It surprises us time and time again that every monitor that is dropped at our doorstep, looks just a little bit different than the previous one. Yes, most of the time it’s a two-way with mid-driver and tweeter but every manufacturer does their own thing with the drivers, filters and housing. And that’s what makes it so much fun. The best part is of course that they all sound different. Which should be on your shortlist we try to make clear in our reviews. We are testing the Elac Carina BS243.4
After the visit of the Elac Vela BS403, we now take a look at the cheaper Elac Carina BS243.4. We are pleased that Elac has now given some thought in naming the speakers. But the numbers: they stay weird.
A nice name ensures a better connection with a product and the name Carina comes, as is often the case at Elac, from Latin and means keel. On the one hand a reference to the keel of a ship (Elac used to be active in shipbuilding) and on the other hand to the city of Kiel where the speakers are made now.
Construction and appearance
Our test sample comes in a matte black version and looks particularly stylish. However, this version is sensitive to scratches and fingerprints and must be cleaned carefully to prevent damage. But oh, how beautiful they are. For a thousand euros a pair they look great and they radiate class.
Around the tweeter and driver is a silver frame that nicely accentuates both parts. The brand name is subtly at the bottom of the speaker and does not disturb. The yellow gold JET tweeter contrasts with the matte black and the whole looks sleek and clean. Those who do not like black can opt for the equally stylish white version.
The shape of the Elac Carina is almost identical to that of the previously tested Vela. The cabinet narrows at the back and at the bottom there is again that specific ‘foot’ in which the bass port is incorporated. At the back we see two pairs of solid speaker connections that allow for bi-wiring or bi-amping. We don’t understand why they do this in this price range, but it is possible. The Carina is designed by loudspeaker guru Andrew Jones who has been working at Elac for a while now and is clearly enjoying himself there.
It’s the first time Jones worked with a ribbon but he hasn’t done a bad job at all! The well-known Jet Emission Tweeter (JET) has won several awards and is being further developed by Elac. The mid-driver is a so-called Compound Curvature Aluminium woofer that has been specially developed for this speaker. It should ensure a fast, tight sound and an ideal match with the tweeter
Just like the Vela, there is the base in which the bass port is incorporated. However, both monitors use a different principle to get the airflow out of the speaker. The Carina, unlike the Vela, has a hole in the bottom of the base. And that does provide a different tuning of the bass. Whether you put the speaker directly on the stands or disconnect it makes an essential difference with this speaker. At the end of the day, we decide to decouple, but it’s up to you.
Sensitivity is very low with 85db in 6 ohms but it doesn’t really seem like a difficult speaker to drive. Mostly because impedance is stable across the band. Still, we would combine the speaker with a finely tuned, powerfull and fast amplifier to keep the driver well under control. The other thing that strikes us is that the modest Carina grows very well as the level of the system goes up. The Hegel H120 and the Elac Carina form a very nice duo. The punch and power of the Hegel makes the music really come loose. The Keces E40, which is a bit laid-back by itself, goes less well