Heard ’em... my takeaway .... Meh?
IMO .....They are "okay" as either a "B" system speaker or a "C" system desktop rig, but again IMO, they are pretenders and certainly no contenders against , inter alia, KEF or DYNAUDIO as your primary speaker choice.
With a properly matched system, the latter strata speaker choice will smoke ’em.... not even close.
Here’s a reviewhttp://noaudiophile.com/ELAC_UB5_Listening_Impressions/
I would not buy them unheard on a blind purchase primarily based on reviews
Don’t get tempted into kidding yourself that their appeal -- almost totally based on a lower price point --- does not have significant warts or compromises in your peak performance expectations and/or a proper system synergy quest.
heard both Unify and LS50 at hifi shows; LS50 are better to my ears, but ELAC'S q/p ratio is higher.
to say it all, I may go for a Debut B5 which is even cheaper than Unify and sounds better to my ears (and many comments agree 'round here in Italy). that was really impressive for the price.
...that is: if your budget is 1500$, then you may have better choices (e.g. LS50 and so on); if your budget is 750$ but you're thinking of stretching it ("OK, after all, what if I don't eat and feed my familty for a month or two ?" just kiddin' :-D ), then I sould seriously consider ELAC if you only buy new.
...or a pre-owned LS50 otherwise ;-)
but what I mean is that I think you may be happy anyway with those ELAC's, though there are better speakers out there.
Plus, LS50’s are readily available used for around $1000. The UB5 is really built to a price point, using pretty crappy parts and cheap enclosures. Strictly a low-budget product.
LS50 is a very small sounding speaker. The UB5 is somewhat more open sounding and has better bass.
I think most people would be amazed if they had them side by side and compared volume matched (as I have).
LS50s are a very overrated product if you ask me. Classic symptom of the Internet forum echo chambers (AVS Forum, etc) spreading too many good reviews from novice speaker buyers.
Just my opinion of course.
If you're looking for a good bang for the buck little bookshelf, and you llike warm sound with wide soundstage amd good imaging, i can recommend wharfedale denton. They can be had for less than $500, they feature incredibly nice cabinetry for the money, high quality finish and binding posts, and they sound really good. Speakers i used the most right now are totem hawks, but i like to swap and the dentons are a pleasure to listen too, very very smooth.
Proud former owner of Elac B6 here. I would highly recommend Elac but you need to know the differences between Elac and KEF sound.
Elac - very musical and superb midrange, the entry level Elac will play vocal and simple music very well with upstream gear in the same price range. Elac are fun and make you feel excited when listening to music. Also very good when double up as home theater speakers. The speakers require extensive continuous playing hours to break-in 40+hrs in my case. The difference before and after was very significant that when I used an unbroken in Elac demo pair in my local store to find an amp the sonic gaps were wide. Also, the Uni-Fi series use aluminum and at least during break in period you'll definitely notice the initial soda can like metallic sound. The metallic sound is known to go away and smooth out after break in.
However, I was unable to play complex music like big classical piece with lots of orchestral instruments without muddled sound. I knew for a fact that the Elacs could do much better with more expensive gear but then I ran into the dilemma of buying DAC/amp that would cost 5x-6x the price of the speakers ($1000 DAC + $1000 amp) which didn't make sense to me and I never went down that road.
If you want to try Elac/KEF and don't plan on investing over $2k of upstream gear, I highly recommend going with the new Debut B6 with walnut finishes to start your audiophile journey. If money is no issue, I would recommend waiting on the new Adante bookshelf coming out this year for $2500, a new creation from Andrew Jones when cost is not a concern.
KEF - requires much higher end gear than Elac to get good performance, something of a big cost to factor in. Most people I read about who get great performance from their KEF LS50 are running 2-3k upstream gear at least. LS50 like all KEFs have a laid back more relaxed nature (relatively speaking). I listened to the LS50 in the store with Rega Brio-R and the performance was poor, most likely just bad gear partnering. Versus Elac, the sonic 'style' are very different and you must listen in order to judge for yourself.
The ELAC B6 and UB5 are dramatically different sounding (and priced) speakers.
I had a chance to hear Both UB5 and LS50 twice. The first time the LS50 was paired with a Primaluna integrated and it sounded incredible. I simply could not believe what was coming out of these little box speakers. I had a similar reaction when I heard the UB5 paired with a $400 NAD integrated. A $3500 system vs. an $800 one, both impressive but for different reasons. No question the PL/KEF combo was in a different league.The second time I heard the LS50 I asked the sales guy to switch the amp and hook it up to the same NAD integrated I had heard paired with the Elacs. Even though this was not an A/B test - the dealer did not carry Elacs, I thought the Elacs sounded better - much better bass, detail, etc., with the lesser amp. I just wished I could hear the Elacs with Primaluna amp but I can only imagine how much better they would have sounded. Bottom line (for me) was if I were to buy the KEF, I would either have to be prepared to buy a high quality amplifier, otherwise I'd just go with the Elacs and buy a comparably priced amp. This is all if the SQ is the only criteria otherwise LS50 is in a completely different class when it comes to the build quality.
I believe in your premise Kalali, balance in a system is important, otherwise one is always chasing the 'weak link'. I have no doubt that the LS50 is capable of exposing the differences between a $500 SS amp vs. a $2000 tube one. Likely the UB5 could do the same. However pairing a set of speakers with an amplification costing 5-10 X the cost is not advisable (not saying you implied this). That said, I can't say I agree when I hear one advise others that they should spend 1/2 their audio budget on speakers. There are situations (upper end budgets) when this may be justified however not for the majority.
Thanks for everyone's comments. I am using a Peachtree decco 125se for amplification. Supposedly it pairs very well with the kef. According to the reviews I have read both speakers need plenty of power to sound their best and the elacs respond well to more expensive partnering kits.
In terms of cost the truth is that I could buy the Elacs off of Amazon very soon because I have both cash and gift cards. If I hold out for the Kefs it will probably take me another 6 months of saving.
I also should say that I will partnering either set of speakers with a subwoofer so bass response isn't something I am particularly worried about. I also listen to music at relatively low volumes.
I listen mostly to low key rock and folk music and concentrate on vocals more than anything else so I need a speaker that excels at that. I tend to like a brighter sound though right now I am using a pair of wharfedale 10.1s and I hear from others that they have a warm sound to them. I am sure either pair of speakers will be an upgrade. I am concerned with aesthetics because who doesn't like nice things. I would probably spring for the slim finished cabinet ELACS which brings the price advantage down quite a bit.
Most reviews and comments I have read praise the Elacs with rock music based on their dynamism and bass response. I have noticed that any reviews of the Kefs are from audiophile sites that tend to audition speakers with classical and jazz music. I think that is more about the reviewers and readership than it is about what the speakers are capable of. However, without being able to A/B them myself I have to take things on faith. I suppose I could order the elacs and then return them if I don't like them. What do you think?
I understand your desire to change the sonic character of your system via speaker change. Serves as one of best ways to explore and discover which sonic characteristics are most important to oneself. After that one can then improve on the quality of the desired presentation with the purchase of a more refined speaker having the desired characters. From reviews do you get the impression that the Elacs are brighter than the Wharfes? If so maybe you should give them a shot.
With your amplifier you are positioned for speakers that are more refined than the Wharfdales or Elacs. Of the speakers you mentioned, I have heard and really like the Dynaudio X14s. They sometimes come up used here on AG. I intend to purchase a pair myself when a pair comes up at my price.
Even tougher. Just found a used pair of the finished slim cabinet Elacs for $600 on Amazon. I could get those tomorrow.
At or around your price you can get a previously owned pair of Revel M22's . Reference quality sound for a very affordable price.
If you have the funds to get the ELACs from Amazon now, then I'd do that and take a good listen for yourself. Amazon has an excellent return policy so you've got 30 days to get a feel for whether they are for you (in your space, room matching should not be overlooked!). If not, return them for a refund and save up for some KEFs.
I own the Wharfedale 10.1 and 10.2.i heard the Ls50 with ML 100 w, accompanied by audio research preamp and theta transport n dac with aq diamond ic n dragon sp cables, they blew me away, this speakers are capable of giving you anything you connect to them, there's limit of course...
The Elac UniB5 I heard at Axpona last year, connected with Audioalchemy gears n Audioquest cables, they also sound very very good.
So which one to choose? If you have budget and good gear Ls50 is the way to go.this is a quality speaker...well made, well built...The B5 you can't go wrong as well...no matter what they are musical...
Another point to keep in mind is the cost of the stands. They tend to make a noticeable difference in the sonics so you don't want to skimp when buying a $1500 speakers.
Kalali agree, sound anchor has a good stands owner is nice....