Elac FS 609 CE Speaker

Ever since its founding in 1926, German speaker maker Elac—short for Electroacustic—has never been one to rest on its laurels. Its engineers continue to improve the company's already well-regarded speakers with refinements and innovations that push the performance envelope. Take, for example, the FS 609 CE, Elac's flagship tower speaker that packs a lot of advanced technology into a slender form factor.

Sitting on top of the speaker is Elac's updated 4Pi II omnidirectional super-tweeter, so named because it is designed to radiate sound in a more-or-less spherical pattern. A 0.006mm aluminum ribbon encircles the structure and expands and contracts in response to the audio signal, reaching as high as 53kHz at full volume.

Just below the super-tweeter is the X-Jet III tweeter/midrange driver. A 2-inch ribbon tweeter is located at the center of a 4.1-inch midrange ring radiator made of a nomex-honeycomb material, forming a coaxial point source for the mids and highs. The balance between the 4Pi and Jet tweeters can be adjusted in five steps, while the midrange level can be tweaked in three steps to tune the speaker to a wide range of acoustic environments.

Completing the driver complement are three 7-inch inverted-dome woofers made of the same nomex-honeycomb material as the midrange ring radiator. This material is a sandwich of aluminum and paper stamped with a distinctive crystal pattern, and the long-throw voice coil is attached to the paper and aluminum separately, extending the frequency range of the driver nearly an octave lower than conventional woofers of similar size.

Careful design is also evident in the cabinet itself, which employs what Elac calls Cross-Frame Hybrid Technology. Cabinet resonances are minimized with a combination of extruded and cast aluminum, MDF, and internal tension rods. In addition, two bass-reflex ports—one rear-firing and the other down-firing—increase the efficiency of the speaker's bass performance, resulting in an overall frequency response from 25Hz to 53kHz.

If home theater is your thing, Elac's got you covered with the new CC 601 CE center-channel speaker. A central X-Jet III tweeter/midrange driver is flanked on either side by two 7-inch nomex-honeycomb, inverted-dome, ported woofers, all of which is designed to tonally match the FS 609 CE with a frequency response from 35Hz to 50kHz.

As you might expect, these speakers aren't inexpensive, but they are far less than some I've profiled in Ultimate Gear. The FS 609 CE goes for 7990 Euros (about $10,750) each—not per pair—while the CC 601 CE lists for 3780 Euros (about $5080). The technology certainly seems impressive, but the proof is ultimately in the listening, so I hope to hear these speakers at an upcoming trade show.