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Initial Impressions - Elac Adante AF-61 Floor Standing Speaker

Mogami Cables

sonosphere

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Background >> http://www.hifivision.com/av-lounge...les-12-14-october-2017-conrad.html#post750102

Acoustics of a medium sized hotel room is not the best place for demo of a large Floor Standing speaker, however practical considerations lead to most demos across the world, being held in hotel rooms. In a trade-show context, a demo representative may not get opportunity to get the right kind of partnering equipment due to various reasons (just getting an "expensive" or hi-spec amp /DAC /Cable doesn't necessarily guarantee a good match for a speaker). What this means that trade-show demos may not show the best performance of an audio gear, however less than best exposure is better than no exposure for audio enthusiasts and companies showcasing their products.

In view of aforementioned limitations and considering that product-demos don't lend much time to review, I am posting my "initial impressions only"... feel free to take these impressions with a bag of salt :)

Associated gear:
Integrated amp cum DAC (Hegel 360), Transport (CPD: Denon DCD 1520 AE), Music File server (Elac Discovery), Speaker Cables (In-Akustik, model no. unknown).

Recordings played:
Walk on the wild side (Lou Reed), Rock n Roll (Lou Reed), Little Lies (Fleetwood Mac), Sirius (Synth instrumental - Alan Parsons Project), Fanfare for the common man (Acoustic Instrumental - Aron Copland), Symphonic Orchestra (Name unidentified)


Initial Impressions:

w86q09.jpg

The Master and his creation - Andrew Jones and Adante

1. Tonality:
Personally I don't enjoy analytical type neutral sound. Though in Adante I found the neutrality likable. I attribute this likeability to fact that Adante is extremely good at capturing tonal textures, even the very subtle ones. The song "Little Lies" has a synth tone with almost flat texture that makes no impact on other speakers. Adante was able to show minor animations that were happening within that texture. Strong textures like distortion tones in "Sirius", were cakewalk for Adante, and showed more resolution.

I find that "analytical neutral" speakers have a way of robbing fun out of texture, however Adante made a wonderful presentation of strong and subtle textures. This is the first time I have felt a speaker make emotional connect without being on the warm side of neutral. Adante doesn't try to impress by being a bright / lively either. It walks the tightrope of being neutral admirably. This was demonstrated in all the recordings mentioned above, especially the symphony.

Exception: Some other tracks (provided by others, don't know the song-names) during the demo, had vocals sounding strained/piercing in upper mids. I had to request Andrews to turn down the volume a bit as it was feeling uncomfortable. I think this issue was attributed to these tracks only, as I didn't find this in any recordings (mentioned above). I believe due to unforgiving neutrality of Adante, badly recorded tracks can't be played loud on it (Early 70's recordings of even top rock stars, who had access to best studios, have this issue)

If wishes were horses... : Considering the hotel room's acoustics... If I could... I would keep swapping* the associated gear /cables till I got a bit more air around individual instruments, make it just a tad more open sounding and warmer in mids. Hey, what else did you expect from a guy hooked to Usher's signature? :)

*Professional reviewers often keep swapping partnering equipment till they get the best performance and then publish their review. I think this is the best way to go about a publishing a review. Why to handicap a speaker with mismatched equipment and then talk about its performance?

2. Dynamics (Attack, Sustain, Decay):
Dynamics were top notch, irrespective of sparse or dense orchestration, whisper-soft or loud volume... no rounding of attack-transients, nor mix up of individual textures... I don't need to elaborate further here. Special mention: Extremely fast, tight, tuneful bass observed in both Lou Reed recordings.

3. Sparse orchestration:
Sparse orchestrations like a rock quartet, allow for recording of very detailed textures of simple events like attack phase of snare drum hit, the subsequent decay of the subtle skin-noise texture and then the final decay of associated reverb. The reproduction of this decay phase is what separates regular hi-fi from the best. Adante excelled in this, aided in good measure due to its ability to reproduce subtle textures.

4.Dense orchestration:
As mentioned earlier... no rounding of attack-transients, nor mix up of individual textures. Dense orchestration tends to sound shrill in loud passages in less capable speakers, giving impression that tonality has become bright. As I expected, nothing of that sort happened with Adante. This was observed during a symphonic track wherein the dense passages had many things thrown in like steel drums, horns, trumpets, string section... the whole works. (I guess SPL was approx 100 dB at 1 mtr... at this loudness you can't make out what the guy next to you is talking) The tone of all instruments was reproduced remarkably, from low to loud volume levels, and the loudness never hurt the ears. (It helped that the room had wooden flooring with carpet, and heavy curtains... else treble reflections would have been overwhelming)


Thinking back again about the earlier mentioned limitations of a trade-show demo, I am surprised that Adante could perform so well. Kudos also to Hegel amp and DAC, that delivered quality music and brute power to Adante. Adante has been "informally" quoted @ Rs. 5.75 lac, whereas Hegel @ Rs. 4.9 lac.

2zfmseg.jpg

Associated Gear: Elac Discovery on left, Hegel on right, Denon CDP above Hegel

With more time and availability of CD's, I would have explored how Adante would sound with the wealth of well recorded Indian music, like Hindustani Classical, Ghazals, Movie soundtracks and songs (R.D Burman, A.R Rahman, Illayraja...). Hopefully I will get that opportunity as well, as unexpectedly, as this one.

Regards,
 
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Rajeshh

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Sonosphere,
Great review, and possibly the only one available on the internet now!

Which other speaker would you compare/benchmark the Adante to?
What is your impressions of the Adante bookshelves?

Any negatives that you did not like with the Adantes?
 

sonosphere

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Sonosphere,
Great review, and possibly the only one available on the internet now!

Which other speaker would you compare/benchmark the Adante to?
What is your impressions of the Adante bookshelves?

Any negatives that you did not like with the Adantes?

Hi Rajesh,
Thanks... I expect more reviews to be published soon as this newly launched speaker is showcased more around the world. I am curious to know how people with different sonic preferences reflect their differences* in their reviews.
*Very neutral and resolving speakers have a amusing way of fooling people. If a person plays mostly laid back type recordings then the he may perceive the speaker to be laid back (to my ears, most Ghazal recordings sound laid back) , or if he played 70's poorly recorded rock music, then he will call the same speaker as "bright"... whereas a laid back speaker would have toned down the same recording to marginally bright levels, and could have qualified as neutral performer :D

As far as comparing Adante to other speaker the closest in my exposure was a tall FS from PMC (*don't remember model#).
*PMC FS was driven by Bel Canto amplification, setup by the ace Khusrow Jilla (KJ to many in HFV). This demo was held in Hotel Midtown Yogi (Mumbai) in 2012... anybody who was present there and can share the model# please do inform)

To my ears...
Similarities: both speakers are on neutral side, and very dynamic.
Difference: PMC sounded way more open, but thin in terms of texture density. I found Adante "just right" in open sound and texture density (and I am talking of true texture density of a musical instrument here, not bloated bass or smeared texture of overlapping instruments)
Note:The above difference may have NOTHING to do with performance of speakers themselves, it could be purely due to the signature of music being supplied by the backend associated gear. I am hazarding a guess that Adante FS can sound very lean if the backend gear supplies lean music to it. I request HFVians having exposure to large PMC FS to contribute their observations.

I haven't heard the Adante bookshelves, so can't comment on them. (Barely got time for the FS demo :))

Didn't find anything to dislike in Adante FS.

Hope the above helps...

Regards,
 

sonosphere

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.....
.....
.....

w86q09.jpg

The Master and his creation - Andrew Jones and Adante

Regards,

Imagine "Da Boss" R.D Burman standing next to you explaining how he composed the songs of "Amar Prem". That is how I felt when Andrew was explaining how he designed the Elac range. The pic above shows Andrew doing exactly that.

They say "the proof is in the pudding", but for many audio enthusiasts, the journey behind end-result is also major part of fun. Checkout the fun-part here >> https://www.elac.com/series/adante/

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Elac in any way. If Mods feel the above link violates the forum policy, this link may be deleted. I can't faithfully narrate explanation given by Andrew hence provided this link.

Regards,
 
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jmascreen

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Imagine "Da Boss" R.D Burman standing next to you explaining how he composed the songs of "Amar Prem". That is how I felt when Andrew was explaining how he designed the Elac range. The pic above shows Andrew doing exactly that.

They say "the proof is in the pudding", but for many audio enthusiasts, the journey behind end-result is also major part of fun. Checkout the fun-part here >> https://www.elac.com/series/adante/

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Elac in any way. If Mods feel the above link violates the forum policy, this link may be deleted. I can't faithfully narrate explanation given by Andrew hence provided this link.

Regards,



Did he gave any inside details about advante. Like using three passive radiator outside and keeping three 6.5" woofers inside type of enclosure loading etc?
 

bhagwan

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Great review but at an approx. cost of Rs. 11.65 lakhs for only the speaker and amplifier, it is quite expensive...

  • Speaker
  • DAC
  • Streamer
  • Amplifier

All put together @ under 12 Lacs [retail] was excellent Value !
Top sound for any normal audiophile - I feel.
It is a great speaker that played well with the Hegel under show conditions in a Hotel Room. I was personally very surprised.
:licklips:
 

sonosphere

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Did he gave any inside details about advante. Like using three passive radiator outside and keeping three 6.5" woofers inside type of enclosure loading etc?

Yes, he did give the inside details. The pic I posted shows Andrew holding a tab in his hand. The tab was used to show photos of innards of Adante FS. A lot of what was explained by Andrew, is in the Elac link I have posted in earlier post.
 
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