Elipson Music Centre/Planet L review

This stylish music system has a jam-packed specification Tested at £1800

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

In strict sound-per-pound terms, this system isn’t without flaws, but there’s much to admire


  • +

    Lucid imaging and enjoyable balance

  • +

    great build and spec for the price

  • +

    unique style


  • -

    A more conventional pair of speakers will sound better all-round

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Design can often be divisive: one person’s eye-candy can be another’s eyesore. Bravo, then, to French firm Elipson for daring to be different with its new Music Centre, which shatters the monotonous 435mm-wide regimentation of most hi-fi design.

The Music Centre’s 33cm diameter belies its jam-packed specification. Inside lurks a 24-bit/192kHz DAC, a slot-loading CD drive, a DAB+/FM tuner and enough inputs for most needs. You also get a Kleer-based USB wireless transmission dongle.

Power comes from 120W of Bang & Olufsen-sourced ICEpower amplification.

It’s impressive stuff: the controls (touchpanel affairs with neat backlights) feel classy, and proper binding posts adorn the rear, alongside headphone outputs.

It works very well too: even when driving our Monitor Audio Platinum-series speakers, the Elipson sounds impressively assured, its fast-sounding amplification and largely neutral balance making it an enjoyable listen with Dry The River’s exuberant New Ceremony.

A new sphere of operation

If the Music Centre’s distinctive, it’s nothing compared with the radical form of its partnering speakers, the Planet Ls.

Beautifully finished, these spherical two-way speakers are supplied with a table-top ‘ring’ for installation (the floor stands shown here are £200 per pair).

They’re unconventional to behold and equally distinctive to listen to, with a fine grasp of vocals, crisply defined imaging and a lucid, rhythmic presentation.

Equally, though, they’re no rival for the drive or punch of the best conventional cones. Bass response is a little lacking too, although if you were sold on the speakers, you could always underpin them with an active subwoofer such as B&W’s PV1.

The Music Centre is the stronger of the two components here, and would probably be better partnered with something more straight-laced, such as a pair of B&W 685s.

Still, there’s huge appeal to this avant-garde combination. Vive, as they say, la difference…

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test