This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This review first appeared in the April 2008 issue of and can be read in its original German version here. It is herewith translated and presented to an English-only audience through a mutual syndication arrangement with As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end has a link below it to his e-mail should you have questions or feedback you wish to send. All images contained in this review are the property of - Ed.

Reviewer: Jörg Dames
Sources: Audiomeca Obsession II, Fonel Simplicité
Loudspeaker: Thiel CS 2.4, Sehring 703 SE, Quadral Rondo
Amplifier: pre/power - Bel Canto PRe3/M300, Myryad MXP2000/MXA2150, Funk LAP-2.V2; integrated - Accuphase E212
Cables: low-level - HMS Sestetto Mk3, Straight Wire Virtuoso; high-level - HMS Fortissimo, Ortofon SPK 500
Review component retail: €1.996/pr

The shrug-off 'big surface' accompanied by a snooty grimace was the reaction to my query on Elac speakers. Berlin dealers wear their opinions openly. They've never been shy (which, incidentally, holds true for all retailers in Berlin, not just audio). Granted, this particular exchange goes back years. Elac speakers are meanwhile rather established in our local Berliner scene.

Und du? Are you one of those humans blessedly free of preconceptions - or disinterested in elitist hifi and high-end altogether? Or do you recognize yourself in the dealer above? Personally, I tended towards the dealer though occasionally, positive feedback on Elac too reached my ears to reboot curiosity. Heck, the only way to really know was to request a tester. If it tanked, I could always send it back.

Unpacking already lifted spirits. I was quite taken by Elac's veneer choice for my FS 247 loaners. Colleague Ralph had a spontaneous counter reaction but on cosmetics, I take feedback from the opposite sex rather more serious than his. And my lady friend's response was another feather in the Elac's cap. Good things continued with the included accessories which suggested serious love of detail. Okay, I won't pretend at never-before-seen treasures but I did come across two sets of adjustable spikes (one pointy, one dull to protect flooring), a robust but practical plug for the rear port; and an ambitiously christened JET Dispersion Control, long hand for an acoustic foam ring whose intended fine tuning usage will be covered shortly. Even the owner's manual goes beyond the usual tired sameness to offer -- in poignant brevity -- useful tidbits on room acoustics, speaker setup and specifics on the Elac FS 247. The proud "Made in Germany" sticker naturally removes.

for this model continue with tech stuff. Admittedly no precious jewelry, that circle of foam with the wowie name, on due Bauhaus principle, does follow function with form for no complaints from me. Affixed to surround the tweeter, this ring, by minimizing off-axis response through absorption between 2,000 and 10,000Hz, turns not wave guide but diffraction control. This tailors the relative mix of direct and reflected sound to, says Elac, become particularly useful in modern 'live' environments which are heavy on glass, wooden flooring and other such hard reflective surfaces. But the ring is just the beginning of what's unusual here. Anything but chicken liver, Elac's signature JET tweeter is their advanced development of Dr. Heil's Air Motion Transformer, a transducer without conventional voice coil assembly. A heavily folded Kapton foil membrane sports a chemically bonded aluminum layer etched into which is a quasi voice coil. 0.84mm wide, this driver operates like an accordion, squeezing air out of its folds at high velocities, albeit with the mechanical motion -- and this is the trick -- not in the direction of the listener but crosswise. This concept displaces a lot of air with minimal effort to explain the general claims for high dynamics and good efficiency with AMTs.

Below the 2.500Hz high-pass operate two 15cm cones whose cooperation ends at 450Hz where one continues onward into the bass while the other rolls out to turn the Elac FS 247 into a typical 2.5-way affair. The network filter employs two discrete PCBs. Something special continues with those mid/woofers. While the terminology crystal membrane conjures up some ominous utensil hawked for good coin in one of the many esoterica boutiques that crop up like mushrooms in our local Kreuzberg, Elac's breakdown sketch shows something quite specific - an aluminum diaphragm which, to avoid common breakup modes, is strategically bonded to a textile substrate; albeit not across the board or with just any glue. A big part of the proprietary recipe involves identification of exactly where to glue and what to glue with. The voice coils too are glued - straight to diaphragm which translates input signal impulses directly to the alu and textile skins. The faceted aluminum surfaces are said to undermine standing waves while increasing stiffness.

It's clear that a few pints of brain juice were spilled during the development of the FS 247. But, theory is gray. For color, Jan Garbarek's 1996 Visible World is a sprawling, meditative and heavily varied album. The Norwegian sax player is one of Europe's most influential Jazz musicians and, with 40 releases over a more than 30-year career, surely also one of our most productive. To get adjusted, I kicked of "The Healing Smoke" with my twice-the-price Thiel CS 2.4 and promptly got lost in the scope and intensity of this number which commences gently before the quite forward but melancholy sax builds out terrific contrast. Truth be told, this put me far more in the mood to let the album run through and enjoy the tunes than getting down to reconfig the rig for hard A/B duty.

Taking our job at fairaudio serious however, that's of course not what I did. The Elac FS 247 found itself leashed up in short order only to have me getting lost in the same piece again – and without substantial subtractions in satisfaction. Which didn't equal zero sonic differences but clearly presented definitive similarities. For complete musical detachment from the boxes to erect a three-dimensional virtual stage with high image specificity, Elac's 247 became a formidable example of the loudspeaker art. Sonically advantageous by the way is to swap out the included jumpers with better cables.

The Elac also convinced on treble resolution. Her illumination of the upper frequencies -- to misappropriate Herr von Karajan out of context -- turned the Thiel CS 2.4 into somewhat of a gas light. The gentle percussion, the rattles in "The Healing Smoke", the cymbals in two other albums (Øystein Sevåg's Bridge, Pure Reason Revolution's The Dark Third)... I really couldn't recall, in this price class, a speaker that celebrates finesse, transparency and resolution to this extent. Respect, dawg.

The JET tweeter is impressive, particularly because its analytical prowess doesn't default into soulless vivisectionism but renders tones with a sufficient dose of body and remains categorically free of hiss, unpleasant hardness or related crimes. Inferior recordings with aggressive treble escapades (John Frusciante, "Omission") cause no problem nor do the sharp sibilants in Peter Gabriel's popular Sledgehammer or Calexico's The Ride. Rather, sibilants in general are rendered like powdered sugar dusting.

Even though, viewed in isolation, the treble is convincingly fine, it did attract a bit of undue attention after the first audition round at least for my tastes. Better integration was indeed to be had from mounting that absorptive foam ring - er, JET Dispersion Control. While I'd call my listening room relatively neutral acoustically, results with the ring were more realistic, with the treble better incorporated into the whole. Worthwhile to experiment with then.

To nip misunderstandings in the bud, even with the ring Elac's FS 247 belong to the class of speakers which invite intensive engagement from the listener, not a casual lull. The FS 247 has plainly been endowed with a more present, jumpy and direct mien, leading me to inspect that trait yet closer with a few special discs. US rock group Eels is completely dominated by charismatic and creative front man Mark Oliver Everett. Though supported by a respectable global fan community, full-on popularity thus far has somewhat eluded them. Beautiful Freak, 1996's maiden effort, clearly didn't deliver the typical straight-ahead, driven or chart-prepped rock but rather, 12 songs whose general tendency was for more subtlety, irony and tristesse. While surely no audiophile mastering job particularly in how the unusual and raw voice is rendered, I enjoy this album very much - but not via overly analytical (and often quite expensive) systems. This turns Beautiful Freak into its own kind of test record, here to assess whether the Elac 247's fresh take on the music didn't overshoot its aim at times.

"Not ready yet" is one of my fave cuts with a guitar-laden, dense, nearly hymnic refrain which doesn't fail to affect me. And the Elac FS 247 continued the effect. Okay, I'd nearly have placed a bet that her highly resolved energetic rendition coupled to this album's challenged production values would have produced more stress hormones than pleasure but not so. While expectedly direct and in the offensive, this very quality compelled me to spontaneously prime the wick. Just as the treble made friends, the midrange followed. Elac's F S247 propelled the dense guitar billows with fascinating precision through my room, simultaneously transparent and tactile. The finest of nuances like the submerged distortion or sawing noises of the guitar sounds were rendered impressively well. Ditto for the voice which, like the guitars, separated out spatially with excellent contours to integrate properly discrete into the sonic picture while remaining perfectly intelligible.

Enunciation and speech recognition are undoubtedly virtues of this speaker. The flip side is that certain listeners might prefer a somewhat more endowed, less lean way on voices. The Elac FS 247 approaches the matter with speed, high resolution and timing exactitude. Opulent tonal midrange warmth isn't part of her vocabulary. Bass is utterly free of complaints. The FS 247 handles it fast and rhythmically astute. Bass drums are angular and punchy, e-bass runs as well as synth bombs clearly defined, depths perfectly appropriate for a speaker this size. In fact, should you fancy precise over fat, the Elac's dry, articulate bass will be one of its key virtues. Logically, there are aspects to this speaker which aren't as strong. For those who, for whatever reasons, desire more heft and mass down low, Elac's FS 247 offers a rear port which, as delivered, is sealed with a plug. The latter's removal shouldn't be equated with automatic bliss or higher bass involvement. At least for my tastes, the added extension sounds more tacked on than integral and the otherwise brilliant timing of the speaker suffers as a result.

To continue, excessive sound pressures ain't it either, at least if you wish to avoid the onset of upper mid/lower treble compression and distortion. But never fear, well above room levels are fully within this speaker's purview. A few words to setup: While closer wall distance can enhance body, it takes some away from big dimensionality and airiness. As is appropriate for other speakers in this class, the Elac FS 247 should be granted a bit of breathing space around back and the sides, even with sealed port.

Should your biases or tastes favor a laid-back bodacious sound, an audition with the Elac FS 247 will likely not end in merry toasts of brotherhood - but the speaker would feel the same about you. The 247's character is unequivocal and clearly carries the maker's imprimatur of philosophy and design brief, a statement of purpose I cherish in products. In this case, the aim was to create a speaker of extraordinary staging, timing and high resolution for a direct, energetic, intense listening experience - with mission patently accomplished. Compared to other speakers with similar virtues, Elac's FS 247 offers pronounced long-term utility not least because of its special tweeter. Considering the asking price, this package of qualities is anything but common. Ideally, you'd not leash this speaker to components or cables suspected of undue bite or sharpness since such matters would be magnified by a transducer of this caliber accuracy.

Elac's FS 247 is characterized by...
  • Precision, jump factor and presence over laid-back, full-bodied sonics.
  • A high degree of resolving power and transparency across the audible spectrum.
  • An extraordinarily finessed treble which, despite analytical abilities, doesn't tend to sharpness or hardness save at extreme levels.
  • First-rate box-liberated staging with immaculate localization precision and sorting.
  • Cleanly rendered bass.
  • Accurate midband a mite on the slim side.
  • A certain degree of tuning flexibility.
  • Flawless fit 'n' finish.
  • An isolated tendency to harden and break up at intense levels.

Facts :

  • Model: Elac FS 247
  • Type: 2.5-way tower
  • Retail €1.996/pr
  • Sensitivity: 89dB / 2.83V / 1m
  • Nominal impedance 4 ohm, minimum impedance 3.4 ohm
  • Weight and dimensions: 99 x 22 x 32cm HxWxD inclusive plinth, 16kg/ea.
  • Finish: Mocha veneer (review loaner), High-gloss black, Cherry veneer
  • Other: 10-year warranty, fabricated entirely in Germany
  • Website:
redaktion @