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Video: What's inside an ELAC speaker?

Check out the guts of the Andrew Jones-designed ELAC Adante AS-61 speaker

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

ELAC speakers sound fantastic, so we decided to open one up and see why. The speaker was designed by noted speaker guru Andrew Jones, so we had a little extra anticipation when we got out a table saw and cut an ELAC Adante AS-61 in half. The result? You're gonna have to watch and see!

You can read our interview with Andrew Jones, plus get a little more background on the design here.

Read video transcript

Hey, I'm J.R. and I'm here with an ELAC speaker. As you can see right here, normally we shoot these videos in our video studio. Today we're in an install bay. Normally there's a car in here, and we're taking speakers out and putting the head units in and all that. Today we've sort of absconded this room for our purposes.

We're gonna do some pretty cool stuff with this speaker, and it's gonna be worth it, because what we've got here is the ELAC Adante S61. Let's go ahead and reveal that. It's a beautiful speaker. It is heavy, you should try picking this thing up! We were highly impressed when we when we saw it, when we picked it up, the build quality is pretty great.

We're looking at the design of this speaker, and there's some pretty special things going on. So ELAC hired Andrew Jones, pretty well-known and respected speaker designer, and first they hired him to make a rather affordable line of speakers that sound really good, and he did just that. This is the next thing he did for ELAC, which was to make a more of a cost-no-object design.

They're not like $30,000 or anything, but they're expensive and worth it, and designed by Andrew Jones with some neat stuff going on inside. When we saw what's happening inside, we thought, 'how cool would it be if we could take one, and sawed it in half so we could see the design that Andrew Jones came up with?' And so we contacted ELAC and they said, "Sure!"

They sent us one, so we didn't have to grab one out of the warehouse and saw one that we would have sent to some lucky customer. We grabbed one that's never gonna see a shipping box in a customer's home, so we're gonna be able to saw this speaker in half today.

We're gonna take the components out first, so we don't saw the speakers themselves, the drivers, in half. And then we're gonna sort of put it all half back together, so we got a cross-section so that you at home can see what's going on inside here. And then we'll probably put it on display on our sales floor, so all of our advisors will be able to take a look at this as well, and hopefully not drool all over the impressive design.

So I'm gonna get started sawing this thing in half, taking it apart and all that. Safety goggles first. Safety first, we believe that here at Crutchfield, as you know. So I'm gonna go ahead and get started, that's the easy part.

So first we'll start by taking the front panel off here. There's two drivers, as you can see, let me get you back on those. The top one here is a concentric design, this is a mid-range, and in the middle of the mid-range is the tweeter. The whole idea here was to get the mid-range frequencies and the tweeter frequencies coming off the same plane at the same time, reaching your ears in a way that makes sense rather than having them kind of spatially confusing, which can happen with other designs. And this looks like a woofer, but it's slightly different than an actual woofer. We'll see what I mean when we get inside here, this is technically a passive radiator. The actual driver, the speaker receiving the amplifier wattage from your receiver, is inside the box, so we're gonna see that once we get it apart.

And I'm gonna go ahead and start here on the front panel. All right, so that's six screws off of the front panel, now we're gonna pull it off and see what happens. Now I haven't done this before, there's no, this has not been rehearsed, so I don't know what exactly we're gonna see when we get this apart. Ah, there we go. Oh man, yeah, this is a pretty heavy-duty piece of brushed aluminum, that's impressive. I'm gonna set that aside over here.

Alright, now we've got two speakers with screws. To remove those guys, so I think if I remember correctly I need a different allen wrench for that. Right, that one. All right, we'll start by removing the mid-range and tweeter. All right, that first speaker is ready to come on out. Now it wasn't hooked up, that's probably because it was an engineering sample. This might be a good time to mention that as an engineering sample, they went ahead and just sent us the crossover separately.

So this is not already inside the box, because they knew we were gonna cut it apart, so they figured save us the step and give us the crossover and one of the port tubes separately. More on that later, but there's your mid-range and tweeter concentric driver.

Let's go ahead and set that over here, switch to a Phillips head bit to remove, there we go. All right, so what we've got here you see there's no electrical connections on the back of this either, and that's because there's not supposed to be. This is what's called a "passive radiator." It's a speaker cone with no voice coil or magnet or anything like that on the back here. It's not connected to electricity. What makes this move is the air movement off the actual speaker, which we're gonna see inside of here in a little bit, but the air moving off of that speaker moves this speaker, so you're hearing kind of both when you actually listen to the speaker. So that's what's going on here, it's a nice, lightweight, but very solidly built passive radiator.

All right, look at that. Did you see? Let me show this camera here. You can see inside the box there's the actual woofer and you can see there's also two holes in here before the ports. That's where one of these port tubes would go so that the air is moving off of a driver, off the face of the driver as well as through the ports, right into the back of this aluminum passive radiator. So that's what makes it move.

So that's, you know, what I'm gonna go ahead and remove the connections board off the back, so then I can lay this flat on its back and I can go down in and remove the woofer with the Philips head, so, and those are some nice heavy-duty connections right there, there are two sets of binding posts on the back there. They come with the jumper installed, so you can just connect your speaker wire to one set of terminals if you want, but you got some flexibility here if you've got some extra amplifier channels you want to use right there.

Flip the speaker back around, and lay it on its back so I can get in here and remove the Phillips head screws from the driver itself. Think I'll use a screwdriver for that since the drill is gonna be a little clunky. And here comes the driver. That's where the magnet is, a nice big heavy-duty magnet on the back of this solidly built driver. Once again, those speaker wires were connected, they knew it was an engineering sample, but that's the actual woofer. It's inside the box, and it's again firing into the back of the passive radiator, and it's in a ported enclosure inside this sealed, stand-mounted speaker.

Alright, so the passive radiator, the mid-range, tweeter, concentric driver, and the woofer itself have all been removed. We've got the speaker connections block removed, the crossovers handily pre-removed for us, so there's some really impressive sort of insulation, sound damping material in here that we're gonna remove so that it doesn't come up in our saw. So let's see what we can do to get that out of the way, gonna be easiest to rip it all out. There we go, it's pretty impressive insulation. Don't see anything else in here that's going to impede our ability to saw the speaker in half.

Roughly in half, as you can see right on the front here there's some magnets that were integral to holding the front baffle on, so we don't want to saw right through that so we're actually probably going to saw just a little off-center, so that we're not sawing through metal and so that we don't have to drill out those pretty magnets.

So all right, so once again this is the ELAC Adante AS-61 stand-mounted speaker. We have taken it apart as you can see. All the speakers, the front baffle, the connections, the crossover, is not in it. Keep in mind this is an engineering sample, this was not something we took out of our inventory. It was never going to be a working speaker, and certainly once we're done cutting in half it will never be a working speaker. Which maybe now's a good time to remind you don't cut your speakers in half. That's what we're gonna do kind of to prove a point, and to get a look at the beautiful insides of this speaker, but if you were to try this at home you would then be one less speaker so yeah, don't do this.

All right. So I'm gonna go ahead and cut this thing in half, if everybody's ready. I've got the dogs out of the way, safety goggles on, hearing protection on, here we go. All right, we've completely cut through the speaker, flipped it right-side up, and you want to see the inside?

Here we go, the naked innards of the ELAC Adante AS-61. You can see some interesting things going on with the the bracing and the sealed and ported cabinets in there. We'll get the speaker cleaned out and sort of describe what we're seeing here.

All right, so as you can see we've got the speaker cut in half and put back together as best we could, so we've got the mid-range and tweeter-concentric driver mounted back where it goes, the passive radiator mounted below down here. Let's take a look at the inside. This is the bass driver. This massive crossover that they gave us, now keep in mind this wasn't in here when they gave us the speaker, we had to put it in and take our best guess at how to wire it because they did not provide us any wiring diagrams, so it's wired up as best as we can tell.

Hopefully that's correct, and then of course the connections thing down below. The reason we wanted to do this is because of this whole section down here, I'm going to remind you this is the bass driver. This is what's getting the bass frequencies through this crossover, and moving when your power comes into the speaker. When it moves it moves air right into the back of this passive radiator right here, it's also moving air through this port tube into this chamber, which also moves the passive radiator, so you're hearing the bass off the passive radiator. Some bass is coming off of the bass driver inside, and really the benefit to that if you think about it.

I mean, anybody can design a ported speaker enclosure which will make pretty good amount of bass. It might not be super tight, super musical, accurate bass, though, and that's what Andrew Jones has accomplished here with this design. You get the benefit of a lot of bass from a smaller, stand-mounted speaker as well as it being controlled, tight, accurate bass that you're gonna you really like listening to. So we really wanted to see how we accomplished that, to get our visuals on it. We're gonna take some pictures of it, put it in the catalog, on the website, and since we were going to cut a speaker in half we thought you might enjoy watching us do that too.

So if you have any questions on home speakers be they these or any others don't hesitate to give us a call chat with us online or send us an email our sales advisors are more than happy to help you out.

Please share your thoughts below.

  • A. Garcia from Tucson

    Posted on 8/22/2018

    Would also recommend using a face mask when using saws. instead of showing the destruction of the speaker you could cut it beforehand so you can explain why you are impressed by something instead of just saying you are impressed by something. it's fun to see but the video could be more informative.

  • Steven Long

    Posted on 3/27/2018

    This video was way too long - I almost hit my head on my phone and became concussed. I would like to see you cut the fat. Interesting design though. I'm off to measure my cardboard templates lol :-)

  • TimmyS from East Windsor

    Posted on 3/18/2018

    Bandpass alignment, I wonder why they chose that? Would not a vented/pr or sealed alignment been a better trade off?

  • Joe

    Posted on 2/28/2018

    When the base driver moves forward, won't that pull air back through the port diminishing the movement of the passive radiator? Seems counterintuitive

  • curtis Muma from Fremont

    Posted on 2/27/2018

    What is the speaker efficient rating? Dont tell me under 90 db. More new wave junk ,over priced. Great for people that don't know much. And have money to burn. CURTIS