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Elac Debut B5 Bookshelf Speakers Review

Initial Impressions

When I first unboxed the Elac Debut B5 Bookshelf Speakers, I was immediately drawn to its slightly greyish vinyl wrap. They may not be as hefty or solid as other speakers within the same price range (such as the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1), but they may not necessarily be as attractive in aesthetics. This isn’t a surprise, as Elac has always been a brand more focused on driver development rather than a flashy appearance.

Setting up The Elac B5 Speakers

Setting up the speakers was pretty straightforward. I hooked them up with two receivers, a vintage Pioneer and a high-end Sony unit, to ensure I gave the speakers a fair trial. Once everything was arranged, I began my journey into the world of the Elac B5 speakers with various music genres, switching between different rooms and placements for the speakers, including using and removing grills. After all, an audio product’s actual value can only be ascertained via a comprehensive test with various conditions.

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The soundstage initially stood out to me during my Elac Debut B5 Bookshelf Speakers review. Compared to the Wharfedales, the Elac Debut B5 Bookshelf Speakers tend to confine their soundstage between the speakers, creating a precise center image. They didn’t extend much beyond the speakers themselves. In contrast, the Wharfedale’s soundstage has a larger width and height – extending well beyond the speakers.

Listening to genres varying from classical music to musical theatre, these B5s didn’t disappoint. They handled the complexity of orchestral textures and broad dynamics, offering a natural sound and respectable bass. The B5s were able to reproduce a three-dimensional sonic image. I could discern Trumpets behind the cellos and xylophone notes leaping out in front of the speakers, and they were competent when it came to recreating a distinctive position for the singer amidst the orchestra.

However, something that I noticed and appreciated in this Elac B5 review is the occasional sparkle that these speakers provide. Sometimes, they produced a vibrancy and almost lifelike reproduction that other speakers, including the Wharfedales, seemed to lack.

One downside is that with this occasional sparkle comes an occasional harshness. That tends to disrupt the smoothness of the listening experience, although momentarily. In comparison, the Wharfedales maintain a mellower tonality throughout.

ELAC B5 Debut

The Bass Difference

When it comes to bass, the Elac B5 speakers provide better clarity and depth than the Wharfedales. In smaller rooms, both speakers can hold their own without a sub for music, but the B5s offer an advantage in that they can almost make the listener think there’s a small sub in the room.

Value for Money

Regarding value for money, I believe the B5s are astonishingly good. I mainly consider that they perform better than some speakers, costing ten times more. The B5s offer high-level performance, a natural sound, depth in their sonic image, and clarity.

Pros and Cons


  • Great value for money.
  • Superior sound quality and depth.
  • Impressive bass response.


  • Occasional sound harshness.
  • Lacks in cabinet design.
  • Low physical presence due to lighter cabinets.


In summary, I would say that the Elac Debut B5 Bookshelf Speakers offer an exciting and often spectacular, albeit occasionally unrefined, sound experience. They possibly lack a certain finesse in cabinet design, but when we consider their advantages- particularly in driver development- these speakers are an impressive package. They are budget speakers in price only, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go toe-to-toe with speakers costing much more in sound quality. They are simply a standout choice in this price category.

Bass Response
Elac Debut B5 offers satisfactory bass performance. It managed to impress several users especially when playing bass-heavy music. Even though some users noted that the bass lacks definition and authority, the overall sentiment is still positive.
Treble Detail
The B5s received mixed feedback regarding the trebles. It seems that the speakers may lack clarity and detail in higher frequencies. Some users reported that high notes feel dull or recessed which affects the liveliness and the immersion of the soundstage.
Midrange Clarity
The midrange quality on the Elac Debut B5 leaves some room for improvement. The speakers are said to lack finesse and the mids may come across as unrefined and muted to some listeners, affecting the overall naturalness to the sound quality.
Users appreciated the build quality of the Elac Debut B5. Its utilitarian design and excellent fit and finish received positive remarks. It seems that the speakers feel and look more expensive than they actually are.
Sound Quality
The overall sound quality is agreeably good for the price of the speaker, yet may not live up to the hype and very high expectations. However, the speakers perform decently across a variety of genres and uses, from TV shows and music playback to live shows. A few audio elements, like the mids and highs, might not be up to par with some users' likings.
Value for Money
The Elac Debut B5 delivers a decent performance considering its price. Some users mentioned their high expectations due to the product's popularity which the speakers were not completely able to meet. However, many agreed that it outperforms many of its competitors within the same price range.
Total Score
Rating Summary
Overall, the Elac Debut B5 speakers have garnered quite a mixed bag of reviews. They house a promising performance, especially in the bass department, and they definitely give you bang for your buck. However, as with everything, they aren't perfect. The clarity in the mid-range and treble departments seems to be lacking, which could be a turndown for some folks out there. Also, the hype surrounding the product seems to have set an unattainably high bar. When it comes to aesthetics, the speakers score well with their robust build quality and refined look. They definitely punch above their price category in terms of exterior design. Finally, it's worth mentioning the good overall sound quality, which, despite some drawbacks, delivers a satisfying and immersive listening experience. All in all, the Elac Debut B5 seem to be a good budget-friendly choice for those who aren't overly critical about their trebles and mids.