URRGH... i havent signed into this forum for years but as this thread is the first result on the mighty google for "Celestion A Compact" i thought i should correct some of the very dodgy opinions on Celestion's history here. Apologies for resurrecting this from the dead but i have to make some corrections...
KEF did not buy Celestion, a Hong Kong company owns both. Legend has it the CEO had Celestion and KEF present their respective best at the time for his evaluation and he the decided on which would survive. At the time KEF had the Reference series and R109 Maidstone, Celestion had the A series. 6 years earlier Celestion could have wheeled out the SL700SE, the Kingston and Ditton 66 Series II and would have monstered KEF. Anyway that is the legend, the truth as i see it is different, the Celestion Foxhall Rd factory was by this point 40years old and required complete refurbishment. Celestion also had a very respected name in pro audio thanks largely to their guitar speakers which KEF simply did not have. So the logical decision would have been to allow Celestion a new facility and to concentrate on Pro Audio and while it hurts as a Celestion collector that they no longer do Home Audio they are now the biggest pro audio manufacturer in the world while KEF go from strength to strength.
The general advice that the A Compacts need an amp with a good transformer is correct, you do not have to spend megabucks and some of the 90's amp make a superb match. Cheap as chips is the Sony TA F540E, these seem to go for 50-100quid on the bay and has the muscle required. If anyone happens to read this and has the A3 floorstanders then it is a must to at least bi amp them, it makes the beast a beauty!
The A series went off on a different direction from Celestions previous TOTL offerings, firstly legend has it Richard Allen had a hand in the design, secondly in came Titanium for the tweeter (previously Aluminium, copper silk and plastics had all previously been used). Celestion had been using exotic materials for cabinet construction, such as Metal Aerolam Cabinets for the SL600/600si/700/700si and 'Alpha Crystal' for the Kingston; for the A series it is all veneered MDF. The biggest problem with the A series overall is that they all make use of ports. Previously, apart from cheaper models, Celestion had always opted for infinite baffle designs or PBRs. Celestion had made a name for itself since the late 1970s for their domestic reference monitors and so to go to a more conventional lineup was a minor departure; yes they still made large floorstanders, the Ditton 88, the enormous 662 (seriously until you see one in the flesh you cant appreciate their sheer bulk!) and the Ditton 66 Series II but it was the SL600 and SL700 standmounts which were gaining international acclaim.
It is true to say the A series was Celestions last Hurrah in the domestic sphere, after the A series came the pricey, gawd aweful but modern looking C series and the pretty but hilariously overpriced AVF range. The A6S subwoofer had originally been designed as an integral stand for the A1 a bit like the System 6000 behaved for the SL600. Obviously this was abandoned and i cant help but feel the A1 design was compromised to make it a more full range design; what may have been if they continued with that concept!
When i was a 16yr old just finishing my GCSEs I got to spend a few weeks in the Celestion R&D dept on Foxhall Rd in Ipswich at the time the A compacts had been finalized - I know just how proud that department was of the design. The mids are truly excellent, superb imaging due to their small size and while the tweeter is a good design it is a shame they were ported, if anything the bass does slightly let the side down even if it is better than the LS3/5A which sells for 4x the price. I suppose more importantly they are cute, not may designs will endear themselves to the wife and sound half as good. The A compacts are definitely the models to have from the A series; it is odd how often the cheapest model ends up being the classic design...
...and breath, rant over.