ELAC & Mr. Jones

Everywhere I go I hear about Andrew Jones the speaker design wizard, and how suddenly, this "trending" new combination of established manufacturing smarts (ELAC America) and engineering magic is making high-value speakers at astonishingly low prices. (I had just submitted a review of the ELAC Debut B6 for the May issue of Stereophile before boarding the plane for Vegas.)

Before all the aramid cones had even broken in on the Debut Series, Elac America has introduced a new series called the "Uni-Fi"—which consists of a floor stander (the UF5), a bookshelf model (UB5), and a center channel—all featuring aluminum cones and a concentric mid-tweeter unit. While at KEF, Jones participated in the development of that company's famous Uni-Q concentric driver, which now anchors the entire KEF line. This new "Uni-Fi" series of concentric driver+woofer for Elac suggests a similar approach. The UB5s Jones demoed played faster, stronger, more clearly than the Debut B6s I reviewed. It appears that Elac is picking up momentum very quickly.

jbucko's picture

I may need to cancel my order of the apparently out of stock B6.. any word on pricing and/or release date for the UB5?

Part-Time Audiophile's picture

Pretty sure we're looking at "mid-2016" for the line to start rolling out.

crenca's picture

I don't want to wait that long...give me my candy!!! ;)

jbucko's picture

According to a post over at cnet, the UB5 will be available in April for $500 :)


David Harper's picture

The buzz about these speakers tells us more about the influence of "The Absolute Sound" than it does about the quality of the speakers.
I have not heard the speakers, so I cannot comment on their sound, but I would suspect that many other good, well designed low-priced floor-standing speakers, such as the Polk Rtia5, would sound very much the same.
The fact that a positive review by an audiophile magazine results in this kind of response is kind of scary.

crenca's picture

I own a pair of B6's. After auditioning the equivalent from Martin Logan, B&W, Technics, etc. I went with them. Of what I auditioned, the only speaker I would reach for over the Elac's (cost no object) was the B&W CM5, though I do not like B&W's "hot" treble (although it is otherwise smooth and clear). Throw in cost (the B&W's are x5) and the Elac's were a no brainer.

For once, the hype is justified.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

In response to David Harper's monkey see - monkey do post, I first commented on the astounding sound of Elac's small B5 loudspeakers back in August [See http://www.stereophile.com/content/hot-contenders-2015-cas]. I was absolutely convinced of their value long before the TAS review appeared. I also assure you that Herb Reichert's informed response is rooted in what he heard, rather than in what another magazine reviewer wrote.

David Harper's picture

I admit to not having auditioned the speakers, and to the possibility that you're right, and I'm wrong.
I will hear them as soon as I am able. It's hard for me to believe that dynamic drivers in a box can sound better than ML ESL's, or magnepan planars, but anything is possible, I suppose.

olc's picture

Your initial comparison was to Polk Rtia5s. Now you want to compare far more expensive planars. Why not just hear the Elacs for yourself. Based on the Debut B5s, Elac US is providing more performance for money than anything I've experienced in decades of audiophilia.

bdaddy60's picture

Look it's a turn toward common sense that both Jason and Herb are straight forward and more than that Stereophile and TAS are obliged to cover these products. They are needed badly if for no other reason than to quell the distaste to many of the ever increasing price of hifi. My son can afford these products and deserves a shot at owning good sounding good value hifi. I lost my mind long ago and have invested ten's of thousands chasing the audio wind and catching nary a handful. It started with those Pioneer speakers and perhaps they'll be more. I'm happy to continue reading Stereophile because of that.

David Harper's picture

I take back what I said; the ELAC B6 is an incredible sounding speaker. I have been listening to it for a week, and it blows away my floorstanders(which cost four times as much)
It reveals subtleties and nuances in the music I never knew existed until now.
Now for a generous helping of crow..........

FMalitz's picture

I listened to them carefully at CES. Never, in my 50 years in this industry, have I experienced a more astonishing demo dollar for dollar. I've repped everything from Apogee to Sonus Faber to Totem and too many other fine brands to list. I'm also the founder of Onkyo USA and I'm now the CEO of the new Bob Carver Company so I have fine speakers to sell and I will but, guys, you've got to hear these Uni-Fi units at $500 RETAIL! Jones is unequivocally a speaker genius and there are only a handful or two on this planet. His accomplishments speak for themselves (oops, sorry) but this Elac line takes his craft to another level. I believe these Elacs to be the greatest HiFi value in history. They positively murdered a famous $100,000 system down the hall. Don't bother with the "usual suspects"--the mundane name brands, one of which was bandied about in this thread. You must audition these in person. Don't take my word for it.

Russell Dawkins's picture

Now I have begun wondering whether these could serve as serious studio near field monitors; I'm beginning to suspect they could.
There has been a huge buzz over the last year about the new Amphion studio line-up—the One15, One18, and so on. I wonder if these could compete - or even better the Amphions at their game, part of which is neutrality.

FMalitz's picture

They would make superb near field monitors in my estimation. Some famous near-field monitors suck anyway. These do not. Admittedly, they (Andrew) used great sounding material but it was over-the-counter tunes--not audiophile recordings.

Audiolad's picture

I'm actually listening to the (What HiFi rated 5 star) Bronze BX2. I would only rate them 3 stars, and I think I will look for a different speaker company in the future. Same for the Rega RP1 (just installed all new tonearm wiring). Luckily, my main stereo system has Swans M1 pedestal mount speakers. However, at $1800 in 2016, they probably aren't up to the competition (compared to other $1800 speakers).

For reasons already mentioned, I never liked the brightness of the B&W. KEF speakers are hard to demo because they aren't as popular in the US. These new ELAC speakers are a good possibility for the near future. I will wait until the individual interviews show up online. Sometimes you find out things the reviewers fail to tell you while they're worshiping at the feet of the great Andrew Jones. I hope for the best, and color of the cabinet means nothing to me. You don't listen to color.

renorhino's picture

What comparable integrated amp complement the ELAC Uni-fi sound? I have read about the Rogue Audio Sphinx V2, the Rega Elex-R, Nuprime IDA-8, etc., but I haven't heard anyone comment about the ideal partner to power these exceptionally "gifted" speakers from Mr. Jones. Any ideas?