To Be Determined

    A Meditation on Ditching My Large Audio Setup with the AudioEngine HD4 Powered Loudspeakers

    Issue 149

    AudioEngine makes some darn fine powered loudspeakers. Brady Bargenquast, AudioEngine’s director and chief of marketing, is a heck of a nice guy, and has always been very accommodating in terms of any assistance necessary to complete a review. Brady insists that review products be passed along to music lovers in need, and I’ve gifted review pairs to individuals who were often between a rock and a hard place, but desperately needed to be able to hear some tunes over a decent system. AudioEngine powered loudspeakers are known for their remarkably good fit-and-finish, performance that’s near the top of the class at their price points, and not least for their impressive connectivity options. Their current Bluetooth technology utilizes Bluetooth 5.0, which allows for a glitch-free wireless connection with the loudspeaker from up to 1,000 feet away from the source device. With PCs, Macs, Android, or iDevices, my experience with AudioEngine's Bluetooth implementation is about as seamless and effortless as it comes. I recently received their newest offering, the HD4 powered loudspeakers, which at $449 USD for the pair are positioned about midway in the AudioEngine product lineup.

     

    The AudioEngine HD4s are quite handsome in the walnut veneer finish.

    The AudioEngine HD4s are quite handsome in the walnut veneer finish.

     

    I’ve been fortunate enough for the last couple of decades to have a dedicated listening room in all of my homes. And when I moved into the new house my wife and I built just over four years ago, I was able to step up to one that is substantially larger, has almost perfect Cardas Golden Ratio dimensions, and also has dedicated electrical wiring. I had a bit of a slap-echo problem early on, but I’ve since overcome that issue with additional and more well-placed acoustical treatments. I've finally arrived with a room that’s both supremely quiet and has exceptional acoustics. My wife wanted a gourmet kitchen and a larger space for her wool and dye setup (she’s a textile artist), and I wanted a bigger, better listening/AV room. We both got what we wanted in the new house.

    One of the last reviews I did prior to moving out of the old house was for the AudioEngine HD6 powered loudspeakers ($699 USD), which are still the company’s top-of-the-line in terms of both pricing and performance (you can read that review here). My bottom line takeaway from that review was that, if the situation dictated that I had to downsize from my big rig to only a pair of powered loudspeakers, HD6s were so incredibly good that I could easily do it with no regrets. I’m not joking – the HD6s are extremely well-made and good-sounding loudspeakers that have power to spare and imaged like nothing I’d ever heard at the price point. Think about it – with a great-sounding pair of powered loudspeakers, you really only need a good digital source component. Perhaps one that’s compatible with most high resolution file formats, and having access to either Tidal or Qobuz would be nice as well. Having a “library-on-the-fly” provided by a good streaming source would pretty much eliminate the need to manage multiple terabytes of digital storage.

     

    My Euphony Summus/Endpoint server/streamer has been updated with an I2S card, and retails for around $10k. Can I walk away from its seductive musicality?

    My Euphony Summus/Endpoint server/streamer has been updated with an I2S card, and retails for around $10k. Can I just walk away from its seductive musicality?

     

    While I have definitely pondered life without the big stereo rig, at the point when the review was over, it never seemed even remotely possible or probable. And I promptly gifted the HD6s to a young couple with a new baby who’d just moved into their first home. I’ve been kicking myself in recent months, because now that I’m approaching retirement (in 18 months) I’m getting all these overtures about possibly moving again. We’ll either: 1) ditch all our belongings, buy a Winnebago, and see the USA before we kick out, or, 2) follow our daughter to wherever on the Northeast seaboard they end up (very likely Providence, RI), where we’ll likely be in a very small house or apartment with no place for a listening room. This new set of circumstances has been slowly evolving for about a year now.

    The Fiio M9's built-in AKM DAC can handle DSD 64 and 128, PCM up to 24/192, and can support 4 GB of internal storage. With apps for Tidal and Qobuz, the digital audio player is a perfect source for the AudioEngine powered loudspeakers.

    The Fiio M9's built-in AKM DAC can handle DSD 64 and 128, PCM up to 24/192, and can support 4 GB of internal storage. With apps for Tidal and Qobuz, the portable digital audio player is a perfect source for the AudioEngine powered loudspeakers.

     

    I’m basically an old-school audio guy, whose ideal setup always revolved around having a dedicated listening room. At the old house, there was a high-res projector and a 9-foot screen in the room, so it did double-duty for dedicated listening and home theater. Simply raising the screen revealed all my on-wall room acoustical treatments, so even an audio-only setup worked really well in that environment. When we decided to sell and build the new house, our real estate agent wasn’t too keen on the home theater, and encouraged us to empty it and let the next buyer use their imagination for the space. But we were worried that the house might not sell at the price point we wanted, and decided to leave the home theater setup, with jacked-up 7.1 home theater receiver, projector and 7.1 loudspeakers and subs as part of the deal. Not to mention a pair of Italian leather high-end home theater chairs. The house sold in three days for $30k over the asking price, with the new buyer citing the presence of the home theater setup as what sealed the deal!

     

    How am I supposed to walk away from turntables, tubes, and impressive Class D amplification?

    How am I supposed to walk away from turntables, tubes, and impressive Class D amplification?

     

    So we get to the new house; the AV room is much bigger, with much more room to comfortably set up seating, equipment, etc. – but it’s in the basement, and my wife decided that she no longer wanted to do stairs every night just to watch TV or a movie. The home theater was out, and surprisingly, I was totally okay with it – I was actually pumped that I was going to have a dedicated listening environment, where the stereo wouldn’t be competing with the home theater rig, and where I wouldn’t have to worry about my wife’s wool and textile projects constantly lying around all over the room. And especially, the presence of wool dust everywhere, which is a particularly vexing problem when you’re trying to spin the occasional LP while also hoping to maintain something approaching a “clean room” environment. Overall, I couldn’t have been happier.

    A couple of years ago, a lot of social media conversations began regarding women and their involvement in high-end audio, encompassing those involved professionally in the high-end audio business, as well as how women were engaged with in-home audio environments. Suddenly, it was no longer completely cool for the guy to waltz off to the dedicated listening room and immerse himself in complete musical nirvana, while ditching any type of engagement with anyone else who might happen to be present in the home. I feel like I’m fairly connected with whatever might be happening around the house, and I can honestly say that my wife Beth is nowhere nearly as obsessed with audio as I am. But I was still observing some pushback over the segregation of the audio system away from everyone else in the new house. It definitely made me pause and reflect on my personal vision for how high-end audio should exist in the home environment, and how my equipment could be reconfigured to provide greater accessibility. And at the same time, not drastically degrade my perception of the level of fidelity presented by my audio system. Nothing has happened as of yet, but I’m definitely thinking a lot about how I need to alter my audio setup in some possible new (and not too distant) reality.

     

    AudioEngine HD4 Powered Loudspeakers

    The HD4 is essentially a scaled-down version of the HD6 that I so fell in love with five years ago. The HD4 employs a 4-inch aramid fiber woofer and .75-inch silk dome tweeter, compared to the 6-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter used by the larger HD6. It's available in a choice of real walnut veneer or satin-black furniture-grade cabinets with magnetic detachable grills, and the fit and finish is absolutely beautiful. As with all AudioEngine powered loudspeaker designs, the amplifiers and internal DAC are placed in the left loudspeaker cabinet, and the passive right loudspeaker is connected via a speaker-level umbilical cord, which is around 8 feet in length. This gives you plenty of room to space them out for good imaging; I’ve used them on stands and also on bookshelves on an entertainment unit, and have gotten good results from both. The HD4 is only flat to 60 Hz, while the slightly larger HD6 takes the bass down almost another half-octave to 50 Hz. And while both incorporate really high-quality Class AB amplifiers, the HD4 maxes out at only 120 watts of peak power (60 watts per channel peak) compared to 150 watts of peak power (75 wpc peak) for the HD6.

     

    You only need access to one electrical outlet to power them, and if you use the available Bluetooth connectivity with your computer, Android, or iDevice, you won't have to clutter your room with additional cords. As I mentioned in my review of the HD6, the Bluetooth sound quality is cutting edge and supremely musical. But in my day-to-day listening, I play a lot of DSD and high-resolution PCM digital files, along with spinning the occasional LP. A direct connection of any of my input sources to the HD4's stereo mini-jack or RCA jacks always offered sound that was more musically transparent and viscerally satisfying. It's perfect if your source equipment is entirely analog (like a turntable), and you can easily "roll your own" flavor of digital-to-analog converter with one that's slightly more capable than the HD4's internal DAC. Speaking of which, the internal DAC is a high quality Texas Instruments PCM5102 that maxes out at 24-bit/48 kHz. It's perfect for connection to your phone or tablet via the back panel USB jack, and will provide a serious uptick in sound quality when streaming from portable devices.

    The back panel also features a pair of variable level, line-out RCA jacks, whose output is managed by the front panel volume control. They're perfect for connecting a powered subwoofer to the HD4's. In a smaller room – a dorm, or an office, for example – the HD4's are more than capable of providing satisfying bass performance. But in a larger room, with a sub properly set up and dialed in, I felt that the overall flow of the music was greatly enhanced by the sub's added bass octaves. The front panel of the HD4 is fairly spartan, featuring only the volume control and a mini-headphone jack, and no remote is included. AudioEngine provides a surprising selection of cords of just about every make to help with virtually any connection possibility you could encounter.

    All the AudioEngine powered loudspeakers work great in a desktop environment, and as I mentioned in my HD6 review, setup and placement isn’t particularly critical. But you’ll get the very best overall sound and improved imaging if the speaker height can be placed with the tweeters close to ear level. And while they sound great on a bookshelf, I found that placing them on stands a few feet out into the room enhanced their sound quality immeasurably. My listening room has approximately 3,800 cubic feet, and the HD4 pair was able to portray music as loudly as I cared to listen, and were especially effective with a sub attached. In that environment, I was mightily impressed by the HD4s, and felt that their imaging and power were definitely on par with the larger HD6.

     

    The HD4's performance is superb with stands or on a bookshelf.

    The HD4's performance is superb with stands or on a bookshelf.

     

    But most of my listening was done on the main floor of my home (part of the whole atmosphere of inclusiveness I’m working towards embracing), and it’s a cavernous, open environment that incorporates the kitchen, dining room, and living room. With a 9-foot ceiling that rises to over 12 feet along the center ridge of the room; that’s over 9,000 cubic feet of space! Not unsurprisingly, the HD4 loudspeakers weren’t able to reach the kind of effortless peaks they easily pumped out in my listening room. But with a sub, they were able to portray music that was both musically satisfying and generally quite powerful. In that environment, I also found it was challenging (mostly from a visually acceptable standpoint) to get the tweeter levels elevated enough such that they effectively communicated the high frequencies clearly throughout the room. The treble response seemed a tad rolled off, to say the least, but I was able to overcome this to a certain degree by using 1/2 inch thick rubber feet underneath the bottom front edge of each speaker cabinet to angle the dispersion pattern upward. AudioEngine sells angled speaker stands designed to assist with that exact problem; they're obviously a much more elegant solution than the one I engineered on the fly! The taller and much more powerful HD6s would probably have done a more effective job in that environment, but if I end up downsizing as appears likely, using powered loudspeakers in an oversized room will quickly become a non-issue. Of course, this environment is definitely a torture test for a pair of modestly-powered loudspeakers that will most likely be used in a desktop setup by the average user. Obviously, the room boundaries of such a large space do a poor job of reinforcing any of the bass and mid frequencies that are so important to good overall sound.

    Conclusion

    I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that with the HD4, superb, moderately-priced gear exists that’s capable of shockingly satisfying levels of performance. It’s easy to surmise that most people considering the purchase of a pair of powered loudspeakers probably aren’t concerned with perfect in-room acoustics or pinpoint imaging. As a certified audio nutcase, I am, and I therefore am also greatly concerned with a powered loudspeaker’s internal amplifier quality and ability to portray music with power and finesse. The AudioEngine HD4s – along with every AudioEngine powered loudspeaker I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience – delivers all of the above: they pretty much punch effortlessly above their class!

    One of the things that I love about AudioEngine's designs is that the internal amplifiers are engineered to mate perfectly with the drivers and enclosures, and they never distort the sound at any volume level. In a more modestly-proportioned room where they’d logically be employed, I sincerely doubt they’d ever run out of gas. And the ability to easily add lower bass octaves with a sub (AudioEngine makes some really nice and affordable ones) enhances their appeal exponentially. And when I used the footers to elevate the speaker cabinets to improve the treble dispersion, I was shocked at how much better they sounded across the entire musical spectrum, even in the very large room. And I know I've talked a lot about adding a sub, but I don't want to create the impression that the HD4's are bass-shy, they're not at all. I just happen to prefer them with a sub, and they have the connectivity to make it very easy for you!

    AudioEngine really pushes the Bluetooth aspect of their powered loudspeakers, and I can appreciate that; the whole world is moving in the wireless direction. When I built the new house, I had it hard-wired for internet throughout, and when I talked about that in advance with the builder, he looked at me like I was from another planet. "Why in the world would you want to do that?" he asked – I get it, I'm just very old-school, and love a good hard-wired connection. In the current world we live in, half the people buying a pair of these speakers will never hear them at their very best, which is connected to a wired external source. The difference isn't subtle, and at their very best, the HD4's are incredibly great sounding little loudspeakers whose diminutive size might fool you into believing they aren't capable of producing really big sound. They totally are! At their price point you’d be hard pressed to find a better performer that’s anywhere nearly as well constructed – the AudioEngine HD4 comes very highly recommended.

    AudioEngine HD4: $449.00 MSRP, www.audioengineusa.com

    All images courtesy of AudioEngine and the author.

    21 comments on “A Meditation on Ditching My Large Audio Setup with the AudioEngine HD4 Powered Loudspeakers”

    1. Great read! Thanks for sharing....Some of these small, inexpensive speakers, are truly amazing. Based on a few glowing YouTube reviews I had to try a pair of Kanto YUP6 passive speakers...$200 pair! I hooked them up to a Sound Artist SA200ia integrated amplifier and a STA ST120 Dynaco Clone/Schiit Freya both sourced with a Node2i....Holy Guacamole! I couldn't believe the imaging, sound stage and overall great sound quality. And I was comparing them to Klipsch RP600M, B&W DM601, KEF 103.2, Magnapan MMG!.....They became my GoTo speakers for long session listening. Add a small B&W subwoofer I bought on facebook marketplace for $100 and you are in High Cotton!.....BUT...Saturday I broke my "Cheap Speakers Are Good Enough" rule and picked up a pair of KEF LS50Meta....The war is over! My wife of 30+ years sat down and listened for hours....Never ever happened before! She wants a pair for her office! I've been in the HiFi business for over 40 years. This has never happened with any speakers I've owned or borrowed from the store. Dahlquist DQ10s were close if I remember correctly......BTW, I could not think of a better speaker on planet earth to "Downsize" to than the KEF LS50 Meta......More Magic Dust from KEF!

      1. Thanks for taking the time to check out my piece. While the AudioEngine loudspeakers -- at anywhere from $450 to $750 for the better ones -- are relatively at the lower end of the spectrum, it's been really shocking to me how great they sound with an analog input. Especially the flagship HD6's, which I honestly could live with without regrets -- in my review of them over at Positive Feedback a few years back, I likened their sound to that of a classic pair of LS3/5A's -- they really were that good!

        I couldn't agree more with the KEF LS50's -- they're an exceptional loudspeaker, and when you really think about it, if I'm ditching my over $50k rig to go small, their $1600 price tag doesn't seem outrageous at all. Add a really great integrated amp and DAC, and with a source and Roon you're all set, and probably for under $3k. I'll be reviewing a really great affordable DAC from Gustard in the next issue that will probably fit the bill nicely!

        Thanks for reading!

        Tom

    2. I very much appreciated this review because it made me think further about my own future audio plans. My current home setup is now exclusively PS Audio electronics, M1200 amps, DirectStream DAC, new SACD transport and a Stellar Power plant. That equipment is coupled with Sonus faber Concerto Home speaks on Sf stands. That model is 20+ years old but still a very satisfying speaker, especially now that I am also using two REL T9i subwoofers.

      But...while we have no plans to move, we do have plans to vacate Seattle for at least part of the rainy and cold winters. Those plans could not include reproducing anything like my current system in another location, in part because that other location may change from year to year. So the idea of two small speakers, perhaps a small subwoofer, my iPhone and a small upgraded DAC is very attractive.

      The KEF's that come to mind however, after reading your review are these:

      https://www.shop.us.kef.com/ls50-wireless-2.html

      They are roughly 5 times the price of the HD4s. Are they really 5 times better? Or even enough better that they are worth the extra money? Of course one would have to listen with one's own ears. But I would very much like to hear the opinion of a thoughtful reviewer who has auditioned both. Perhaps you would consider them for a future review?

      Many thanks.

      1. I'll have to reach out to the KEF people and see if they're interested. I like the fact that the wireless version of the LS50's are self-powered, which (potentially) fits much more neatly into my overall scheme of things.

        Thanks for reading!

        Tom

    3. Thanks Tom. I very much hope KEF offers you the chance to review their speakers and I look forward to reading it.

      Meanwhile I have read your review of the HD6 and now I have a question. Your review of the HD4 struck me as far more positive. Is that because AudioEngine has improved across the board since the date of your HD6 review? In particular what I noticed was that you felt the HD6s really require a preamp to sound their best. That didn't seem to be an observation you made about the HD4s. Could you clarify?

      Thanks again.

      1. Geoff,

        At the point when I had the HD6's, I was using them more in the context of just getting good sound with an analog output from my main rig fed into them, whereas with the HD4's, I mostly focused on directly attaching either an 1) analog source (turntable), the line output of a higher resolution DAC, or the line output of a digital audio player. Which is much closer to one of the scenarios I might be entertaining in the next couple of years.

        My bottom line -- the HD6's are far and away the better of the two, and with a great analog input, are capable of playback of music that rivals anything I've ever heard at the price point, comparing favorably to systems costing many multiples of their meager $700 USD MSRP. The HD4's are great, and are very close in performance to the HD6's, but given the choice, I'd spend the extra dough for the HD6's -- they give you more of everything.

        At the time of the HD6 review, AudioEngine really pushed for a thorough exploration of their Bluetooth technology, which they felt was state-of-the-art, and was one of their principal areas of focus in their marketing for the units. While the AE Bluetooth experience is easily among the very best I've ever encountered, I have to be honest -- it pales in comparison with what the HD4's and HD6's are capable of with a really high quality, high-resolution analog signal input. I stated that then, and I stand by it now, and when in the HD4 review, I said that most people buying these loudspeakers will never truly know what they're capable of, I mean it!

        Hopefully this clears things up a bit!

        Tom

    4. Thanks very much Tom! I'd just like to make certain I understand this:

      "...with the HD4’s, I mostly focused on directly attaching either an 1) analog source (turntable), the line output of a higher resolution DAC, or the line output of a digital audio player."

      I know this would fit that description: A digital audio player directly into the HD6, such as the Fiio M9’s you showed in the review.

      What about my iPhone into an outboard DAC (eg. an Audioquest Cobalt) into the HD6?

      Thanks again.

      1. I think that's probably perfect -- I actually have used both AudioQuest DragonFly Red and Cobalt DACs with the HD4's with excellent results. I recently had a home system snafu, where my PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC had a circuit board problem and had to be repaired, and was gone for over two months -- I just got it back yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't have another high-res DAC available, and used both the AQ DF Cobalt and Red directly connected to my big system, which was probably the best option with what I happened to have on hand while the SGCD was out for repairs. Apparently, the output of my Euphony Summus/Enpoint streaming system was too much for the AQ DF's, and I blew out both the Cobalt and Red a couple of weeks ago. I had listened to both connected to my Android phone (mostly playing Qobuz and Tidal) with the HD4's earlier, but chose not to focus on them, since I had just recently destroyed both of them. But I think they'd work (and always have worked) perfectly for me in a portable system scenario.

        Tom

        1. Good morning Tom!
          How do you feel about speakers that uses horn loaded tweeters!
          The reason why I'm asking, is this.
          Right now, I'm reviewing a pare of Klipsch R-41PM speakers.
          The only down side that I see about them other then the built in DAC not being a DSD decoder, the tweeters don't go up high enough.
          The people at Crutchfield yesterday, suggested to me, the larger powered speakers.
          The R-51PM speakers.
          Also made by Klipsch.
          The only things that are different about them, is this.
          The R-41PM uses a pare of 4 inch woofers with a 35 watt per channel class D built in integrated stereo amp.
          The R-51PM speakers, uses a pare of 5&1/4th inch woofers and a built in 60 watt per channel class D integrated stereo amp.
          But what both pares of speakers have in common with each other, is they use the same exact horn loaded tweeter.
          But to me, I can't get the drivers for Windows to increase the treble.
          Is there a way to turn the tweeters up on these type of powered speakers?
          Thanks in advance!

          1. John,

            I'm also a fan of Klipsch and other horn and compression-driver loudspeakers. I haven't heard the Klipsch line of powered loudspeakers, but they look very intriguing to me.

            When I was listening to the HD4's set up in my listening room on a pair of stands, with me in my normal listening position, the treble content was perfectly balanced and sounded very natural and smooth to me. However, when I moved them up to the larger, open area my wife and I spend most of our time in, the treble initially sounded very dull and lifeless. I corrected for that by elevating the front of the loudspeakers with 1/2 inch footers, which improved the treble dispersion greatly, and enhanced the overall balance of the full musical spectrum.

            One thing I have definitely noticed is that when using the Bluetooth function, the treble quality seems softened, and more diffuse than I would prefer. Switching to a direct input helped restore the overall balance of the sound to something closer to normal -- I think that's the part of Bluetooth implementation that they haven't gotten quite right yet. I actually looked into using some kind of equalization with music players I've been using, but that's always kind of a crap shoot -- it might not give you the increased and improved treble you're looking for. I have always found that having the powered loudspeakers positioned such that the tweeters are very close to ear level helps more than anything else, but I do agree that having more watts available is also very helpful.

            None of the powered loudspeakers I've had any experience with have offered any level control for the tweeters -- I think the manufacturers find what they think is the best overall balance and just go with it. I'm an old-school audio guy, and back in the day, I was very attracted to speaker models that included a "presence" knob that allowed you to adjust the tweeter response to your liking -- you just don't see that very often these days.

            Sorry that I can't really offer any more help than this.

            Tom

            1. Hi again Tom!
              If you read my previous comment, I said that they can't decode DSD files.
              I found that out by hooking them up to my computer via the USB cable that came with them.
              Sure these speakers can do Bluetooth, I don't really care to use these that way.
              But streaming to them from my iPad, the missing treble detail comes back.
              But how I have them configured on my computer, is the music only hits them.
              At the same time, I'm using my integrated motherboard sound card too.
              But I have a Tivoli Audio Mottle 1 radio hooked up to that.
              I went in to settings, and typed in the word sound, and tabbed over to advanced app and volume.
              I was able to send JAWS to the radio, and the rest of the audio to the R-41PM's.
              This way, when I'm proof listening to a recording, my screen reading text to speech software doesn't get in my way.
              It has been said that you have to download some kind of audio managing software to your Windows system in order to make that happen.
              But I found that not to be true.
              If I don't need JAWS anymore for a little while, I just cempally turn the radio off.
              And I'm sat until I need JAWS again.
              At that point, I just cempally turn the radio right back on.
              Perhaps I should post this on Blind Cool Tech!

              1. John,

                Anytime you use the built-in DAC in powered loudspeakers, you're going to be limited to whatever that DAC is capable of, so I generally choose not to use the USB input. Built in DACs are generally 24-bits, but are usually also limited to 44.1 or 48 kHz, so if you like to spin the occasional higher-res PCM or DSD file -- like we both obviously do -- the built-in DAC won't do. I'm playing now with a new affordable, high resolution DAC from Gustard that handles all levels of PCM and DSD, and also Bluetooth, and I'll let everyone know how that's going in the next issue.

                I have to credit you for all your efforts into getting great sound, and keep up the good work! Thanks for reading!

                Tom

                1. Good afternoon Tom!
                  It's funny you should tell me this!
                  The founder of Jolida Micle Allen told me 5 years ago about a DAC that he started designing and building from the ground up.
                  He's changed the name of the company sense then, but now he's got that DAC out now, so that you can go to your loco high end shop and buy it.
                  The DAC I'm talking about here, is the Black Ice Audio Glass FXX-DSD WIFI.
                  It can do DSD all the way up to 512 bits and as high as 398MHZ.
                  And the sailing point for me is, it has a pare of 12AX7 tubes on the analog output side of it!
                  The only thing that's stopping me from picking it up right now, is I don't have the cash for it yet.
                  But, before 2022 takes off too good, I'll have a cupple of those DAC's in my hands.

    5. I'd really like to hear those KEF speakers myself. They get rave after rave, many from people I trust. And, being a person who is, shall we say, advancing in years, I know many people who are either looking at downsizing their living spaces, simplifying their audio systems, or both, and the KEF setup seems like an attractive alternative they'd be interested in.

      1. I don't have any contacts with KEF -- I don't even know who reps them in the US. I'm planning on digging into this though -- I've heard the LS50's at shows, and they're definitely remarkable loudspeakers, especially for such a small cabinet size!

        Tom

    6. Greetings Tom :

      As a person commencing the 8th decade of life I fully understand the will to downsize living spaces and simplify audio systems. Difficulty ensues with my utter incompetence in both endeavors with both things expanding diametrically seemingly without my volition. Were I in your situation, I would keep the big system at home, install the AE 6’s in the Winnebago (giving no thought to how to finance such a venture) and packing up the AE 4’s for visits with my daughter. One way to solve small problems is by creating bigger ones. Such is apparently our lot. We have contemporaries with far more compelling (and time limiting) issues.

      Good fortune and good cheer to you all

      1. Norton,

        I won't know if Rhode Island ends up being the final destination for at least 18 months, but whatever, or wherever, we'll manage to make the best of it!

        Thanks for reading!

        Tom

        1. Rhode Island, along with many other places, present one with great opportunities. Be sure to check out Newport and Watch Hill if you end up here.

          After downsizing my system, I haven’t looked back. Had a ‘70s Marantz receiver at the start of my HiFi journey and ending up with the latest Marantz reference series is a good place to finish up!

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