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This review first appeared in the May 2014 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of Elac
in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Elac - Ed.

Reviewer: Jochen Reinecke
Sources: 160GB iPod Classic 5 w. Pure i-20 dock, Pro-Ject Xpression III w. Ortofon OM 30 Super,
Audiolab 8200CDQ
Amplification: Audiolab 8200CDQ and Dynavox TPR-2 preamps, Trends Audio TA-10.2 SE and
Yarland FV-34C III integrateds, Abacus Ampollo power amp
Loudspeakers: Neat Momentum 4i tower, Nubert nuBox 101 w. AW 441 subwoofer, DIY TL with F120A widebander
Cables: Goldkabel Profi interconnects, Ortofon SPK 500 and Real Cable OFC 400 speaker cables
Review component retail in Europe: €2’900/pr, €390 for Air-X wireless Base

No question; wireless is trending for hifi playback too. The allure is obvious. Wireless adds new flexibility. Tuck an active speaker under the arm, walk it into another room and don’t bother with rerouting a wire loom. To join this hipster party, German firm Elac’s Air-X range introduces their first active monitor with wireless reception. For now this lineup is simple. As of May 2014 there are just two models – the floorstanding Air-X 407 based on the previously reviewed FS 407; and today’s subject, the Air-X 403 related to the monitor BS 403 which joined their catalogue last year.

Our loaner is a 2-way compact not powered from typical class D modules but driven by pure-blooded class A/B amps which despite minimal real estate put out 75 watts each. That’s 150 watts per channel. Not bad for such shoe boxes. Designer Rolf Janke explained their choice for class A/B. Remaining treble resolution issues of class D weren’t a compromise they were prepared to make for their Air-X models. The amp is an in-house design which despite respectable power rating requires a merely fist-sized core.

For the bass/mid bands up to 2’700Hz, there’s Elac’s proprietary AS-XR cone with signature crystal-facetted membrane loaded into a down-firing reflex port with fixed acoustic impedance from the built-in plinth. On top we get the familiar well-liked Jet-5 tweeter, Elac’s 5th-gen take on Oscar Heil’s air-motion transformer which also shows up in their top 500 series.

The electronics module includes a DSP stage with pre-programmed time delay for driver alignment plus user-adjustable options via an 8-stop mouse piano’s DIP switches ‘round back. Five of these address particular setups. Free/On-Wall is self-explanatory. Console optimizes nearfield placement like a studio monitor on a recording console. Two more switches tilt the highs and lows by 2dB each. Then there’s a dynamic loudness function which kicks in progressively with lower playback levels whilst fading out with rising SPL to correct for the relative loudness sensitivity of the Fletcher Munson curves.