German speaker brand Elac isn't usually associated with the affordable end of the speaker market, and is perhaps better known in the UK for its high-tech drive units – especially the celebrated and distinctive JET ribbon tweeter, now in fifth-generation spec – and its unique brand of vorsprung durch technik. But the Kiel-based company is embracing changing markets with its new Debut range and looks set to bring the much-respected speaker name to a whole new audience, and perhaps give itself a little more funk in the process.
At the price, this new range looks like an entry-level lineup, but there's nothing entry-level about the sound of the B5 model we got to hear. The new range has eight models, three of which are aimed at stereo music listening – plus five models for home cinema including centre and Dolby Atmos add-on duties and three smartphone-controllable subwoofers for multi-channel setups.
Designer Andrew Jones told visitors attending his demos at the recent Hi-Fi Show Live event that the speaker has been built from a clean-sheet design, with custom-made key components and no-off-the-shelf parts. This might sound a little like marketing speak, but audience reaction upon hearing the sound from the baby Debut B5 (below) was promising indeed, and even more so when listeners realised its £250 tag.
The small B5 standmount uses a 5.25in mid/bass driver while the larger B6 (£299) standmount employs a 6.6in mid/bass driver. Both are made of woven aramid fibre, that Elac says offers superior stiffness-to-weight ratio and damping over polypropylene or paper cones to achieve a smooth and extended frequency response. Both models have a 1in fabric dome tweeter and claim 6ohm nominal impedance and sensitivity figures of 85dB and 87dB respectively.
The £599 F5 floorstander (pictured top) is a 2.5-way design with braced cabinets to aid strength and stiffness, with the tweeter and top mid/bass drivers isolated from the rest of the cabinet. It employs the same 1in fabric dome tweeter with three 5.25in mid/bass drivers made of woven aramid fibre, and claims 87dB sensitivity and 6ohm nominal impedance.
All models in the Debut series are available now with a black finish. Find out more here.
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