Amp for ELAC UB5s

Hooked up to a Yamaha A-S501, my UB5s could get loud… but never clear. The sound of these speakers was always a bit “foggy.” BTW, my source is an SMSL SU-8 – a super clean output.

I wonder if anyone can recommend an amp that might “clear up” the UB5s. More and more, I come to understand that paring (headphones to amps and speakers to amps) is part of the process. Thanks in advance!

“Foggy” requires a bit of interpretation, but it sounds like you’re noticing an absence of that last bit of detail? I doubt it’s your equipment at fault. I’d check 2 things before buying a new amp: 1) Is the Yamaha in some kind of direct mode or is it sending the SU8 signal through some sort of AD-to-DA path? 2) Check your room reflections and speaker placement. Speakers and rooms interact a bunch. Try moving the speakers around and then treating the room with rugs and foam panels if necessary. Amazon has lots of options for acoustic treatments that will be less money than a new amp of the A-S501 caliber or higher.

Thank you for the swift and thoughtful reply!

You’re 100% right, “foggy” is far too vague. The way that I might describe it better would be, “lacks separation in the high frequencies, making it difficult to listen and isolate sounds especially in electronic music.”

As for your advice, I do have (1) direct mode active, and I’ve (2) played around with speaker placement. However, I’ve not done any room treatment — I’ll see what I can try. Any suggestions on placement to separate high frequencies?

Still, I do wonder to what degree an amp can affect the sound of speakers…

It depends on how much an amp can effect speakers, but most of the time, the room acoustics, source files, and speakers themselves play a larger role in sound quality. There is a chance that a bad quality amp can muck up sound quality real bad, but its not super often. Don’t get me wrong, amps do effect sound quality, usually not to the extent you describe.

Thank you for the insight! I’ll try a few configurations to see what changes could improve the sound. In the end, I may just prefer the sound profile of other speakers.

1 Like

It is possible you enjoy a brighter sound signature than the UB5’s produce. It’s my understanding that some early Elac models rolled off the highs a bit. I doubt what you’re noticing is the fault of the Yamaha. Yamaha has a really good reputation with their amplifiers.

A primer on room treatments:

Admittedly, he’s shilling for his company, but there are good tips in there.

Here’s some cheap acoustic panels if you want to play around with them:

If none of that helps and you want to go the amp route, @ZeosPanera reviewed some Emotiva class D monoblocks that he said have a brighter-than-average sound:

Fortunately for you, the SU8 has volume control. Also, it has some EQ presets that you could try before any of this, come to think of it.

If you decide to move on from the Yamaha and/or Elacs and are willing to part with them for cheap, lemme know :wink: