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ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

Bookshelf speakers

68 Reviews | 8 questions - 31 answers

Overview

Our take on the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5

"Speakers in this price range have no right to sound this good." That was the pithy opinion of my long-time Crutchfield coworker and audio guru, Dave Bar. We'd just heard the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speakers for the first time at our Charlottesville headquarters. This modest-looking stereo pair blew some people's minds that day, including ours.

Ridiculous performance for the money

"Speakers in this price range have no right to sound this good." That was the pithy opinion of my long-time Crutchfield coworker and audio guru, Dave Bar. We'd just heard the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speakers for the first time at our Charlottesville headquarters. This modest-looking stereo pair blew some people's minds that day, including ours.

If you're after a taste of the high-end audio experience, these speakers can deliver it. A word of caution: these are not the most efficient speakers in the world. You'll want to use a pretty decent amplifier. But if you do, the UB5s will reward you with deep, tight bass, natural, uncolored midrange, and sweet-sounding highs.

What's their secret?

ELAC concentric driver

The ELAC concentric driver places its tweeter at the center of its midrange cone for enhanced imaging and clarity.

In part, the UB5s owe their clear, detailed sound, impressive imaging, and deep soundstage to their custom-designed concentric drivers. Conventional speakers place the midrange and tweeter in different locations on the front baffle — causing their sound to reach your ears at slightly different times, and smearing subtle details. Instead, the UB5's concentric driver places a 1" soft dome tweeter directly in the center of a 4" aluminum midrange cone. This precise alignment creates a "unified source," ensuring that all frequencies arrive at your ears at the same instant, producing a more coherent and accurate sound.  

How about that bass?

The UB5s use a custom-designed 5-1/4" aluminum cone woofer to supply articulate bass that blends in precisely with the concentric driver. The woofer's large magnet and vented pole piece increase power handling for bass that's clean, clear, and powerful. A rear-firing port extends bass performance, but keeps it tight and tuneful.

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Product Highlights:

  • true 3-way bookshelf speaker design
  • custom-designed concentric driver with 4" aluminum cone midrange and 1" soft dome tweeter for clear, accurate mids and highs
  • custom-designed 5-1/4" aluminum cone woofer
  • frequency response: 46-25,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 85 dB
  • impedance: 4 ohms
  • maximum power input: 140 watts
  • sophisticated multi-element crossover with high-grade components to ensure smooth transition between drivers
  • bass-reflex (ported) cabinet design
  • thick MDF enclosures with internal bracing reduces cabinet vibration that causes unwanted sonic coloration
  • binding post speaker terminals
  • magnetically attached cloth grilles
  • black brushed vinyl finish
  • 7-7/8"W x 12-3/4"H x 10-3/4"D
  • weight: 16.5 lbs. (each)
  • warranty: 3 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • 2 Bookshelf loudspeakers
  • 2 Grilles
  • Operating Instructions
Reviews

ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(68 Reviews)
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Product Research

Features

3-Way Speaker Design: The Elac Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf loudspeaker employs a 3-way design with a new in-house developed concentric driver. A 3-way speaker offers many advantages in the design of a full-range system. By assigning dedicated drivers to high, midrange, and bass frequencies, each is optimized for the frequency range for which its design and material composition is best suited. The UB5 bookshelf speaker consists of a concentric midrange-tweeter driver for high and midrange frequencies, while one aluminum-cone woofer handles lower-frequency midbass and bass. At the same time, a 3-way speaker allows for a more straightforward crossover and cabinet design.

Custom-Designed Concentric Driver: The Elac Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf loudspeaker employs a concentric driver design, combining the 1" soft-dome tweeter and 4" midrange cone diaphragm within a single voice coil. Because of its ideal time-domain characteristics, a concentric driver design delivers the most coherent and accurate reproduction across the treble and midrange frequency spectrums. Positioning the tweeter concentrically within the midrange voice coil achieves a uniform directivity pattern, for flat frequency response and formidable power handling, along with enhanced imaging for both on- and off-axis listening positions.

5.25" Aluminum Woofer: In addition to the concentric midrange-tweeter driver, the Elac Uni-Fi UB5 features one 5.25" aluminum cone woofer. Through the use of aluminum, resonances that affect the linearity of common paper cones can be placed beyond the driver's operating frequency range. An extended size magnet with vented pole piece increases power handling, for accurate reproduction of bass frequencies that are clean, clear and powerful.

Sophisticated Crossover: One secret to the great sound of the Uni-Fi series loudspeaker is the high quality, audio-grade components specified in the manufacture of each custom, 3-way crossover. This careful 3-way crossover design provides a smooth transition between the high, mid, and bass drivers.

Bass Port: The Elac UB5 bookshelf loudspeaker utilizes a bass reflex enclosure with one rear-firing flared port for greater efficiency and bigger bass response.

Robust MDF Cabinet: The Uni-Fi speaker enclosure is engineered for the long run with thick MDF outer walls and a luxurious textured vinyl finish. The Uni-Fi series cabinet incorporates specially designed internal bracing to add stiffness and strength to the cabinet's outer walls. This bracing greatly reduces cabinet vibration, which causes unwanted coloration to the sound. ELAC believes that the only parts of a speaker that should be moving are the speaker drivers themselves.

Magnetic Grille: When the protective grille is removed, hidden magnets beneath the surface of the cabinet keeps the front-panel free of attachment holes, for a clean appearance.

Binding Posts: The Elac Uni-Fi series bookshelf loudspeaker is fitted with a set of heavy-duty, binding-post terminals which will accept bare-wire (up to 10AWG), pin-connectors, and banana plugs (single only).

Applications: The Elac Debut UB5 bookshelf loudspeaker can be used in a 2ch stereo application, or used as your front speakers and/or rear surround speakers in a multichannel home theater application.

  • 2Ch Stereo or Front Speaker Placement:  For optimum stereo imaging, place the speakers so that an equilateral triangle is created between the speakers your main listening position. You can also angle ("toe in") the speakers towards the listening position to gain a more focused central image.
  • Rear Surround Placement: In a 5.1-channel surround setup, avoid placing the speakers forward of your listening position. The speakers should be spread apart wider than the front speakers. In addition, try to elevate the speakers to the same height or slightly higher as the front speakers for the most enveloping soundfield.
Note: In either application, the speakers should be placed 1' to 2' away from boundaries such as wall and corners. Close proximity to a side or rear wall will enhance bass performance, but being too close may result in bass that is unnatural.

Mounting Options: The Elac UB5 bookshelf loudspeaker can simply be placed on a flat surface; like a table-top, stand, or shelf. The bookshelf speaker does not offer any wall-mount options.

Elac Uni-Fi Series: The Elac Uni-Fi series family of loudspeakers consists of a floorstanding loudspeaker, a bookshelf loudspeaker, and a center-channel loudspeaker (all sold separately). All of the Uni-Fi series of speakers feature concentric driver technology. The Uni-Fi series can be the basis of an outstanding two-channel system, or used to build an awe-inspiring multi-channel surround-sound system.

Optional Powered Subwoofer: Add an ELAC powered subwoofer (sold separately) to the Uni-Fi series to bring more bass to your movie and music soundtracks.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Very good reviews [ Liu  Jul 22, 2018 ]
because you do not charge tax [ Thomas  Jul 18, 2018 ]
Had read a lot of great reviews and had purchased a pair for my front speakers. I was very impressed so I'm ordering a pair for my rears. [ Michael  Jul 17, 2018 ]
Mid range dedicated speaker, tired of heavy bass and tiny tweeters with little midrange clarity in too many speakers. [ Linda  Jul 17, 2018 ]
Had the Debut B6 that I thought were really good. However, after visiting umpteen audio sites I was convinced to take the advice and move up the Elac food chain. Can't wait to hear them. [ KENNETH R  Jul 17, 2018 ]
Hello, upgrading my 20 + year old NHT's I bought from Crutchfield. Recently bought a Yamaha amp which sounds wonderful (also from Crutchfield) and realized I needed to update the speakers. The UB5 gets good reviews and I am buying 'scratch and dent' without much worry they will look bad. Maybe 20 years on this system?! Thank you for the great service and product! Dave [ David J.  Jun 15, 2018 ]
Good brand and excellent reviews [ Jean-Rene  May 30, 2018 ]
Product reviews seem to award universal acclaim for these. I'm excited to experience them for myself. [ Edward  May 29, 2018 ]
Many many highly positive reviews in a price range that met my needs. [ Todd  Apr 20, 2018 ]
reviews [ brian  Feb 22, 2018 ]
Quality and reviews [ william  Nov 27, 2017 ]
Great review from Absolute sound and CNET, and price is very reasonable. [ HON CHUEN  Nov 27, 2017 ]
Read all the reviews! [ Matias  Nov 26, 2017 ]
Because my waiting for two or three months has netted me a $150 savings over the normal $499 price. This is the next step up in the Andrew Jones progression of affordable near audiophile quality bookshelf speakers. [ Terry  Nov 18, 2017 ]
Discount and great reviews [ Eric  Oct 26, 2017 ]
I chose these speakers based on ELAC's reputation & the overwhelming number of great reviews these speakers have gotten. [ Gordon  Sep 25, 2017 ]
Great reviews from different sources [ Santos  Sep 01, 2017 ]
Research, lead me to them as surround sound speakers [ Andres  Aug 12, 2017 ]
The review on Cnet mention ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 is one of the best bookshelf speaker with a very reasonable price. So far, I am very satisfy with it. [ Ernest  Aug 10, 2017 ]
Review in Stereophile magazine. Read that it's a great quality speaker for a reasonable price. [ Leonard  Apr 20, 2017 ]
recommended on Home Theater Geeks podcast [ ROBERT J  Mar 30, 2017 ]
Recommended by a friend [ Shih-Wei  Mar 30, 2017 ]
based on great reviews [ Joshua  Mar 26, 2017 ]
great reviews and value [ NELSON D  Mar 08, 2017 ]
Superb reviews; high-end audiophile speakers for a reasonable price. [ Will  Feb 20, 2017 ]
Great reviews and a special price. [ Marcell  Feb 08, 2017 ]
Everything online said this was the one. Ozzy agreed. Selling my vintage floorstanding Boston A150s which were just too much for small San Francisco apartment. Fiancee wanted bookshelves and these seemed to be the best ones at a price point I was comfortable with. Lots of vacillating between Debut 6's and these but it seems that Ozzy persuaded me that these will definitely outshine the Debut 6s on the vintage NAD 7100 amp I scavanged on craigslist. [ Daniel  Jan 15, 2017 ]
Highly recommended at my price point. [ Jake  Jan 10, 2017 ]
Excellent reviews. [ Drake  Jan 09, 2017 ]
Have 2 pair already. These are awesome! [ Scott  Dec 15, 2016 ]
I read such fabulous reviews written by so many veteran stereophiles who were simply blown away by the quality and price of these speakers designed by the legendary Andrew Jones. And our bookshelf speakers were in serious need of replacement. I'm not disappointed in these ELACs. A fantastic bargain. [ David P.  Dec 02, 2016 ]
great reviews, want to hear for myself. [ paul  Nov 29, 2016 ]
I read numerous articles about Andrew Jones and his speaker designs for ELAC. Best speakers you can buy at this price point. [ Steve  Nov 27, 2016 ]
After reading the reviews here and the designer of the speaker, i chose them to be used in a smaller room the my TV room. Setting up a listening room for my vinyl. [ Joseph  Nov 25, 2016 ]
Had a good review on CNET .Fitted my space . [ Julie  Oct 22, 2016 ]
good comments on YouTube [ Sarkis  Oct 05, 2016 ]
Great reviews [ Elizabeth  Sep 14, 2016 ]
andrew jones [ John  Aug 23, 2016 ]
Reviews from other buyers and the reputation of Andrew Jones. [ Charles  Aug 22, 2016 ]
good sound [ Ronaldo  Aug 04, 2016 ]
Excellent early reviews for speakers in this price range. [ Carl  Jul 01, 2016 ]

8 questions already asked

Absolutely! From a power stand point, the Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 would drive the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 speakers very nicely. For more details, or to discuss further, please feel free to contact an Advisor directly by phone (888.955.6000) or online chat. Thanks! My bio: https://www.crutchfield.com/bio/Larry [ Larry  Sep 06, 2017 ]  Staff
It will work but you can only use one Chanel. Don't hook up other speakers with it. [ ANTHONY C  Sep 05, 2017 ]
Hi Brian, you could get by with half that power. 50 W a channel is plenty. they're very good and efficient speakers [ Stephen  Sep 05, 2017 ]
Thanks for your question. For information on comparing two or more models I would recommend reaching out to an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They will be able to help determine the differences and help you make the best choice for your system and your budget. [ Kenny  Jul 22, 2017 ]  Staff
I've owned the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 for almost a year now and I drive them with a peachtree nova 125se. After lots of research it was my conclusion that I wanted atleast 100W per channel, optimally 150W. From what I understand they will work with 50W per channel but you will not be getting everything you can get out of them. What makes these special is they really can make use of high quality amps and dacs. Typically entry level speakers don't receive the benefits from higher end amps but these do. Hope this helps. -Steve [ Stephen  Jun 07, 2017 ]
I'm using a 50W per channel Yamaha RS300. It is plenty powerful enough for my home office, which is in the 100 sq ft range. They becomes very loud, so I would feel comfortable using it in a much larger room. [ Nicholas  Jun 02, 2017 ]
It is no where enough. These speakers need at least 100 w/channel, more if possible. They really open up and sound more solid the more power you feed them. [ William  Apr 18, 2017 ]
Hello Stanley I am diving the Elac's with a 200w old Yamaha receiver. I don't know if a 50w NAD is adequate power? NAD amps are very efficient so 50w might work. I'de ask Crutchfield customer support. The speakers are wonderful. Howard [ Howard  Apr 17, 2017 ]
I'd had my UB5s now since they came out and I'm continually amazed at their sound. I drive mine with a NAD 326BEE which is rated at 50 wpc and I also have it plugged into a Furman Power Conditioner. I listen almost exclusively to vinyl with a Schitt Mani preamp and a VPI Scout with a Orfoton Black cart. I honestly cannot turn my amp past 11. It gets too loud. I know if I had more power I would get a deeper sound at low volume, but frankly I love the speakers and for the money I cannot recommend them enough. Owen, Greenville, SC [ OWEN  Apr 17, 2017 ]
Not familiar with the Yamaha, but reviews say these speakers sound better with more power, typically arund 125 watts/channel. Mine are powered by Parasounds and sound great after accumulating many hours of use. [ William  Jan 31, 2017 ]
Hi, I run my UB5s with a 50 watt per amp and get wonderful results, so I can say with confidence that your receiver will produce outstanding sound with the Un-Fi's. I love my speakers. There clarity is remarkable, especially for the price. Owen [ OWEN  Jan 31, 2017 ]
David, Your are correct in your assessment of the shape. The picture angles are all shot head on, so it is a little ambiguous. The shape seems to allow the speakers to sound huge relative to the size. We have them as the front pair in a 7.1 setup in a square living room and they are tremendous for the $$. [ Shannon  Dec 06, 2016 ]
David -- The width and height dimensions are correct. The depth of the actual box is about 10 13/16". The removable front grille adds another 3/4" or so -- more in the middle, since the grille has a convex shape. And the connectors stick out 1/2" or so in the back, maybe a little more. So that's how they came up with the 12 3/16" measurement. The picture is a good representation of the width and height, but you're right, it doesn't really show the depth. [ DANIEL  Dec 06, 2016 ]
Hi David, I ran a quick measuring of the speakers dimensions with a non-rigid tape measure and got about 7 and 7/8 inches wide; about 10 and 3/4 inches deep (with grill in place, a little over 11 and 1/2 inches ); and about 12 and 3/4 inches high (or, more accurately, 12 and 13/16"). The depth of the speakers did impress me as I was taking them out of the box, but the depth is less than 12 and 13/16 inches. They look really good on my speaker stands and sound just great. Frank [ FRANCIS J  Dec 06, 2016 ]
Did mention stated on the website are correct. The speakers fit very nicely in my entertainment center. They sound great. [ Charles  Dec 06, 2016 ]
every thing is correct except the depth it's 103/4 [ John  Dec 06, 2016 ]
Dimensions slightly different than stated, but basically correct. [ RICHARD  Dec 06, 2016 ]
I own both the B-6 and the uni-B5. The uni-B5 speaker is a much better speaker. The highs are rich and dynamic and the base is fuller and richer on the uni-B5. Save your money for the ELAC uni-B5 speakers. [ KENNETH  Dec 02, 2016 ]
I love the speakers. They are in a room about 20 X 15 and provide great sound. I did add a subwoofer, though you might do without. Also have a B&W center speaker. Well worth the money. [ William  Dec 02, 2016 ]
I haven't listened to the B-6s, but I have owned the Uni-fi UB5s for some time now and I am blown away by their clarity and clean bass. I've had friends with multi thousand dollar speakers listen to them and they are amazed. I do think you need a pretty powerful amplifier with 4ohm output to get the most of them. I'm using a NAD 326bee and it does fine. Owen [ OWEN  Dec 02, 2016 ]
For me I liked the overall sound of the b6 better ,the b5 was way to bright due to the metal cone and I could not temper it at all ,but if you like a brighter sound and can handle the highs the b5 might be more to your liking,in the end I bought neither and ended up with a much more expensive pair of legacy bookshelf's that seemed to do everything really well, and of course a much higher end build. [ allen  Dec 02, 2016 ]
I had the B6's and they were very good. However, the B5's sound a bit richer in overall tone and the bass is better. I'm using the B5's in a movie setup and I like them very much; they are crystal clear and very dynamic. [ William  Dec 02, 2016 ]
Danny, I went through the same process and read a lot about B-6 vs. uni B-5. I went with the B-5, and not an iota of regret. Before I bought, I was thinking need to add a subwoofer. No. I'm perfectly happy with the bass response. And 5-inch woofer vs. 6-inch, not a game changer. I've had $7,000 Sonus Faber speakers from Italy and these guys run with them. In your situation, I'd probably get the B-6 and enjoy the hell out of them, then move up to B-5 when you can. Life is short. From what I've read, the B-6 is an 8.5 on the 1-10 scale, the uni 5 a 9.0, super refined mids and highs. Hope that helps. [ David  Dec 02, 2016 ]
I would get the B-5s. Mine sound great. I zeroed in on B5s based on several friends who are Audiofils. [ Gary  Dec 02, 2016 ]
Should be plenty,I powered mine with a 15 watt tube amp and of course to get them to really come up to their potential I had to turn it up to about 3/4 volume. You should have no problem with that wattage at less than 1/2, of course my room has hardwood floors, blinds and is about 12 by 16 with lots of windows [ allen  Dec 02, 2016 ]
I'm running them on an old pioneer vsx-1122k in a 3200+ cubic foot living room listening at about 9 feet away. I listen to music at around 65-75 db. I am not attempting to blow the walls out. I do use a sub though which is a good idea with any speaker so I'm not asking the Elacs or my receiver for that matter to support anything below 80hz which I suspect buys me a little over head. All that said I can say I haven't had any problems. I couldn't speak to whether I'm getting "the best" out of these speakers with the above setup but I will say I upgraded to these speakers from the first generation of Andrew Jones pioneer book shelves which retailed at $129 and I'm happy as a pig in ... Mud? These are great speakers though I have limited experience with other speakers in the $500 to $1000 range. [ Blaine  Jul 31, 2016 ]
Paul. -The Elac Unify series speakers will deliver an exceptional sound at a low volume. That being said there is no reasonable cause to max out the amp. That's where you might overload one or more output channel at the amp but there should be no problem at the speakers. I have Denon AVR-3200W receiver so I anticipated that with 4 ohm speakers there will be more amp draw. I also ran 14 gauge speaker wire for my surround sound speakers that will help also. I don't normally run my receiver at more than 50% and that is plenty volume but if you really want to test drive these speakers then get an amp with an output to match other than that I think you have enough output amps to get a great sound. I also just subscribed to Spotify to stream music . This service makes music sound much better than a CD. I hope this helps! Good luck Mike B. [ MICHAEL  Jul 30, 2016 ]
I use a Pioneer Elite SC-81 for a 2.1 setup as I want to give my Elacss as much power as I can. It sounds pretty good, but I do wish I had more power.Your Yamaha would work, but I don't think you would get the best these Elacs have to offer. My advice...get these Elacs and upgrade your power situation later. [ Dennis  Jul 30, 2016 ]
You will probably be fine, I powered mine with a 15 watt tube amp and they sounded great,although to predominant on the high treble end for me I more preferred the b3 I have no doubt that there might be more in there with a better amp but usually 30 watts is plenty,if you can get by the high energy treble and of course everbodys tastes are different; overall a good sounding speaker. [ allen  Jul 29, 2016 ]
Absolutely. I have an NAD326BEE rated at 50 watts per channel and I can barely get past 1/4 to get great volume. The speakers are pretty amazing. They can be a bit bright on some albums but they still awesome. Owen R. [ OWEN  Jul 29, 2016 ]
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