ELAC Debut 2.0 Speaker Lineup Review

While ELAC has become one of the hottest names in audio over the past few years, they’ve actually been around far longer than most audio companies. ELAC was founded in Germany in 1926. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, their turntables were sold all over the world under the Benjamin Miracord name. Throughout their history, ELAC has made various speaker lines which have been quite popular in Europe. They had just never gotten much traction in North America.

All of this changed in 2015, however, when ELAC hired renowned speaker designer Andrew Jones to be their VP of Engineering. He got his start at KEF before moving over to Infinity. Around 20 years ago, Pioneer brought him in to head up their high-end TAD division, which led him to design their $80,000 Reference One -- one of the most highly regarded speakers in the world. From there, Jones made a complete 180, challenging himself by designing a line of sub-$200/pair speakers for Pioneer.

It’s this experience that leads Jones to design the ELAC Debut line, which launched in late May 2015. Within 6 months, it was the best-selling budget speaker line in the US. ELAC blew away people's expectations of how good budget speakers could perform.

From there, Jones and the ELAC team went upstream, creating the Unifi and Adante lines. This work leads Jones to begin thinking about how to apply some of the new technology to the already fantastic Debut lineup.

In April 2018, the new Debut 2.0 lineup was introduced. While it seems similar at first glance, almost everything from the speaker drivers to the cabinets have been upgraded in these speakers.

As you will see, the Debut 2.0 series is really well thought out. Not only the speaker designs themselves, but everything from the product assortment to the model numbers is simple and easy to understand.

Everything in the model stands for something. The letter describes the type of speaker it is. The number is the size of the woofer in inches, and the “.2” at the end of all of the models means they’re part of the 2.0 line.

Here is the complete lineup:

The most expensive speaker in the lineup is the larger floorstanding F6.2 at $799/pair. As you can see, all of these new models are designed to bring super high performance to a new price level and once again set a bar that will be pretty hard for other speaker brands to top!

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ELAC Debut 2.0 Series family lineup

Features of the Debut 2.0 Line

For the new Debut 2.0 series, Andrew and his team made 3 major design changes to the speakers.

First, they developed a new tweeter capable of extending the response out way beyond the range of human hearing to 35,000kHz. They also came up with a better waveguide to house the tweeter, which reduces cabinet interference while at the same time providing a wide dispersion pattern. This means everyone in your audience will get great sound!

The woofer drivers were also redone. The 2.0 series uses a woven Aramid-Fiber material which is far stiffer than paper or polypropylene. This added strength allows ELAC to push the bass even deeper in their relatively small cabinets.

Speaking of the cabinets, they increased the thickness of the MDF used and added more internal bracing. This gives them an even more neutral sound. All of the speakers in the lineup are within a half inch of each other in width, making the lineup appear really uniform.

Because they made all of these changes across the entire line, the Debut 2.0 series is the perfect line of speakers to mix and match. Depending on your budget and the needs of your room, there are a variety of configurations you can choose from. In a home theater application, using similar speakers like this makes for a staggering, fully immersive effect. We love the way they did this!

Now let’s take a look at the various models to help you figure out which ones are best for your needs. At the end, we will also put together some combinations we think make sense so that you can quickly and easily put your system together.

Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers - $249.98/pair

The new B5.2 is the smallest speaker in the lineup, yet it packs an amazing amount of sound into a cabinet that can disappear on most shelves. At only about 7” wide by 13” tall and 9” deep, it is considered a bookshelf speaker, although it would also work on a speaker stand. The front-firing port allows you to place it right against the back of your bookshelf or wall. As with any smaller speaker, things will sound better if you get it just a little further away from the wall, but if you have to keep it close, the front port allows you to do so.

We are particularly impressed with the amount of bass that this inexpensive speaker can put out. ELAC really did a great job tuning the cabinet for the new 5 ¼ ” woofer. The new tweeter also seems more extended than the original while at the same time having a silky smooth character, similar to what you’d expect to hear in a higher priced speaker.

At 86db efficiency, the B5.2 needs an amp with a good power supply to get them cooking. A great choice would be the ELAC EA101EQG with its great feature set, or for less, the Cambridge Audio AM10. Give these guys some good power and they will really come to life!

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Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers - $299.98/pair

For just another $50, the B6.2 offers a larger cabinet to house the 6 ½” woofer. The B6.2 will probably be better at home on a large bookcase or speaker stand as it is physically a bit larger than the B5.2. It stands at almost 15” tall by 11” deep and almost 8” wide. The larger cabinet volume actually makes it a shade easier to drive than the B5.2, however, we still recommend a good amp to get the best performance from it.

So should you spend the extra $50 or not? Well, that depends. If you think you are never going to add a subwoofer, you will definitely get more bass impact out of the B6.2. However, the combo of a sub with the B5.2 is pretty astounding. We actually think you get better stereo imagining out of the smaller cabinet of the B5.2 (on a stand of course).

If you don’t plan on bringing a sub into the equation, however, you may want to consider the B6.2, since they can produce more of a full range of sound. We’ll have more on this when we put together some suggested systems.

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Debut 2.0 F5.2 Floorstanding Speakers - $599.98/pair

When you step into the world of tower speakers, the sky's the limit. It is not hard to spend $5000+ for a pair of nice tower speakers these days. ELAC took the opposite approach, making it possible for more people to be able to afford some great tower speakers.

When you move up to the floorstanding ELAC’s you also get into a pretty interesting 3-way speaker design. If you look at a cutaway of the cabinet, you can see the two lower bass drivers are in a separate enclosure which occupies most of the cabinet. The top portion is almost like a bookshelf B5.2 separated out from the bass section. This “bookshelf” section is crossed over to the lower bass drivers at 90hz. This means the 5 ¼” driver used for the midrange does not have to work very hard in the lower end, which really opens up the midrange. This top section has its own rear-firing port, so you will want to position these out from the wall a few inches.

The bass section is really pretty cool too. The two 5 ¼” drivers work together in a cabinet that has two sections, similar to a folded horn design. Each section has its own port, giving the F5.2 three rear-firing ports.

When you crank them up, it is apparent ELAC spent a ton of time fine tuning this cabinet design. Bass is deep, tight, and super fast, and just like the bookshelf models, the tweeter is silky smooth yet very extended.

With a cabinet face that is identical in width to the B5.2 bookshelf, you’ll also get great stereo imaging. Couple this with the fact that the midrange driver is not having to reproduce deep bass and you’ll notice a super liquid midrange that easily surpasses what you can expect to get out of the bookshelf models.

In a nutshell, when you move up to the F5.2, everything is better all around! Deeper bass, more impact, better midrange, and that silky smooth top end from the new and improved tweeter.

Debut 2.0 F6.2 Floorstanding Speakers - $799.98/pair

Stepping up to the F6.2 is a similar situation to moving from the small to larger bookshelf models. The basic design of the speaker is the same, with the separate midrange and tweeter enclosure, and a dual woofer array for the bass.

You’ll move up to 6 ½” woofers which go a bit deeper in the lower range. We do feel, just like with the bookshelf models, that if you like to listen to music that has a nice three-dimensional soundstage, you may prefer the smaller towers. For some reason, they just seem to do a better job throwing out an effortless image. On the other hand, if these will be used in a home theater environment most of the time, the added bass impact is a huge benefit.

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Debut 2.0 C5.2 Center Channel Speaker - $199.98

The C5.2 is a great little center channel speaker at an astoundingly low price point. You’ll get two of the 5 ¼” drivers you find in the B5.2 and an identical tweeter as well.

This provides a perfect acoustical match for your left, center, and right channels, which we feel is critical to a great home theater experience. The front-firing ports allow you to put it inside a cabinet if needed. It is a large cabinet -- about 7” tall by almost 9” deep and a little over 21” wide. This means the critical human voice range will be well reproduced for great dialog intelligibility, another key component of a great home theater.

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Debut 2.0 C6.2 Center Channel Speaker - $279.98

For an extra $80, you get the C6.2, which has larger drivers and a bigger cabinet. It’s quite large though -- almost 8” tall, 11” deep, and almost 2 feet wide. If you have a piece of furniture or a stand that will fit it, however, it is well worth the price difference. The voice frequencies and center channel effects are an improvement over the already impressive C5.2.

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Debut 2.0 SUB3010 10” Subwoofer - $449.98

The SUB3010 has a 10” front-firing woofer and a downward firing 10” passive radiator. It’s powered by a 400-watt amp. It's pretty compact for a subwoofer too, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to hide. Considering the $450 price point, this is an incredible deal, but ELAC didn’t stop there!

First, the sub amp has lots of digital signal processing on board that allows you to get the most out of your sub in any room. Bass frequency waveforms are very long. The dimensions of your room have a huge impact on how these low-frequency sounds interact. This happens in any room. When the frequencies interact with each other they can cancel out all the bass you might hear at one frequency while at the same time making another frequency way too loud. Changing the position of the subwoofer in the room and changing where you sit in the room has a huge impact on how these sound waves interact. The issue most people encounter is the fact that your listening position is usually determined largely by your furniture arrangement, which then often dictates where you can put the subwoofer.

Many very high-end subwoofers, such as the F series from JL Audio, can compensate for room placement issues by using test tones to measure the room and take this data to change the sound coming out of the sub to correct for room issues. The effect is stunning.

Well, ELAC has an app that works with the SUB3010. It measures the room and then tells the sub which corrections it needs to make in order to improve the sound. This subwoofer is astoundingly good for the money, and at this price, you can get two!

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Debut 2.0 SUB3030 12” Subwoofer - $699.98

The SUB3030 steps up both the driver and the passive radiator from 10 inches to 12 inches. It features a horizontal center brace that strengthens and stiffens the cabinet. This removes any unwanted resonance.

The SubEQ app will also work with the 3030, allowing you to set auto EQ or adjust settings right through your smartphone.

As you can imagine, the 3030 goes much deeper than the 3010 and is great if you love bass-heavy music or Michael Bay-style action movies!

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Debut 2.0 OW4.2 On-Wall Speakers - $249.98/pair

The OW4.2 is an on-wall surround speaker. At less than 4” deep, you can hang it on your wall at the perfect height for a surround speaker. Once again, ELAC has matched the drivers to give you that seamless surround effect.

The OW4.2 includes a 4” version of their Aramid fiber woofer, coupled with the same 1” tweeter found in the other models. For surround speakers, this is simply a no-brainer. It even allows people who are renting their home to get great surround sound without having to cut a hole in the wall. We highly recommend this as a great surround speaker option for both sides and rears.

Debut 2.0 A4.2 Atmos Speakers - $249.98/pair

By now, you’ve probably heard of Dolby Atmos. It’s a huge breakthrough -- providing the most immersive surround sound experience we’ve ever encountered. The best way Atmos configuration includes in-ceiling speakers that fire down towards you, providing the overhead effect. Of course, this can present a problem in existing homes, as it may be impossible (or at least difficult and expensive) to get the speaker wires up and through the ceiling to where you need them.

To allow everyone to enjoy the cool Atmos effect, Dolby developed a spec for an upward firing speaker that is designed to sit directly on top of your front left and right speakers. The idea is that the sound can bounce off the ceiling and back down to the listening position, getting close to the Atmos height speaker effect without having to cut holes in your ceiling. It’s not perfect, but it actually works quite well.

The A4.2 is ELAC’s version of this technology. They fit right on top of either the bookshelf or floor standing models in the Debut 2.0 series. They are actually a perfect size match for the smaller bookshelf or tower and will be just slightly narrower than the larger versions. This makes them super simple to set up and can have your quickly enjoying Dolby Atmos.

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Building The Perfect Surround Sound System with ELAC Debut 2.0 Speakers

Now that we’ve taken a look at each individual speaker, let’s think about some packages we feel offer the best value/performance ratio.

Before we dive in, a few quick notes about speaker placement. We’ll touch on some individual placement recommendations in each setup, but the front and subwoofer placement is going to be pretty consistent no matter which configuration you choose.

For the fronts, start by measuring the distance from the seating position to the TV. The distance between the front left and right should be the same distance apart as you are from the TV -- essentially creating an equilateral triangle. This will give you the best stereo image in most cases.

For the subwoofer, it is best to place it on the front wall, ideally in a corner. Don’t forget to download and run the EQ app too.

We’re provided a list of recommended home theater receivers for each setup, but no matter which you choose, be sure to go through the entire setup process.

Creating a Basic 5.1 Surround Sound System with ELAC Debut 2.0 Speakers

Using some of the entry-level ELAC speakers, we have put together a great little 5.1 surround sound system. For those of you new to surround sound, this means five main speakers (front left, center channel, front right, surround left, surround right) and a single subwoofer.

For this particular system, we recommend hanging the surrounds on the walls on either side of your seating area, about 5 feet off the ground and just slightly behind your ears.

Fronts: ELAC B5.2 (pair)
Center: ELAC C5.2
Surrounds: ELAC OW4.2 (pair)
Subwoofer: ELAC SUB3010

The entire speaker package is $1,150. You could couple this with an entry-level receiver and have a really nice 5.1 surround sound system for under $2,000 for the entire system.

Here are a few receiver suggestions for this system:

Creating an Entry-Level Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 System with ELAC Debut 2.0 Speakers

For our entry level Dolby Atmos, we will take our basic 5.1 system and simply add the ELAC A4.2 Atmos speakers on top of the left and right speakers.

Fronts: ELAC B5.2 (pair)
Height: ELAC A4.2 (pair)
Center: ELAC C5.2
Surrounds: ELAC OW4.2 (pair)
Subwoofer: ELAC SUB3010

This brings the package to $1,400 for 7 speakers plus a sub. For the receiver, be sure and choose a model with 7 amplified channels and Dolby Atmos decoding.

Here are a few receiver suggestions for this system:

If you go with this configuration, you will set things up just as you would with the basic 5.1 setup, with one small change. For the surrounds (OW4.2), position them in line with your ears on the side walls and about 3 feet off the ground. They don’t need to be as high since you now have height channels that are providing some of that sound from above.

Creating a High Impact 7.1.2 Surround System with ELAC Debut 2.0 Speakers

This system will offer a lot more punch for bigger rooms and/or those super dynamic action movies. We’ll start by jumping up from the bookshelf speakers for the fronts to the F5.2 floorstanding speakers. We’ll also move up to the larger, C6.2 center channel.

The rest of the system will remain the same. Here is the speaker setup.

Fronts: ELAC F5.2 (pair)
Height: ELAC A4.2 (pair)
Center: ELAC C6.2
Surrounds: ELAC OW4.2 (pair)
Subwoofer: ELAC SUB3030

For this setup, you’ll need a surround sound receiver capable of Dolby Atmos and 9 channels of amp power on board.

Here are a few receiver suggestions for this system:

Set up for this system should be similar to the entry-level Atmos system. We’d suggest you put the rear speakers on your back wall with the bottom about 3’ off the floor. You should spread the rear speakers apart wide enough to cover your main seating area, but they do not need to be as far apart as your left and right speakers.

The entire cost of this speaker package will come in just under $2,280 for 9 speakers and a sub. Unbelievable!

Creating an Incredible 11-Channel Dolby Atmos Surround System with ELAC Debut 2.0 Speakers

You might expect us to take all of the big speakers and throw them together for this one, but hold on. At Audio Advice we still like to think about the best bang for the buck, even when we are trying to knock your socks off. This system will perform best in a decent sized room and will need some space behind your couch.

We’re going with the F5.2 instead of the F6.2 because we’re going to we are going to use two subwoofers with this system! We feel that this represents a better value and at the same time will knock your socks when you listen to your favorite action movies.

We’re also moving up to the B5.2 for the surrounds (we recommend that you put them on stands behind your couch). Instead of just a single pair of height speakers on top of the fronts, we’ll put a pair on top of the fronts and a pair on top of the surrounds.

So the whole speaker package will look like this:

Fronts: ELAC F5.2 (pair)
Height: ELAC A4.2 (4)
Center: ELAC C6.2
Surrounds: ELAC B5.2 (pair)
Subwoofers: ELAC SUB3030 (2)

That’s under $3180 for 11 speakers and two subwoofers!! Wow. Pair this package with a Dolby Atmos home theater receiver that has 11 channels of power on board, properly calibrate it, and you will be the envy of your neighborhood!

Here are a few receiver suggestions for this system:

Still Need Help? We’re There for You!

Our team is incredibly excited to have a great series of speakers from ELAC that allow us to create great-sounding surround sound systems at a ridiculous price!

The fact that all of the drivers match will provide an awesome surround effect. While we hope this write-up makes things simple for you, you may still have some questions. If so, please feel free to give us a call or chat with us. We would be more than happy to discuss the options with you and help you find the best setup for your room and the experience you are trying to create.

Be sure to check out our blog which is full of helpful articles on speakers, turntables, home theater and more!