I first met the Acoustic Energy Aego at Sound and Vision (The Bristol Show) back in April and wrote up about the release of the Sound3ar a few months later. I am pleased to say that I have spent a while with the home cinema set up and am ready to share my opinion about it.
The Acoustic Energy Aego Sound3ar piqued my interest as the actual soundbar part of it is relatively tiny. Buy can it still do the job?
Let’s have a look and a listen.
Aego Sound3ar design
The soundbar element of this dynamic duo measures just 500mm wide. This is buddied with a more conventionally sized powered subwoofer.
The subwoofer is the brains of this partnership. This is where all of the connections that matter live, as well as dishing out 65W of amplification.
The passive soundbar connects to the subwoofer using the supplied RCA analogue cable, which cuts the amount of untidy wiring around the TV.
The soundbar’s compact dimensions (500 x 70 x 70mm (WxHxD)) takes up very little space in front of the TV. Great news for those who don’t like that hi-fi showroom vibe.
The materials used for the Acoustic Energy soundbar was a lot better than I was expecting at this price point. You are treated to a solid aluminium alloy body that not only looks the business, it feels like a quality item.
Thought has obviously been put into its design too. Instead of just a nice looking box, the Sound3ar has rounded edges and rubber end panels just to finish things off. The soundbar sits at a 30 degree angle when on a flat surface. This ensures a decent projection in to the room.
Other than the Acoustic Energy logo, there’s nothing much more to say. There’s no lights, controls or notification panels here. Just a pair of RCA ports around the back.
It is a fairly standard size for a compact sub. Not in Damson’s league of miniaturisation, but still easy enough to hide.
At the rear of the woofer is where you’ll find those aforementioned connections. These have been nicely recessed and are downward pointing to keep things tidy and allow positioning up against a wall or unit.
Here you have a optical digital and 3.5mm minijack inputs. There is also left/right speaker outputs to connect to the soundbar. Oh, and a place for the power lead.
There’s built-in Bluetooth for easy music streaming too.
Aego Sound3ar performance
The Sound3ar is really simple to set up. This is partly helped by the amount of input and output options – or lack there of.
Run the RCA from the output of the woofer to the soundbar and then hook up the soundbar to the TV using the optical input. There, Robert is your mother’s brother.
If you want to use the other inputs, shove in a 3.5mm cable in to the sub’s input and you can hook up portable devices to play through it.
While this might suit someone with enough space around their television, the way the Sound3ar is set up means that you have to have your sub near your telly. How far away you’re able to go is determined by the length of optical cable you have as well as analogue going back to the bar.
My Panasonic unit hooks up with optical to the bar but the woofer is Bluetooth and so can be hidden away anywhere in the room.
Above the grille of the woofer are some LED indicator lights that flash when you change the volume – the left two for down, the right two for up. The unit beeps when you reach the maximum limit. The same lights also display the bass level, which can be adjusted using the tiny remote.
The Sound3ar certainly generates a sound bigger than its diminutive dimensions would suggest.
The sound won’t have the room shaking but the sub is plenty eager enough and the soundbar is clear and exciting.
Explosions rumble convincingly and throaty V8s are pleasing to the ears.
I managed to get a really good balance between good slab of low end and pin-sharp mid-range attack. These resulted in awesome action sequences as well as clear dialogue.
I was impressed by the overall soundstage of the Sound3ar. Little details such as rain hitting foliage or gravel under foot came through nicely.
As dialogue was so clear I found myself leaving the unit running when just watching the news or sketch shows.
Although it is a competent performer the Sound3ar was never going to fill a larger room. I think my London living room is probably getting close to its limits. The soundbar, as lovely and compact as it is, can’t quite chuck the effects very widely. In a film where I have got used to hearing a key in the door over to my far right, this now presents just to the right of my telly. It’s still effective but it didn’t get me looking over my shoulder.
Playing some choice cuts from my phone through the Sound3ar showed it to be quite the performer here too. The sub isn’t overbearing and the presentation is detailed and precise.
Acoustic Energy Aego Sound3ar review conclusion
The Aego Sound3ar looks great and performs well. The soundbar portion will not clutter up your TV area and the woofer is potent enough to give your listening a decent punch.
Yes, the cable running from your telly to the sub does restrict your positioning choices but, as I found, the pairing of the woofer and bar does perform better when close to each other.
This system is certainly a step-up from using the tiny speakers in your skinny googlebox. The aluminium soundbar also has the looks to match even the latest top-flight 4K TV. More than I can say about the remote control.
The real selling point for the Aego Sound3ar is its level of performance at a really competitive price point. Its looks and performance has nudged my previous favourite sub £200 set-up down a peg or two.
I can safely say that this great looking compact soundbar and sub pairing offers superb value for money.