Elac Debut Reference DBR-62

KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I received the DBR-62's I ordered from Crutchfield and finally got the chance to do a comparison with the Canton Vento.
I was inspired to check these out because Amir's review was very positive and he is generally a picky SOB! :) ;)
He also caught my attention with his comment:
So far my reviews of other Andrew Jones speakers has not resulted in any star performers. Some have actually been disappointing. Will the DBR-62 be an exception? Let's find out.
Here is his review with measurements:

I have generally been disappointed with Andrew Jones' Elac speakers. The Pioneer were better than anything else at the same price, but, while not bad, the two Elac speakers I have heard (original Debut and the Uni-Fi) were nothing for the competition to fear! IMHO, the Andrew Jones momentum that Elac bought and the hype of the reviews for these two speakers was more result of marketing strategy than sound quality. Hearing some dissension from Amir was a refreshing confirmation of my earlier opinions on them and gives Amir legitamacy ... from my perspective! Obviously, he did not go into his review with an automatic win for anything Andrew Jones has done, so his positive review led me to buy a pair from Crutchfield (who has a generous 60 day $15 flat fee return policy for a "did not like" return-they pay all shipping).

At this $600/pr price, the Canton Ventos are my "champion"! Often they may cost more, and pricing at A4L is variable, but I got my 6" Vento 820.2's for $600/pr. Currently, the more recent Vento 826 is equivalent (only cosmetic changes as far as I can tell) for $600/pr (in white - black costs $100 more right now):

The impressive thing about the Cantons is the next (by increasing price) better speaker I have found would be the Philharmonic BMR (I suspect the Philharmonitor at $1100, IIRC, would actually be the next step up, but I have not heard it). In any case, the Vento is very nice and if the Elac can beat it, I would consider that quite a feat!

Subjective listening evaluation:
These are very good speakers.

Bass is better (deeper) than the Vento's. It matches the Ventos for resolution (which is quite good). This will not matter at all if you will use a subwoofer, but without a sub, I would choose the DBR-62 over the Vento! The DBR actually has some bass that was felt as much as heard (and that is with the speakers pulled out into the center of my room - ~7ft to the wall behind them and roughly the same to the side wall)! This is impressive bass for a 6-1/2" driver and it does it while producing great mid-range detail (like the Vento has)!
Bass is a funny thing because it is hard to isolate the actual bass from the quality of the rest of the frequency range and the associated sense of ambiance, etc. Accordingly I swapped out the 6" Vento 820.2 for the 7" Vento 830.2! I look at this as a way to remove a variable when evaluating the rest of the frequency spectrum. The 830.2 is audibly, a very close match to the Elac except the Elac still had some extra "feel only" bass. Kudos to A. Jones for such solid bass performance. So, if you want to avoid a sub, the DBR-62 is a very good option. I listened to the acoustic version of Eagles Hotel California and the bass was good and meaty! Obviously a sub would improve it, but for anyone not used to a sub, these are impressive! I wonder how the Bass of the Elac towers (using two 5" drivers) compares. This bookshelf might beat it for bass!?

In the midrange, both of these speakers had excellent (and equivalent) clarity and detail! The distinctions I was hearing came from the highs which influenced my perception of the midrange, but I spent some time replaying sections without higher frequency content and they sound virtually identical. The Vento impressed me by having better detail than my RBH-61lse (I have always loved them for their midrange detail). The Elacs are a match for the Ventos and, thus, are also have exceptional mid-range detail!

It is the highs where things get interesting! The DBR-62 is rated as "frequency response: 44-35,000 Hz " IME, 35kHz is a lot to ask of a soft dome tweeter, but this is clearly one of, if not, the best soft domes I have ever heard! Normally, I feel short changed by a soft dome tweeter, but with this one, it took having a A-B comparison to be sure. The difference is definitely there, but color me impressed at what the Debut tweeter does!
That said, the highs truly define the differences in the sound of these speakers:

The argument for the Canton Ventos:
As I have said before, this tweeter is in the same league as the RAAL and the Focal Be (but much less expensive). The big difference between it and those two is the Canton uses a fairly aggressive waveguide. The Debut has a similar waveguide to the Canton's. I like the Ceramic tweeters presentation because it helps bring out more details in the music. For example, where there are vocals up front and an acoustic guitar play little fills, the Vento brings out the guitar part by presenting the brassy sound of the strings which is muted on the Elac. This is a subtle thing, but not uncommon and I like it. Don Henley singing "Hotel California" has an airy quality to his voice and the Vento made that clear in their presentation. I like this a lot and thus, I would prefer the Vento's!

The argument for the Elac DBR-62:
Where there is a fair amount of high frequency content, the Elacs sounded clearer in the midrange. As I said above I played music which had little to no high frequency content and they were virtually identical, but by not having so pronounced of a HF presentation, the Elacs had more space for the midrange to come out! This was in many places a very nice aspect of their sound. The Vento's highs will, over time, wear on you. I don't want to say they are fatiguing because that is often associated with harshness and distortion, but I play in a couple of big bands and at performance/reference levels, the trumpets definitely start to wear on me by the end of our 2.5 hour rehearsals. I think accurate reproduction is fatiguing, as a reality. However, the less prominent highs of the DBR-62 results in a great sounding speaker that I could listen to for longer before wanting a break.

I hope I am communicating this well, but I would never fault anyone for choosing the Elac over the Canton! These are both exceptional speakers and I recognize it is very much my subjective preference that causes me to prefer the Canton! The Elac is very much fair competition for the Vento!

Unlike the previous AJ speakers, I consider this one worthy of the kind of accolades that the press has been heaping on AJ. It is definitely among the best deals for a quality speaker currently out there!
I also think this is a serious sweet spot for diminishing returns. Both this speaker and the Vento are speakers that IME would take a lot more money to equal/beat. The DBR-62 does everything well and I could easily live with it as my final speaker! All aspects of the presentation are well-balance and I detected no weakness, only the choice (as compared to the Vento) between slightly forward (Vento) or slightly laid-back (DBR-62) speaker.
My biggest complaint about the earlier Elacs was they were so laid back as to be dull (even with the energy of a Big Band playing), this model is not at all dull!

In all fairness, I should point out that the MSRP of the $600 Canton Ventos is $1544/pr. so in that sense, AJ really has produced a speaker that rivals others at over twice the price!

Other factors:
Risk - You can find sellers of the DBR-62 (like Crutchfield & Amazon) that give you a "low risk" trial period. With the Canton from Accessories4Less, you are subject to a 15% restocking fee if you "just don't like them"!

Looks - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - I love the look of these Elac grills on the walnut finish with the black baffle and slotted port. Unfortunately, the vinyl wrap combined with the small radius corners reminds me of something in my past that had sheet metal covered by vinyl woodgrain that is a cheap vibe for me. I wish I could remember what it was. Without the grills, the curved walls and gloss finish of the Cantons are a win. The Elacs also have a Light Oak option (with white baffle), so be sure to check that out if you are looking at them! Both the Elac and the Canton have magnetic grills!




Sorry for the huge size, but I was looking for a photo of the Vento that had one grill on and one off and this is what I found!
 
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John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
@KEW Excellent review - thank you! Very impressive "debut" (okay - fine: 3rd generation) from Andrew Jones!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
@KEW Excellent review - thank you! Very impressive "debut" (okay - fine: 3rd generation) from Andrew Jones!
In all fairness to Andrew Jones, I never heard his Debut 6.2! My understanding is that he made it more forward than the speaker I found so dull - thus it sounds like Andrew agreed with me that the original was too dull! :D
 
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John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
In all fairness to Andrew Jones, I never heard his Debut 6.2! My understanding is that he made a more forward speaker I found so dull - thus it sounds like Andrew agreed with me that the original was too dull! :D
I think with his "debut" for Elac, he was playing it "safe". I agree that the originals were not very exciting (I liked the Uni-fi much better) but they played nicely within their budget without offending. I am glad to hear (read) he has refined them in a positive manner. It seems amirm at ASR agrees with your assessment as well (not that that means anything).

I'm currently putting my new Adantes through their paces and have been mightily impressed so far but fully understand why they were so polarizing to different users/reviewers (amirm included).
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I'm currently putting my new Adantes through their paces and have been mightily impressed so far but fully understand why they were so polarizing to different users/reviewers (amirm included).
What aspect(s) of the Adantes makes them polarizing?
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
Well, the easiest way to put it (without going into too much detail) is that the Adantes are not "nice" speakers. Oh sure, they are very, very nice, just not "nice" in that there is absolutely no sugarcoating going on - GIGO to the nth degree. They behave more like a professional studio monitor that a consumer product.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Well, the easiest way to put it (without going into too much detail) is that the Adantes are not "nice" speakers. Oh sure, they are very, very nice, just not "nice" in that there is absolutely no sugarcoating going on - GIGO to the nth degree. They behave more like a professional studio monitor that a consumer product.
I have heard this sort of sentiment a lot before, but it's not my experience. Bad loudspeakers make poor recordings that much worse. A lot of times, cone breakup will exacerbate problems in recordings that have too much midrange (like a lot of pop music from the 1980s). Sure, it is possible have a loudspeaker with a non-linear response that can soften the problems with a poor recording, but you can just as easily have a bad loudspeaker that makes existing problems that much worse. A ideal consumer loudspeaker should not behave much differently than a studio monitor, and in fact many home audio loudspeaker are good enough that they could be used as a monitor.
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
Hi @shadyJ - Please do not be mistaken from my tone - these are in no way "bad" speakers. Again, without going into too much detail here (this is @KEW 's review and thread) these are one of, if not the, best speakers I have ever owned. As for bad recordings, they don't actually make them sound worse: the way they are laid bare, said recordings are actually quite interesting and fun! I understand what you are saying about studio monitors vs home speakers and agree. I was just trying to make the point that, like good studio monitors, the Adantes don't add obvious (to me at least) colorations. :)
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic General
Spectacular value bookshelves are great
I prefer towers for fronts but boooks this high quality are essentially a. Mini tower .
$590 a pair for the elacs ??
How do they compare to svs , monolith and other mid range brands ?
Crutchfeild had the best prices ???
Thanks for review, 5 stars


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Spectacular value bookshelves are great
I prefer towers for fronts but boooks this high quality are essentially a. Mini tower .
$590 a pair for the elacs ??
How do they compare to svs , monolith and other mid range brands ?
Crutchfeild had the best prices ???
Thanks for review, 5 stars


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I would say these have good parity with the $1000/pr SVS Ultras!
It seems that Elac keeps tight control on the pricing so figure it is the same unless you find an "open box" option or similar.
Crutchfield allows you to try it out for 60 days and if you don't like it, you pay a flat $15 to return it. They pay the return shipping so (as long as you kept the boxes and didn't bang the crap out of them) $15 is all you have lost!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
First Impressions:

Finally got around to auditioning the DBR62. Slowly raised the volume til I registered about 80 dB and did not notice the speaker sounding strained. However, I did notice:

-Narrow dispersion. This is a small room speaker as I could hear significantly less sound going off axis - Audible to the point of not needing to take measurements. Certainly not room filling sound.

-Vinyl wrap feels kinda cheap, and would likely scratch easily.

The DBR62 did do an excellent job with songs like Rush - ByTor and the Snow Dog. For comparison, I distinctly remember even the SVS Ultra bookshelf could not resolve all 3 instruments effectively soloing for the whole song, like the Ultra had to choose which instruments it could play at a given moment. Conversely the Ultra did do better with the 'room filling sound' impression.

The DBR62 also did well with Tori Amos - Northern Lad which is a song that many lesser tweeters could not do well with her voice. The DBR62 had no problem reaching her high notes, but the lack of off axis sound does create more of a two dimensional 'image' that was not overly exciting to listen to. But again, the notes were there, that a number of speakers around this price could not even reproduce cleanly.

I listened to this speaker vs Philharmonic 3's, and that may have been too much of a jump in performance to get a solid sense of what the DBR62 is really capable of.

I will update this again after comparing the Canton Vento and a Triad InWall Bronze.


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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
The DBR62 also did well with Tori Amos - Northern Lad which is a song that many lesser tweeters could not do well with her voice. The DBR62 had no problem reaching her high notes,
Very nice! I used that as a tester, along with Fiona Apple's Paper Bag. Both great cuts, well recorded, and a good test for speaker performance.
The Phil 3's and BMRs handle that stuff quite readily, of course. :)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Finally got around to auditioning the DBR62. Slowly raised the volume til I registered about 80 dB and did not notice the speaker sounding strained.

Overall I think it's a good value, especially on sale, but there are some conditional issues:

-Narrow dispersion. This is a small room speaker as I could hear significantly less sound going off axis - Audible to the point of not needing to take measurements. Certainly not room filling sound.

-Vinyl wrap feels kinda cheap, and would likely scratch easily.

The DBR62 did do an excellent job with songs like Rush - ByTor and the Snow Dog. For comparison, I distinctly remember even the SVS Ultra bookshelf could not resolve all 3 instruments effectively soloing for the whole song, like the Ultra had to choose which instruments it could play at a given moment. Conversely the Ultra did do better with the 'room filling sound' impression.

The DBR62 also did well with Tori Amos - Northern Lad which is a song that many lesser tweeters could not do well with her voice. The DBR62 had no problem reaching her high notes, but the lack of off axis sound does create more of a two dimensional 'image' that was not overly exciting to listen to. But again, the notes were there, that a number of speakers around this price could not even reproduce cleanly.

I listened to this speaker vs Philharmonic 3's, and still need to try it against Triad InWall Bronze which of course would be a more reasonable comparison. But hopefully this alone conveys a good sense of value in the DBR62!


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Thanks for your input! It is great to have a second opinion from someone who may focus on different aspects of the sound than I do, !
How about I bring the Vento over when I come to pick up the DBR-62!
I think it might be a neat experience for you. My take is that much of your comments about small room and soundstage are primarily a reflection (or lack of :) ) of the wave-guide versus the Phil3 not having one at all!
I believe the Vento gets you closer to the sound of the RAAL with the wave-guide's effect being the major difference. So you can better define those differences.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Thanks for your input! It is great to have a second opinion from someone who may focus on different aspects of the sound than I do, !
How about I bring the Vento over when I come to pick up the DBR-62!
I think it might be a neat experience for you. My take is that much of your comments about small room and soundstage are primarily a reflection (or lack of :) ) of the wave-guide versus the Phil3 not having one at all!
I believe the Vento gets you closer to the sound of the RAAL with the wave-guide's effect being the major difference. So you can better define those differences.
I have my Phil 3s in a very small room, with the cabinet only lightly stuffed with PolyFill... about 1/3rd of what Jim sent with my speakers.
Between the wide dispersion and the Bipole Mid (BG Neo8 Planar), I get a very spacious, enveloping sound. Even in stereo I sometimes experience a surround effect. Kinda cool. I think I would lose that in a larger room.
Eager to hear more thoughts on the Vento comparison. :)
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for your input! It is great to have a second opinion from someone who may focus on different aspects of the sound than I do, !
How about I bring the Vento over when I come to pick up the DBR-62!
I think it might be a neat experience for you. My take is that much of your comments about small room and soundstage are primarily a reflection (or lack of :) ) of the wave-guide versus the Phil3 not having one at all!
I believe the Vento gets you closer to the sound of the RAAL with the wave-guide's effect being the major difference. So you can better define those differences.
I hear so much about the Ventos I'm really really thinking about getting some good review KEW!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I hear so much about the Ventos I'm really really thinking about getting some good review KEW!
One thing that you particularly should know is they are generally small speakers! Check the height of their towers ... then consider that there is a midrange atop the tweeter such that the tweeter is below ear level.
Personally, I think the sweet spot for the Ventos is the bookshelf versions combined with quality subwoofers.
I have the 876 towers and they sound fine on the floor, but they do sound better if I raise them about 8" to get the tweeter at ear level. I think this tower has the highest elevation for the tweeter because it does not have a midrange above it!
So I'd be inclined to suggest the 6" bookshelf for a sweet bedroom setup and a 7" bookshelf for mains in a HT (but might not work in a open floor plan great room)! I really don't know, they both play as loud as I want them to, but I am about 9-10 feet away and don't generally blast them hard!
 
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D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Ninja
One thing that you particularly should know is they are generally small speakers! Check the height of their towers ... then consider that there is a midrange atop the tweeter such that the tweeter is below ear level.
Personally, I think the sweet spot for the Ventos is the bookshelf versions combined with quality subwoofers.
I have the 876 towers and they sound fine on the floor, but they do sound better if I raise them about 8" to get the tweeter at ear level. I think this tower has the highest elevation for the tweeter because it does not have a midrange above it!
So I'd be inclined to suggest the 6" bookshelf for a sweet bedroom setup and a 7" bookshelf for mains in a HT (but might not work in a open floor plan great room)! I really don't know, they both pay as loud as I want them to, but I am about 9-10 feet away and don't generally blast them hard!
U know me and my towers bro I love em but I need to check out those bookshelves everybody just loves that canton tweeter
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks for your input! It is great to have a second opinion from someone who may focus on different aspects of the sound than I do, !
How about I bring the Vento over when I come to pick up the DBR-62!
I think it might be a neat experience for you. My take is that much of your comments about small room and soundstage are primarily a reflection (or lack of :) ) of the wave-guide versus the Phil3 not having one at all!
I believe the Vento gets you closer to the sound of the RAAL with the wave-guide's effect being the major difference. So you can better define those differences.
Reading my review again this morning... I made contradicting statements. I'm going to make some revisions and call that a 'First Impressions'. Definitely want to compare the Vento, but I should also compare to my Inwalls that do not have the high frequency extension of the DBR62, but do have better off axis performance.

I got an ad on facebook this morning for 40% off open box Elac speakers. Makes you wonder how many other people are finding these speakers 'not overly exciting to listen to.'
 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
U know me and my towers bro I love em but I need to check out those bookshelves everybody just loves that canton tweeter
The Canton tweeter is likely a derivative of the CMMD that Infinity developed in the early 2000's. That tweeter is now available in a few iterations: Infinity 162 Revel M10 (<-was an Infinity Speaker that Floyd Toole used as his 7 channel system for over 15 years)

Although we do not hear or listen to music beyond 20 kHz, research has proven that having a tweeter capable of going beyond that without resonating produces a sound preferred by listeners in double blind testing. Good hard domes like ceramic sandwiches and beryllium are probably the best of the best right now. I think it is impressive that the DBR62 has a soft dome that can hit high notes so cleanly, but that may be coming at the expense of off axis performance.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
I got an ad on facebook this morning for 40% off open box Elac speakers. Makes you wonder how many other people are finding these speakers 'not overly exciting to listen to.'
Which model? I am pretty happy with the DBR-62's!
It was the original Debut and the Uni-Fi that I was really disappointed in! They probably are not quite so pathetic as I remember because I went into listening to them after reading all kinds of hype so I was expecting something special! It is interesting the way audio reviewers/media with someone like A. Jones as a spokesperson could gain so much momentum with a "nothing special" product.
But like I said, IMHO, the DBR-62 does seem well designed and is what I consider a very competitive speaker at $600 MSRP!
 
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