Admittedly… sometimes we too don’t quite know when to use which term, but let’s just say that we use the above terms for compact speakers that are not floorstanding models. So: speakers that do not stand directly on the floor but use some kind of additional stand. We have had the opportunity to test quite a few compact speakers over the past few years and we thought it would be fun to look back and compile our experiences. Because of this job we even have several examples standing by as comparison material. Very handy and, of course, a lot of fun. Today we look at what is possible in the wonderful world of compact speakers. Enjoy!
My first real (affordable) speaker was the amazing Acoustic Energy AE301 but after a while it did give you a headache. You have that problem much less now. Manufacturers are playing a safer game in the treble-area. And that’s a good thing. The ‘trickle down’ principle is applied more than ever. So components that were expensive to develop find their way into the cheaper series at a later stage. Sometimes a bookshelf, standmount, monitor speaker can still appear a bit lean in the bottom end. But then a subwoofer can often be a great addition and make the compact speaker even better.
In the last decade or so, we have seen a huge number of compact speakers in the real budget class ( less than 500 euros). All these ‘cheap’ speakers sound fine and because of that development, you can buy a very nice speaker with a limited budget that is not only good in terms of reproduction but also in terms of appearance. No more annoying holes, but magnetic grills, neat veneer or even beautiful paintwork. Anything is possible. If you support this affordable speaker with decent amplification and sources, you will come a long way.
Our philosophy is clear. An affordable speaker with decent amplification makes more sense than an expensive speaker with a cheap amp and source.
It seems like every manufacturer has made a great entry-level speaker in recent years but in our opinion everything has really exploded with the Elac Debut series, developed with the help of Andrew Jones. A stroke of genius on Elac’s part because not only have they sold thousands of them, they have put themselves right back on top as a brand.
A nice entry level is essential for any brand because in this way they can profile themselves with a larger group of customers. For many audiophiles and music lovers the Elac Debut will have been the start of a new hobby. Or it could have been a trigger to purchase their first audiophile speaker.
Since then, several versions of the Debut have been released and the original design has been constantly refined and made more appealing visually. But the primal version from 2015 seems to us to be a milestone. Soon, by the way, we will be testing the new Debut Reference. Something to look forward to!