If you purchased the original ELAC Debut F6 back in 2015 or anytime since, I've got some news for you. Don't get me wrong: you still own one of the best values in high-fidelity audio. You're still in possession of one of the most beautifully balanced tower speakers I've heard under $1,000. But with the release of the Debut 2.0 F6.2, ELAC has improved upon that design in nearly every meaningful way, stiffening the cabinet, improving internal bracing, upgrading the tweeter with a wide-roll surround and wide dispersion waveguide, and tweaking the shape of the aramid-fiber mid-bass cones for improved stiffness and damping.
Even the aesthetics have been upgraded, with cleaner, tighter lines, and grill attachments coming in the form of ports instead of posts on the cabinets themselves, which goes a long way toward improving sex-appeal if you prefer to display (and listen to) your speakers in the altogether. And all of these improvements come at a cost of just $20 extra over the $380 price of the original F6.
If you're not familiar with the original Debut F6 and you're coming into version 2.0 with a fresh set of eyes and ears, it's worth talking about the speaker on its own terms for a moment. The F6.2 is a $400 three-way ported tower speaker with a one-inch cloth dome tweeter and 6.5-inch aramid-fiber driver up top, independently ported and acoustically isolated from a lower section containing two dual-ported 6.5-inch aramid-fiber bass drivers. Crossover between the tweeter and the woofer below it is at 2,200Hz; crossover between that driver and the two bottom woofers is at 90Hz. All told, the tower has a rated frequency response of 39Hz to 35000Hz, although that rating is a bit generous on the bottom end. Sensitivity is a reported 87db @2.83v/1m, max power handling is 150 watts, and the speaker has a nominal impedance of 6Ω.
If you're looking for unimpeachable fit and finish or a speaker that will enhance your immaculate décor, it's probably safe to say that you should be looking elsewhere. The simple black ash vinyl finish on the cabinet makes for a nice-looking speaker at this price point, but it's not going to draw any oohs or ahhs. I mean, at least not with the speaker sitting silently. Feed these puppies some juice, though, and you're likely to raise an eyebrow or two from your friends with discerning ears.
As you might expect from the triple-ported design of the Debut 2.0 F6.2, it is somewhat sensitive to placement, although not overly so. I would be more inclined to say that it rewards some tweaking in terms of placement rather than punishing you for setting and forgetting. Needless to say, you don't want to cram the speakers right up against the wall, but I also found that a bit of toe-in--although not entirely necessary--resulted in slight improvements to soundstaging and center imaging.
The speaker contains but a single pair of five-way binding posts. No bi-wiring here, but come on. Are you really going to bi-wire a $400 speaker? You're not.
During the course of the review, I relied on two different systems to power the pair of F6.2s: Micromega's excellent M-150 Integrated Amplifier in my two-channel listening room/home office, and Denon's AVR-X6400H AVR in my secondary home theater setup, paired with the original ELAC Debut S10EQ sub in a 2.1 configuration. In both setups, I relied on a pair of ELAC's new pre-terminated speaker cables, which should be hitting the market just about the time this review goes live. In the two-channel system, I eschewed the Micromega's room correction altogether; in the 2.1 home theater setup, I used only the S10EQ's smartphone Auto EQ to knock down a few of the most egregious standing waves in the room and again relied on no filtering for the F6.2 itself.
The only other thing worth noting in terms of setup is that, especially in my two-channel system, where my seat is just over six feet away from the speakers themselves, I found that using a pair of Auralex Acoustics MoPAD-XLs in their lowest configuration to give the speakers a slight lean back further improved soundstaging and imaging, as well as the overall tonal balance of the speakers. If you're sitting further away or using the speakers in a surround sound configuration primarily for movie-watching, this really isn't something you should be concerned with, especially if you're adding a center speaker to the mix. But if you're value-engineering a stereo setup and want to eke out ever last ounce of performance from your system, it's worth trying. A mere four-degree lean-back made a pretty significant difference in my system.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...
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