French-based Elipson is better known for it’s globe-shaped speaker designs so Paul Rigby was eager to get to grips with this traditionally-designed Prestige Facet 8B stand-mounter
The speakers are equipped with a 170mm mid/bass unit featuring a bullet-shaped phase plug. A 25mm soft dome tweeter is included too.
The lacquered front panel is composed of two dense, thick materials and strengthened by several internal brackets.
One of the singular design points of the speaker is the circular ‘diamond’ surround around the drive units. Included, apparently, to minimize the baffle effect and ensure a, “…perfectly symmetrical polarisation of the highs,” said an almost poetical comment from Elipson.
The cross-over features Metallized Polyester Capacitors (MKT), metal oxide resistors and low DC resistance inductors (DCR). Around the rear, dual binding posts allows bi-wiring.
With a sensitivity of 90db and available in black, walnut and white, the speakers span 230 x 361 x 347mm.
I began sound tests via Nat ‘King’ Cole and the title track from the original 1965 album, L.O.V.E (EMI).
First impression from the PF8B speakers was the enormous soundstage. That is, the sheer space available for the music to roam within was impressive. Cole seemed to stand upon a wide and broad space with lots of room to manoeuvre. Similarly, the orchestra were proffered a similar expanse to work from. This gave the music a large scale, ambitious and quite majestic platform to work from.
The issue with this large area was that the orchestra seemed to get lost within it. The midrange output was good but slightly mushy, reducing the amount of detail to the ear. That is, the overall presentation was a little unfocused, as if the orchestra had met up for the first time that morning and hadn’t ‘got it together’ yet. It sounded as if the players hadn’t really clicked as a team and needed more practice. Cole almost sounded as if he was looking the other way, meaning that musical cues appeared to be rather fudged and blurry.
Don’t think I’m damning the PF8B speakers though because there were plenty of plus points to consider. Bass, from the large cabinets was strong but never boomy. Bass never dominated or took control of the soundstage. It kept a sense of discipline which meant that it never unbalanced the mix. The upright bass was quite confidant in its approach, giving the music a firm foundation to work from. Similarly, the mids, despite being rather meek and mild, were never bright or edgy. The introductory guitar strums were very presentable while the Cole delivery delivered his trademark smooth approach to a song.
I wondered what a more dynamic piece of music might do to the PF8B speakers and so tried an original cut of Greenslade’s Time And Tide, from 1975 and Warner Bros.
And this is where the speakers sprang to life. Given a piece of music that made it work harder, music that stretched the design and forced the speakers to shift off its collective backside, the presentation was far more impressive. Bass offered a deep thump but also a solid massy slam, adding a new thrill to the soundstage. The various higher frequency drums also pushed the speakers into life. I actually tapped my feet for the first time. Once the speakers had bothered to wake up and do a bit of work, the results were striking, even imposing. Again, all of the frequencies ‘worked’ so there was no midrange edge or brightness or bass bloom but now the midrange now had an element of snap and response. Vocals now offered nuance and a sense of emotion while the piano used every part of the expansive soundstage to give the instrument dynamic reach and passion into the bargain.
The Elipson PF8B speakers are very much like the archetypal lazy, good for nothing teenager who, given half the chance, would spend all morning in bed, only to fall out in front of his computer, spend six hours there, collapse downstairs to eat and then back to bed again. That’s what the Elipsons sound like when faced with delicate a sensitive music signal. Frankly, to work properly, the Elipsons need a kick up the backside and a bawling down a sleepy ear. That means rock music, effusive electronica and the like. Given that menu of sounds, the Elipson will not disappoint. Once they do finally get moving, the PF8Bs are a delightful listen with an engaging presentation.
ELIPSON PRESTIGE FACET 8B SPEAKERS
Tel: 01628 857958
GOOD: rockcentric presentation, bass response, balanced output, low noise output
BAD: sluggish, mushy mids for jazz and classical
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