Elac's first-ever consumer audio product might have been a turntable, the PW1, but over the years the brand has produced all manner of loudspeakers including entry-level and high-end models. The German manufacturer has also developed and implemented a number of its own speaker technologies along the way, including its 4Pi omnidirectional tweeter and JET folded-ribbon tweeter.
More recently, Elac has delivered a great selection of well-performing, well-made and attractively-priced speakers, some of which rival the best in class.
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As is always the case when looking for a new pair of speakers, you'll want to consider how much you're willing to spend and whether you want to go for a standmounter or floorstanding model.
Thankfully, both of those bases are covered in our list of the best Elac speakers, so there should hopefully be something for everyone. If you're interested in discovering what the brand has to offer then please, read on.
Their predecessors (the B5.2, positioned below) have won multiple What Hi-Fi Awards, and we're pleased to say the new model doesn't disappoint.
They use a larger, 16.5cm version of their mid/bass unit, so you get the same blend of materials and the same reduced levels of distortion.
And while they might look understated, they're solidly built and reassuringly well made. The bigger cabinets, aided by that sizeable reflex port, predictably offer a good deal more bass weight than the B5.2, but they still refuse to overstretch. They deliver an open and balanced sound that can reach high and deliver ample bass without issue.
The B6.2 sound rhythmic and punchy, with plenty of weight but nimble with it. They take what we loved about their Award-winning siblings and build on it with an even fuller-bodied and more mature presentation. And for that, we commend them.
Read the full Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 review
The B5.2 are a big improvement on the original Elac B5 – in fact, almost everything about them has changed. The cabinet is taller, narrower and deeper, which makes them look more modern and less obtrusive. The 5.25cm mid/bass unit is new, while the bass reflex port has moved, and the tweeter has a new design too.
These were enough to earn them a What Hi-Fi Award in both 2021 and 2022.
These changes aren't purely cosmetic – they make a real difference to performance. Dense instrumentation and complex rhythms pose no problem, as they deliver sound with precision and a cohesion that’s rare for this level.
They can handle a wide range of music too, with the dynamic expression, detail resolution and tonal sophistication to handle it all. And they'll last you, with enough stretch in their abilities to get better even when the rest of your system is upgraded – just make sure it's up to handling some of the best Elac speakers going.
Read the full Elac Debut B5.2 review
Elac's 2.0 range has undergone a bit of a design overhaul compared to the original Debut. The F5.2’s black vinyl wrapped MDF cabinets are larger and more robust than their predecessors and incorporate special internal bracing for improved stiffness and overall strength. There is also a trio of rear-firing bass reflex ports spaced evenly along each speaker’s spine. It’s a pretty radical overhaul for an already successful product.
But one listen, and you know Elac's gamble has paid off. Their sound is wonderfully transparent, with plenty of detail and textural insight. The soundstage is spacious without losing focus, while the speakers are able to tie instruments together without muddying their sounds.
Some rivals might offer a fuller presentation, but few can match the F5.2's sense of maturity and honesty.
Read the full Elac Debut 2.0 F5.2 review
The Debut ConneX DCB41 is a slightly different beast to the other speakers here – it's a mini hi-fi setup in one. It comprises one powered speaker, and one more conventional passive unit, with the two linked by a speaker cable.
However, unlike some rival systems, it lacks streaming smarts, so you'll need to Bluetooth tracks from your mobile device or plug in an external device via the USB, optical or HDMI ports. There's also a set of stereo RCAs for hooking up a turntable. It could've done with a coax (digital) and maybe another analogue line-level input for completeness, but most bases are covered.
Build quality is pleasing, good and solid, and the speakers aren't overly fussy about placement, giving you plenty of options on where to put them.
Sonically, they provide a good level of detail, and they organise that information into a cohesive and musical whole. The overall presentation is controlled and even-handed in the manner of Elac’s award-winning Debut 2.0 series of passive speakers. These are speakers that fade into the background, letting the music take centre stage.
One niggle: the volume knob (which can also toggle through the inputs) is awkwardly positioned on the back panel, making it tricky to reach. You could use the remote of course, but who ever has that to hand?
Read the full Elac Debut ConneX DCB41 review
The clue is in the title with these Elac speakers. They boast a slimline design, but that's not all these standmounters have going for them – they're lovely to listen to as well, delivering a glorious spread of sound that's amazingly involving. Placing them near a wall doesn't hamper the soundstage either, which is a godsend if you don't want them encroaching on your floorspace. They also boast a satisfying cohesion between mid and high frequencies.
There’s a lot to be said for a trim, aesthetically pleasing pair of speakers that are open-sounding, fast and agile, and – for those victims of circumstance – don't mind being positioned near a back wall. If you want style and substance, the Elac Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim are a good shout indeed.
Read the full Elac Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim review
How we test speakers
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, including no small amount of speakers of all shapes, sizes and types. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. We always ensure we spend plenty of time with the speakers, trying them with different electronics, in different positions and with different music.
All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.
From all of our reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any of our other Best Buy pages, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.
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