First off, Crutchfield is absolutely amazing. They are a world class organization and I can't sing their praises loud enough. I will get to that in a moment.. First, I ordered the Elac Navis ARB-51's in black and was completely blown away by how poor the finish was. The black paint looked to have been rubbed down with a brillo pad prior to getting boxed and shipped from Elac to Crutchfield. I called Crutchfield and explained the situation; after talking to the rep for a while, I decided to buy the towers (ARF's) and ship back the ARB's. The return was handled without issue. Fast forward 3 days, I received the ARF's. The first pair of ARF's came with a huge chunk of the finish missing from the base (down to the wood) and there were other chunks of the finish that were starting to detach. Called Crutchfield again, they apologized profusely and shipped out a replacement. Thank god for their amazing customer service. The new pair arrived in good condition. I emailed Elac directly to explain how disappointed I was in their quality control and of course they couldn't do anything besides say sorry. So now for the review of the speakers themselves: First, you need a really good source and/or preamp to get the most out of them. I ran a Lumin D2 streamer through a Parasound P6 preamp and out to the Elacs via XLR. After about 3 weeks, I concluded they sounded just okay. Even my wife who could care less said they sounded "meh." Needless I returned them.
Pros: Balance inputs. All analog for the purists. Not huge. Look okay.
Cons: Poor quality control. Need good source and interconnects to sound their best (wireless module sounds awful). Do not live up to their price tag (or the hype). Sound almost exactly the same as their little brother (ARB book shelf speakers), bass extension is not significant enough for the premium. Don't come close to the sound quality of Dynaudio or Kef active speakers.
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