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Speakers

Starting over: Legendary designer Andrew Jones set to launch a brand new speaker line

The Andrew Jones-designed ELAC Debut speakers and subwoofers are expected to go on sale in the fall of 2015.

I spoke with Andrew Jones by phone last week, just as he was finishing tweaking a prototype of his latest speaker design, the bookshelf Debut at ELAC's brand-new design lab in Southern California. He started out working as a research engineer for KEF, then moved on to Infinity and later rose to prominence at TAD, where he designed the $80,000 Reference One speakers. Audiophiles the world over (including me) hailed the Reference One as one of the greatest speakers of all time. More recently he crafted the super-affordable Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers and sound bars.

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ELAC America's Andrew Jones Randall Cordero

He is no longer working for Pioneer USA or TAD; he is now vice president of engineering for ELAC America. Jones sounded genuinely excited by the prospects, and he promised to develop new types of speakers for ELAC. The little Debut speaker will be demonstrated for the first time in public at the T.H.E. Newport Audio Show, starting on May 29 in California.

The Debut Series will reflect Jones' latest ideas in speaker design, picking up from where he left off with the highly regarded Pioneer SP-BS22-LR and SP-FS52 speakers, but with speakers priced slightly higher than the Pioneers. Just as with Pioneer, Jones will be designing complete speakers: the tweeters, woofers, crossover networks and cabinets. The first bookshelf Debut will feature a 1-inch tweeter and a 5-inch woofer. Unlike the curve-sided Pioneer speakers, the Debuts will be more conventional, flat-sided boxes; Jones is focusing his resources on building better drivers rather than curved cabinets. There will be eight Debut models, including bookshelfs, towers, center-channels, Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, and subwoofers.

The Debuts share no common design traits with the Pioneer models; Jones started fresh. He sees them as the next step in his design process. The Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers were sold through Best Buy stores (and many other vendors), but ELAC's Debut distribution is still taking shape for the US and Europe; they will go on sale probably in September of this year.

Not only that, Jones will also design a new-from-the-ground-up, ultra-high-end speaker line for ELAC, but right now he's focusing on the Debut Series speakers and subwoofers. The future looks very bright.

The Andrew Jones ELAC speakers website will go online near the end of this month. ELAC was founded 89 years ago in Kiel, Germany.