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RMAF 2016: a headstart for happiness with the ELAC Element

  • Basic. One word to describe the vinyl finish of the Andrew Jones-designed Debut and Uni-Fi series loudspeakers from ELAC. A year or so on from those initial releases we get improved aesthetics – initially aimed at the European market. The Uni-Fi slimline variant comes in a black or white satin finish and is available Stateside.

    Sticker price premiums have been levied accordingly. For example, the standard vinyl UB5 sells for US$500. The slimline satin take for US$749. For full range performance we’d add a subwoofer, possibly ELAC’s 10″ active/passive combo box, the S10EQ – it sells for US$499. The ‘EQ’ refers to the sub’s setup smarts where it talks to ELAC’s configuration iOS/Android app over Bluetooth.

    elac-element_3

    A BASH circuit topology, where a switch-mode power supply feeds a Class A/B output stage, has also made its way into ELAC’s forthcoming Element EA101EQ-G integrated amplifier (US$699). 80wpc into 8 Ohms with on-board DAC that can be fed via USB, 2 x TOSLINK, coaxial, Bluetooth or a pair of single-ended RCA inputs. Output socketry for headphones (6.4mm) and a subwoofer have also been included.

    With the latter, things get REALLY interesting. ELAC’s new half-width unit aims to take the pain away from a) integrating a subwoofer into the system and b) correcting for the room’s acoustic make-up.

    elac-element_2

    In conjunction with Element’s on-board DSP, the ELAC smartphone app runs frequency sweeps to set low- and high-pass filters for subwoofer and speakers respectively before time aligning the whole shebang. ELAC refer to this as ‘Auto-Blend’.

    A third measurement then adjusts the complete system’s output for the room – ‘Auto EQ’-ing to a target curve. Potent stuff for such a relatively affordable product.

    Of course, the devil sits in the details. Thankfully, ELAC’s Christopher Walker was ready to walk yours truly through the entire process at RMAF 2016 and on camera (whilst Andrew Jones conducts a lively demo in the adjacent room):

    Amplifier manufacturers like ELAC (and AURALiC and Devialet before them) now double-up as software developers. That means we, the end user, enjoy a solution that’s anything but basic. An RMAF 2016 highlight for this guy.

    Further information:  ELAC

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    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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