ELAC Adante AS-61
Stand-mount speaker (Gloss Black)
Crutchfield: We saw an ELAC speaker in half to see how it's built
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Our take on the ELAC Adante AS-61 by Crutchfield's Kramer Crane
A truly innovative speaker design
It's not every day that a speaker grabs my attention the way that ELAC's Adante AS-61 has. For starters, this stand-mount titan features an incredibly unique design. That massive 8" woofer on the front? It's completely passive — the active bass driver is hidden from view inside its own internal chamber. And that's just the beginning of the story. Read on for insight into the AS-61 from its creator, acclaimed speaker designer Andrew Jones, along with my first-hand impressions.
Crutchfield training manager JR literally sawed an AS-61 in half to get a close-up look at this speaker's innovative design.
The inside of the cabinet speaks volumes
I first met the AS-61 when we sawed it in half to see how this crafty speaker was put together. As you'd expect from a no-compromise Andrew Jones design, the enclosure itself is formidable. It uses thick, reinforced walls to resist vibration that can color the sound.
High-quality, heavy-duty crossover
With access to the speaker's "guts," I took the opportunity to check out the crossover. It's got some serious weight to it, which reflects the care and thoughtfulness that went into its design. Andrew Jones goes into detail about his approach to it in a fascinating interview with Crutchfield Senior Editor Steve Kindig. If you like geeky details of speaker design, it's well worth reading.
A unique, high-octane driver arrangement
I mentioned earlier that the 8" front-facing driver is actually a passive radiator, and there's a 6-1/2" woofer mounted inside the cabinet. The passive radiator moves in tandem with the active woofer, reinforcing low-frequency output for impressively accurate and tightly controlled bass.
The AS-61 has no external ports, instead using internal ports in what's called a "coupled-cavity" design. The concentrically mounted 1" tweeter and 5-1/4" midrange are completely isolated from the woofer, ensuring smooth, natural sound from each driver.
Andrew Jones on coupled-cavity design
"I came up with a new version of coupled-cavity which I call 'interport.' The way I like to describe it is instead of putting an extra box over the front of a sealed-box loudspeaker, you put an extra box over the front of a ported-box loudspeaker. So both the driver and the port drive into the front chamber, which is then either ported, or in this case, taken further, by using a passive radiator."
— Andrew Jones, Vice President of Engineering for ELAC America
You'll want a powerhouse amp to drive it
Perhaps more than any speaker I've auditioned in recent years, the AS-61 requires a lot of power. It's officially listed at 6-ohms nominal impedance, and at 85 dB efficiency it's a gas-guzzler.
Just a friendly heads up: you may be disappointed in the performance of this fine speaker if you aren't using a suitably strong amplifier. I recommend a high-output power amp or integrated amp to drive the AS-61s. In the majority of my time listening to these speakers, they were powered by the NAD Master Series M22 power amp. At 250 watts per channel, the M22 is a beast, but I had it cranked fairly wide open to get the level of volume and control l wanted.
I found the AS-61s to provide a rock-solid center image, as well as a full, realistic soundstage. Their strongest trait, in my opinion, is the ability to reveal every nuance and detail of a recording. That's fantastic for high-res tracks where the production quality can shine. But these ultra-revealing speakers can make compressed tunes sound, well, like they're missing something. I found streaming from Spotify to be less than desirable in the midbass, while well-recorded CDs absolutely sparkled.
Give these stand-mount speakers a firm foundation (like ELAC's custom-built speaker stand), robust amplification, and good source material, and you'll see just how capable they are.
- 3-way design
- 1" soft dome tweeter (concentrically mounted with the midrange driver)
- 5-1/4" aluminum cone midrange driver
- 6-1/2" internally mounted aluminum cone woofer
- 8" front-firing aluminum cone passive radiator
- frequency response: 41-35,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 85 dB
- nominal impedance: 6 ohms
- advanced crossover network provides smooth frequency distribution between each driver
- tweeter and midrange are completely isolated from the woofer and passive radiator for minimizing vibration and sonic coloration
- internal ports help reinforce bass response
- dual pairs of high-quality binding post speaker terminals allow bi-amp/bi-wire configurations
- removable grille
- furniture-grade gloss black finish
- designed for use with ELAC's custom-built AS-61 speaker stand
- 9-11/16"W x 19-1/16"H x 15-13/16"D
- weight: 35.3 lbs.
- warranty: 3 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Stand-mount loudspeaker
- 2 Binding-post straps (pre-installed)
- Pair of white cloth gloves
- Operating Instructions
ELAC Adante AS-61 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Tweeter Size (inches)||1|
|Midrange Size (inches)||5.25|
|Woofer Size (inches)||6.5|
|Frequency Response||41-35k Hz|
|Mounting Bracket Included||No|
|Recommended Stand Height (inches)||18-24|
|Parts Warranty||3 Years|
|Labor Warranty||3 Years|
Interport-Coupled Cavity: The Adante Series of loudspeaker's advanced design starts with a precision-built cabinet that features Interport-Coupled Cavity bass loading to exploit the highest performance from new active and passive bass drivers. Hugely complex but with benefits that are immediately audible, an Interport-Coupled Cavity cabinet renders clearly superior performance in the reproduction of low frequencies. The inherent superiority of this design solution delivers some of the most authoritative, realistic bass around. The face of the cabinet is an elegant, bonded-aluminum front baffle for maximum rigidity, contoured to incorporate waveguides that ensure optimum dispersion from each driver.
- Multiple Enclosures: Each Adante cabinet is actually multiple enclosures in one. The concentric midrange/tweeter is isolated in its own space within the cabinet, and the woofer complement, comprising an active and passive driver, occupies a divided chamber vented internally with dual ports. Instrumental to the design benefits of an Interport-Coupled Cavity is that the entire enclosure is not externally ported at all, because such external ports will produce noise and other distortion artifacts if the speaker is overdriven.
- Invisible Drivers: The coupled-cavity design also means that the active driver remains invisible, mounted internally in its own rear box that vents bass energy through dual bass ports to a front box which encloses a larger passive radiator. The piston action of this front-firing passive driver delivers low-frequency information that is tight, tuneful, extended and with greater output capability than a traditional externally-ported enclosure. This Interport-Coupled Cavity cabinet enhances the linearity of the active bass transducer by reducing driver excursions.
- Optimized Cabinet Volume: Optimized cabinet volumes allow for a crossover network tuned to take advantage of this type of design. An internally vented box, with another box in front housing a passive radiator means that acoustically, the front box becomes a second-order acoustic low pass filter, eliminating the requirement for two orders of electrical network, further reducing driver distortion. The result is clean, distortion-free, natural, accurate, authoritative bass that defies the norm and challenges far more expensive speakers.
Active Woofer/Passive Radiator Combination: Fundamental to Adante's superior performance are two new low frequency drivers (one active woofer & one passive radiator) that deliver extraordinary low frequency performance far superior to less complex driver and cabinet solutions. Together, this active/passive combination can handle all the power it takes to deliver crushing low-frequency crescendos with the dynamic realism of a live performance.
- 6.5" Aluminum Woofer: Engineered specifically to work in concert with the elaborate Interport-Coupled Cavity cabinet design, the 6.5" active woofer offers wideband frequency response. It features an aluminum cone and cast basket assembly with a substantial magnet and voice coil. The aluminum cone is fast, stiff and low in distortion artifacts that otherwise compromise bass realism. Mounted inside the complex cabinet structure, it remains invisible to the eye but its presence is readily apparent to the ear.
- 8" Passive Radiator: Partnering with the active woofer is a lightweight 8" passive radiator. Front-firing, it is mounted to the bonded-aluminum front baffle of the speaker cabinet and features a stiff aluminum diaphragm and cast basket assembly. Its light weight makes this passive radiator faster and less prone to distortion artifacts than active drivers of similar diameter, so it moves air more quickly, with minimal coloration.
All-New Concentric Midrange/Tweeter: Complementing Adante's custom low-frequency drivers is the all-new concentric midrange/tweeter, engineered expressly for the Adante series. ELAC's proprietary concentric driver technology has been taken to new levels of performance in the Adante Series with a brand-new design that delivers astounding point-source accuracy, linearity, power handling, speed and articulation on virtually all types of music. Additionally, the whole concentric driver chassis is mechanically isolated from the other drivers and the Adante cabinet itself with anti-vibration mountings that eliminate the transmission of vibration throughout the loudspeaker.
- 5.25" Aluminum Midrange: The large, 5.25" diameter midrange cone, made of pure aluminum for maximum rigidity with lowest coloration, features a revised profile and generous 2" voice coil that results in greater output level and higher sensitivity than smaller concentric designs.
- 1" Soft-Dome Tweeter: The larger 2" voice coil also provides more room for a newly-engineered 1" tweeter to be situated in the center. This soft-dome design uses new fabric material and employs a wide surround that results in improved lower-treble output, lower resonant and crossover frequencies.
Dual Sets Of Binding Posts: The Adante AS-61 stand-mounted loudspeaker is equipped with a dual set of binding posts. A supplied link allows use of a single pair of speaker cables and only two posts, while dual posts allow the option of bi-wiring with a single amplifier, or choosing bi-amplification with the use of two amplifiers - one for the concentric midrange/tweeter and the other for low-frequency drivers. These heavy-duty binding-post terminals which will accept bare-wire (up to 10AWG), pin-connectors, and banana plugs (single only).
- Bi-Wiring: Bi-wiring can provide noticeable improvements in the overall transparency of your loudspeakers. Run separate speaker wires to the low & high/mid frequency drivers from a single amplifier (the upper set of binding posts are for the high frequency drivers; the lower set of binding posts are for the low frequency drivers).
- Bi-Amping: Bi-amping allows you to use separate amplifiers for the high/mid & low frequency sections of your loudspeaker for greater dynamic range & lower distortion. We recommend that your separate amplifiers have identical gain to preserve the speaker's voicing balance.
Furniture-Grade Finish & Magnetic Grille: To make sure the Adante Series speaker looks as good as it sounds, each Adante cabinet features a furniture-grade finish in a choice of gloss black or rosewood veneer. Magnetic black metal mesh grilles finish off the look of the front of the speaker cabinet.
Mounting Options: The AS-61 stand-mounted loudspeaker can simply be placed on a flat surface; like a table-top, stand, or shelf. Optional stands (see Accessories Tab) are available that have been specifically designed by ELAC to complement not just the AS-61 stand-mounted loudspeaker's design, but to enhance performance. Aluminum center columns are hollow and can be filled with media (from cat litter to lead shot) for additional mass. A steel top plate is predrilled to correspond to threaded inserts in the base of each speaker. The base plate of each stand is machined from solid, 4mm-thick steel for added stability. Custom-made, adjustable locking spikes are fitted at each corner.
Note: This stand-mounted loudspeaker does not offer any wall-mount options.
Speaker Placement: Achieve maximum performance and optimal sound quality from the ELAC Adante speakers with proper speaker placement and setup. While not all rooms are the same, using the following guidelines will help you configure the speakers for better sound quality and stereo imaging.
- Place the Adante Series speakers approximately 1'-2' away from boundaries such as walls and especially corners. Close proximity to a side or rear wall will enhance bass performance output, but being too close (particular to a corner) may result in bass that is unnatural. If a corner location is unavoidable, try to position the speaker so that the distance to the rear wall is not equal to the distance to the side wall.
- For the best results and the most realistic stereo image and lifelike sound, place the speakers so that an equilateral triangle is create between the speakers and your favorite listening position. This setup creates the optimum stereo imaging performance.
- If you find that your front left and right speakers are too far apart, angle ("toe-in") the speaker towards the listening position to gain a more focused central image.
Adante Series: The ELAC Adante Series family of loudspeakers consists of the AF-61 floorstanding loudspeaker, the AS-61 stand-mounted loudspeaker, the AC-61 center-channel loudspeaker, and the ASW-121 powered subwoofer (all sold separately). Each Adante speaker uses identical concentric midrange/tweeter and low-frequency drivers. The stand-mounted, center channel, and floorstanding models employ one, two, and three active/passive woofer pairs respectively. The Adante Series can be the basis of an exceptional two-channel system, or used to build an awe-inspiring multichannel surround sound system.
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1 question already asked
1 answer In Kramer Crane's overview he says: "You'll want a powerhouse amp to drive it. Perhaps more than any speaker I've auditioned in recent years, the AS-61 requires a lot of power. It's officially listed at 4-ohms nominal impedance, and at 85 dB efficiency it's a gas-guzzler." How big was the listening room when Kramer heard the speakers? My room is 20'x15'x8' and the power amp is a Naim 250 which is 75W/ch into 8 Ohms and 125W/ch into 4 Ohms. It is well known for being able to drive the infamously difficult to control Linn DMS Isobarik speakers. What are your thoughts on the Adante's suitability? Thanks! [ Mark Sep 07, 2018 ]
I asked Kramer about his audition space and he said the theater room he auditioned them in was roughly the same size as you've quoted and thinks you've got plenty of wattage for the AS-61. I hope that helps. My bio: https://www.crutchfield.com/bio/Ryan [ Ryan Sep 22, 2018 ] Staff
Looking for more? Check out the next model in this lineup.
Fill larger rooms with the Adante AF-61 floor-standing speaker
The ELAC Adante AF-61 offers these features:
fuller sound with more bass energy
higher sensitivity makes them easier to drive
three 6-1/2" internally mounted woofers and three 8" front-firing passive radiators
frequency response: 39-35,000 Hz