Elac Debut S8 8-Inch Powered Subwoofer Review

Last updated on: 9-7-18
Bottom Line: A decent subwoofer that’s designed by a well respected audio engineer, but undersized with weaker specs for the price. More performant and overall better value options are available, especially if you’re willing to spend not all that much more money.

Spec Overview

Speaker type: powered, ported
Continuous power handling: 60 W
Peak power handling: 100 W
Frequency response range: 38 – 200 Hz
Driver size: 8″
Warranty: 1 year (electronics), 3 years (non-electronics)

Review and Discussion

Elac is a lesser known company, but has currently acquired the services of renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones to help them design good sounding but inexpensive loudspeakers, which is the same thing he did prior for Pioneer. As it happens, Elac’s 8S 8-inch “Debut” subwoofer is strikingly similar to Pioneer’s popular 8-inch SW-8MK2 suwboofer, which Jones also designed.

The S8 has a bottom firing driver and sided port, which is generally better for fully ambient sound that isn’t focused on a single point. The restriction is that it will need to sit on a hard surface, but this smaller 20lb unit shouldn’t be too hard to move and place. 60 W of continuous power is enough to augment a similarly budget-tier set of main speakers (Jones has designed such speakers for Elac and some of them are quite good), but in a larger room with higher end speakers, the S8 will likely underwhelm. Add to that a 38 Hz response floor just isn’t that great – we like to ideally see subs go to 25 Hz or lower.

This isn’t so much a problem with the speaker itself as it is with the fact that 8 inch subwoofers tend to be limited in what they can do, especially when the goal is to keep the price down. The shortfalls of the S8 are pretty common amongst similarly sized competitors.

The unit has a vinyl finish that looks quite slick for a budget-tier speaker, as many of Elac’s newer products do – it’s a veritable step up aesthetically from the older Pioneer’s very boilerplate washed wood MDF, if that’s something you even care about. The 3 year warranty on non electronic parts is fairly decent, while the lesser 1 year warranty on the amp and other electronics is comparatively bare minimum.

Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition

Andrew Jones wouldn’t put his name on a bad product, and per the article linked to above he’s stated that he wanted to improve upon the already popular Pioneer budget speakers he designed. That said, it’s hard to justify the price of the S8 for the low-ish specs you get. There are multiple competitors that are bigger, more powerful, and that have better warranties. Beyond that, the price point of the S8 (much like the 8 inch Pioneer sub that preceded it), is just at that awkward point where, for not that much more, you can get subwoofers that are much bigger and multiples more powerful. We think, for most people, the massive extra value you’d get from spending not all that much more is definitely worth it.

Get the Debut S8 subwoofer on Amazon

See our current picks for the overall best budget subwoofers