Aerial Acoustics Model 8 loudspeaker Wilson CUB Comparison
Shortly after finishing my audition of the Wilson CUB, I set up the very same pair of Aerial Acoustics 8s recently reviewed for Stereophile by Michael Fremer (January 1998). This loudspeaker will cost you approximately $1000/pair less than the Wilson, depending on finish and the price of the stands you choose for the CUB.
The Aerial is a little more open-sounding on top, with a less vivid overall balance than the CUB. I never heard any recognizable midrange coloration from it. It goes very deep in the bass—compared with the limited extreme low-frequency response of the CUB, it isn't even a contest. You're unlikely to consider adding subwoofers to the Aerial.
But the Aerial definitely sounds a little warm and soft through the midbass. I was not at all bothered by this in my large listening room (in contrast to MF's reaction in his room). But the CUB definitely did have superior clarity through the midbass. And while I would definitely not describe the Aerial as polite or uninvolving, it's not as dynamically vibrant as the Wilson. It also requires far more power than the CUB to truly sing. But sing it will. It's sweeter-sounding than the CUB, and will never turn edgy, as the CUB still occasionally does. My preference? I'd have to lean a bit to the Aerial because of its bass extension and generally smoother, more linear response.—Thomas J. Norton