What We Like
What We Don't Like
here’s definitely room in the bookshelf speakers landscape for design innovation. For a brave pioneer to descend from atop the mountain’s peak with a fundamentally novel, brand new concept of what it means to conceive of the aesthetic and functional design of this kind of audio equipment.
There’s room for it, but it probably isn’t at the ~$100 price range. And, for all their charm, Elac’s Debut B5 series are a pretty generic offering in terms of design. But that’s okay. If you’re looking for flashy visuals, you will likely be looking higher up in terms of price point.
That said, this is by no means a poor design. Quite the opposite: it’s nicely finished, features a little visual flair in the form of some exposed pins, and has a brushed vinyl wrap which adds a much needed sense of texture to the product.
Elac describe the B5s as sporting a ‘woven Aramid-Fiber woofer’. Despite the somewhat dystopian name, this is a type of synthetic fiber that is especially heat resistant and strong which is also used in things like body armor and bike tires. The more you know. Regardless, it serves to protect the woofer and looks good while it does so. The strength to weight ratio tips heavily in the favour of strength, and it has a noticeably improved dampening ability relative to plastic or paper drivers which can only serve to benefit the breadth of the bandwidth.
A dual flared vent (which is standard of all Elac’s speakers) does a great job at reducing air turbulence which, in turn, significantly reduces unwanted noise from seeping into the mix. The cabinet, too, is well engineered. The walls are a thick MDF which gives the sound plenty of space to breathe, and that’s never a bad thing.
One of the first things you’re likely to nice when powering on the Debut B5s for the first time is that they’re pretty darn good. The drivers take a little time to warm up to their full potential, but this kind of breaking in period is something which you can expect to content with whichever speakers you end up buying. After they have settled in, the sound is energetic, bouncy, and easily fills a living room.
The detail is far beyond what you would usually expect from speakers at this price range, and they can definitely hold their own amongst much more expensive models. The midrange in particular is exceptionally rich, clear, and very well balanced.
All in all, Elac’s Debut B5 series are something of a marvel. They don’t necessarily look it, but they easily outperform much of the competition with a sound that is detailed, balanced, and precise without ever feeling sterile or flat.