Vocalists of all stripes and genders shine on the F5 with performances that are fully fleshed out with chest-resonance weight and bloom. Take “Sabra Girl” by Nickel Creek—the Elac captures the delicacy of the arrangement with the acoustic flattop and mandolin sailing and swirling around Sara Watkins’ vocal and harmonies. And then there’s the issue of backbone. The F5 doesn’t need a gut-check when called upon to play back the tortured, gritty, crunchy distortion of George and John’s electric guitars as they pegged the meters during the “fast” version of “Revolution.”
Let’s get a couple nitpicks out of the way. Neither the B5 nor the F5 is a flawless loudspeaker—although it could be effectively argued that they’re as faultless as a speaker is likely to get at these prices. Nonetheless, the tweeter remains a bit on the dry side, and the upper harmonic range could be more extended and open. Along those same lines, the F5 doesn’t always disappear as a source and there are intimations of tweeter localization.
Also as good as its dynamic strengths were at medium-loud levels, when called upon to summon the reserves necessary to reproduce Stewart Copeland’s kickdrum during the opening of “Murder by Numbers,” the F5 grew a little shy and compressed. Imaging, though very good for this segment, did lack a bit of focus and specificity. For the most part the F5 enclosure does a stupendous job, and there is very little in the way of port noise or other effects; however, there’s a small sense of the enclosure absorbing some of the output.
The Elac F5/B5 go beyond just being the rare, good speaker for the money. They’re a veritable gift to budget-conscious audiophiles and the younger audience, particularly those looking for a cost-effective, room-filling alternative to headphones. And keep in mind that the Elac/Jones collaboration is just getting ramped up!
SPECS & PRICING
Speaker type: Three-way, bass-reflex
Drivers: 1" cloth-dome with custom deep-spheroid waveguide, (3) 5.25" woven aramid-fiber cone with oversized magnet and vented pole piece
Frequency response: 42Hz–20kHz
Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
Sensitivity: 85dB at 2.83v/1m
Dimensions: 7.87" x 38" x 8.75"
Weight: 32.8 lbs.
Speaker type: Two-way, bass-reflex
Drivers: 1" cloth-dome tweeter with custom deep-spheroid waveguide, 5.25" woven aramid-fiber mid/bass cone with oversized magnet and vented pole piece
Frequency response: 46Hz–20kHz
Nominal impedance: 6 ohms
Dimensions: 7.87" x 12.75" x 8.75"
Net weight: 11.5 lbs.
11145 Knott Avenue
Suites E & F
Cypress, CA 90630