Elac Debut F5 in Review

Elac Debut F5 in Review

Elac Debut F5 is a full-fledged 3-way floor standing speaker with exclusive chassis technology. The Elac Debut F5 shows in the stereo playtest that this is possible.

Advance praise is always a thing, the more of it distributed, the greater the defeat later if expectations are not met. In this respect, the stakes for everyone involved are higher this time than usual.

But behind Elac’s new debut series is a developer luminary Andrew Jones, formerly at KEF and most recently as a coax specialist at Pioneer and TAD Labs responsible for exquisite but also expensive constructions. With his help, ELAC now wants to conquer the hotly contested North American market in particular. At the same time, the German development team continues to be responsible for all known and still unknown series, including the active speakers.

PROS:

  • Acoustically surprisingly powerful
  • Decent depth
  • The price is (almost) unbeatable

CONS:

  • Slightly unbalanced

Elac Debut-Serie

The first series, developed in Cypress (near Los Angeles) and manufactured in China, was appropriately named Debut. One could hardly pack more pathos into the story.

The complete series will comprise nine models. In addition to the F5 floor-standing speaker tested by stereo play (“F” stands for “floorstanding” = floor-standing speaker, the “5” for the built-in 5.25-inch cones). The larger F6 model (with 6, 5-inch drivers), two correspondingly named compact speakers B5 and B6 (“B” stands for “bookshelf” = shelf box), and a center. There are also three subwoofers and even a ceiling speaker intended for more advanced surround formats such as Dolby Atmos. The series may later be expanded to include a smaller compact box with the model designation B4.

Bulletproof membranes

The drivers installed in the Elac Debut F5 can also be found in the entire Debut series except for the subwoofers. For the cone material for the mid-bass drivers, ELAC relies on an aramid fabric, a material that is more commonly known under the brand name Kevlar. It is best known as a component of bulletproof protective clothing. The fiber-reinforced plastic allows the developers more control over the behavior of the membrane, especially when the flexural and tensile strength can be controlled via woven and bonded structures, as is the case here.

A 1-inch silk dome with a specially adapted sound funnel in the form of an extended ellipsoid of revolution is hidden behind the grille, ensuring optimized directional characteristics of the tweeter. No screws can be seen more due to the acoustics than the optics.

Hearing test

The delicate floorstanding speaker has an astonishing depth for its dimensions, which, however, has to be paid for with low sensitivity. In the laboratory, the Debut F5 only managed 80.7 dB/ 2 V/ 1 m and is one of the more “quiet” candidates in terms of measurements.

But you should never let that fool you. The sound of the box surprised me all the more. The listening test started with “Seeker” from Hiromi’s album “Alive.” The touch of the Japanese jazz pianist is precise. Then, at 0:57, bass and drums kick in, unexpectedly powerful and deep, just perhaps not timed down to the very last detail. This is where the bass reflex principle takes its toll. The box will probably run out of air in larger rooms, but it couldn’t be out of shape here in the test.

The next track was a live recording of Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You.” It revealed a strangely brilliant tuning, which can also be seen in the frequency response. It’s a matter of taste to a certain extent, but it was simply too much on this recording. The good first impression, now he was slightly clouded.

“Fine Days” from Hellmut Hattler’s album “Live Cuts II” (Track 6 on the stereo play CD “Perfektes Timing, Vol. 1” – Edition 06/2015 ) sounded more forgiving again, and slowly it became clear that the box prefers to play bass-heavy songs. At first glance, you wouldn’t have expected her to do that. And once you get used to the tuning, you don’t want to switch off the music anymore.

Conclusion on the Elac Debut F5

Here’s a lot of sound for little money. With the Debut F5, ELAC offers an amazingly impressive pair of loudspeakers, which does not have to hide in its class. So we say: “Well done, Andrew Jones!”

Elac Debut F5 in Review
Elac Debut F5 in Review

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