German company ELAC During its almost 100-year history has gained considerable experience in the audio industry, but it didn't come to consumer audio market right away - it released its first radio in 1945. Since then, ELAC has significantly expanded its product range, firmly entering the high end audio segment.
This review is about a senior floorstanding loudspeaker. ELAC - Vela FS 409which was provided by Audiomania, a leading Russian supplier of audio components.
Briefly about technical characteristics.
Design: 3.5 lanes, 2 x 180 mm bass drivers, 150 mm woofer, JET V tape tweeter.
LF design is a phase-inverter, the port is directed to the floor.
4 ohm impedance, sensitivity 89 dB.
Declared frequency range: 28 Hz - 50,000 Hz.
Dimensions 276 x 1307 x 332 mm, weight 32.1 kg.
Loudspeakers look very stylish. The finishing is available in white gloss, black gloss and glossy walnut. Individual grills for loudspeakers are available as an option.
Vela FS 409 - is a development of the successful 400 series. And it's not just about looks. All seemingly "cosmetic" changes have a precise German calculation.
Tilting the bodies back isn't just a tribute to style. This is how the manufacturer constructs the acoustic centres of the speakers, minimising time delays - one way to get an even amplitude response in the area of filter-linked speakers. Elegantly curved front face Vela FS 409 also reduces the effect of the front of the housing by decreasing the interference of reflected sound waves.
Stand of Vela FS 409 - a solid aluminium plate to which the spikes are attached. Shifting the centre of gravity of the speakers down, the extra weight and stability in this case serves a more focused bass. At the bottom, between the stand and the cabinet, there's a reflex port.
We should separately say a few words about the speakers. The JET V tape tweeter has a very high upper limit frequency of 50 kHz, significantly superior to human hearing capabilities. This seems redundant, but it does indicate that this tweeter will feel quite confident in its range. The new waveguide is optimized to reproduce stereo and multi-channel sound in today's environment.
The unusual faceted dome woofers and woofers are designed for more accurate transmission of high energy transients. They are a "sandwich" made of aluminium and cellulose, manufactured using proprietary AS-XR technology that extends the boundaries of the frequency response.
So how are all the above technologies going to perform in action?
It was decided to start listening to the amplifier with a "stone" heart - transistor Mark Levinson 5805 (125 W per channel, class AB).
The first time you turn on, you immediately notice a high degree of transparency, especially in the middle and high frequencies of the sound range, and a very even tonal balance.
Vivaldi's dynamic recordings (Giuliano Carmignola, Concerto in G minor, RV 331, Deutsche Grammophon, 2006), rich in intonation and colour, confirmed the original impression: microdynamics, string attack, legibility and information in detail - at a high level. Second or third plan, harpsichord, violins are very well traced. Immediately catch yourself thinking that the transparency of loudspeakers dictates the need to select a high-quality source.
The tweeter in the 409 model is slightly above average, so for optimal results it's better to use a chair that's not the lowest - so that tape tweeters are at the ear level of the listener if possible - in which case the focus of the visual images will be maximum.
Midbass register - does not protrude, in the works of A.Piazzolla (Astoria, A.Piazzolla, Fuga Libera, 2006), and also on rock one wants more "density", but metal ballads are very pleasant and attractive (Legend Rock Ballads volume 2).
The ELAC Vela 409 is clearly more appealing to classics and rigour. And in the classic repertoire, it opens up to the full.
Acoustic systems have proved themselves excellently on vocals. The balanced tonality and vividness of the applause given to the great singers by the grateful audience are also a good indicator of the precise tuning of acoustic systems.
As for the bass range, you should bear in mind, first of all, the volume of the room - in a fairly large showroom number 15 Audiomania (100 square meters) to any speaker system will be difficult to give the right level of bass. In addition, ELAC Vela FS 409 Have a fairly slim and compact enclosures - this, of course, imposes restrictions on the volume of the reproduced bass, with physics is difficult to argue. However, at the listening point lack of bass on most records was not felt. For greater flexibility in choosing the best location in the room and the maximum quality of the bass manufacturer has provided for the possibility of connecting speakers in bi-amping mode - with separate amplification of the woofers, as well as the phase-inverter, directed to the floor.
Then we connected Elac to Octave V 70 SE lamp amplifier (two-stroke lamp amplifier on 6550 pentodes, 70 W per channel on 4 Ohm).
Added vividness, transparency, plasticity. Especially heard on copper instruments.
At the same time the sound became softer in general, and some "nerve" that someone may miss in the recordings disappeared.
A wonderful way to check the macrodynamics is to put the brass band recording (exemplary orchestra of the Russian Federal Border Guard Service, 2000-2002 recordings). The bass compared to the transistor amplifier is no longer expected, but has not decreased. However, strangely enough, its articulation noticeably improved, the drums began to play more freely, breathing dynamics. The brass band had a lot of fun, zahvatsky, with the military playing marches from a distance.
What's the bottom line?
A special feature of acoustics ELAC Vela FS 409 - the ability to convey the emotionality of the recordings, a light pleasant tonal balance.
Nessun Dorma performed by three tenors (Best of The Three Tenors, Decca, 1990) and violin by D. Oistrakh (Ciacona in G Minor, Tommaso Antonio Vitali, Melody, 1950) - touch, Swan Lake performed by orchestra conducted by E. Svetlanov (Melody, 1987) and Mozart concerti for piano and orchestra (Arthur Rubinstein, Mozart Piano Consertos #20 & #21, RCA, 1962) - engage, sparkle with the breadth of the sound palette, giving the music away, forgetting about the audio system.
The composition of the system in which the audition took place:
CD transport - Cambridge Audio Azur 851C
TRUNNION - RME ADI2 DAC
Amplifiers - Mark Levinson 5805 and Octave V 70 SE
Cables - Analysis-Plus Oval 12, Nordost Heimdall, Nordost Blue Heaven.
Review author: Vyacheslav @Staudio