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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:31 pm 
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It's been a week with AS-61's so I thought I'd share impressions with anyone interested or future buyers/owners. They have been playing break in material since they were received, if they sound different with more time the thread will be updated. I will start with a little backstory...

For many years I've been bringing in different speakers to evaluate and experience with first hand experience. I don't feel you can properly assess gear at a show or store. One of my favorite categories is bookshelf speakers in the general price range of $3,000 to $6,000. IMO most offerings at this price point provide a good example of what a company can do with less budget constraints compared to entry models.

After hearing Uni-Fi UB5's at CES I made it a goal to bring in the Debut and Uni-Fi lines as lower priced offerings at the audio store I was managing at the time. The Debut series delivered as expected but I felt the Uni-Fi's suffered from a major flaw, they needed to be paired with much more expensive electronics to sound really good. Many pairings I heard with otherwise great integrated amps at similar price points fell flat. The AS-61's follow suit with being an excellent yet flawed speaker.

When I read the press release for the Adante series it was pretty exciting news. It would be nice to see what Andrew Jones could do for ELAC North America with a bit larger budget. The internal design looked very interesting (pic below) like his work in the past with KEF had rubbed off on the new ELAC speakers. My only reservation was with the use of aluminum mids. Quite frankly I haven't liked most speakers that use aluminum mids but my ears might be sensitive to them.

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The first bit of feedback is that they are BIG, possibly larger than KEF Reference 1's. Make sure you have stands that can handle a speaker of this size and weight. They take up more space than PMC FB1's so don't get them as a space saving solution.

Sound? Right out of the box they were bright, imaged very well, threw out a huge sound stage and provided more detail than expected. I immediately heard similarities with studio monitors from Genelec and Amphion. When I put them in my room I was expecting easy integration but this was not the case. After going from Nord to Pass Labs, swapping speaker cables and trying multiple placement options they were sounding much better. I had to set them back 6-8 inches more than any bookshelf/stand mount. I went through similar gear matching and placement issues with all but one of the Totem Element series to get them sounding their best. Experienced hobbyists should have no problems getting it sorted out if they have extra gear and space for testing. This is not a speaker you can just throw in a corner and expect good results so make sure you have the room.

IMHO nothing will change the super detailed nature of the AS-61 unless they take a dramatic turn. The detail is their greatest strength at the affordable price point so it’s not something I’d want to eliminate and when I stopped placing them toe in the brightness was gone.

After running AS-61’s with different material for 48 hours I felt comfortable taking them through the paces with Electronica and Hip-Hop tracks with complex bass passages. The expertly tuned boxes and design offer a unique sense of timing I haven’t experienced with a stand mount. For comparison the bass quality is somewhere between a Neat Momentum sx3i and ATC SCM19 but has it’s own sound signature. The Neats have more emphasis on mid bass and the ATCs are a bit faster while the Elacs go much deeper.

As I mentioned previously some aluminum based mids in 3 ways suffer with certain material and the Adantes are no exception. It’s present on random female vocals but it is hard to quantify, there is a lack of richness to the voices you might hear from a Proac or Audio Note.

After a week I’m finding AS-61’s at $3,750 retail to be specialists at providing a vast sound stage, excellent detail, timing, layering and imaging. They can really draw you in to a recording during the magic hours. The weak points are some vocals, including movie dialogue, they are ruthless with low quality recordings and gear matching/placement can be a challenge. They are engaging, enjoyable and stand out performers at the price point with Electronica, Neo Soul and Hip-Hop. I’d recommend them to people that primarily listen to those genres over a long list of competitors, the Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise album has never sounded so good on a stand mount speaker. For other genres I’d recommend a demo first to see if they suit your tastes as they can be inconsistent with Jazz and Rock.


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Last edited by James_W on Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:01 pm 
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Nice review. I think it is a long shot from the time I had the 310 JET Ultimate at my place...but I am also not a big fan of the metal drivers. Many of these new speakers(KEF Ref) are quite sensitive to speaker cables as I also found...good discovery for people looking into new generation of stand mount speakers!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:08 pm 
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libor wrote:
Nice review. I think it is a long shot from the time I had the 310 JET Ultimate at my place...but I am also not a big fan of the metal drivers. Many of these new speakers(KEF Ref) are quite sensitive to speaker cables as I also found...good discovery for people looking into new generation of stand mount speakers!

The German ELAC FS 607 X-Jet coaxial I had last year were very good and they had aluminum drivers as well. The 607's were like focused beam compared to the wide presentation of AS-61's. There have been some really great stand mount speakers released in the last 5 years!


Last edited by James_W on Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:40 am 
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Awesome, I’ll have to check them out.

That pantha du prince album is one that I listen to over and over. It’s immaculately recorded and comes alive with the right speakers.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:16 am 
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Quote:
The German ELAC FS 607 X-Jet coaxial I had last year were very good and they had aluminum drivers as well. The 607's were like focused beam compared to the wide presentation of AS-61's. There have been some really great stand mount speakers released in the last 5 years!
[/quote]

I know, I was also auditioning some others like Raidho and the new Dynaudio line...all very good and much better than it used to be in that category!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:54 am 
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runnin wrote:
bass reproduction no lower than the Totem Rainmaker(which looks nicer quite frankly).

Comparing Rainmakers to UB5's would be more valid on a performance level, although measuring as low the bass quality and quantity is not in the same ball park as the Adantes. For Totem stand mount speakers I've had in this room (including Rainmakers) AS-61's are on par with Fires and Mani-2 Sigs.


Last edited by James_W on Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:23 am 
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malthuse wrote:
Awesome, I’ll have to check them out.

That pantha du prince album is one that I listen to over and over. It’s immaculately recorded and comes alive with the right speakers.

I suspect the Technics model you have will be coming in at some point this year, your impressions piqued my interest.The general consensus online is they are a step up from KEF LS50's.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:38 pm 
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I continue to be impressed with the Technics. In a small room with a warm amp they sound fantastic. After my recent post asking for recommendations for bookshelves that soundstage well I also purchased a pair of PMC twenty25.21s and a pair of Totem Element Fires. This weekend I'll be doing some comparisons between the three, I'll post and let you know how they compare.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:42 pm 
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Excellent post James. Your efforts are much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:41 pm 
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malthuse wrote:
I continue to be impressed with the Technics. In a small room with a warm amp they sound fantastic. After my recent post asking for recommendations for bookshelves that soundstage well I also purchased a pair of PMC twenty25.21s and a pair of Totem Element Fires. This weekend I'll be doing some comparisons between the three, I'll post and let you know how they compare.

Do you still have the McCormack amp? I was running Earths with one and it was pretty good. The Fires are great speakers.

sthomas1049 wrote:
Excellent post James. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Thanks man I appreciate that. Sites like this should be about sharing gear experiences!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:43 pm 
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I’ve got the dna225 and the 500. I’ll likely run the 500 with them as it is sitting indie now.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:24 am 
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malthuse wrote:
After my recent post asking for recommendations for bookshelves that soundstage well I also purchased a pair of PMC twenty25.21s and a pair of Totem Element Fires. This weekend I'll be doing some comparisons between the three, I'll post and let you know how they compare.

What are your thoughts on the Fires? Do they not suit your tastes?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:27 am 
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Very curious to hear about the fires as well. I’ve been considering them off and on for some time now. Them and the Focal 1008be.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:30 am 
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Very interested in this thread and thanks for sharing your experience.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:03 pm 
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malthuse wrote:
That pantha du prince album is one that I listen to over and over. It’s immaculately recorded and comes alive with the right speakers.

+1


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