Elac B5s -- Now sold as DBP5s

No info about these here? Weird. For now, I’d just say they’re really, really smooth speakers.

I might have to do the “noaudiophile” mod and remove the tweeter grill… and make it, his quote, “look like a creepy dead eye from a fish that’s been out in the sun too long.” :eye:

Blue line = Tweeter grill removed. Big difference, apparently.

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I can confirm I hear a big difference (you’ll say “4dB is nothing” if you just look at ~12khz, but look closer: removing the grill boosts everything from 2k to 20khz).

Anyway, “burning-in”. :grin: :musical_note:

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Elac B5 - Elac Debut Primas (DBP5s) review: 150$ Living room kings, no subwoofer required.

As I already said:
First impression is, they’re the exact polar opposites of my Fluance SX6s. SX6s are “airy”, can be “shouty” if placed incorrectly. With these, I’m like… where’s the treble? They’re really smooth. A/B-ing these with a switch is incredible… Elacs sound like a woofer and a subwoofer only (…and yes, you don’t need a subwoofer with these IMO, which is quite impressive), SX6s basically just sound like a tweeter. :woozy_face:

So, yeah, anyone getting Elac B5s, take “long-nose” pliers and remove the metal grill. This will enhance the treble. Just… yeah, beware of children who want to touch this weird “eye” (or put the other, big cloth grill back over the speakers).

This is a review of the Elacs with the cloth grill on but the tweeter metal grills removed.

For near-field? I’m all about that bass, no treble…

Placement is key. Placement can make a big difference with these Elacs. But, to be honest, good placement or not… I would not recommend em for near-field. These got “hi-fi low-end”. So much so that a subwoofer is really optional. “Hi-fi mids”, making you believe your preferred headphones are broken after listening to Elacs for a while. But… inexistent treble. And I say that as someone who’s treble-sensitive (as in, my HD58Xs are collecting dust because that’s too much treble for me). How smooth are the Elac B5s? I play the most “treble-y” songs I have with these, and tell myself they’d sound better with more treble. With the tweeter metal grills removed. Yes. They’re “smooth” as fuck. You have to concentrate to “find” the treble.

So, well, if you know someone who hates treble, or who is treble-sensitive AF, this is for them. These could also be great “youtube speakers”. i.e.: When you listen to shenanigans on youtube and someone starts screaming, with these, you don’t jump for the volume knob, because the treble is always “muted”. Otherwise, for music listening? Near-field? Never. I feel like they sound muddy. They’re not muddy at all… I’m just fucking drowning in mids right now.

"The Grado trick".

That’s because they’re doing what I’ll call “the grado trick” (…if Grados had bass and sub-bass). Just shove a mountain of mids in the ears of the listener, to make em believe they hear everything for the first time, and everything else sounds like crap in comparison. But no, it’s not that everything else is crap, it’s just… this trick. This over-the-top, unnatural, totally euphonic mid-boost. “People love bass, and mids are where the music is, so let’s put an underpowered tweeter in that and we’ll blow people’s minds”. Yeah… to each their own, but I don’t like this “trick”.

Use #1: At low volume.

For music at really, really low volume, this might be good. But I mean, lower than talking volume. Because you don’t hear this “trick” much, and you hear treble, and you hear a great amount of sub-bass… at low volume. Which is, quite nice, I must say. The problem is, I only find the Elac B5s “nice” when they play lower than 50dB…

The Revelation: Elac B5s are for stereo living rooms.

With all this, I remember I’m using the SMSL Sanskrit 10th. A DAC I said mostly “repaired” my fluance SX6s because it gave a lot of authority to the low-end, really punchy bass and sub-bass, and more life-like mids, compared to my old AVR. So right now, I connect the Elacs straight to my old AVR, its integrated DAC having no bass authority and no mids and… that’s it. That’s what Elacs need. This makes sense. That’s probably what Elacs were made for: Living rooms. Stereo audio, breathing life into old AVRs and shitty AVR DACs (For your info, even Zeos says recent AVR DACs don’t sound better than recent 100$ chinese DACs, so, yeah). Otherwise, I’d say an ESS DAC is mandatory with this. You know, the DAC that sounds clean, mechanical, lifeless, soulless, with harsh treble, collecting dust somewhere in your storage room? Perfect.

For shows, TV series full of people talking (or, you know, TV series or even TV channels with the bad habit of overemphasizing treble…), for parents who mostly spend their time listening to the news, complaining they can’t hear anything, and who use/need a stereo system, this is for them. Might be good if you listen to movies in stereo. In a big room? Yup, these can sound good there. Only there. This giant, wide mountain of mids needs space to breathe. Getting an Elac center channel for a 5.1? Meh. If it’s the same voicing, I’d take a Klipsch center over an Elac center for more “treble musicality”.

Final thoughts:

For speakers sold for like 350$ five years ago, I don’t know what to think. Different? Yes. Better? Not necessarily. If you only have an AVR, are thinking about getting a DAC, and then speakers? You can forget the DAC and get these speakers for like 150$ now (because I paid 200$CAD for mine!) so that will save you a lot of money. Again, If you have a source with too much treble? Perfect. Dare I say, a source with too much treble is mandatory with these. Obviously, after a few hours, your brain gets accustomed to these… But at what price. I’m scared your entire life will become “sibilant” if you start to believe Elac B5s sound “natural”. So yeah, after two days, with my setup, I’ve had enough. I will try with another setup soon (small studio setup, different room, different acoustics), but there’s a 75+% chance my parents will just get an unexpected gift: Elac B5s plugged into an old AVR in their living room – which will be a massive improvement because they only use the TV speakers (augh).


Very nice write-up, LeDechaine. Thank you for taking the time. Strange thing with these Elacs - They seem to be really hit and miss with people.

What intergrated amplifier from amazon would pair with these ?

I only have the SMSL sa100 and, for these bass and mid-boosted speakers, even using bluetooth (bluetooth integrated in the sa100 amp), this was too much bass and mids (but you can lower the bass and boost the highs in options, so there’s that).

My old Denon AVR-1312 was a better pairing. :man_shrugging:

Maybe someone will chime in. Ive been looking at $300-600 intergrated amps on amazon and watching zero fidelity channel.

if zero fidelity is a good reference something like a parasound Zamp or a yamaha A-S301 ?

The Denon PMA-600NE has been well received by Steve Guttenberg (also @M0N). And Zero Fidelity also liked the 800.

For half the price, even the Yamaha R-S202 has been well received by Steve Guttenberg.

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Awesome, looking to dip my toe into budget audiophile stuff.

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I can now confirm. My parents now use these for TV. Never thought I’d get that much bass “information” out of the TV 3.5mm headphone out, lol. They’re actually great if you want “cinema sound” in your living room, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a 5.1 and AVR, etc. I probably misunderstood these speakers. They’re not studio speakers, they’re not even… hi-fi speakers, as in “high-fidelity” speakers. They’re “home theater” speakers: Rumbling bass is there when you need it. Voice is always, always, always audible, and the treble will never be annoying.

Still, for music? Pass. Unless you like old Beats headphones. These sound like “Beats speakers”.

Ah, that was like a dagger to the heart

LOL!! I know, guilty pleasures! The headband is being held together with packing tape! They are fun to listen too though. You have to throw a lot of EQ at 'em, but the laptop I have them hooked up to has a really good one and I can actually get them to sound decent.

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