Andrew Jones is one of the best-known speaker designers out there, and his reputation is secure at every end of the price spectrum. From his work at TAD and KEF, to his recent tenure at Pioneer, Andrew’s designs often outperform the competiton. At CES 2016, Andrew demonstrated a prototype of his latest speaker design, the ELAC Uni-Fi B5 ($500 per pair), and quite frankly it sounded stunning.
The Uni-Fi B5 is a 3-way bookshelf featuring a 2-way concentric driver as well as a 5.25” woofer, priced at a rather remarkable $500 per pair; when you hear ‘em, you’ll understand why that price point perpetuates Andrew’s reputation for delivering some of the very best sound you’ll get from an affordable speaker system.
I heard the Uni-Fis playing full-range, and they did justice to “trouble is What You’re In” by Fink, and “El Macho” by Mark Knopfler. Yes, a sub would have elevated the experience, but this was serious performance for a compact pair of bookshelf speakers that will surely appeal to any audiophile on a budget. To hammer home the point about the bass response, Andrew played some Deadmau5, and the tight, deep bass was notable for a speaker of its size.
Although I already have a pair of Elac Debut B6’s in for review, I was sort of wishing that Andrew’s prototypes were already available, so I could trade up. In addition to the $500 per pair UB5 bookshelf, ELAC will offer a UF5 floorstander at $1000 per pair, as well as a UC5 center at $350 each. Simply put, Mr. Jones has done it again.
Andrew Jones and his ELAC Uni-Fi B5 prototype speakers.