ELAC BS 263 loudspeakers

15.04.2015..
ELAC BS 263
ELAC BS 263


ReMusic Spark AwardThe expression “German product” goes along with perfect lacquering and elegant sound. Like the best pianos. “Klang lebt”, that is “The life of sound”, is ELAC’s philosophy. True. The ELAC BS 263 is a live object thanks to its elegance and sound. An entirely handmade product at a favorable price if compared to the quality it offers.

 

 

Is it possible that I still let myself be enthralled by the two-way standmount speakers? By small speakers that try to imitate the big ones? By gnomes trying to reach performances that only the giants can reach due to their bigger dimensions and volumes? Anyway, as a journalist, I have to recognize and distinguish who deserves to be recognized and distinct for one or more reasons. Reasons that are obviously linked to the audio quality.

 

ELAC, famous and old German brand, founded in 1923, thanks to the precious and valiant contribute of the forward-looking Luca Parlato, LP Audio’s owner, comes back to Italy after many years and its rentrée goes with a bang. Just look at the ELAC’s catalogue to realize how serious is the commitment in offering top quality products at favorable prices. We will talk later about the quality/price ratio of the ELAC’s products.

 

The model we are reviewing here is the BS 263 of the Line 260 that replaces the old but glorious Line 240. A two-way bass reflex.

 

I want to describe my sensations when I had the first physical contact with the BS 263. Great care in the package with convenient envelops in nonwoven fabric to protect the black lacquering, and cotton gloves to preserve the mirrored finish. The shape of the cabinet is curved like a mandolin, so that the energy created by the internal acoustic wave can pass the obstacles made by the internal sharp corners of the cabinet. In this way, it is possible to avoid the phenomena of diffraction due to the air pressure created by the piston movement of the midwoofer.

The connections are beautiful, although only for single-wiring. The reflex back port is highly aerodynamic in the control and elimination of the turbulences. In the lower part of the cabinet find place the threads to screw the cabinet to the stand, which is not included in the price and is sold as an accessory. The protection grilles are magnetic but they do not interfere with the magnetic currents of the engines of the drivers. The mirrored black lacquering of the BS 263 is perfect: no orange peel effect, no strange deforming waves, no opacity, but a perfect work made by whom has in his blood the perfection of the piano lacquering.

Let’s talk of the transducers. The 15 cm midwoofer is the proprietary model AS XR cone. It has a striking excursion and a very light cone where the crystal pattern and the anodized aluminum coating increase rigidity. The tweeter is the famous JET 5, home-designed and home-made with ribbon technology. It is the last grandnephew of the J.E.T. of 1993. The crossover utilizes components selected by ELAC with particular care in the coils that are defined High Power Air Coil. The internal wiring is by Van den Hul. The manufacture is totally, exclusively, absolutely hand-made in Germany. The price? 1,495.00 euro per pair.

 

After the introduction, let’s find how the BS 263 behave.

The efficiency of the BS 263 is 87 dB. They are not easy to be driven and my thought goes to amplification with some muscles and transistors. I notice however that the sensitiveness does not go below 3,6 ohms. So also a good tube amplification can be suitable.

 

The first listening impression with new speakers will always be: good speakers but nothing new. After the break-in, believe me, you will eat your words.

Very often the topic, right or wrong, is the break-in of the audio components. Such procedure is right and justified for the loudspeakers, since they need a controlled starting use to optimize and settle the suspensions of the cones. If the system is hybrid, whit traditional drivers matched with ribbon transducers, the prodromal procedure is mandatory. Rather, the designing, the manufacture and the fine-tuning of the crossover filter takes place with components that are used for a long time. The correct alignment in temporal phase of the response of the drivers is of paramount importance and it optimizes only after a couple of hours of functioning. Personally, for a break-in of 24 hours, I use a signal of pink noise with the loudspeakers placed facing each other and one out of phase.

 

To test the ELAC BS 263, I decide to use all the amplifications available in my listening room. With the 80 watts class-A AM Audio monoblocks, the sound is granitic and very controlled, great dynamics and sound impact, warm and velvet tone. Let’s go back over with the 20 watts class-A Audio Innovation 500 tube amplifier. The sound becomes weaker, less dynamic but with a strong decrease of the sound pressure and with a better detail. I test now the Sugden Prestige Anniversary LE integrated amp. The sound is very convincing, simple, fast in the dynamic transients, detailed and warm. I have another amp to test though: the Symphonic Line Kraftquelle. Here is the squaring of the circle. The magic blows helped by a good pair of power cables, the White Gold Stradivari Reference. A wide and high image, very deep, with a secure dynamics and controlled transients. My final decision for these German speakers is a German amp. A coincidence?

The BS263 has that kind of sound quality that convinces and fascinates. It convinces because the performances are excellent: great extension in low and high frequency, amazing dynamics but, most of all, I think that the best performance is in the mid frequencies. Although they are not too present and bright, have timbric skills of absolute quality. The piano, very difficult to reproduce, is pleasant and credible. The classical music is fulfilling thanks to the sound image given, which is very wide in the three dimensions. Also the jazz music benefits from the ability of the BS 263 to reproduce a three-dimensional musical window. The instruments are placed with accuracy in the sound stage and the ELAC seem to disappear in order to give place to the music. The price? 1,495.00 euro per pair.

 

I found myself looking at the ELAC BS 263 with the system off. Maybe is the tweeter with its peculiar shape and colour, or the midwoofer cone that seems like a black and precious diamond. Maybe is the perfect black mirrored lacquering or the cabinet shape. Maybe are all these things together, but these small loudspeakers are very elegant. The listening experience is elegant too. Elegant in offering the signal with grace and precision, like the move of a ballerina.

 

The BS 263 shows off musical performances of great value, extreme frequencies reached without stretches, correct and natural mids, dynamics and sound pressure unimaginable considered the small dimensions of the cabinet, image and sound stage of great quality and extension. In brief, a small champion with a future of reference product among the strandmount speakers.

 

The ELAC BS 263 are beautiful objects, designed and made in Germany. A product with the quality and the reliability of a German product. An elegant product with a beautiful elegant sound.

 

Have I tell you the price? I do not remember. Anyway, they cost 1,495.00 euro per pair.

For me they deserve a Spark in the Dark.

 

Official technical specifications

Dimensions: 285×192×285mm (WxHxD)

Weight: 6.6kg

Type: 2-Way, bass reflex

Woofer: 1×150mm AS-XR cone

Tweeter: 1×JET 5

Crossover frequency: 2,500Hz

Frequency range (IEC 268-5): 41 ... 50,000Hz

Sensitivity: 87.5dB/2.83V/m

Suitable for amplifiers: 4 ... 8Ω

Recommended amplifier power: 30-150W/channel

Nominal/peak power handling: 60/80W

Nominal impedance: 4Ω

Minimum impedance: 3.7Ω/230Hz

Finishes: Black, High Gloss

Accessories included in the delivery: Magn. fixed fabric grille

Accessories not included: LS30 stands (height: 700mm)

 

Official Italian dealer: to LP Audio website

Official current price in Italy: 1,495.00 EUR

Associated equipment: to Roberto “The Rock” Rocchi's system

 

by Roberto Rocchi
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