Elac Debut Reference DBR62 review

Exceptional standmounters in most, but not all, areas Tested at £499 / $600 / AU$999

Elac Debut Reference DBR62 review
(Image: © Elac)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These Elacs are exceptional in parts, but they aren’t the most exciting to listen to


  • +

    Transparent midrange performance

  • +

    Great integration between drivers

  • +

    Good detail levels


  • -

    Presentation lacks drama

  • -

    Needs care in partnering

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.

We’re big fans of Elac’s entry-level Debut speaker range. Each of the three models we’ve tested has managed to win us over, together garnering the German manufacturer an unbroken string of five-star reviews. 

The new, more premium Debut Reference series – comprised of the DBR62 standmounters on test here, the DFR52 floorstanders and the DCR52 centre speaker – aims to take things further.


Elac Debut Reference DBR62 build

(Image credit: Elac)

The DBR62 feel nicely made and are pleasingly solid, no doubt helped by the new perimeter internal bracing.

The quality of finish is high and there are two colour options – a white baffle with an oak-covered cabinet or a black baffle with a walnut box. Either way, these speakers succeed in looking smart.

Elac Debut Reference DBR62 tech specs

Elac Debut Reference DBR62

(Image credit: Elac)

Type 2-Way Bass Reflex

Frequency response 44Hz – 35kHz

Impedance 6 ohms

Sensitivity 86dB

Finishes x2

Dimensions (hwd) 21 x 36 x 27cm

Weight 8.2kg (each)

Technically, the big news here is the new mid/bass unit with its cast aluminium chassis. Its 16.5cm cone is made of aramid fibre, as is the case with Elac's much-admired but cheaper Debut 2.0 B6.2.

Here, it’s linked to the same 25mm cloth dome tweeter as the junior model, but much work has been done on the high-frequency unit’s waveguide to improve the overall performance.

A carefully calibrated, single-wire crossover links the two drivers. Bi-wiring isn’t an option, but at this level it makes more sense to use a single set of quality speaker cables than compromise with two pairs of inferior alternatives.


Elac Debut Reference DBR62 compatibility

(Image credit: Elac)

While it’s possible to place the DBR62 close to a rear wall, we wouldn’t advise such positioning. In our test room, their presentation becomes congested and loses a little balance when used in this way. Start from around 50cm out from the wall and adjust from there; given some space to breathe, they produce a far more open and subtle sound.

As for partnering equipment, these are revealing speakers so it’s best to use suitably capable kit. We would suggest something like the Rega Brio or Cambridge CXA61 amplifier and sources the level of the Cambridge CXN music streamer or Rega Planar 3 record player, at least.

Don’t forget a pair of solid stands, too. Compromise the system electronics or the supports and you’ll never hear just how good these Elacs can be. At their best, they challenge the class leaders. They have a transparent, even-handed nature that avoids the overt sonic flavouring imparted by most rivals.


Elac Debut Reference DBR62 sound

(Image credit: Elac)

We love their midrange performance. It’s clean, clear and impressively delicate, without sounding forward or overly etched. We listen to a range of recordings, from Michael Kiwanuka’s '70s-tinged Home Again to the emotionally charged Found Songs from Ólafur Arnalds, and the Elacs truly shine.

They dig deep into vocals and bring out the nuances and texture as capably as speakers that cost hundreds more, while shading dynamics with an ease and elegance that’s rare at this level.

It’s a cohesive and tidy sound – one that has enough in the way of scale and authority to convince. All that work on the tweeter’s waveguide pays dividends: there's seamless integration between the drivers, and the tweeter never draws attention to itself. The highs sound refined and insightful but still manage to pack enough in the way of bite to avoid complaint.

The lows are nicely blended too, and deliver enough in the way of reach to give a good impression of solidity and weight to the presentation.

Talented though these speakers are, they aren’t fully rounded. Listen to something harder hitting, such as works by Jay Z or Nirvana, and you’ll find that rhythmic drive and dynamic punch are subdued. It’s as though the DBR62s deem such things to be of secondary importance to its finesse and information retrieval skills.


If you’re looking for speakers to thrill you with thumping crescendos or make you want to dance, these Elacs aren’t for you. These are more cerebral performers that are more concerned with dotting the ‘i’s than having a party.

But if the DBR62’s talents align with your tastes, we doubt you’ll find better for the money. For the rest of us, they’re likely to remain speakers to admire rather than love.


  • Sound 4
  • Compatibility 4
  • Build 5


Read our guide to the best stereo speakers

Read our Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 review

Read our Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 review

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

  • celroid
    For a real review of the DBR62, refer to the audiosciencereview forums.
  • halloweenman
    I simply don't agree with the 4 stars, the reviewer got it wrong.

    I demo'd these speakers at home and they compared well with my Harbeth 30.1 speakers which is remarkable given the price difference.

    If you want a hyped top end then, yes, these might not be for you.

    If you want a balanced sound from top to bottom then I've not heard better budget speakers. They are fantastic sounding, brilliant 5 star speakers.

    The bass was actually too much for my modest room.
  • creature66
    I have to agree with the comments above; I think the reviewer got this one wrong too.
    There is plenty of heft on the bass end.
    In fact, these speakers seem to have an ideal balance for the average consumer's living room.
    There really does seem to be a bias at What Hi-Fi towards the (admittedly very good) B&W 606s. The outstanding Klipsch RP-600M and Elac DBR62 speakers seem to have been deliberately sidelined.
  • Vanilla Creme
    Spot on. A boring speaker, and poorly made, in that the vinyl wraps around with an ugly visible seam. The speaker also lacks in detail, and has a very poor soundstage. Might be ok for some genres, but quite bad for any serious listening. I would give it 3 stars at best.
  • E_kawa
    I agree with review of whathifi, i tried those speakers for one month and even though they have a detailed and great sound didn’t completely convince me. They sounds like little boring, not engaging, for some kind of music. However I loved them with jazz :)
  • robdmarsh
    I don't get the luke warm reception for Elac speakers in the UK, especially given the superb quality of the budget models and the fact they are designed by Brit legend Andrew Jones.
  • paspolc
    I have owned these speakers for a couple of months now and I combined them with a 6 band tone control Schiit lokius, a Yamaha nr803d, plus a smsl sanskrit 10th Dac. I am quite satisfied with the musical performance, I mostly listen to rock, blues and jazz, happy with the purchase.
  • SteveR750
    Seems some folk either simply don't like low distortion / flat FR due to the horizontal wave guide providing a wide off axis response, it's not a speaker designed with any showroom sizzle thank goodness.
    What HiFi either lazy journalism or fail to understand the basic concept of the design. It's a step up and some from the Debut B6 in both objective and subjective testing.
  • SteveR750
    celroid said:
    For a real review of the DBR62, refer to the audiosciencereview forums.
    For a real world review of anything, not just these. surely no one takes w WHF product review remotely seriously these days?
  • 12th Monkey
    SteveR750 said:
    For a real world review of anything, not just these. surely no one takes w WHF product review remotely seriously these days?
    This is an old thread, and I think you are crossing the line into being rude so it's getting locked.