still like to know what your purpose was in trying to keep our Canadian member from purchasing 10Ts from a reputable and respected audio manufacturer and why you felt the need to make him feel bad about his gear.

At the risk of boring you further Mike, let me copy and paste yet another email that was forwarded to me by someone whom you were trying to sell your 10Ts to:


I'll give you a little education when buying a used pair of speakers or even an amp etc.. Below I will paste a copy of another 10T ad that is currently up for sale and show you a RED FLAG as to why anyone with some knowledge would be very concerned and most likely not want to purchase these particular 10Ts... If you look at the amplifier this particular seller was using to drive AN ENTIRE FRONT 3CH Aerial HT setup.. He was using a 5ch Bryston 9tx which is a multi ch amp (all 5ch sharing the same power supply) with a output power rating of 125 x 5 AT 8 OHMS.. Now its bad enough that this seller is using a multi ch amp that is drawing all its current sharing the same one power supply driving 3 INEFFICIANT SPEAKERS, he doesn't mention what the rear speakers were,,, (which would be OK IF the amp was powerful enough with a large power supply) BUT 125 watts is NOT ENOUGH CURRENT to properly drive a 10T and better suited to drive the Aerial CC3 which is a 6 ohm speaker with a sens of 86 (another inefficiant speaker but an easier load to drive than the 4 OHM 85 sens 10T).... The knowledgable audio hobbyest will easily see that this pair of 10T were being under driven and thus probably constantly clipping at a HT's higher dynamic range (DD/DTS is more dynamic by designed nature) and also when playing Rock&ROLL and definitley playing any CLASSICAL music (which Classical music is a more of a power demand for any stereo system).. Bottom line here is this is a speaker that has been way under driven and most likely the speakers performance has been compromised and very possibly has damaged voice coils and strained crossover parts.... I betcha 100 bucks this guys system did not sound all that good with sloppy bass and with unwanted distortion not being up to the 10T's true dynamic capabilities... I betcha this seller purchased these speakers used and did not realize the cost of using the proper amplifier... Plus the seller must not be very knowladgable by showing the amplifier he was using to drive 3 inefficiant Aerial speakers... A COMMON MISTAKE MADE BY MANY by trying to put a high quality top end system together without taking the time to LEARN how to properly match up the amp & speaker.... When buying a speaker or an amp it should be concidered as a ONE COMPONENT PURCHASE as the speaker and amp MUST BE PROPERLY MATCHED UP TO EACH OTHER TO OBTAIN OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE.... I'm not saying that his Bryston amp is not a good amp as that amp is a good amp BUT the proper Bryston amp for the 10T is the big 500 watt mono block Bryston amp... Many 10T owners have mated 2 Bryston 500 watt mono blocks amps... Using 2 - 500 watt Bryston mono blocks are the proper match for the 10T,,,,, DEFININITLY NOT A SMALL 125watt per ch Bryston amp and ESPECIALLY A 5CH MULTI CH MODEL THAT SHARES THE SAME ONE POWER SUPPLY (that big round copper wound core inside an amp)... LOOK at the copy of the ad below,,,, if you need help in chossing a speaker and amp please don't feel shy to not ask me for some advice if you need the advice... I'm here to help anyone if they need the help... Look for a more efficiant speaker with the same good sound as the 10T unless you have the amp and can afford it...

Smile Mike

Selling my entire home theater system as I am moving to New York City into a small apartment and no longer have the space for all my custom stuff. Look for my other listings on Audiogon. I have a complete Aerial front end including CC3, 10Ts, and SW12 Subwoofer, as well as Bryston 9BST THX Amp, Sony DVD 9000ES DVD Player, an Anthem AVM20 Pre/Pro, and a Focus Enhancements CS-1 Video Scaler. My loss=your gain. Email me at with any questions - I know this gear really well.

This auction is for a pair of Aerial 10Ts with Sound Anchors Stands. Minor nicks here and there, but sonically perfect. 7/10 rating is very fair. Priced accordingly. See photos. I have priced them fairly, so don't bother with lowball offers. Shipping will be a bear, but can be done. I have the original boxes, which is the only way you could ship these.

End of Email

Mike….Once again I do not agree with your assessment above and truly wonder where you come up with this stuff. Obviously you don’t have much, if any, experience with Bryston amps and once again you’re trying to make the 10Ts sound like an impossibly inefficient speaker. The Bryston 9B is a great home theater amp and this guy’s system sounds excellent. He’s even using Aerial’s SW12 subwoofer to handle the .1 channel and you have no idea how he has this system configured. With a subwoofer as excellent as this he may even have all his other speakers configured as “small.” The AVM-20 offers a great deal of flexibility for set-up and crossover frequencies. And you are incorrect about the 9Bs power supply. It uses totally independent and separate torodial power supplies for each channel of amplification and will deliver in excess of 200 watts per channel into a 4-ohm load. In addition any two channels can be bridged. You also have no idea how large his room is or at what volumes he likes to listen at. As to the Bryston 7B monoblocks being the “proper match” for the 10Ts, once again I disagree. As I have mentioned earlier I am using the 4B-SST and have found it to be very powerful and it never clips even at very high volumes, and that is in a fairly large room with no subwoofer to help take the load off my woofers. Michael Kelly has recommended the 4B to be used with the 10T.

To keep this as short as possible I will comment no further on this other than to say that this email misinforms in several ways. It serves not to “educate” as you imply, but to try and sell your speakers by implying that you have a great deal of knowledge on the subject, and by criticizing and finding fault with another Audiogon member. Sorry to say this Mike, but I find your methods deceitful and self-serving. Nuf said!
Hi twshistel; your write up is well informative, i just bought an old version of the Aerial 10T it is driven by a KRELL FPB 300 its an audio bliss. May i inquire if you know the manufacturer of the woofer of the older version as you mentioned in your post the new version uses a driver made by VIFA. Thank you for sharing your experience and history of this one of a kind speaker more power to you!
donlovejoy....thank you for your comments. I'm glad to hear you are enjoying your 10Ts. Sorry, but I do not know the manufacturer of the original woofer. But, you could always give Michael Kelly a call if you really want to know.
I used to be an AERIAL distributor for Greece few years ago.10T is one of the best speakers I ever had regardless the price.All AERIAL speakers share the same character,and you need to "feed" them well in order to get their best. Placement is also a very important factor,as well as cable sellection.All in all,from my years of experiance in HIGH END,I can say that in order to outperform an AERIAL speaker,at any price range,in quality of construction or sound, you need to spend considerably more.Even then,the fact that a true gentleman stands behind this brand,with all that this means,is something money can't buy! I wish I had sold more of AERIALS,but when it comes to high price speakers,my market understands only B&W,WILLSON,and MARTIN LOGAN...To my knowledge,this is the case in many other Europian markets. It is unjust and a shame!
Tswhitsel, A job well done! Thanks for the indepth history. I've thought about buying a late model used pair of 10t's. (I have a 4 year old pair of 7b's at the moment.) What was the last year that the 10t's were made? Thanks again for taking the time to write a well thought out presentation. Best Regards, Stan
Stan, thank you for your comments. The 10Ts will be a very nice and quite significant upgrade from your 7Bs. Even better, with what the 7Bs go for used it won't cost much at all to make the upgrade as supply and demand should work in your favor. A large number of 10Ts were sold during a decade of production so they are plenitful and easy to find used. To answer your question, I believe the 10Ts went out of production in 2003 about the time the 20Ts came on line. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.
I've been a 10T owner since mid 90s (#s 100573, 574). Does anyone know how many pairs of 10Ts Aerial ultimately made/sold?
Great love of these speakers? I love your passion, stay happy.
Ummm...I'm the guy that owned that 10T/Bryston system being debated above, with the Anthem Preamp/Processor. It's hard to accept criticism from a guy that didn't even look at the room that the system was in...that makes a huge difference in any system. For any person that has owned a multi-channel Bryston power amp (I'm talking anything except their monoblocks), and especially the 9BST, you can appreciate the fact that these amps have huge range and extremely high clipping levels. Unlike most amplifier manufacturers, I think Bryston consistently underrates the power. They have a 20 year warranty for a reason, you know.

Insofar as it being a good match for the 10Ts, I spoke to the good people at Arial, including Kelly himself, who is a true gentlemen in this industry, prior to purchasing the 10Ts. He really likes Bryston amps, and did not think the power "problem" was a problem. If someone gave me a set of 7Bs, would I send them packing? But, in terms of value for the money, I simply could not have done any better.

Anyone out there running 10Ts or 20Ts with a tube amp and maybe a pair of those Musical Fidelity monoblock "accelerator" amps, or whatever they are called? That, to me, seems like a match made in heaven.
I for one am sick of seeing Agon sellers selling old equipment and putting the current retail price of the item.

This is deceiving and dishonest and I feel the seller should be called on this every time. I have tried to notify Agon administration about this and they shrugged me off.

Great post about the speaker, thanks for the knowledge
Years later I still consider this the best post ever made in regards to this speaker. I wonder how the 10T compares to the Model 9?

Years later I still consider this the best explanation ever made in regards to this speaker. I wonder how the 10T compares to the Model 9?

Does the original Aerial 7 use the same Tweeter as the latest model 10T?
I had both newer and older models for years.The newer model uses the Vifa 10" woofer which is slightly bigger and will not fit into the old versions cabinet without modification.The newer model uses a german made tweeter which does sound more open and spacious/better in every area to my ears..The crossover for the mid/tweeter is different also. The wiring in both pairs were the same in both my pairs.All versions dip to 2.7 ohms .I called Michael years ago and asked why the change in drivers,his answer was no surprise,he said without hesitation,"because they sound better".The other known fact with the 10t's, is that they will sound night and day better with a Krell FPB-600 than a 100 watt amp.I had good results with many lesser amps, but both old and newer versions blew my mind when driven by Ayre V1, Clayton M 100 & M200, Levinson and the like.All said, I am in agreement with twhitsell on his original post.The 10t's all sounded good with care taken in matching components.As far as pricing, if one does not like the price look elsewhere.