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Speakers

Elac's Carina speaker shaping up to be designer Andrew Jones' next hit at CES 2019

Elac America has announced its next hi-fi speaker, the Carina, and CNET's Ty Pendlebury went hands-on.

elac-240-bsookshelf-4203
Elac

Speaker designer Andrew Jones has unveiled his latest Elac series and it is the first to incorporate the company's iconic "Jet" folded tweeter. And based on my time with it, for such a small design it had a big, big sound.

The Carina series is the step-up from the excellent Uni-Fi range and consists of three products: the BS243.4 bookshelf ($1,200), the FS247.4 floorstander ($2,400) and the CC241.4 center channel ($TBC).

Jones is best known for his three-way concentric designs and told me that it was a challenge to try incorporating a tweeter he hadn't worked with before in a simpler two-way speaker (treble and mid/bass).

All of the speakers are based on 5.25-inch aluminum drivers and Jones told me he sourced a different folded tweeter from the one the company typically uses to keep costs down. The BS243.4 bookshelf features a bass reflex located on the bottom of the speaker and this in combination with the tweeter achieves a frequency range of 46Hz to 30kHz.

Ears-on

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Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Jones treated me to a demo of the still-in-development speaker, and despite the change from a dome tweeter to the Jet, the design unmistakably bore his signature sound. It had an ultra-wide sound stage that enveloped the room with just a slight forwardness in the upper mids, though without harshness or brightness. For a small speaker with a 5.25-inch driver, the bass was impressively deep and punchy.

When Andrew first demonstrated the Uni-Fi speaker at CES 2016, the song that blew me away was Rage Against The Machine's Killing in the Name Of. Played through the Carina, I got a similar case of the chills. The opening chunk-chunk-chunks sounded compact in a way I hadn't heard before, and this made the transition to Zack de la Rocha's "killing in the name of" and the band's all-in onslaught all the more surprising and goose bump inducing.

The speakers aren't yet done, and as music played I could almost hear his brain working on the changes he wants to make. As the Carinas are now though, they look good, sound like a Jones design and the price is reasonable for a high-end speaker. Look out for the Carina range in mid-2019.

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