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Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 review: Clearer sound, better build quality, same incredible value

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The Good The affordable Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 offers class-leading sound along with excellent build quality and attractive looks. The front-facing bass port allows them it be placed close to walls.

The Bad Big, boxy design compared to some competitors. Not as easygoing or forgiving as its predecessor.

The Bottom Line The Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 is one of the best speakers at this price, with great sound and excellent build quality.

8.8 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Sound 8.0
  • Value 9.0

Review Sections

The original Elac Debut B6 came out of nowhere in late 2015. Designer Andrew Jones had only recently left Pioneer, yet here he was with a fully formed speaker design -- one that immediately became our favorite bookshelf speaker for the money, period. 

He then followed up with the equally impressive Uni-Fis, and again late last year with the Adantes. That's a lot of speakers in a short space of time, so we weren't expecting an an update to the Debut B6 this soon. But here it is. 

The B6.2 manages to make some improvements on the original speaker, namely in terms of build quality, and it only costs $20 more. The new design sounds like a cross between the old Debut and the newer Uni-Fi, with a clearer, more open performance than before. We'll miss the laid-back qualities of the original B6, but nonetheless the B6.2 is a fine speaker for less than the cost of an AV receiver or even a decent record player.

Other companies are finally catching onto what designer Andrew Jones is doing. Q Acoustics, Emotiva and Polk also offer compelling speakers for similar prices to the B6.2, but none are quite as good. If you want a pair of speakers with excellent bang-for-buck and an enveloping sound, the Elac B6.2 is your best bet.

The B6.2 is part of the Debut 2.0 range which also includes floorstanders, Atmos height speakers and a sub. The B6.2 will be available for $299 from March 15, while UK and Australia can expect it in May/June with pricing to be announced. (For reference, $250 is about £180 or AU$320, but expect final prices to be more than that.)

Not much family resemblance

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The Elac Debut B6 (left) and the new Debut 2.0 B6.2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The B6.2 has a cheerfully retro appearance that recalls older British designs from Bowers and Wilkins or Wharfedale. When placed alongside the original Debut B6 it looks like a completely different speaker -- where the B6 was short and squat, the update is taller and slimmer with the noticeable addition of a front bass port.

Like the original the B6.2 boasts a 6.5-inch aramid fiber (similar to Kevlar) woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter, but their implementation is different. For example, the tweeter on the 2015 model was recessed which made the speaker more directional, but this time around the mesh-covered tweeter is almost flush with the front panel. In addition the driver now boasts an extruded dust cap, which is designed to make the driver more responsive.

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The B6.2 with the grille on and off

Sarah Tew/CNET

The dimensions are familiar for a pair of stand-mount speakers at 7.69-inches wide by 14.76-inches high and a relatively thin 10.55-inches deep. While the original Debut was resonant -- rap a knuckle on the side and it rang -- the B6.2 has had additional bracing installed to reduce potential sonic coloration. Knocking on it gives a faintly metallic plop. 

Extra bracing isn't the only change. Upon closer inspection you'll notice the use of an old-school black ash wrap instead of the brushed vinyl of the original Debut. Finally, around the back you'll find a pair of metal binding posts.

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