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ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Speaker Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly purchased by a member new and sent to me for testing. It costs US $245 from Amazon including free shipping.

The Debut 2.0 has a decent look:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speaker review.jpg


It comes with an external grill that I did not use. But I did leave the tweeter screen in place for testing. It is likely a nod to retailers putting these in showrooms trying to keep fingers away from the delicate tweeter.

The finish is fine except I saw a fine white line above the speaker:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf finish line speaker review.jpg


Back panel is as you expect:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf speaker back panel binding posts review.jpg


The binding posts as is typical are too close to each other and recessed in this case, making them pretty difficult to turn.

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 (so where I measure it doesn't matter). 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 an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I used over 800 measurement point which was sufficient to compute the sound field of the speaker.

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 Debut 2.0 B6.2 CEA2034 spinorama frequency response measurements.png


Overall, this is a rather flat response so response is not going to be too far from neutral.

A sharp resonance sticks out prominently at 700 Hz which you will see later in a number of other measurements.

The woofer is getting directional before the tweeter takes over with its much wider beam width.

Going back to the resonance, I made near field measurements (almost at driver/port location) to see what they each are doing:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Port woofer and tweeter near field measurements.png


We see our 700 Hz resonance there as a peak in the woofer response so we know it is coming from that. We can also detect the crossover frequency at near 2 kHz.

There is a bump in tweeter response which seems intentional to give the speaker a bit more "zing."

The port (red) helps fill in the low-bass response.

Back to our "spinorama" here is how the important reflections look in a room:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 CEA2034 spinorama early reflections frequency response measurements.png


We see a dip in energy around 2 kHz due to directivity error mentioned before. Worst offenders are floor and ceiling reflections so at least a carpet is advised.

Putting everything together, we can plot a hypothetical frequency response in a simulated room:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 CEA2034 spinorama Predicted In-room frequency response measurements.png


We see our dip in energy around 1 to 2 kHz again and then some increased amount after that.


Distortion response at two different output levels is shown here:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 relative THD distortion measurements.png


Response at 86 dB is very good. At 96 dB we have the woofer getting unhappy around 400 Hz and tweeter screaming as well but that distortion is at pretty high frequencies. In absolute levels we get this:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 THD distortion measurements.png


As noted, in this plot I like to see nothing but blank space above 500 Hz. We have some distortion here so not matching our ideals.

Directivity plots are are as follows:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 beam width frequency measurements.png


I like the overall well behaved response although it is not super wide. We see the same with fancy color graded chart:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 horizontal directivity frequency measurements.png


Vertical directivity is typical of 2-way speakers but while some speakers really fall apart off tweeter axis, here you have about +-20 degrees before response gets worse:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Vertical directivity frequency measurements.png


Here is our waterfall telling us what we already know with respect to 700 Hz resonance:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 waterfall CSD frequency measurements.png


Finally, we have our impedance chart:
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 impedance and phase speaker measurements.png


Impedance at 5 ohm is above average (a good thing). Once again we see a sign of our 700 Hz resonance in the form of a "kink" in the phase response (red).

Speaker Listening Tests
"5-second" reaction to speaker first playing was neutral. Nothing stood out as broken. Nothing stood out as exceptional. Usually it is one or the other. :)

Listening some more, the sound could be better as it was a bit bright and unexciting for lack of a better term. So I went after it with some Equalization. I first corrected the 700 Hz peak. It seemed to only reduce bass a bit and not much else. I then pulled down the highs a bit, that seemed to make some things worse, some better. So I then went after the mid-range dip and that was helpful:

ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 speaker EQ.png


This increase in response brings out more air and detail in lower frequencies which I always find welcome. With this in place, the pull down at 5 kHz (purple) was then more helpful than not.

The teal one is for the room so ignore that.

Once there, the speaker was pleasant. And importantly, it can play loud, very loud! It is most impressive speaker in that regard. Even playing one speaker I could get it to nearly ear bleeding levels with almost no distortion!

Performance when the needed volume was required was very good. Above average to be sure. But when not, it was ordinary. Not in a bad way but not exciting.

Conclusions
From what I read, the designer Andrew Jones tried to add some more highs to this second iteration of B6 speaker. I find that change unwelcome as it made the speaker a bit bright. I can see why that may sell speakers but I did not like this change. The main issue with the speaker is the dip in response in important 1 to 2 kHz range. Once corrected with EQ, and combined with its great ability to play loud due to its larger than typical woofer, this becomes a competent offering.

I was torn how to rate this speaker. I could say "I like it" or "I don't know." I could be pushed to go with either. In interest of time and many important problems in life to ponder, I just gave it the latter panther rating and went about my business. If you choose to buy the ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2, I am not going to tell you it is a bad decision.

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

The weather is gorgeous outside. Sunny, beautiful with so much greenery with perfect temperatures. Yet, I am sitting indoor testing speakers. Needless to say that makes me depressed. The only thing that fixes that is a few more dollars in my pocket. So please donate what you can using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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McFly

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Classic port resonance but otherwise not bad for the price. Actually, put a tube foam plug in the port and use a sub and youve got a rather nice speaker. I think you've got the labelling wrong on that second graph, should fundamental be woofer?
 
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Colonel7

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Pretty nice for the price which differentiates well from the big step up Elac DBR62 that is fantastic bang for the $
 

MZKM

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If you don't listen loud (so maybe a bedroom-sized space), the little Pioneer brother has a preference rating which it is around the same, with it being noticeably higher with a sub. It is almost 2dB lower in sensitivity, which likely attributes to it not being able to handle the same SPL levels. So, Andrew Jones made a slightly worse speaker but can get decently louder and has a bit more bass.

Looking at their Spins, the ELAC should sound a bit "laid-back" compared to a neutral speaker and the Pioneer should sound a bit bright compared to a neutral speaker.
 

ROOSKIE

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Very nice and thoughtful review.
Seems like the DBR62 is still worth the extra costs, however for those who would be breaking their budget this is a very nice result for a truly affordable speaker. (low price even when full retail)
Overall I am pretty impressed with the budget oriented ELAC speaker gear that has been reviewed. (Not the Adante)
2 plus sub for stereo or 5 plus sub for surround set-up would be very resonable $$
 

Sancus

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Is this really that much narrower than the DBR62? Looking at the contour maps and trying to pick out the -6dB point, it seems like the DBR may be about 10 degrees wider, but certainly not 30 as stated in that review(+/- 80 degrees vs +/-50 here).

The new graph style makes seeing the width much easier, thanks for that, it would be nice to see the DBR62 in the same style. Is there some software I can use to generate those myself from the data files?
 

maty

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And much better box or to add No-Rez, viscoelastic material...
 
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amirm

amirm

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I'm a bit puzzled that the speaker could play so loud and clear. With the distortion of the woofer at 96 dB I had expected otherwise.
It doesn't bottom out like the speakers with smaller woofers do. I am not showing the SPL where that happens.
 

pavuol

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Now that we have two similar specced speakers from Elac reviewed (this and DBR62), it would be nice if someone competent can explain the impact of different port designs, i.e. tube port vs. slot port.
 

MZKM

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It seems the upgrade cost (it’s DIY mind you) is $345?! That‘s about $700 + your time if you bought these at MSRP.

I would just get a more expensive, better speaker.

I would like to see measurements comparing where the crossover is identical except one model is using cheaper parts and another is using more expensive parts. Maybe the next time someone sends Amir a DIY speaker :)
 
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Ron Texas

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Nice review as you hinted to me in the request thread. The frequency response dip between 1khz and whatever higher up is similar to that on the LS50. I EQ that out on my pair and it does make a difference. It's the old story, dispersion can't be fixed but most frequency response deviations can be fixed.
 

maty

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The problem ELAC has, like so many others, is that the drivers are what they are. You cannot improve its specifications. For example, the vast majority have too much distortion (and it does not matter either, because of the painful recordings they usually play with them). But of course, the majority only take into account the frequency response and little else.
 

Dennis Murphy

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If you don't listen loud (so maybe a bedroom-sized space), the little Pioneer brother has a preference rating which it is around the same, with it being noticeably higher with a sub. It is almost 2dB lower in sensitivity, which likely attributes to it not being able to handle the same SPL levels. So, Andrew Jones made a slightly worse speaker but can get decently louder and has a bit more bass.

Looking at their Spins, the ELAC should sound a bit "laid-back" compared to a neutral speaker and the Pioneer should sound a bit bright compared to a neutral speaker.
This is one area where the spins don't seem to predict sound quality all that well. I've heard (and hopefully improved) a bajillion of the Pioneer BS-22's, and spent considerable time with the Elac 6.2, and there's no question in my mind that the Elac is the better speaker in every department. Besides bass extension and power handling, the Elac is much cleaner in the lower treble, although the presentation is brighter than I would like. And, despite what you might infer from the Spins, the Pioneer doesn't sound bright. Murky is a much better description. What does puzzle me about the Elac is why there would be such a mismatch in the dispersion of the woof and tweet given that the Xover point is quite low (2k) and the tweeter has a wave guide built into its flange.
 

MZKM

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This is one area where the spins don't seem to predict sound quality all that well. I've heard (and hopefully improved) a bajillion of the Pioneer BS-22's, and spent considerable time with the Elac 6.2, and there's no question in my mind that the Elac is the better speaker in every department. Besides bass extension and power handling, the Elac is much cleaner in the lower treble, although the presentation is brighter than I would like. And, despite what you might infer from the Spins, the Pioneer doesn't sound bright. Murky is a much better description. What does puzzle me about the Elac is why there would be such a mismatch in the dispersion of the woof and tweet given that the Xover point is quite low (2k) and the tweeter has a wave guide built into its flange.
Yeah, this could be where frequency weighting comes into play. The formula uses log-spacing, but the presence region which includes the 2kHz-4kHz region, doesn’t get a ton of weighting.
 
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