Aerial Speakers for Music and HT

Any opinions on Aerial speakers in general? Also would like to know which model is the best value....I am seriously thinking of revamping my system and could use the help..Thanks T
I am a big fan of the Aerial line. I have enjoyed three different models and all of them performed well. I'm currently using LR5s, CC5, SR3s, and two SW12s. The 10ts are a little more musical but the LR5s are very fast and placement friendly. I think two things need to considered when looking at Aerial. They need power and allot of it, Classe and Theta match up very well. These speakers take longer to break in than any others I have known. They sound terrible new, good at fifty hours, and great at about 150 hours. The attention to detail, cabinet construction and finish are second to none. You can call Aerial and speak to Mike Kelly (owner) and he will answer any question you come up, he is a true gentleman.

Good Luck
I own 10t's. Prior to purchase I listened to many speakers to an upper limit of about 20K pricewise. I bought the 10t's, which I feel are the greatest value today at their price point. Since purchase I have no regrets. The 10t's are a mirror of the components in front of them. I'm running a BAT VK50SE tube pre into a pair of Levinson 33H monoblocks. Sourch is a Sony SCD777ES with a Sonic Frontiers SFD2 MKII tube dac. Cables are Transparent and Nordost. At this time I'm completely satisfied with the system's performance. For me, that's tough, as it always appear that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I've listened to lots of other systems, different than mine, yes! Better, I think not.

I have owned the 7b amd currently own the 10T models...The mid and tweeter sound of these two speakers were very much alike...nicely detailed but not harsh, maybe slightly laid back and friendly to perhaps not as nice recordings...the 10T bass is far deeper than the 7b and for my taste a big improvement. Some say the bass is a little too generious...placement is critical...they need power behind them and a large enough room to get them away from the back wall, over 32" or more...
hope this helps
Tmoore, Check the Classified about a week back. I seen the model 8's and a CC3 all in black wood grain for 4000.00.
If I had the room for these speakers I would think about this offer. Jason
It's been my experience, as one having been an avid audiophile and Home theater enthusiest for years(not to mention custom home theater architect by trade), that speakers like the Aerials(models will varry a tad) are more suited for the likes of more modest music listening chores!...sorry guy's.
If you're a fan of instrumentals, vocals, and lighter dubty sound reproduction, then I think with the right gear you'd be pleased with some of these types of Delicate Dainty for sound. If you're into the more demanding hard hitting rock/R&B/percussion, and especially Digital Dynamic movie playback through these kinds of monitors, I think you're going to be less than enamored! Speakers like the Aerials are really music speakers by design. They are first and formost designed to the reproduction of music. When it comes to reproducing ultra hard hitting dynamics, like what you get back from DD/DTS movie tracks, they really aren't in the right neighborhood.
Aerials, as a lot of audiophilia out there, are low sensitivity, lower effeciency, non diappolito designed(mostly) hardware, that are less dynamically inept and nible, than what's optimdally desired for attributes of a truely top flight HT speaker! These speakers are the antithesis of what a good THX type speaker in a top flight theater has to offer. Yes, I'm into refined sound myself. But when it comes to playing back movie tracks of the likes of Lord of the Rings, you can bet that something like your standard Aerial speakers won't be up to properly handling the job with anything resembling impressive!!!
This is the VERY reason that so so so many Stereophile/audiophile reviewers and writers out there have SEPARATE music systems than their HT Systems!..different animal really.(if you notice in Stereophile GHT, the reviewers all have dedicated HT rigs, separate!) While your standard monitor speakers are capable of handling less demanding music information, reproducing explosions, dinosour stomps, grennade detonnations, and tidlewaves are chores for usually diffent animals!
High sensitivity, high effeciency, more focussed, hard hitting, even active or powered type speakers work so so so much better, even at lower volumes, for movie reproduction! There's a very good reason that People like Lucas Film mix scores on ultra high sensitivity(active!!) monitors that they do!! They work!!! (Hey, there's a guy on Audiogon selling a pair of active M&K powered ThX monitors currently, that would be infintitly better for movies with a good powered sub! me!)
While you're old classical vocal and instrumentals might play well on what you're looking at in some speakers, you will be left rather flat and uninspired with what those same speakers will give you back on a good movie in Dolby D.
Hey, if there was someway you could turn those same Aerials in to "active" speakers, and get some more power and finnese out of em, you might have something for movies. Hummmmmm.....
My suggestion, to anyone who's considering spending quite a bit of money on more high end sounding gear for HT dubties, and is serious about more realistic/accurate reproduction of what was mixed in the studio (movies here..), is for them to go pay Lucas Film's "Thunder Ranch" a visit! I think you'll never be satisfied with standard hi-fi gear again for movies! Good Luck
In response to Keriadums post, I could not disagree more. At first I wasn't sure if this was a serious post! To suggest that a full blown Aerial system (10t, Active sub, top line center and rears) is not up to the task of anything Hollywood has to offer is silly to say the least. Keriadums pretty much shows his lack of any real understanding of speakers systems and amplification by suggesting "if there was some way you could turn those same Aerials into "active" speakers and get some more power and finnese out of them, you might have something for movies. Hummmmmm." As most of you looking at Audiogon posts know, there is no difference between an active speaker and one that is not, other than perhaps the length of speaker cable needed to connect the amp that is not integral to the speaker cabinet. With the possible exception of subwoofers, which like the Aerial are usually powered, most of us would prefer some choice when it comes to selecting amplifiers, and for good reason. Regarding dynamics, the Aerial 10t is known for its dynamics and ability to be driven to very high levels, given enough power. Additionally, to suggest that a speaker designed for music is not up to the task of bombs and explosions, certainly in the case of Aerial, is once again just plain silly. That's like saying you have to listen to the 1811 Overture on a HT system because it has a canon shot in it! And Michael Kelly is designing speakers for HT! Yes, it is true that serious audiophiles often have seperate systems for music and HT (I do, and I use Aerial in both systems to excellent effect). But the reason for this is up to this point well recorded music sounds much better on two channel systems. Certainly this is true given most people's budget when you consider the expense of 5 channels versus 2. Sorry Keriadums, but your comments show a lack of experience.

Regarding the original question of this did not indicate what your budget was, but you did say you wanted your system for both HT and music. Definately go for the 10t's if you can afford them. The model 8 would not be my first choice given they tend to be a bit over powering in the bass in many rooms. Better to go with 6s or 7s. The Aerial sub would be nice if you have the room and can afford it, however, you will do just fine without a sub if you go for something like the model 7. You can always add a Sunfire sub for the extreme low end if you really want to hear everything soundtracks like Jurasic Park have to offer and keep the expense down. Keep in mind though that most movie soundtracks are not that great and what you really want is a system that sounds good for music. Also remember that the center channel is often doing most of the work. In my HT system I use original model 7s with a single model 5 (yes, you can order just one) for the center channel and NHT surrounds. Not state of the art by any means, and I'll probably upgrade the surrounds one day, but it sounds great for movies, even Jurasic Park! I also use this system for music, much more than movies, just because of where it is located in the house, but my 10t's are much better and I believe they have always been, and continue to be, one of the best values in high end loudspeakers. There are many excellent choices when it comes to speakers these days and Aerial is definitely one of the best. Also, these are some of the better made speakers on the market. Really nice cabinet work and finishing. Even the packing is in a class by itself. Michael Kelly is a real gentelman and very available to speak to if you call, which I would highly suggest. Good luck with your system.
Well, after that I don't know what to say; or what to listen to. Not all of us have the space; nor the money for top flight, seprate systems.

Had the early 10's,for 4 years. They did HT well-- and 2ch well,to me.-- At the price those guys get their equipment for,may have something to do with why they have 2 systems.
I wasn't going to respond to this but I can't resist. Keriadums, my first reaction to your post was a little anger but then I just laughed. The sad part is that you actually believe what you are saying.

Your correct, many people keep two systems, I did for some time. This is in a desire for a different front end and the cost effectiveness of a two channel system. Many like the delicacy of tubes and a pure analog system for critical listening. Room sizes, sound treatments, listening position, and the like are critical if you are reaching for perfection. Some of these are comprimised when creating a home theater.

THX and Lucas have done some great things for the consumer. Many of the requirements for THX have improved home theaters and forced electronics companies to produce better products. I don't think Lucas would even claim that their M&K system would better the speakers that we all love.

Home Theater Architect or EE or whatever, please don't tell me that Aerial, B&W, Wilson, Logans, or any of the other fine speakers discussed on this forum are not up to M&K for sound reproduction. Speakers that reproduce sound accurately don't know the difference between music and movies. To loosely quote Mark Levinson "there is no way we can make music better than what you hear at live performance, we can only strive to get close. Movies on the other hand offer tremendous room for improvement. The systems, even in reference theaters, have compromised sound. This is mostly because of an absolute refusal to spend the money required for the best sound reproduction." Yes you can achieve some very impressive sound with a THX system but please don't tell me it's the best there is. Have you ever heard a theater with seven 10ts or B&W 802s?

I discontinued my 2 channel system when I had the financial resources to afford a combined system that met my expectations for both.

I don't think you will find a reviewer or even a manufacturer to tell you that some speakers are too good for home theater sound. Good sound reproduction is just that, there is nothing more to say. My system is good but far from the best. My LR5s, CC5, and SW-12s will give all the slam and power that you could dream of wanting.

I'm sure you design some great theaters but I think you ventured out of your area of expertise here. I don't know where you live but I'm sure you could find a home theater or two with the "delicate & dainty" speakers mentioned above that might change your opinion.

Rather than get involved in the debate, i will just share my own experience. I have several HT systems, one of which is Aerial 7b and cc3 with Bryston and Lexicon amp and processor. I am extremely pleased with it, espeically in the ht mode, which gets most of the use in this system. The subs are sunfire btw. I would say that the Aerial has a sound quality-as do virtually all speakers-but with the right power and the right front end, I do think they are quite refined. The other HT setups use Thiel and Totem, and while they are all quite a bit different in character, I do enjoy them all. I have found the Aerial to perhaps lack a little "air" at the top, but that is it, and it is a minor quibble.
I own a pair of 10t's in santos rosewood with stands. Fit and finish are second to none. Bought them used at less than half price and find them to be an excellent value for music and occassional ht. I only have a 2 channel setup with a subwoofer.

The 10T's are an excellent full range speaker sonically just slightly on the warm sweet side of life. The bass (depending on the amp) fast, deep, and taught.

Of course, every now and then there is a piece of music(whether classical, pop, jazz, folk, etc) that goes to the lowest lows. Hence the subwoofer. I would highly recommend them.

But no doubt about it, they want as much power as you can throw at them. They are low in sensitivity at 86db @ 4ohm.
To maximize their value, you might consider an amp in the 250 to 500 wpc (8 ohm) range.

If a new amp is in your budget, then you may want to consider the new McCormack DNA 500 a 500 wpc ss amp for $6k. I own the McCormack DNA-2 LAE amp (300 wpc @8ohm) and am impressed daily by what I hear.

IAR (Intern'l Audio Review) rates the new McCormack DNA-500 as the best ss amp in the world. Based on their previous rating of the DNA-2 LAE, I wouldn't doubt it.
Other than agreeing with the majority of respondents here, the only thing I'd add is that apart from the larger financial commitment to a minimal-compromises combined vs separate 2ch system, the major reasons for their separation is the different seating/placement/room treatment issues you would want to optimize both. But in my opinion and experience, a system that can handle music well can also handle movies with aplomb.
A good compromise. The Sonic Frontiers Line series preamps have a 'SSP bypass' mode. With this, you can have a first class stereo only system, and a HT system in the same room using the same front speakers.
I can't help it. I have to point out that the reason so many expensive home theaters are so gimmicky and puerile is that people hire guys like Keriadmus to design them. I don't doubt for a second that 10,000 watts of class h power makes for great dinosaur stomps and rocket launches, but is that all you want from your HT? Does that convey even 1/10th the emotional timbre of the foreboding score of Jaws or the fatalism of the theme from The Godfather? Or the finger snaps in West Side Story? Or Stanley screaming "Stella" in Street Car Named Desire? When I watch pulp films like Godzilla, then M&K might be better, but when I watch Amadeus or Stop Making Sense or anything with emotional substance, I want my 10T's and Sim W-5's or Classe Omega's. Every time. When I puruse Audio Video Interiors, I am always amazed at the nice look, big budgets and almost universally crappy sound of these "professional" systems. I think the HT industry is headed the way of quadrophonic because long term these systems are boring. Venting over.
I've heard the whole line up and down the aerial list. My favorite was the 8b's. In fact, I'm now selling a pair here on Audiogon. I'm moving up to ATC 100's... The 8b's also LOOK the best of the entire line. I'm not a big fan of the 10T's unless you have big enough of the room for the woofer.