Home | Audio Reviews |Audiophile Shows | Partner Mags News

 

September 2021

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

World Premiere Review!
ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review
One of the best price versus performance monitor loudspeakers.
Review By Ron Nagle

 

ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review

 

  This narrative begins as an evaluation of the new ELAC Uni-Fi UB2 speakers. However, you could not tell the ELAC story without first introducing Mr. Andrew Jones. He is an extraordinary designer who, through his expertise, revitalized the ELAC brand in America. The ELAC company is an old and well-established German loudspeaker manufacturer. As a matter of record, ELAC was founded in 1926 as 'Electroacustic GmbH'. Mr. Andrew Jones was hired in 2015 as part of the creation of ELAC Americas Inc in Cypress, CA.

Andrew Jones' official title is VP of Engineering. This was in part based on his remarkable career designing speakers for KEF, Infinity, and Pioneer/TAD. His talents were evident in his design for the $29,800 Tad Evolution One and others. At the opposite end of the spectrum is his design of the $129.99 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR. Subsequently, it was with renewed confidence the Kiel-based German company established a new design center in the USA at Cypress, California.

 

Back Story
Let us take a trip down memory lane. It is October of 2015 in Denver Colorado. I am walking along a hallway at the 12th annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest when I meet an old audio friend. I ask the classic audio show question, have you heard anything good? He urges me to stop by ELAC in room 2920. "They are demoing a small speaker for two hundred dollars that; sounds amazing." By the time I arrive, there is a line outside the doorway. Squeezing past two big guys, I see Andrew Jones up front presenting his tiny two-way Debut speakers. This was my very first introduction to Mr. Jones and ELAC. Of course, anyone can pour a lot of money into a speaker, but what Andrew Jones can do on a budget is simply amazing.

 

ELAC UBR62-BK/W Uni-Fi Reference Speaker Review

 

Time Marches On
Today the ELAC company seems to have built a speaker for every possible application.

The DBR Lineup is current and is the Debut Reference, (Step up from the Debut 2.0 Line) which sits right below the new Uni-Fi Reference line a step up from the Uni-Fi 2.0 line. The company refers to their stand mount lineup as, "Book Shelf" speakers. The reference UBR62-BK/W speaker under evaluation could be used at the rear of an all ELAC audio video surround system. Physically the speaker looks similar to the older $599.98 ELAC DBR62, but in every other respect, it is a completely new design. The $999.98 reference UBR62-BK/W is a radically upgraded three-way speaker.

The entire Uni-Fi reference line implements full perimeter cabinet bracing, that significantly reduces cabinet vibration and coloration. The new Book Shelf UBR62-BK/W frequency extension is given as 41Hz up to 35kHz. But in every respect, the list of specifications is almost identical to the much larger floor standing five-driver UFR52. The frequency extension of the larger UFR52 is rated at 35kHz and down to 40Hz. So why choose the smaller speaker; when the rated frequency specifications of both speakers are almost identical. However, the UBR62-BK/W smaller enclosure has an advantage; it will better approximate a point source.

 

 

Subject Nomenclature
What can you expect from this small box? The answer will push the limits of what is possible from a bookshelf speaker. The upgraded UBR62 is a three-way bass-reflex design. It is housed in a: 8.19" x 14.13" x 13.15" (WxHxD) enclosure with a newly designed Dual Flared slotted port. The Dual Flared port utilizes both internal and external flares allowing for lower noise and higher bass output for improved low-frequency dynamics.

The Uni-Fi reference line implements full perimeter bracing, significantly reducing cabinet vibration and cabinet coloration. Improvements include a one-inch soft-dome coaxial /compound tweeter matched with a four-inch aluminum midrange speaker. Both occupy the same speaker opening and are housed together as one driver.

 

 

Additionally, both drivers share a single voice coil. This is an expensive way to time-align two drivers. The newly developed 6.5" woofer has an aluminum cone and is a new modified bass driver. It features a cast chassis and a single-piece compound curvature aluminum cone. It has a large rear vented magnet delivering improved linearity and better low-frequency response than any previous Uni-Fi bookshelf speaker. At the rear of the speaker, there are two pairs of speaker binding posts joined together by a gold-plated metal bar.

 

 

The UBR62 speaker cabinets can be ordered in two styles. You may choose a satin simulated Oak body with a white front face or a satin Walnut laminate body with a black face. Both of these speakers come with a very nice gray fabric grill cover. Lastly, the nominal amplifier impedance rating is given as 6 Ohms.

 

Set Up
I am very happy to inform you that room placement is not all that difficult. The Owners Manual, ELAC calls it the Operating Instructions, are in English, French, and German. That pamphlet contains detailed instructions and diagrams on how to position the speakers. However, if you only need to place two stereo speakers as in my case, you can use a classic equilateral triangle. Then you can apply a little speaker toe in pointing them to the place where you usually listen. It's a simple formula that should work just fine with the UBR62.

I placed the speakers on the designer's recommended 24" high stands where they were not near any room boundaries. Using my Rives Audio CD, Testing for the Home Environment. I heard very useful bass down to track six at 31.5Hz. That frequency is subjectively 10 cycles lower than the manufacturer's bass specification. The treble output at the high end of the Rives CD goes out to 20kHz, far beyond my hearing ability.

 

 

Aural Aspects
First thing, You should not use them to chase the squirrels out of your attic. My Rogers Magtech amplifier has the power to send these little speakers into orbit, that's; not the point. They can play uncomfortably loud, but then you will miss the whole point. Think of them more like a musical microscope. The first disc up is one of my super CDs Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms [Universal XRCD 5483572.] First made clear is a quality that satisfies one of my three must-haves; my first requirement is a large and accurately scaled musical stage that fills and expands the space between the speakers.

The second absolute requirement is pinpoint detailing that lets you open the door to see into an alternate reality. This can't be more evident than on the track, Your Latest Trick. As you listen, you can hear multiple tracks layered behind the center voice track. The first track on Brothers In Arms is "So Far Away". There is a very distinctive repeating percussive quality. It is a raw metallic (splash) effect produced by the drum kit. While listening to this recording, I found myself turning up the volume once or twice to try and get more dynamic contrasts. I did get the driving energy I wanted, but at a louder level than my usual listening. My conclusion is the 6.5" Bass driver, while it is perfectly integrated it takes on some of the work from the lower mid-range, and therefore to some extent it does double duty.

My third requirement is verity when it is applied to timbral accuracy. With precise timber, you should be able to hear the tonal difference between a Steinway Piano and a Bosendorfer piano. With my Diana Krall CD Stepping Out [Just, 50-2] is a rare three-dollar flea market find. It is an intimate and pure recording of a three-person jazz trio comprised of Diana Krall, John Clayton, and Jeff Hamilton.

 

 

With this jazz CD, the spontaneity of the band's improvisations is captured with exceptional detail. On 42nd Street you can hear Hamilton's sizzling crisp metallic brushes massaging the drum head while guiding the tempo. At the same time, John Clayton's bass fiddle reverberates with resonating wood overtones. The bass reproduction is slightly warm, but it is beneficial to the timber and tone of this small ensemble jazz trio. This tonal profile is perfect for listening to jazz. It sounds very much like Diana Krall is in the room with me.

Let's listen to something with even more micro detailing that makes it harder to win all the marbles. I have a $5 black disk, again a flea market acquisition. The recording is by Sting titled The Dream Of The Blue Turtles [A&M SP-3750]. The very first cut is"If You Love Someone Set Them Free". From the very first uttered phrase, there is something people call the "jump factor," and that is apparent beyond any doubt. This is the least compressed recording that I own.

From somewhere deep in the center stage, the backup voices chant, "Free, free set them free". This reverberates off the rear wall. The air is charged with exciting dynamic energy. The sound has a subtle and yet familiar quality and, you have heard it somewhere before, and then it dawns on you. The sound is clean and clear with a midrange similar to a reel-to-reel tape recording.

 

 

Finale
There may be speakers that can get you closer to the live event. However, this audition is all about one affordable speaker. At $1000, the ELAC UBR62 monitor speaker can still be considered budget-priced. This is especially true if you consider a price versus performance comparison. You will realize you have found something remarkable. Over a period of years, I have watched the evolution of speakers made by ELAC, and each one offers something a little different. You can share my amazement at their ability to build different types of speakers. So the lesson you should take away is that it is not just about wood, wires, and metal. It is an art form!

What Andrew Jones has designed is an affordable and excellent way to bring music into your life, highly recommended.

 

Remember to Enjoy The Music and from me, Semper Hi-Fi.

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging

Fit And Finish

Self Noise

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: Coax- tweeter and midrange driver, three-way bass reflex
Frequency Response: 41Hz to 35kHz
Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohm
Sensitivity: 85dB/W/m
Crossover Frequency: 260Hz and 1800Hz
Drivers:
    Tweeter: 1" soft dome
    Midrange: 4" aluminum
    Woofer: 6.5" aluminum
Cabinet: CARB2-rated MDF
Cabinet Finish: Satin White with Oak sides, Satin Black with Walnut sides
Port: Dual flared slots
Binding Posts: Two pair, bi-wire five-way
Dimensions: 8.19" x 14.13" x 13.15" (WxHxD)
Weight: 23.54 lbs.
Price: $999.98 per pair

 

 

 

Company Information
ELAC Electroacustic GMBH
Fraunhoferstrase 16
Kiel D-24118
Germany

Voice: +49 (431)-64774-0 
E-mail: info@elac.de 
Website: ELAC.com

 

 

 

ELAC Americas Inc.
1938 North Batavia Street
Suite K
Orange, CA 92865

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

 

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

 

Videos
Enjoy the Music.TV

 

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Viewpoint By Steven R. Rochlin
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Show Reports
The HiFi Summit Q2 2021
T.H.E. Show 2021 Report
The HiFi Summit Q4 2020
The HiFi Summit Q2 2020
Bristol Hi-Fi Show Report 2020
Florida Audio Expo 2020 Show Report
New York Audio Show 2019 Report
Capital Audiofest 2019 Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2019
High End Munich 2019 Show Report
AXPONA 2019 Show Report
Zagreb AV Show Report 2019
CanJam Singapore 2019 Show Report
Salon Audio Montreal Audio Fest 2019
Click here for previous shows.

 

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty

 

Resources & Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

 

Partner Print Magazines
audioXpress
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

 

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

 

Contests & Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

 

 

    

Home   |   Industry News   |   Equipment Reviews   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2021  HighEndAudio.com and Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.