Especially with speakers, I think it's best to listen and decide for yourself. It looks like these speakers are commonly available from stores that offer a 30-day return policy. Why not take advantage of that?
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@james_w514 - Not sure I understand you. No Hype? Do you mean that your friend who brought the Uni-fis to the shootout was not embarrassed because his speakers held up well against the much higher priced competition? So you're saying that they performed very well and that you liked them?
@Cleeds - Of course I agree. And yes, if I do end up parting with my Wharefedales I will definitely be buying the Uni-Fis from Amazon or Bestbuy and using one of their return policies if need be.
But what I am itching at here is whether or not these new ELACs are indeed the most impressive value driven speaker made to date. It is fairly obvious that it has only been within the most recent 10-15 years that manufacturers have been able to put out speakers of this incredible quality for under $1,000.00.
I am not that old, but I do hear quite frequently that 15 years ago you would be hard pressed to find a speaker for $1,000.00 that performed as well as say.. the Monitor Audio Bronze series, or PSB Imagine X series, or the new ELACs, or even Klipsch.
It seems that some of these manufacturers keep pushing the envelope each year with their products by making better drivers, sturdier cabinets, fresher veneers and higher quality components overall whilst maintaining the same price point.
I've seen certain behaviour patterns in audio forums like this one. Around some brands there is a fervent fanboy following that rises up and is easily identifiable. Emotiva, Tekton and whatever Paul Jones is currently involved with, to name a few.
I've started wondering if some companies have a strategy of sending a small group of employees out into the internet to be boosters of the brand. It would be a good way to generate sales which is the life blood of any manufacturer.
I recommended the UB5 to a friend based solely on the "hype." When they arrived I brought my modified Bryston B60 over to give it a listen. I have to say, even with a less than optimal setup (sitting on a table, using a phone as source), they were impressive for the money. Full, coherent sound, vocals had great presence. The high order crossover does kill a little openness vs. a minimalist design and they are a somewhat harder load to drive so you'll need a decent amp with current.
Part of the reason I am asking these questions is because a friend reached out to me recently and asked for some speaker recommendations for his new mixing setup. He has spent most of his money setting up the new room in his house and can only afford something in the $300 range at the moment.
Obviously my first words of advice were to wait a little longer until he can afford something nicer, but this particular friend is not one to part $1,000+ on speakers, so he declined that advice. Then, I couldn’t help but recommend the ELAC B5s. All that hype, so naturally I even wanted to hear them for myself. I also showed him the Monitor Audio Bronze 1, PSB Alpha B1 and Wharefedale Diamond 210, but if these ELACs are what they say they are then why bother with anything else in that price range?
To James’ point in his first post in this thread, speakers, even those at fairly low price points, are quite good...what holds them back are the accompanying components ahead of them. If one is shopping at the price point suggested, then commonly (typically) the gear in the chain will likely be of (or reflect) similar price points. That, to me, is more of an issue. The demos mentioned may also have used higher calibre power supplies, cabling, isolation, etc. So it get complicated.
My brother-in-law and I went to RMAF and listened to several "High-End" rooms. At the end of the day we went into the ELAC room where Andrew Jones was "holding court". I knew the ELAC story but he did not. After listening for 15 minutes I asked him how much he thought the ELAC floor standers cost. Using his $50k Audio Research, VPI, and Rockport system as a reference he responded, "Oh, I'd say between 8 and 10 thousand." Hope this answers your question!
@shoff - I like that story. Ultimately I have to hear the ELACs for myself, and hopefully that will be some day soon. Until then I keep stumbling onto other entry level options each day, and honestly it’s just so exciting. They seem endless. Everywhere I look there are floorstanding options in the $1,000 range that appear to perform exceptionally well. The SVS Prime series is an example of one that I have recently looked into. They look wonderful. So does the new Wharfedale Diamond 11 series, and the Emotivas. I want to try them all. Every floorstander in the $1,000 range.
It’s simply that these entry levels are ACCESSIBLE that makes them so intriguing to me. 99% of us (Quite literally) cannot afford to spend more than $1,000 on JUST speakers in order to bring good clean music into our daily lives. These entry levels make this possible. As a musician this is something that I hold sacred. Even the wealthiest of us I would expect to have a humble stance on this subject. Music, the language that communicates directly with our souls, shouldn’t have to cost us $10,000+ to access in any near-accurate form. And the fact that there are so many options for under a grand is just wonderful.
Yes, this is a hobby for most of us on this forum, and I personally have no problem spending as much as say... $2,500 just for the speakers in my setup, but I don’t think that I should NEED to in order to get speakers that accurately reproduce the music I listen to. I think these manufacturers are proving me right with each new entry-level release.