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With closer wall proximity meanwhile some experimentation is advisable. I played around a bit to suggest that at one meter or less, bass cleanliness and definition improve markedly when the ports are sealed. This effectively counters dreaded room boom. Recorded acoustics will simply lose a bit of scale in trade. The ‘Jet Dispersion Control’ rings both damp and focus treble dispersion. In my well-stuffed room I didn’t benefit from them. Logically Elac recommend their use particularly for echo-laden acoustically harder spaces.

The biwire terminal too is an in-house production, i.e. not the ubiquitous WBT issue. Still, the skimpy contact patches suggested that the crew from Kiel follows similar efforts at reduced metal content. Cough. If it sounds better I won’t play the hifi macho who believes only in carved-from-stock contraptions. But the provided metal jumpers simply had to go. Here my cable bin netted a StraightWire Crescendo cable in biwire makeup. NBS solid-core cable jumpers would have been fine in principle too. In practice the tight bends enforced by the crammed terminal cup didn’t allow for them. Incidentally the ‘Black Edition’ suffix refers not exclusively to cosmetic luxuries. There are also improved crossover parts by way of MKT foil caps, air-core inductors and precision metal-oxide resistors. This three-part filter network lives right behind the terminal plate as well as beneath a cover above it. A large air coil additionally mounts to the inner rear panel. This built-in spread of specific assemblies minimizes interactions. If you’ve ever observed how the raw layout of two costly capacitors affects their sonic behavior, Elac’s divide-and-conquer solution won’t come as a surprise.

The Black Edition also gets van den Hul Skyline Hybrid hookup wiring for ultra-pure copper conductors mixed with Carbon fiber. Over the base model Elac promises for these upgrades demonstrably superior sonics. Whilst that’s a very sensible claim, I still couldn’t grasp how such engineering focus could coexist with push-on connectors. Hard-soldered connections ought to be superior for longevity too. So much for the externals of the Lady in Black. In the listening seat of course it would be her inner beauty I craved. To get a proper fix I offered my new girlfriend the position otherwise favored by my Kharma Ceramique 3.2. That creates ca. 170cm distance from the front wall, 70cm from each side wall. This usually means that very minor toe-in is sufficient to obtain satisfying focus. Amplification was by way of Mudra’s M500 monos whose powerful Mosfets and coke-can caps handle even challenging loads.

Not that the FS 249SE seemed like a committed humdinger. 90dB sensitivity was plenty friendly. A minimum impedance of 3Ω at 120Hz shouldn’t be an issue for most modern amplifiers. That said, as OTL valve monos my Tenor 75Wi aren’t low-impedance beasts. This had me opt for the burlier transistors instead. I ran the factory-fresh Elacs with a burn-in CD for a few days before hunkering down for an intensive audition. Here experience knew that despite some if not extensive break-in, I might still encounter some remaining treble harshness or incompletely integrated bass. Not with the Elac. Homogeneity was the name of the game from the word go. No dirty treble, no lagging bass. The lady maintained her countenance and composure.

Now the live acoustics of the Paris LaCigale on the boulevard Rochechourat took shape in my room whilst Stacey Kent’s two intercut appearances from May 2011 appeared as Dreamer in Concert. The innate calm which certain contemporaries not entirely without justification condemn as Easy Listening transmitted itself perfectly. On "The best is yet to come" Stacey’s vocals which this recording occasionally renders a tad too large came across with full body and liveliness. Husband Jim Tomlinson’s sax had the usual sonorous vigor. The Elac didn’t hold back on resolving power either. Drummer Matt Skelton’s cymbal and hi-hat work and how during a piano solo he nearly subliminally breaks up the beat for additional tension can easily fall by the wayside. With the Elac even such fine detail survived unscathed.

At the end of the concert the Jardin D’Hiver seemed noticeably heated up by Stacey’s crackling intensity which was soon confirmed by quickly rising applause. This typical noise of hundreds of clapping hands exhibited no artifice or blurring but showed up as a multitude of individual beats similar to a rain shower.