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.
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.
Type 2-Way Bass Reflex
Frequency response 44Hz – 35kHz
Impedance 6 ohms
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 :)
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.