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Elac Adante AS-61 Speaker Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Elac (USA designed) Adante AS-61 stand-mount (large bookshelf) speaker. It was kindly purchased by a member new and drop shipped to me. This is part of the series designed by Andrew Jones who is probably the most famous speaker designer in consumer world. The AS-61 has a retail price of US $2,500 for a pair but I see it on sale for US $1,500.

The AS-61 is incredibly heavy for a small speaker and beautifully finished in glossy black:
Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker Audio Review.jpg

I am not a fan of the look of the front without the grill though. It looks rather bland and industrial.

The back panel shows large and beautiful multi-way speaker connectors:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker Bi-wire bi-amp connectors back Audio Review.jpg

Speaker has slanted sides which made it harder for me to align on my measurement rig. But is a nice touch to make it less boxy.

This is a 3-way speaker but the woofer is hidden inside with a port. It then couples to the passive radiator that looks like a woofer. This design uses the filtering that the acoustic coupling provides to also cut out the harmonic distortions of the woofer. This downside is high complexity of the internal design.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections. It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room. All measurements are reference to tweeter axis with the grill removed.

Over 1000 points around the speaker were measured (from 20 to 20 kHz) which resulted in well under 1% error in identification of the sound field emanating from the speaker. Final database of measurements and data is 1.4 Gigabytes in size.

Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker can be used. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Audio Measurements.png


For whatever reason, I expected to see a much more flat response. We have a dip at 200 Hz where the crossover is from the woofer to mid-range. Maybe it is hard to better tune this with the internal woofer? Regardless, the room will obliterate this part of the response so what you get at the end of the day, is not this dip although we do want to start with flat response if we can.

The dip around 7 kHz seems to be typical of coaxial drivers and disappears off-axis. Don't have an explanation for the final dip as we approach 20 kHz. It seems to be designed that way.

Since the graph is calibrated to 2.83 volts at 1 meter, the frequency response also becomes your sensitivity graph. Overall, it seems to average around 84 dB. However, in my analysis of my music library, the peaks are around 40 Hz. There, the sensitivity naturally drops like a rock to just 75 dB. So don't go by online calculators to compute how loud a speaker gets. Single number sensitivity scores do not give you correct information.

Looking at predicted in-room response, we see the same chewy response:
Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama estimated In room response Audio Measur...png


My experience in testing speakers with non-flat response is that with some music those highs get excited and can get annoying. And the dips help to reduce presence in those regions especially in low frequencies.

That's it for high level picture. Don't read the rest if you are not into speaker design and analysis.

Basic Speaker Measurements
Impedance and phase show a couple of kinks that indicate resonances:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker Imnpedance and Phase Audio Measurements.png


The first resonance doesn't show up in frequency response so not material. The second one though, does correlated with a couple of peaks in the CEA-2034 spin data so that is more significant.

Since reducing distortion is a key design goal in this speaker, let's look at those metrics:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama SPL and THD Audio Measurements.png


Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama SPL and THD Percentage Audio Measurements.png


It seems like low frequency distortion below 200 Hz is indeed very low. But then it peaks likely because the mid-range can't handle such low frequencies well.

We also have rising distortion around the crossover frequencies indicating the midrange is starting to get unhappy before the tweeter takes over.

Note that all of this is gated in-room response so not the most reliable data.

Speaking of unreliable data, here is the waterfall:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CSD waterfall Audio Measurements.png


Advanced Speaker Measurements
Directivity index when zoomed shows that on and off-axis response are not very aligned:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Directivity Index Audio Measurements.png


That 7 kHz dip definitely does a number here. You wouldn't be able to correct it with EQ since that would apply both to the sound of the drivers and diffraction from edges. So zero sum game.


Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Early Window  Audio Measurements.png


Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Horizontal Audio Measurements.png


Coaxial drivers show off better vertical directivity due to concentric center of the two drivers:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama vertical reflections coaxial driver Aud...png


Not sure how much value there is there if you have carpet on the floor and tall ceiling.

I have colorized this graph to show what you get if you move the speaker off-axis (e.g. having it face forward instead of toward you):
Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Full Horizontal Directivity Audio Measu...png


There is a sharp drop-off in highs as you go off-axis. So maybe you can use that to taste especially since it provides smoother response (up to a point).

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker CEA-2034 Spinorama Full vertical Reflections Audio Measure...png


I had a hard time figuring out the alignment of the speaker relative to robotic axis. Looks likes it is tilted 10 degrees or so toward the left:

Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker Horizontal Directivity Audio Measurements.png


I am going to work to see if I can correct this in software.

Vertical though is right on the money:
Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker Vertical Contour Directivity Audio Measurements.png


Eye-candy Speaker Measurements
It is always fun to use the full visualization of soundfield around the speaker as computed. Here is what happens during that dip around 7 kHz:


Elac Adante AS-61 Bookshelf Speaker 7 kHz diffraction Audio Measurements.png


This is looking into the speaker in front of you. We see the highest amplitude as represented by darkest shade of red is spread around and mostly pushed towards the corners. This seems to indicate diffraction (little speakers singing along). An ideal response would be a "hot" center and dropping to the sides.

Informal Speaker Listening Tests
I have a decent fixture for proper comparison of nearfield monitors. It requires interactions with the PC which I current can't do with my main stereo system where I evaluated the AS-61. There, I can just play music like you would (except I test one speaker, not two).

As with the measurements, I was again not hearing what I like. I went through my list of good sounding tracks and few impressed me. I then switched back to Revel Salon 2 and all the fidelity was there (that speaker was right next to the AS-61). FYI, I had the speaker toed out a bit from angle of my ears.

The sound emanating seemed quite large and this may be part of the problem as my room is very much on the live side (huge space).

At higher SPLs, I could feel the speaker pressurizing with all sides heavily vibrating with bass notes. Whether that was too much power, I don't know. My amp is rated at 1000 watts into 4 ohms so there. :)

After 30 minutes, I gave up. I need a proper way to perform AB tests. For now then, it just wouldn't be a speaker I would like to have in my system. Beyond that, don't draw any conclusions please.

Conclusions
Some reviews I hate to do and this is one of them. I very much respect Andrew Jones and have enjoyed very much his demos and talks at shows. So I went into this review hoping all stars would align and I could just rave about the speaker. Alas, neither the objective or subjective data demonstrated that. Andrew joined our forum a couple of years ago when we were young. I sent him a message last night but I did not hear back today so I went ahead and post the review. I am hoping he does see it eventually and can help provide his perspective on the data.

Searching online, I only found one measurement which was not all that well done so no other reference to double check our work here.

So no recommendation one way or the other for Elac Adante AS-61.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Weather is warming up early this year so soon I need to get going on my vegetable starts. Alas, I spent all my money on measurement gear for speakers so need money for seeds, soil, etc. Please donate a few dollars so I can eat healthy come this summer using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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amirm

amirm

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I need to get a comparably priced speaker as a reference for both objective and subjective comparisons. Without it, I am being a bit soft in my final stance. :)
 

MZKM

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The AS-61 has a retail price of US $2,500 for a pair but I see it on sale for US $1,500.
That's because it is now discontinued. Likely because the end result didn't live up to standards and production complexity.
The newer, cheaper Carina measures better.
 
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Juhazi

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Stereophile measured the big brother AF-61 https://www.stereophile.com/content/elac-adante-af-61-loudspeaker-measurements
118Elacfig3.jpg

I agree 200Hz steep xo is way too low for the coaxial mid. Dip around 7000Hz isn't so obvious in Stereophile graph, because it is avaraged. Very fast bass roll-off must give these a characteristic sound, but also need for a subwoofer!

Elac Carina is two-way with ribbon tweeter and BR port, totally different construction.
 
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Koeitje

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I need to get a comparably priced speaker as a reference for both objective and subjective comparisons. Without it, I am being a bit soft in my final stance. :)
Kef R3 and Revel M106's are pretty close I guess?

Anyway, these were on my list of speakers I was looking at but I don't like what I see. Especially cabinet vibration at higher volumes put me off.
 

aarons915

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After 30 minutes, I gave up. I need a proper way to perform AB tests. For now then, it just wouldn't be a speaker I would like to have in my system. Beyond that, don't draw any conclusions please.

I find comparing speakers level-matched and in mono while being able to instantly switch between them works very well for spotting differences between speakers. Sometimes I blind-fold myself too and have my girlfriend switch back and forth to avoid bias but I don't think that's necessary for a casual evaluation.
 

beefkabob

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I find comparing speakers level-matched and in mono while being able to instantly switch between them works very well for spotting differences between speakers. Sometimes I blind-fold myself too and have my girlfriend switch back and forth to avoid bias but I don't think that's necessary for a casual evaluation.
Man, you're going to hear all kinds of stuff if it's sighted.
 

tuga

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I have colorized this graph to show what you get if you move the speaker off-axis
There's no point in showing the "-x°" curves. It only makes the plot more confusing.
 

hardisj

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Well, the site says "Crossover frequency: 200Hz / 2,000 Hz" and the data backs this up.

It concerns me they would use such a low crossover point for a concentric design. You want the midrange to move as little as possible. Plus, this isn't like a standard 5" driver; the actual surface area here is closer to a 2 or 3" driver once you consider the tweeter is static and consumes a lot of surface area. So you're essentially trying to get a 2 or 3 inch midrange to cross at 200hz; no bueno. When I ran the Kef R-series concentric in my car 7 years ago (pictured below) I used it actively and HP'd it above 350hz with an LR4 slope. And even then I sometimes felt that was too low.

1581891955272.png
 
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