The Other End of the Elac Line

Although you may associate Elac solely with Andrew Jones's expanding collection of bargain-priced loudspeakers, the 90-year old German company actually has a wide range of products at various price points. "We're famous for a lot of bass from small cabinets," said Rolf Janke (above), head of research and development, as he discussed Elac's new 90th anniversary Concentro loudspeaker ($70,000/pair).

Available in a few weeks, the speaker has four 10" short-coil, long-gap bass drivers that can output 120dB, and special bass-reflex tuning. The cabinet is a crystal-membrane aluminum sandwich construction. If you don't know exactly what that means, you're not alone.

"Both Andrew and I like coaxial systems," Janke said. "This is our latest version, which I designed. The Concentro's bass drivers work together in push-push pull-pull, and are mounted against each other to reduce vibrations. You can turn a coin on its side, balance it atop the Concentro, and play the speaker without the coin falling over."

The large distance between the speaker's side-firing bass drivers contributes to superior horizontal directivity, which reduces standing waves in the room. A knob on the speaker's rear allows the listener to adjust midrange directivity to compensate for the distance between the loudspeaker and the listener. "You can balance the direct and indirect sound," Janke said at the end of a complex spiel that left me eager to hear his loudspeaker.