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Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Review (bookshelf speaker)

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US US $600 a pair on Amazon including Prime shipping.

This review will be abbreviated for reasons that will become apparent later.

Here is a shot of the speaker:

Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Review Bookshelf Speaker.jpg


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 performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% through majority of audible band.

Temperature was 59 degrees F. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the tweeter center.

Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Frequency Response Bookshelf Speaker.png


Hmmm, seems like we keep hitting on speakers that shelf the mid to highs for some reason, this type lowering it. I checked other reviews and this matched another measurement posted so it is not instrumentation error.

Early window aggravates this some:
Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Frequency Early Window Response Bookshelf Speaker.png


Resulting in this predicted in-room response:

Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Predicted In-room Frequency Response Bookshelf Speaker.png


Strange to see a mass market product opt for this type of high frequency output as it is opposite of conventional retail wisdom of "what sells in a showroom."

Distortion-test shows some issue around 600 Hz:
Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Distortion.png


It is a resonance that also appears in impedance graph:

Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Impedance and phase.png


Speaker Listening Tests
I always start my testing with select few female tracks as they quickly tell me if the speaker is too bright, lispy, etc. The first couple of tracks sounded fine but then I played the third standard track, the Eva Cassidy Ain't no Sunshine. Right at the marker something bad happened:
Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Reosnance Bug Eva Cassidy.png


She takes a breath and starts singing. On Elac Uni-Fi I heared a rather loud squeak instead of that breath! I can't it to words but the artifact actually sounded louder than her voice which came on an instant after that.

I remember during the measurement prep, I could hear a high pitched sound in the middle of the sweep. Thought maybe this was the same thing. To narrow down the frequency, I cut off everything above 1 kHz and problem remained. I inverted and cut off the lows and problem went away. I got it close to around 600 Hz but couldn't get the exact frequency. So went back to the distortion graph and found that frequency and notched it out:
Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Measurements Resonance bug.png


90% of the problem vanished! This speaker uses a new woofer and seems like it has a nasty resonances in this area that Eva's breath energizes. The artifact can be heard on the youtube version but not as strongly:


I stopped testing at this point. As a confirmation, I played the same track on Revel M105 and it sounded wonderful with zero issue (I have used the same track to test at least 100 speakers).

Conclusions
What a shock to discover what I did with this speaker. Usually resonances color the sound. They don't become instruments on their own. But that is what happened here. And in a design from the talented Andrew Jones. Given how easy it was to detect the issue in multiple measurements, it should have been caught and fixed.

As far as I am concerned, this is a show-stopper, broken design. Don't know how else to put it. FYI Eva Cassidy album is standard issue at all audio shows in multiple suites so it is not like it is some oddball track one never sees. I guess it is possible this one speaker sample has an issue in which case I encourage Elac to try to replicate this problem and let us know what is going on.

For now, I can not recommend the Elac Uni-Fi 2.0.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#3
Wow, was surprised seeing the headless panther based off the Spinorama and score, can’t believe it has such an audible resonance. Though, even if that doesn’t exist, the equally priced brother (DBR62) still has a better score and higher sensitivity, though this UB52 does have better vertical directivity due to the 3-way coaxial design, so it should be better in the near-field, where one listens at lower levels and likely won’t excite that resonance as much.

Also, and I know they actually had a worse issue in earlier years, but the green tint to the woofers is so ugly. Here is the photo right off the Amazon listing for the white UB5:
 
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Kachda

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#4
I had auditioned the elac adante a couple of years ago and found the sound a bit dark, maybe they suffered from the same issue of the higher frequencies being shelved down
 

boselover61

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#5
Amir. Is 0:55 the part where she breaths in then sings "he goes away"?. I'm using tidal and Infinity R162 and I can hear the breath clearly instead of the squeak. Is this an issue with this just this speaker with high resonance?
 

Kachda

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#6
Amir. Is 0:55 the part where she breaths in then sings "he goes away"?. I'm using tidal and Infinity R162 and I can hear the breath clearly instead of the squeak. Is this an issue with this just this speaker with high resonance?
Amir mentioned that the problem is with this speaker due to the resonance around 600hz, well designed speakers should not have the issue

edit: would have been interesting if Amir had done the separate graphs he does for woofer, port etc. resonance could be a port issue?
 

Kachda

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#7
Wow, was surprised seeing the headless panther based off the Spinorama and score, can’t believe it has such an audible resonance. Though, even if that doesn’t exist, the equally priced brother (DBR62) still has a better score and higher sensitivity, though this UB52 does have better vertical directivity due to the 3-way coaxial design, so it should be better in the near-field, where one listens at lower levels and likely won’t excite that resonance as much.

Also, and I know they actually had a worse issue in earlier years, but the green tint to the woofers is so ugly. Here is the photo right off the Amazon listing for the white UB5:
Maybe the aluminum oxidized :p
 

617

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#8
These issues are really odd and look like a production issue. An increase in distortion at 580hz is very bad and very unusual for a 3 way design, which should have low distortion from 300hz up. And the shelving? Looks like the mid/tweeter assembly is using the wrong padding resistor or something.

The latter issue could be fixed by the manufacturer for nothing. The former I'm less sure about; 580hz is unlikely to be mechanical damage.

I am a bit skeptical of budget coaxial designs but given the fact that cabinet size drives speaker cost more than anything, we are seeing a lot of development here from ELAC, KEF, Kali, Genelec etc. The directivity around 7khz is not as smooth as you'd see with a top class waveguide but not too bad. Still, Revel's utterly conventional approach with small tweeters in modest waveguides renders low distortion and smooth DI with what I would assume is a simpler crossover (a 3 way has about twice as many components unless the mfr is really cheaping out)
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #9
Amir. Is 0:55 the part where she breaths in then sings "he goes away"?. I'm using tidal and Infinity R162 and I can hear the breath clearly instead of the squeak. Is this an issue with this just this speaker with high resonance?
Correct.
 

xykreinov

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#10
I just feel bad for someone who gets this instead of a DBR62, thinking the UB52 is more of a bargain because it's a 3 way and the DBR62 is a 2 way.
 

ROOSKIE

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#11
Wow, was surprised seeing the headless panther based off the Spinorama and score, can’t believe it has such an audible resonance. Though, even if that doesn’t exist, the equally priced brother (DBR62) still has a better score and higher sensitivity, though this UB52 does have better vertical directivity due to the 3-way coaxial design, so it should be better in the near-field, where one listens at lower levels and likely won’t excite that resonance as much.

Also, and I know they actually had a worse issue in earlier years, but the green tint to the woofers is so ugly. Here is the photo right off the Amazon listing for the white UB5:
I would not trust online images for color accuracy.
Like audio reproduction there are so many variables.
By the way that is the old version not the current version.
Additionally I have a set of the old version and they do not have green tinted woofers.
YMMV

Here is amazon's image for the new set
1610160742151.png
 

whazzup

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#12
Interesting results. I may be stating the obvious, but I'm assuming the owner sent a pair, so the other speaker also has the same resonance?
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #14
Interesting results. I may be stating the obvious, but I'm assuming the owner sent a pair, so the other speaker also has the same resonance?
No, he only sent one which is what I usually ask for. He repacked it in another box.
 

ROOSKIE

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#15
These issues are really odd and look like a production issue. An increase in distortion at 580hz is very bad and very unusual for a 3 way design, which should have low distortion from 300hz up. And the shelving? Looks like the mid/tweeter assembly is using the wrong padding resistor or something.

The latter issue could be fixed by the manufacturer for nothing. The former I'm less sure about; 580hz is unlikely to be mechanical damage.

I am a bit skeptical of budget coaxial designs but given the fact that cabinet size drives speaker cost more than anything, we are seeing a lot of development here from ELAC, KEF, Kali, Genelec etc. The directivity around 7khz is not as smooth as you'd see with a top class waveguide but not too bad. Still, Revel's utterly conventional approach with small tweeters in modest waveguides renders low distortion and smooth DI with what I would assume is a simpler crossover (a 3 way has about twice as many components unless the mfr is really cheaping out)
What we don't get to see here or really anywhere is intermodular distortion.
What happens in a 2 way when the woofer is playing deep bass near or above xmax and then simultaneously tries to play a clean midrange.
I suspect much of that potential distortion could be mitigated by a highpass around 75-100hrz in a low distortion 2 way. Running full range however and I'd bet that a 3-way has less intermodular distortion and other issues. (given similar quality design)

In the end the best reason for a coaxial is still the vertical dispersion, beyond that I agree that it sure seems waveguides when properly implemented are the current champs.
 

whazzup

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#16
No, he only sent one which is what I usually ask for. He repacked it in another box.
Ah, got it. Maybe that squeak can be recorded and sent to the owner to see if he can hear it as well on his unit and to let him know how the defect sounds. Just thinking of a cheap and quick way to verify it's not a unit-specific problem.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #17
Ah, got it. Maybe that squeak can be recorded and sent to the owner to see if he can hear it as well on his unit and to let him know how the defect sounds. Just thinking of a cheap and quick way to verify it's not a unit-specific problem.
I don't think he needs my recording. It is a very obvious noise.
 

Tks

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#18
Wow, was surprised seeing the headless panther based off the Spinorama and score, can’t believe it has such an audible resonance. Though, even if that doesn’t exist, the equally priced brother (DBR62) still has a better score and higher sensitivity, though this UB52 does have better vertical directivity due to the 3-way coaxial design, so it should be better in the near-field, where one listens at lower levels and likely won’t excite that resonance as much.

Also, and I know they actually had a worse issue in earlier years, but the green tint to the woofers is so ugly. Here is the photo right off the Amazon listing for the white UB5:
I don't know why there would be a surprise. Not like I assumed they validate their designs anyway. Reminds of companies that take OEM parts, or such, and just use their specs, to advertise or something. Goes back to the whole assumption I have that many of these speaker companies are just putting things together, where you have no idea if the higher costing product is actually objectively better performing (and for that matter, niether do they, unless they're a big player with a basis in research or a basis in providing parts for others to use).

That resonance is just silly. I can't fathom a case where this could ever slip by.
 
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