This is the French company’s price point best-game offering with an update of a more conventional design
Elipson Prestige Facet 8B – A significant bump up in size and bulk for our nominal outlay, the Elipson offering comes with an optional screw-in plinth that increases its already substantial footprint size, but not the sound quality if you have a good stand to hand. There’s a different approach to design and materials here, too: heavily radiused corners, an unusual mix of tough, durable matt-black exterior (walnut or white finishes are also available), super-beefy build and distinctive drivers. It’s also the first model with twin binding posts to enable bi-wiring or bi-amping (made something of a feature by being mounted on a protruding mound of plastic), while the bass reflex port just above is of the big-bore variety.
It’s the ring of sculpted silicon facets surrounding each driver that gives the range its name. At 360mm high, this is the second tallest speaker in the group and, by a small margin over the Mission, the deepest as well. The 170mm mid/bass driver looks meaty with a prominent bullet-shaped phase plug at its centre, which is joined by a conventional 25mm soft-dome tweeter.
Being bigger has its advantages when it comes to efficiency, but even so, the claimed 91dB is good going, removing the need for a muscle- bound amplifier (our Rega Elex-R’s little brother, the 2x 50W Brio, would be more than ample here) and promising good dynamics.
The PF8B makes a great first impression. The Beach Boys are on a larger stage with a greater sense of ease, smoothness and refinement. There are more layers of luxury – akin to stepping from an Audi A8 to a Bentley Silver Spur. Bass is weightier and more propulsive, tonal colours more saturated and richer. It’s a ‘fatter’ presentation that doesn’t sound as conspicuously fast and crisp as that of the DALI and Dynaudio, but only because everything is bigger and fuller bodied. What’s more, the low frequencies go lower; giving Walk On Water a palpable presence and power the smaller speakers here can’t quite emulate. On top of its musical skills and subtlety, the Elipson can pump it out at party levels in larger rooms, too.
Its midrange is sexier because it’s not the be-all and end-all, not the speaker’s raison d’etre. It’s actually excellent, but what’s so appealing is the way it integrates with the muscular, extended bass and silky treble to present such a seamless, coherent whole. This works as well with Sara Bareilles as it does Eels. Nothing is forced, rushed or dragged; nothing hyped or held back to create
a particular sonic profile. It may not be the most resolute or articulate speaker in the group and, sensibly, gives forensic analysis the swerve. But it is very much a master of the way musical strands fit together and flow and so is very easy to buy into ►
SOUND QUALITY 4.5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY 5/5
BUILD QUALITY 4.5/5
EASE OF DRIVE 5/5
LIKE: Big, smooth, powerful, plushly upholstered sound; material value
DISLIKE: Marmite appearance; a tad too laid back
WE SAY: A hair’s width away from outright excellence, but impressive all the same
Elipson’s big speaker revamp happened in 2016 with the aim of enhancing “musicality and emotion”. In an effort to improve the cabinet’s damping factor porous materials were chosen for their absorption coefficient and frequency range. As a result, the PF8B’s front panels are reinforced with a thicker panel for improved inertia. The company feels that providing twin binding posts is important, too, allowing audiophiles to bi-wire or bi-amp should they wish. The aim of the sculpted diamond- pattern silicon rings that surround the drivers is to minimise the baffle effect and ensure a symmetrical polarisation of the high frequencies for a smoother and clearer response and improved listening experience.
PRODUCT Elipson Prestige Facet 8B
TYPE 2-way standmount loudspeaker
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 230 x360 x347mm
- 1x 25mm soft- dome tweeter
- 1x 170mm mid/bass driver
- Quoted sensitivity: 91dB/1W/1m (6ohm)