Our Verdict 
A decent, if unexciting, pair of solid speakers that just misses the mark
For 
Solid, weighty sound
Decent amount of detail
Smooth, listenable sound
Good quality build and finish
Compact
Affordable price
Against 
Lack drive, excitement and subtlety
Could be more open and dynamic
Rivals are more interesting and engaging to listen to
Reviewed on

The Elac BS 73s could have been a great pair of speakers. A lack of drive and dynamic subtlety, however, means that they aren’t quite the fully-fledged entertainer when it comes to mid-priced standmounters.

Performance

It's best to give them about half an hour to warm up before listening

The BS 73s get off to a good start. The jangling bluesy guitars on Hot Tuna’s The Terrible Operation sound solid and detailed, with a good deal of weight to the bottom end.

Drums hit with a satisfying thump in Green Day’s Hitchin’ A Ride, although we’d like more punch and vigour to the presentation.

Listened on their own, the BS 73s sound perfectly fine. There are no harsh edges, and the drivers integrate smoothly. Placed against their rivals, however, you’ll notice that they’re quite dynamically restricted, that the treble doesn’t shine as sweetly, and there’s a lack of subtlety to the otherwise solid sound.

The Elacs struggle to give the horns and strings in John Williams’ Hymn to the Fallen the space to soar, and the sweeping music doesn’t have the emotional pull to draw you in.

More after the break

They’re not the liveliest or most dynamic of speakers, and the bass can sound ponderous

Rivals may not have the pleasing weight and depth to the bass that Elac does, but they’re likely a much livelier and open performance. But instruments sound detailed through the Epos speakers, and there’s a spark of excitement at the top end.

The BS 73s sound just short of fully unleashing their potential energy and dynamic range, with the bass sounding ponderous when it should be punchy and agile. As a result, the tempo lacks drive and excitement. We’d like a touch more clarity, too – the edges of notes can sound a little muddled.

We’d highly recommend letting the BS 73s warm up for at least half an hour before settling down for serious listening, as they sound quite sluggish when played cold. Take care with partnering equipment, too. The agile and full-bodied presentation of the excellent Rega Brio-R amplifier would liven up the BS 73s’ sound.

MORE: 9 of the best budget hi-fi speakers

Build and design

Elac has gone for a simple, minimalist look with the BS 73s, with a single finish in either white or black, and plain black drivers. Build quality is great. The speakers feel solid and hefty, and the smooth finish is pristine. You definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth here.

They’re fairly compact speakers, with a 15cm mid/bass driver that takes up nearly the entire front width of the cabinet, and won’t look out of place in a small room.

Be wary of poking the 25mm dome tweeter. It sticks out, unprotected, and we’d feel more comfortable if there was some sort of cover shielding it from prodding fingers.

Verdict

The Elac speakers are in formidable company. They do have price on their side – £440 is a notch up from the budget market – but the superb Award-winning B&W 685 S2s are a short jump up at £500.

The Elacs are a decent pair, but they need to offer greater clarity, precision and a punchier rhythm to compete in the same league.

MORE: Best stereo speakers 2014

See all our Elac reviews

The Competition 

B&W 685 S2

Our Rating 
93%
Price from £499

Triangle Esprit Titus EZ

Our Rating 
0%

Q Acoustics Concept 20

Our Rating 
87%
Price from £350