What We Like
- Three-way setup.
- Great performance.
- Balanced, controllable tone.
What We Don’t Like
- Cabs are a limiting factor once again.
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is another great speaker that features Andrew Jones’ ingenious creativity and style. At the moment, this awesome three-way speaker is one of the most distinctive bookshelf models you can get for less than $500.
If you are familiar with ELAC’s Andrew Jones-designed speakers, the aesthetics of Uni-fi UB5 won’t be anything new to you. It is widely known that Jones cut down on visuals in order to boost the hardware. When it comes to Uni-fi UB5, that type of approach seems even more appropriate than ever. What we have here is a simple MDF build that is covered with brushed gray vinyl. The front panel features a clean look that isn’t affected by an overly complicated baffle.
Overall, ELAC Uni-fi UB5 come across as pretty simple. This is even truer if you decide to keep the grille on. In that configuration, these could pass as your standard desktop speakers. A decent percentage of users, including us, find this look to be appealing. However, there will always be those who expect something more exciting considering the price we are asked to pay for this set.
Jones is known to surprise even the most enthusiastic fans of good sound. This time around, he has decided to use a three-way configuration that is anything but standard. We have a 1″ soft dome tweeter sitting in the middle of a 4″ aluminum cone midrange driver. Below it, you will find a 5.25″ aluminum cone woofer. These are complemented by a simple yet effective crossover.
Speaking of which, when you have a three-way setup such as this one, it is much easier to achieve a smooth transition between transducers. Last design feature worth mentioning is the rear firing port that sits lower than usual. It is practically morphed with the connector housing. ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is a perfect example of what you can achieve by combining standard design with out of the box thinking.
Jones didn’t necessarily have to go with a coax setup. However, it is apparent that he knew he could deliver a great speaker despite inherent complexities of this design.
The performance of ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is rather interesting. One thing Jones’ more affordable speakers are known for is a sound that punches way above its weight class. That is the case with Uni-fi UB as well. The addition of a coaxed tweeter/midrange configuration increased the accuracy of the upper portion of the frequency range.
The two transducers work in unison, giving you an illusion that you are listening to one highly capable unit instead of two. Cross between trebles and mids is seamless, which can also be said about the bass. The lower end is full of girth, but definition as well. The best attribute of this speaker configuration is how comfortable it sounds. Nothing is forced.
The only real limitation are the cabinets themselves. They trap a lot of the potential of the hardware, limiting the speakers to a certain extent. Even so, the only direct competition to ELAC Uni-fi UB5 costs two or three times as much. That says a lot about what these speakers can do.
Another balanced wonder from Andrew Jones that won’t ruin your bank account. If you are after optimal bang for the buck, this speaker is about as good as it gets under $500. Especially if you want a three-way configuration.