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ELAC UB5's as desk speakers?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Neccros, Sep 5, 2017.
  1. Neccros
    Who here has these as their desk speakers? if so, what desk amp are you using to power them?

    I just picked up a pair from the ELAC open box sale and found these need a little more power than the Pioneers they replaced
  2. thedesigner2011
    you could try the basx a100
  3. Neccros
    That things way too long for my desk...
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    What makes you think that? They're both rated at 85dB/1w, unless one of them are lying the problem lies somewhere. Either the UB5's 4ohm impedance is causing problems for your current amp or its response is just different, ex if the Pioneer goes deeper down the bass range (this is where numbers instead of graphs of the response is very sketchy) you would tend to crank up the Elac more.

    Unfortunately if the problem has to do with the lower impedance you're probably out of luck. Any amp smaller than that with comparable let alone more power is a Class D amp, and while subwoofer-specific Class D amps do well enough with low impedance loads - ie, their damping factor doesn't drop, and you're less likely to notice high THD in a subwoofer as long as it doesn't clip - fullrange Class D's are another matter entirely. Most of them don't really do well below 8ohms until you start blowing more money on them.

    Look at the NAD D3020. Works well with enough with 4ohm speakers and is smaller.
  5. Neccros
    When I was at ELAC, they told me the ideal power range is 40-140W where as the Pioneers are only 85w max so they can handle lesser power... I currently have a 15w a channel amp that supports 4-8ohm and sounds amazing still but I want closer to the 40w min.

    The Pro-Ject Stereo Box S is 37w a channel @ 4 ohms and its small but I wanted to see what others were using to power these IF they had them as their desk speakers and getting away with.
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Power handling doesn't really tell you about power requirements, if anything it tells you more about the power limits (except if you actually fed any speaker with anywhere near max output and cranked up the amp, assuming the amp isn't clipping, you'd blow your eardrums or get cops knocking at your door before you even damage the speakers). If the sensitivity ratings are accurate on both the only difference there is Pioneer is saying you might more easily blow the speakers (which again will happen only with clipping or you blow your eardrums first) a lot more than the ELAC actually needing more power, provided there isn't any other issue with power delivery (which can be due to its 4ohm impedance).

    Sensitivity is a more telling aspect of a speaker. As a very general guide and without getting into the math, as long as you're not sitting that much farther than 1m away, speakers rated at 85dB would need roughly 40watts/ch. Past that problems lie in other aspects like 1) whether the amp is true rated (ie some amps, or more commonly HT receivers, cheat - they measure at 1% THD with one channel loaded for example so they can say "175w x 7channels" with those caveats in tiny fine print), 2) impedance limitations, or 3) the speaker's inherent response that you may simply dislike or affects your perception of how loud they are or should be, like bass response.

    What kind of amp is it? If it's a low cost T-amp or even tube amp chances are even with a 4watt output rating it's the impedance that's the problem. In these types of amps power output doesn't increase at 4ohms or if it does, just barely, but distortion might actually increase at a faster rate than output power, and that's the problem you're encountering. You don't really need more than 15w using those speakers nearfield, but your amp is struggling already at 4ohms whereas it's still doing well enough at 6ohms.

    Another possibility is that given the ELAC has 4ohm nominal rather than minimum, it might be swinging below 4ohms on some frequencies.

    Seems like a good deal but ProJect isn't my first choice for amps. For another $100 theres' the NAD D3020 (price has since dropped). Current performance is better and I've heard it drive even 4ohm Dynaudio towers at 86dB and I'm sitting 1.5m+ away, and it was still amazing.
  7. Zachik
    I have started my research for replacing my desktop powered monitors (JBL LSR305) with something better. The ELAC UB5 caught my attention!
    @Neccros - which amp did you end up getting for the UB5 speakers? A small one that I have my eye on is PS Audio's Sprout.
    And lastly, how do the UB5s work as desktop / near-field speakers? I am a bit concerned that they might be optimized for home theater system, that you sit 10+ feet from, as opposed to be very close to me (5 feet or so)...
  8. Neccros
    They sound amazing near field... I made some speaker shelves that bolt to my desk frame to make them ear level. For the amp, I went with a Topping TP60. Chris @ ELAC said the UB5's need 40-140w to drive them so looking around for something to fit on my desk, I wanted the Emotiva A100 but it was way too long. So the Topping was rated at 80w a channel but true clean power it was around 50w a channel. It has dual toroidal transformers and seemed to use decent quality components (I'm no expert) so I went with it. I was a little hesitant going with a lesser known Chinese made amp due to my hatred of imbalance issues and this amp had none. Also I love the dual inputs so I can have my desktop and my laptops DAC plugged in at the same time and just switch between them. So far I am super happy with it and my UB5's sound great!! *IF* you go with this amp, buy it from Parts Express... they have incredible CS and guarantee's. https://www.parts-express.com/toppi...2-50wpc-(80wpc-4-ohm)-mini-amplifier--310-326
  9. Zachik
    WOW - thanks for the SUPER fast response!! :)
    Great. I was worried about using UB5 for near field. Read conflicting opinions online...
    I will research the Topping amp you chose. I am still going to audition the PS Audio Sprout - it costs more, but is smaller and more powerful, and offers some extra features (like Bluetooth).

    Can you post a photo of your desk setup with the shelves? I am really curious to see.
    My current JBLs are mounted on arms on both sides of my desk.

    Thanks again!
  10. Neccros

    Ummmm I need to really clean up my desk!! I have an older IKEA Jerker desk, prob the best desk they ever made... It's "Old school" now but it holds all my books and my 2 monitors for my main PC and my servers.

    The side frame has holes that allows you to bolt it together and I discovered some shelve brackets that line up perfectly with those holes... I took some furniture grade plywood and stuck some felt on top and set them up on those. They are right at ear level and I can adjust them if desired. Whats nice is the speakers are off my desk but still close enough to give a really good image.

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