Update: The F5 and F6 have been discontinued and replaced with the F5.2 and F6.2 (reviewed here).You can also check out our best-of page for alternative recommendations.
|Speaker Type||passive, ported, 3-way||(<-- same)|
|Continuous Power Handling||70 W||80 W|
|Peak Power Handling||140 W||150 W|
|Sensitivity||86 db/W/m||86 db/W/m|
|Response Range||42 - 20k Hz||39 - 20k Hz|
|Warranty||3 years||(<-- same)|
Review and Discussion
Elac’s Debut series was designed by renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones, who previously designed a similar and still quite popular lineup for Pioneer. The goal was the same – to build great sounding speakers that are inexpensive, and to improve upon the already decent and popular Pioneer speakers he designed prior. The lineup consists of a 5.25″ and 6.5″ woofer tower speaker, the F5 and F6 respectively.
We’d categorize both these speakers as entry level, meaning they have the specs to fill a small to medium sized room but will underwhelm in comparison to more powerful and more expensive options. The F6 is larger and does have more power and range, but only by a marginal amount.
The design, though, is quite tailored for an entry level speaker – it utilizes a 3 way double crossover that, in addition to the tweeter and 2 woofers, adds a midrange woofer to focus on the middle frequencies. This also allows the lower woofers to focus on the bass with their own dedicated crossover point, which means these will sound good on their own without necessarily needing a subwoofer. Most budget speakers are merely 2 way and thus do tend to fall short on the bass without an added subwoofer. Beyond that, there are a few minor aesthetic differences in the larger woofers of the F6.
While most entry level speakers look pretty plain, Elac’s Debut lineup, though aesthetically understated, actually looks quite decent. The partial foam grill looks good with the vinyl finish, and the chrome stands complement either that or the similarly covered bezels surrounding the woofers (you can choose to remove the cover). This newer design is definitely a step up from Jones’s older Pioneer speakers, and good looks are always a nice bonus with budget speakers. Elac offers 3 years of warranty coverage on passive speakers, which is fairly decent. While you’re normally looking at 1-2 years of warranty for cheaper speakers, some companies do offer up to 5 years of coverage.
Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition
Elac is a good company that makes good speakers, and Andrew Jones wouldn’t put his name on a bad product. Also nice is a 3 way design with a dedicated bass-woofer so as to not necessitate a subwoofer.
The drawback though is that these are quite expensive for the specs. Consider that Pioneer’s SP-FS52 (reviewed here), which was also designed by Jones, has basically the same specs as the F5 and we’ve seen it go for less than half the price, money saved which could go towards a subwoofer. We’ve also seen entry level Klipsch Reference tower speakers (reviewed here) go for less than the F6s, and they have practically double the power and loudness.
Our suspicion is that the F5s are still new enough that they haven’t been significantly discounted from their original MSRP, something that usually happens with older generation speakers and thus makes them the best choice since speakers don’t depreciate like most other consumer electronics do. That said, Elac very recently released it’s updated Debut 2.0 line up which features two newer versions of these tower speakers (review forthcoming), so the now legacy F5 and F6 might become available at a great price soon enough.
See our current picks for the overall best budget floorstanding tower speakers