The ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 Speaker system’s headlining feature is the use of an in-house-designed concentric (combination tweeter and midrange) driver for the bookshelf and center speakers. Andrew Jones has shown an affinity for the design and use of such drivers in his creations and, in this case, it provides a few noted benefits.

The treble and midrange frequencies sound especially coherent from this combined drive unit. This leaves the bass driver free to concentrate on what it does best, maximizing the available volume of the ported enclosure to create a surprising level and depth of bass from a speaker of its relative size. The result is a speaker with the benefits of a true 3-way driver design but compacted to something more akin to a “point-source” 2-way speaker. The included subwoofer is the ELAC S10EQ model featuring a 10-inch long-throw woofer combined with a passive radiator. It features a novel Auto-EQ capability that is controlled by a savvy little app that is available for both Android and iOS.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim and S10EQ Sub, front view

Highlights

ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 Speaker System

  • Clean, coherent sound with very good imaging.
  • Surprising level of bass reach and output from the bookshelf speakers alone.
  • Build quality is very good with magnetic grill covers being a nice touch.
  • Euro-centric aesthetic of the Slims ups the sense of “posh-ness”.
  • Subwoofer is punchy and quite capable with good reach for its size.
  • Subwoofer Auto-EQ app is slick and functional.
Introduction

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5, ¾ view

At both the last CES and RMAF shows that I attended, I found speaker designer Andrew Jones affably holding court in the respective ELAC showrooms, discussing the two recent introductions from the Uni-Fi speaker line. At the first show, I remember seeing him demo a pair of the “Standard line” Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speakers. The second time, he was showing off the Uni-Fi FS U5 Slim tower in a fetching satin white painted finish. In both instances, it is safe to say, show goers were visibly stunned with overall sound quality and imaging coming from these speakers, given their price points. Even at higher volumes, I remember the Uni-Fi demo speakers showing no hint of distress or break-up in their sound. Everything remained clean and controlled, bass response was potent and imaging was completely buttoned down.

ELAC SPEAKER SYSTEM REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS

Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim Loudspeakers

Design:

3-way Bookshelf Loudspeaker

Low Frequency Transducer:

Single 5.25” Aluminum Cone Woofer

Midrange Transducer:

Single 4” Aluminum Cone Driver

High Frequency Transducers:

Single 1” Soft Dome Tweeter concentrically mounted within midrange driver

Maximum Rated Amplifier Power:

140 Watts RMS

Frequency Response (Manufacturer):

46 Hz – 25 kHz

Sensitivity:

85dB (2.83V @ 1M)

Nominal Impedance:

4 Ohm

Crossover Frequency:

270 Hz and 2.7 kHz

Enclosure Type:

Bass-Reflex via Single Rear-Firing Port

Inputs:

Custom Five-Way Binding Posts

Dimensions:

13.35” H x 7.0” W x 11.54” D

Finish:

White or Black Satin Paint Finish.

MSRP:

$749.00 (pair)

Uni-Fi CC U5 Slim Center Channel Loudspeaker

Design:

3-way Center Channel Loudspeaker

Low Frequency Transducer:

Dual 5.25” Aluminum Cone Woofers

Midrange Transducer:

Single 4” Aluminum Cone Driver

High Frequency Transducers:

Single 1” Soft Dome Tweeter concentrically mounted within midrange driver

Maximum Rated Amplifier Power:

140 Watts RMS

Frequency Response (Manufacturer):

48 Hz – 25 kHz

Sensitivity:

85dB (2.83V @ 1M)

Nominal Impedance:

4 Ohm

Crossover Frequency:

270 Hz and 2.7 kHz

Enclosure Type:

Bass-Reflex via Single Rear-Firing Port

Inputs:

Custom Five-Way Binding Posts

Dimensions:

7.0” H x 19.61” W x 11.54” D

Finish:

White or Black Satin Paint Finish.

MSRP:

$499.00 (each)

Debut S10EQ Subwoofer

Design:

Powered Subwoofer with Passive Radiator

Drivers:

Single 10” Long-Throw Active Driver with Doped Paper Cone, Single 10” Passive Radiator with Doped Paper Cone

Amplifier Type:

BASH-Tracking

Maximum Rated Amplifier Power:

200 Watts RMS / 400 Watts Peak

Frequency Response (Manufacturer):

28 Hz – 150 Hz

Crossover Frequency:

Continuously Variable (50Hz – 150 Hz)

Inputs:

LFE RCA

Weight:

31.1 lbs.

Dimensions:

13.5” H x 13.5” W x 13.5” D

Finish:

Black Brushed Vinyl

MSRP:

$499.00 (each)

Company:

ELAC

SECRETS Tags:

ELAC, Uni-Fi, Bookshelf, Concentric, Slim, Euro, Speaker Reviews 2017

At the bookshelf speaker demo, in particular, the quantity and quality of bass that was emanating from a speaker of that size was roundly impressive. In fact, it was so much fun to listen to that I actually busted out laughing! I knew immediately that I wanted to get at least a pair of speakers from the Uni-Fi line to review in my own room. After some brief discussions, we settled on a 5.1 channel system based on the bookshelf speakers which I would use primarily at my computer workstation for surround music and movie consumption. I was really interested to see how the Uni-Fi speakers would work in a traditional 5.1 arrangement as I had heard them handle stereo reproduction well enough at the previous shows. The subwoofer that ELAC sent is the 10-inch S10EQ from their Debut line. It features a slick little Auto-EQ system that can be controlled via phone app. If you are interested, you can see some video footage that I shot from the ELAC showroom at RMAF here.

Design

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Concentric Driver, close up

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Concentric Driver, exploded view

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Woofer Driver, exploded view

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Enclosure, cutaway

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5, rear view

The ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim bookshelf speaker is a three-way, rear ported bass reflex design. It uses a custom made concentric (some call it coaxial) driver to handle the treble and midrange bands. This driver consists of a 1-inch soft dome tweeter nestled right in the center of a 4-inch aluminum cone midrange driver. The tweeter crosses over to the midrange at 2.7 kHz. Technically, there are a few advantages to using a concentric driver like this. First, since these physically are two separate moving parts reproducing the highs and mids, each can be optimized for its particular operating range. Second, since these drivers are essentially within each other, the sound emanates from a single point source instead of two separate points of origin. This helps create a more coherent and unified sound right from the launch point. Thirdly, the 4-inch midrange cone has the benefit of acting as a waveguide for the tweeter thus improving imaging and detail reproduction. The bass duties are handled by a 5.25-inch aluminum cone woofer that features a robust motor and magnet structure with vented pole piece for improved power handling. The speaker cabinets (braced MDF construction) are well built and seem suitably inert when knuckle-tested on all sides. The narrower front baffles of these slim Uni-Fi speakers combined with the satin white paint job lend these speakers a somewhat Scandinavian look. IKEA-lovers rejoice, and note that no additional assembly is required! The Uni-Fi’s 5-way binding posts are larger and more robust than what I usually encounter on similar speakers. It made torquing down on the bare wire connections a little easier on the fingers. And lastly, the black cloth grills attach to the speaker face magnetically and they get bonus points for not slithering around once affixed. Nice touch!

ELAC Uni-Fi CC U5, beauty shot

The Uni-Fi CC U5 Slim center channel speaker shares all the same characteristics as its bookshelf sibling except that it adds a second 5.25-inch woofer and the drivers are aligned horizontally in a wider cabinet as is customary for a center speaker.

With both these speakers having nominal impedance of 4 Ohms and a sensitivity of 85dB, know that you will need good amounts of power to keep them running at peak form. If using a surround receiver, make sure it has ample power capacity. While crossing them to a subwoofer at 80 Hz will partly alleviate the demands on an amplifier section, it never hurts to have more power than you think you’ll need. So, if your HT receiver is rated for 4 Ohm speakers so much the better.

ELAC S10 EQ Subwoofer, ¾ view

ELAC S10 EQ Subwoofer, bottom ¾ view

ELAC S10 EQ Subwoofer, rear ¾ view

Subwoofer Control App, Volume page

Subwoofer Control App, Setup page

Subwoofer Control App, Auto EQ page

The S10EQ Subwoofer is a modestly sized 14-inch cube containing a down-firing, 10-inch, doped paper, long-throw driver. This works in tandem with 10” passive radiator to help get to the lowest frequencies and maximize output. The drivers are backed up by a 200-watt RMS (400-watt Peak) BASH style, internal power amplifier. The S10EQ is also equipped with a custom Auto EQ system that is controlled via a downloadable app that is available for Android and iOS. The app first discovers and pairs with the S10EQ via Bluetooth. Then the app and the sub use the built-in microphone of your tablet or phone to take measurements of the sub at both the near field and the listening position. Using this data, the app then creates a correction curve and then uploads to the sub. You can also manually tune the sub, through the app, via a 12-band parametric EQ that’s included. As a matter of fact, the app controls all facets of the sub’s volume and tuning. As such the back of the S10EQ features no controls whatsoever. All that resides on the sub’s back panel is the LFE input jack, a status LED, a small Reset button and a USB connection for servicing. The S10EQ is finished in a brushed black vinyl.

Setup

ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 Listening Setup

For the bulk of this review, the connected components consisted of: an OPPO BDP-83SE Universal Disc Player, a Pioneer VSX-84TXSi HT receiver and my Intel based workstation running Windows 10 Pro and J. River media Center with the audio being routed via HDMI to the receiver. Speaker wire and interconnect cable are by Blue Jeans Cable.

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I have a rather large, professional tiered desk area for my computer workstation. It allows me to configure a 5.1 channel speaker setup with some equipment that might otherwise be too large (read: crazy) for a typical computer user to employ. The ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 Speaker System was laid out in a proper ITU 5.1 arrangement. Once the uncalibrated speaker and subwoofer placement proved satisfactory, I ran the Auto EQ routine for the S10EQ subwoofer and kept the subwoofer in “Normal” mode for all my listening. I then ran the MCACC calibration system in the Pioneer receiver with the measurement microphone set at the main listening position. For surround listening all speakers were crossed over to the subwoofer at the standard 80 Hz setting. For just stereo listening, I experienced the ELAC Uni-Fi bookshelf speakers running both in full range and crossed over to the S10EQ and, occasionally, other subs at 80 Hz.

In Use

Before I get to the gist how these speakers melded with my ears, a few quick words on how they happened to satisfy the eyes. I’ve had several types of speakers parade their way through “casa Lo Raso” over the years, and a fair number particularly as of late. The reactions from friends and family vary across the map as you would expect, but I don’t recall ever seeing the number of unanimous looks and comments of approval that I have gotten from having these ELAC speakers around. To a person, everyone who’s been by seems to appreciate the understated and classy looks of the Uni-Fi Slim series. Strip all marketing pretensions away, and these are simply just boxes with drivers, but Andrew Jones and his team seem to have refined the proportions, the finish and the remaining details enough to elicit sympathetic impulses from optic nerves everywhere.

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Turning now from the visual to aural, the ELAC Uni-Fi Slim definitely ante up on the performance to match up with the looks. They are, quite simply, exceedingly good all-around speakers. In a surround application any decent set of matching speakers, arrayed as I had done here, should give you a credible surround sound experience with the right source material. The Uni-Fi Slims do that and more by bringing an extra level of finesse to their playback. This becomes especially apparent when they are relieved of having to reproduce low bass content. The concentric driver really stands out in how cohesive the treble and midrange sound, even when listening at such close range. Imaging was especially good with instrumentation being easy to pick out and localize in space. Both male and female vocals sounded clean and natural through the aluminum drivers. The soft dome tweeter was also a good example of the breed. It was perhaps not as airy sounding as a good AMT or ribbon, but it’s a great sounding unit nonetheless and doubtless a better performer off-axis. Cymbals had a nice sheen to them and strings sounded detailed and natural. The center channel timbre match was as good as I’ve heard, leading to seamless pans from side to side and front to back.

When I took just a pair of the Uni-Fi Slim bookshelf speakers and ran them full range in my studio two channel rig, I immediately was able to draw a few parallels from when I first heard the standard finish Uni-Fi’s at CES 2016. Powered by my 300-watt class D amplifier, the bass quality and impact that emanated from these modest little ported white boxes was borderline absurd! I’ve had multi driver tower speakers in this room that have had lower bass extension, but not the same level of punch and impact at the bass frequencies that matter than these little guys do. We aren’t talking about some oversaturated and unbalanced level of bass relative to the other frequencies either. I’m speaking of the kind of extension, tuning and surprising impact that used to be the sole domain of speaker companies like Totem and some of their diminutive creations. This kind of performance from a $749.00 pair of speakers is exceptional, for $499.00 in the standard (non-slim) design, it’s an out-and-out steal.

The S10EQ came across as an admirably punchy little subwoofer. Perfectly suited for this application, the speaker to sub integration was seamless. The associated app for the sub is easy to use and decently flexible. While I initially was concerned about trusting the accuracy of my iPhone’s microphone for taking such measurements, Andrew Jones assured me that it was a non-issue. He stated, “Since we are using the same microphone for the near field and far field measurement, the quality of the microphone should not be a factor. The only time this would be an issue is if the phone keeps any type of noise cancelling feature on (An HTC M8 does this) when using the microphone in a non-phone mode.” In the end, I found the audible results were quite agreeable, so who am I to argue with the engineer? For movies, the S10EQ gave suitably deep and butt-shaking results, in the near field, for explosions, effects and the like. For music, the ELAC S10EQ kept instruments like kick drums and stand-up bass sounding tight and solid with plenty of impact but not getting sloppy or flabby. While it may not give you some of the granular detail and additional extension that you’d get in more expensive subwoofers, what you do get for your $500 bucks is quite exceptional and satisfying.

The following are a few notable musical selections that I felt showed off the ELAC Uni-Fi speakers during our time together:

The Beatles

The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 5.1 Surround mix, Capitol Records. I’ve always liked the Beatles well enough but I can’t say that I’ve ever been a rabid fan. Bands like Cream, The Rolling Stones and the Who were more my sort of thing.

So, the last time I heard the original Sgt. Pepper’s album has surely been a few worlds ago. I listened to the stereo remaster of this album first and found that two Uni-Fi bookshelf speakers and the S10EQ sub made a completely harmonious platform from which to rediscover this classic music. The music sounded crisp, clear and, surprisingly enough, thoroughly modern. There is no question that by this stage “The Fab Four” were properly ahead of their time both creatively and technically. What they were able to do with the original mono, and (reportedly shoddy) stereo album release was no doubt surprising for the time. This new stereo anniversary release is revelatory and I think helps unlock the true sonic potential of the original recordings. On “With a Little Help from My Friends,” Ringo Star’s lead vocals sound nicely weighted and have good body through the little ELACs. Paul McCartney’s bass doesn’t just burble but has definite punch with the S10EQ subwoofer. The opening of “Lucy and The Sky with Diamonds” images particularly well through the Uni-Fi’s. The underlying tamboura sound being played in concert with the processed lead guitar, and John Lennon’s vocals, spreads really well across the soundstage. The guitar notes remain crisp and sound almost shimmery before the kick drum comes in and hits solidly ahead of the chorus.

As good as the stereo remix sounds, the 5.1 surround remix is a whole other world entirely, and it’s a world that was tailor-made for this album. Tracks like “Getting Better” just spring to life in the full ELAC surround setup. The center channel Uni-Fi speaker matches the other bookshelf units perfectly, handling McCartney’s lead vocals in surround just as accurately as the bookshelf monitors did in stereo. The concentric drivers all around keep vocals and instruments sounding even and balanced as they shift in and around from channel to channel. “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and “Within You, Without You” are the two tracks that probably exploited the ability of surround sound most effectively. Both tracks have layers of sonics in every channel and panning effects going from side to side and front to back. In a surround arrangement, the Uni-Fi speakers helped give these tracks a level of depth that was very impressive. Lots of detail retrieval too without being overly harsh or brittle. Overall, it really sounds quite amazing and, to think, that the raw material for this set was recorded in 1966-67. It’s hard not to feel immersed in sound when listening to a nearfield surround speaker setup like this. Though, the ELAC Uni-fi system sounds so natural and cohesive that the immersion never overpowers you or becomes tiresome to listen to.

David Elias

David Elias “The Crossing”

David Elias, The Crossing, Multi-channel DSD files, Sketti Sandwich Productions. A thoroughly more modern recording than Sgt. Pepper’s, The Crossing features mostly acoustic instruments and is wonderfully recorded with a great sense of space and ambience.

Again, the Uni-Fi speaker ensemble sounds nothing if not natural and agreeable in its overall presentation. On the track, “Close My Eyes” the center speaker continues to do yeoman’s work with vocals, revealing the slight hint of raspy-ness inherent in David Elias’ otherwise mellow voice. There is also a mandolin prominently playing in the rear channels, half way into the song, that the ELACs do proper justice to. The instrument’s characteristic ring from its strings coming through clearly and sweetly. It’s a tone that can give some drivers trouble when called upon to reproduce. I’ve heard a few more expensive speakers give off a nasty buzz when tasked with this mandolin part. The Uni-Fi’s handle it with aplomb. Same mandolin comments apply to “Red Tail Guide” but in the front channels here. This track also has a great stand-up bass playing through it. The bass is anchored in the center channel and seamlessly passed off to the S10EQ sub. The string plucks are easily discernable and are rich in detail and weight with the sub adding the appropriate impact and punch. As an overall experience, the ELAC Uni-Fi speakers successfully place me right in the middle of the performance creating a very palpable illusion with this material. Well done!

Karl Bohm,

Karl Bohm, “Mozart Symphony No. 40 and 41”

Mozart Symphonien Nr.40 and Nr.41, Berliner Philharmoniker, Karl Bohm conductor, Deutsche Grammophon LP, 1963. For “fun-sies,” I wanted to see what a pair of the Uni-Fi bookshelf speakers sounded like playing back music on their own, full range in my regular studio two-channel rig.

I already knew that these little guys could put out a respectable amount of bass for their size but how would they do with imaging massed strings and a full orchestra? Apparently not all that bad! While the Uni-Fi U5 Bookshelves can’t compete with the kind of soundscape that a full-size tower would put out with this sort of material, they can do an admirably credible job. The string section of the Berlin Philharmonic was rendered with good width, extending beyond the speakers and with a moderate degree of depth. The stringed instruments themselves sounded smooth and clean without any harshness to speak of. The woodwinds also had a very natural and engaging sound to them and they stood out enough to be accurately placed in the soundstage. The timpani drums during the opening of “The Jupiter Symphony” had a respectable amount of impact coming from the little ELACs. Cellos had a credible level of weight to their notes and the accompanying flutes sounded suitably light and airy. While I have heard more detail extracted from these tracks from other speakers, they’ve all been significantly more expensive models and the experience has not always been as enjoyable as it is now. The ELACs sounded extraordinarily fatigue-free with this material.

London Has Fallen

London Has Fallen

While my Pioneer receiver can’t directly decode the DTS-X audio track on this Blu-ray disk, the DTS 5.1 sound track that it was able to extract was more than capable of getting the point across. Putting aside its paper-thin one-dimensional story, this movie had enough bombs, drones, bullets, missiles, explosions and general mayhem to really test the Uni-Fi system’s mettle.

The S10 EQ acquitted itself well during a multitude of explosions taking out a terrorist compound, London Bridge, Marine One, etc. Through it all the sub sounded very solid and punchy without showing any signs of distress. I think this sub would satisfy many people’s requirements for a small to medium sized room. During the climactic firefight to rescue the President, the seamless sound of the bullets whizzing by my head from front-to-back and across the channels was eerily convincing with the shots themselves having a good, solid weight and impact when they were fired. Morgan Freeman’s voice is always distinctive and unmistakable in whatever role he ends up serving in a picture. In this film, he plays the Vice-President and I found the ELAC Uni-Fi center channel to be particularly adept at rendering both the nuances and the authoritative weight of his voice in his role. It’s a detail that stuck out to me as I’ve heard his voice countless times and it just struck me at how good he sounded here.

On the Bench

Benchmark audio tests of the ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 speakers were conducted using a calibrated Earthworks M30 microphone. The source device was a LYNX Two professional PC sound card using test signals created by SpectraPLUS audio measurement software. Measurements for on and off axis frequency response were taken at a distance of 1 meter from the speaker while distortion measurements were taken at 1 foot distance from the appropriate driver.

Average in-room response measurements were taken using Room EQ Wizard software and a calibrated Umik-1 USB microphone.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim On and 30 Degree Off-Axis Frequency Respons

This chart shows the on-axis frequency response directly compared to the 30-degree off-axis measurement. The two plots track each other tightly until we get to about 9 kHz where the treble energy of the 30-degree plot begins to gently roll off.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim Averaged In-Room Response

This graph shows an averaged in room response that was culled from 10 measurements taken at various points around the main listening area. Unlike the on-axis measurement, this tries to give a better indication of what the speaker’s legitimate response is. The entire plot looks admirably flat and well behaved with just a minor dip between 250 and 300 Hz which I believe to be a room artifact. The bass response begins to roll off at about 44 Hz which is slightly better than spec.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 10 kHz THD

Distortion measurements for speakers are typically done at a 90 dB reference point. This particular graph shows a distortion level at 10 kHz of only 0.604093% at 90 db. Essentially inaudible.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 5kHz THD

At 5 kHz the distortion level at 90 dB is lower still, at 0.412451%. Also, inaudible.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 1 kHz THD

At 1 kHz the distortion level at 90 dB remains relatively constant at 0.433618%.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 500 Hz THD

At 500 Hz the distortion level at 90 dB barely increases to 0.506949%. Very clean midrange will be a result.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 250 Hz THD

At 250 Hz the distortion level at 90 dB begins to rise to 1.753711%.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 50 Hz THD

At 50 Hz which shows an increase in distortion level to 2.346449%. Not bad at all for the level of bass coming out of this size of a speaker.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 40 Hz THD

At 40Hz, we are going just beyond the rated low-range response of the speaker and the distortion level at 90 dB rises sharply to 7.819654%. Remember that distortion levels in speakers are commonly considered to be audible at levels of 10%. A good result for this class of speaker.

ELAC Uni-Fi BS U5 Slim 32 Hz THD, at Port

At 32 Hz we begin to really stress the speaker. Measuring 90 dB at one foot from the rear port where most of the energy would be emanating from at this point, distortion rises to 13.363441%.

ELAC Uni-Fi CC U5 Slim On and 30 Degree Off-Axis Frequency Response

Looking at the on-axis frequency response directly compared to the 30-degree off-axis measurement for the center channel speaker. The two plots track each other tightly until we get to about 12 kHz where the treble energy of the 30-degree plot begins to gently roll off.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer Frequency Response

This graph shows the close-mic’d frequency response of both the subwoofer driver and passive radiator summed together. While this nearfield measurement shows a 5dB dip in the middle of the passband, I consider it a just limitation of testing in my environment. Low end response begins to roll off at 28 Hz which is bang-on spec.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer Frequency Response from Manufacturer

This graph was provided by ELAC and shows the nearfield response of the S10EQ as measured in their lab. It is simply included for reference.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer 50 Hz THD

Here we have a subwoofer distortion measurement of 1.285183% for 50 Hz at 90 dB taken at 2 meters. Quite respectable.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer 40 Hz THD

At 40 Hz and 90dB the distortion level of the ELAC sub remains practically unchanged at 1.268146%.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer 30 Hz THD

The measurement actually drops a shade to 1.155347% for 30 Hz at 90 dB. Very consistent distortion performance.

ELAC S10EQ Subwoofer 25 Hz THD

At 25 Hz and almost 90dB the distortion level of the ELAC sub increases to 3.729089%. Still well below the level of audibility.

Conclusions

ELAC Woofer, close up

THE ELAC UNI-FI SPEAKER line is a killer value in terms of sound and style. You would need to spend a good deal more to improve on such versatile performers.

Likes
  • Attractive Euro styling.
  • Excellent imaging and cohesive, point-source sound.
  • Surprising amount of bass from such smallish speakers.
  • Subwoofer Auto-EQ works well and App suite provides an innovative range of control.
Would Like To See
  • Take the center channel speaker, orient it vertically and tweak the crossover to create an MTM style monitor to add to the Uni-Fi line. Position it between the Bookshelf and the Tower speakers.

The ELAC Uni-Fi Slim 5.1 Speaker system is an extremely stylish and astonishingly good sounding line of products for the money. The bookshelf speakers alone should be on your short list if you are in the market for a compact pair of stereo monitors. They sound wonderfully natural and clean, both on and off axis, and they can put out a surprising level of bass that belies their size. The Uni-Fi center channel is a perfect sonic match for the bookshelf speakers making sound pans seamless and vocal reproduction solid and clear. The S10EQ subwoofer is a solid, low distortion performer with a novel control suite via smartphone and tablet apps. Put it all together and you have a killer surround sound system for movies and music for a small to medium sized room. Add a second identical sub or move up to one of ELAC’s larger subs and you have a system that can easily scale up to a larger room, provided you have the amplifier power to deal with the 4-ohm speaker loads. And the kicker is that, if you don’t need the Uni-Fi Slim’s more refined aesthetics, you can opt for the “Standard Finish” Uni-Fi speakers to compose your system. They sound identical to the Slims and you’ll pocket a little more coin for your trouble. Either way, “Standard” or “Slim,” the ELAC Uni-fi speaker line is an easy recommendation to make. They are an outstanding sonic value.

  • Troy

    Good write up, I have a pair of the Uni-Fi slims on my shortlist for my bedroom setup.

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    Thanks for reading the review Troy. If you decide on the Uni-Fi Slims, I think you’ll be pleased!

  • vneal

    One of the BEST detailed reviews I have ever read. EVER. Kudos to Carlos.

    In my home Theater system I use F5s which sound good but to me the treble is a little rolled off compared to my B&W CM10s and the soundstage is much smaller but for $279 each they are a bargain. Do the Uni Fi sound rolled off? ELACs typically sound pretty good for rock speakers less so for jazz .

    Anyway one of my favorite reviews. Keep the video portion coming

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    Hey vneal, thank you very much for the kind words and so happy that you enjoyed the write up. The Uni-Fi’s did not sound rolled off to me in the slightest. The treble was really nicely presented both at the upper limit and as it seamlessly flowed down into the midrange. I played a lot of jazz through these guys, both in 2 channel and surround, and at no time did I register that the horns, cymbals or even flute were sounding either rolled off or over-saturated. I think they hit the balance just about right, at least for my tastes anyway.
    Hope that helps and all the best.

  • kevon27

    Superb Review. Like others have said, the detail and the measurements are great. This is what most of us want to see in reviews.
    Fluffy words don’t cut it anymore.
    Thank you Carlo.

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    My pleasure kevon27! Thanks for the compliments. I’m not outfitted to do measurements on every component that comes my way but when I can measure something, I like to include them for sure.
    Cheers!

  • JWitt

    I really appreciated the review. I have been researching ELAC speakers lately with all of the compliments around Andrew Jones. The mid-range tweeter driver really caught my attention. Have you guys considered reviewing hsu research CCB-8? They are similar pricing to the Slim’s, little more than the standard uni-fi. I was fortunate to listen to them at AXPONA and am just curious about some minor details between the two. I really like that both speakers should have great off axis performance and imaging. Anyway, I would love to see a review of HSU research CCB-8 speakers.

  • Carlo Lo Raso

    Hey JWitt, thanks for reading the review. I got a chance to hear the HSU speakers you reference a couple of years ago, in the prototype stage, and I came away quite impressed. A review of them on our end would be a good idea now that they are in production. Thanks for the suggestion!