Review of Active Speaker "Elac Navis ARB-51"

Wharfedale Evo 4.2

sathtom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
178
Points
43
Location
Chennai
About Myself:
I will start from telling a liitle bit about myself. I am a music lover from childhood. I am not sure whether I am entitled to be called as an audiophile but definitely an aspiring Audiophile. Since my childhood I always enjoyed listening to Music. As Time passes by, I craved for more quality in the music I have been listening. So my choice of Audio device has been changing since 1990's from Pocket-FM-Radio, Mobile Phone with basic Earphone, Phone specialized for Music (Nokia N91), 2.0 Speaker for Computer, Good Quality Earphones, Basic 2.1 Speaker system for TV (SONY SRS D9), Smartphone with Audiophile Quality DAC (LG G6), Audiophile Quality Earphones (1More Triple-Driver).

Search for my first HiFi Stereo Setup:
As my ears got used to Audiophile quality music from HiRes Earphones, I can't stand with my old SONY 2.1 speaker. So I decided to go with an HiFi Stereo setup. Initially I thought of going all out with HiFi Seperates and almost thought of buying but some of the knowledged FMs in this forum I have discussed with advised me to go gradually from all-in-one solution devices.


I shortlisted 2 Active Speakers "KEF LS50W" & "Elac Navis ARB-51". I chose the later as Many of the reviewers of ELAC Navis ARB-51 has stated that Navis is more warmer and non-fatiguing. Moreover I don't prefer inbuilt DAC of KEF LS50W becoming the bottleneck in future upgrades. Having said that, for Hifi Minimalists, KEF LS50W is one of the best all-in-one solution speaker.

About Distributor/Dealer:
I ordered "ELAC Navis ARB-51" Active speaker from Kripa Electonics https://www.keihifi.com/ . Kripa Electonics is authorized distributor of ELAC in India in addition to many brands like Bluesound, Fyne Audio, NAD, Pioneer etc,. I ordered it on Corona lockdown period of April 2020 and got it delivered to me on June 2020. Kripa Electronics Staff Mr. Sayee Jayaraman (Ph: 9840477568) is very polite and friendly throughout all phases of order such as Quotation Negotiation, Ordering and delivery status updates. Even though the order got stuck in transit during Lockdown period, Mr. Sayee Jayaraman has constantly kept me updated about current status of the shipment without the need for me to call him for updates. I will recommend Kripa Electronics whole heartedly as I hope they will treat you the same as they treated me.

Stereo Setup:
Unlike KEF-LS50W which is a Combo of Speaker/Poweramp/Preamp/DAC/DSP/Streamer, "Navis ARB-51" is just a Combo of Speaker/PowerAmp. We need "Preamp & DAC" to complete the chain or atleast a DAC with volume control. Navis ARB-51 is one of the best choice if you want your speaker to scale well with High-end Preamp/DAC's. I thought of buying Cambridge Audio CXN-v2 (Streamer/DAC/Digital-Preamp) for my Navis but later changed my decision to go for Streamer/DAC/Analog-Preamp combo device like Elac Alchemy DDP-2. As Alchemy DDP-2 costs $2500 which is more than the price of Navis ARB-51, I decided to buy a used one from USA and hand carry with help of my friend. Till that plan worksout, I need to look for cheaper alternatives, so I bought "Topping E30" for 11K which is just a DAC with Volume control. I bought a Used "Chromecast Audio" as well from an FM in this forum just to check how well it sounds. I bought Mogami 2549 RCA Interconnects from SoundFoundations @magma.

Navis - Topping E30 - Chromecast Audio:
Intially to test the funtionality of Chromecast Audio, I just plugged it to a basic 2.0 speaker via 3.5mm Jack. I heard a better sound quality from that basic 2.0 speaker possiblly because of reasonably good DAC for its price in Chromecast Audio. All I can say is CCA will not disappoint you if your speakers are not Audiophile grade. Then, I hooked Navis with Topping E30 with CCA as source. The sound qaulity is very Good but not Great. As I am predominantly an earphone listener I can feel that something is missing in the detail. So I replaced my CCA to Laptop as source.

Navis - Topping E30 - Laptop:
I played Spotify & FLAC Files via Jriver on Laptop. Now I am getting a Sound quality which I was Craving for all these years. Every aspects of sound quality like Dynamics, Sounstage, Highs, Lows exceeded my expectations. I am mesmerized with the Midrange & vocals from these Navis Speakers that I keep on hearing the same song few times.

Songs that I Enjoyed on Navis:
1. At Last - Etta James
2. Feeling Good - Micheal Buble (Madison Square Live)
3. Helium - Sia,
4. Stay Gold - Stevie Wonder,
5. Maula Mera Maula - Anwar
6. Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai - Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
7. En Kadhale En Kadhale - Duet (Tamil)
8. Ooru Sanam Thoongidichu - Mella Thirandhadhu Kanavu (Tamil)
9. Vinmeen - Thegidi (Tamil)
10. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe - Unnai Arindhaal (Tamil)

Vocals in songs 1, 5 & 8 are mesmerizing and coudn't stop repeating it few times. Midrange are warmer and easy on ears for longer listening.
Soundstage in song 2 are excellent and feels like we are in concert.
Saxophones on Songs 4 & 7 are very soothing and overwhelmingly impressive at the same time.
Highs on Song 6 is a great example of How impressive Navis can be on Highs. Many believe that a Speaker with warmer sound cannot produce excellent highs but Navis defies that logic.
I am not a bass head so I can't say Navis requires a SW or not. But to me, I don't think I will buy SW for stereo setup as Bass on song 10 are simply more than I can take of. Transients on this Speakers are also Very Good.

My ears gets fatigued after 30-50 mins of listening on other speakers & Earphones but I was able to listen Elac Navis more than 3 hours without any fatigue.

All these observations are without an Analog-Preamp in the chain and with an untreated room. I think I can get an even more better Sound Quality when I upgrade to proper Analog Preamps, Streamer & with Roon in the Chain.

I would like to thank following FMs for Clearing my doubts & guiding me to reach here.
@prem @AVM @panditji @Rajeshh @sandeepsasi @SachinChavan @drkrack @elangoas @Kannan


Regards,
Sathish Chandran


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1604828769201.png
 

kapvin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
1,099
Points
113
Location
Gurgaon / NCR
About Myself:
I will start from telling a liitle bit about myself. I am a music lover from childhood. I am not sure whether I am entitled to be called as an audiophile but definitely an aspiring Audiophile. Since my childhood I always enjoyed listening to Music. As Time passes by, I craved for more quality in the music I have been listening. So my choice of Audio device has been changing since 1990's from Pocket-FM-Radio, Mobile Phone with basic Earphone, Phone specialized for Music (Nokia N91), 2.0 Speaker for Computer, Good Quality Earphones, Basic 2.1 Speaker system for TV (SONY SRS D9), Smartphone with Audiophile Quality DAC (LG G6), Audiophile Quality Earphones (1More Triple-Driver).

Search for my first HiFi Stereo Setup:
As my ears got used to Audiophile quality music from HiRes Earphones, I can't stand with my old SONY 2.1 speaker. So I decided to go with an HiFi Stereo setup. Initially I thought of going all out with HiFi Seperates and almost thought of buying but some of the knowledged FMs in this forum I have discussed with advised me to go gradually from all-in-one solution devices.


I shortlisted 2 Active Speakers "KEF LS50W" & "Elac Navis ARB-51". I chose the later as Many of the reviewers of ELAC Navis ARB-51 has stated that Navis is more warmer and non-fatiguing. Moreover I don't prefer inbuilt DAC of KEF LS50W becoming the bottleneck in future upgrades. Having said that, for Hifi Minimalists, KEF LS50W is one of the best all-in-one solution speaker.

About Distributor/Dealer:
I ordered "ELAC Navis ARB-51" Active speaker from Kripa Electonics https://www.keihifi.com/ . Kripa Electonics is authorized distributor of ELAC in India in addition to many brands like Bluesound, Fyne Audio, NAD, Pioneer etc,. I ordered it on Corona lockdown period of April 2020 and got it delivered to me on June 2020. Kripa Electronics Staff Mr. Sayee Jayaraman (Ph: 9840477568) is very polite and friendly throughout all phases of order such as Quotation Negotiation, Ordering and delivery status updates. Even though the order got stuck in transit during Lockdown period, Mr. Sayee Jayaraman has constantly kept me updated about current status of the shipment without the need for me to call him for updates. I will recommend Kripa Electronics whole heartedly as I hope they will treat you the same as they treated me.

Stereo Setup:
Unlike KEF-LS50W which is a Combo of Speaker/Poweramp/Preamp/DAC/DSP/Streamer, "Navis ARB-51" is just a Combo of Speaker/PowerAmp. We need "Preamp & DAC" to complete the chain or atleast a DAC with volume control. Navis ARB-51 is one of the best choice if you want your speaker to scale well with High-end Preamp/DAC's. I thought of buying Cambridge Audio CXN-v2 (Streamer/DAC/Digital-Preamp) for my Navis but later changed my decision to go for Streamer/DAC/Analog-Preamp combo device like Elac Alchemy DDP-2. As Alchemy DDP-2 costs $2500 which is more than the price of Navis ARB-51, I decided to buy a used one from USA and hand carry with help of my friend. Till that plan worksout, I need to look for cheaper alternatives, so I bought "Topping E30" for 11K which is just a DAC with Volume control. I bought a Used "Chromecast Audio" as well from an FM in this forum just to check how well it sounds. I bought Mogami 2549 RCA Interconnects from SoundFoundations @magma.

Navis - Topping E30 - Chromecast Audio:
Intially to test the funtionality of Chromecast Audio, I just plugged it to a basic 2.0 speaker via 3.5mm Jack. I heard a better sound quality from that basic 2.0 speaker possiblly because of reasonably good DAC for its price in Chromecast Audio. All I can say is CCA will not disappoint you if your speakers are not Audiophile grade. Then, I hooked Navis with Topping E30 with CCA as source. The sound qaulity is very Good but not Great. As I am predominantly an earphone listener I can feel that something is missing in the detail. So I replaced my CCA to Laptop as source.

Navis - Topping E30 - Laptop:
I played Spotify & FLAC Files via Jriver on Laptop. Now I am getting a Sound quality which I was Craving for all these years. Every aspects of sound quality like Dynamics, Sounstage, Highs, Lows exceeded my expectations. I am mesmerized with the Midrange & vocals from these Navis Speakers that I keep on hearing the same song few times.

Songs that I Enjoyed on Navis:
1. At Last - Etta James
2. Feeling Good - Micheal Buble (Madison Square Live)
3. Helium - Sia,
4. Stay Gold - Stevie Wonder,
5. Maula Mera Maula - Anwar
6. Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai - Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
7. En Kadhale En Kadhale - Duet (Tamil)
8. Ooru Sanam Thoongidichu - Mella Thirandhadhu Kanavu (Tamil)
9. Vinmeen - Thegidi (Tamil)
10. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe - Unnai Arindhaal (Tamil)

Vocals in songs 1, 5 & 8 are mesmerizing and coudn't stop repeating it few times. Midrange are warmer and easy on ears for longer listening.
Soundstage in song 2 are excellent and feels like we are in concert.
Saxophones on Songs 4 & 7 are very soothing and overwhelmingly impressive at the same time.
Highs on Song 6 is a great example of How impressive Navis can be on Highs. Many believe that a Speaker with warmer sound cannot produce excellent highs but Navis defies that logic.
I am not a bass head so I can't say Navis requires a SW or not. But to me, I don't think I will buy SW for stereo setup as Bass on song 10 are simply more than I can take of. Transients on this Speakers are also Very Good.

My ears gets fatigued after 30-50 mins of listening on other speakers & Earphones but I was able to listen Elac Navis more than 3 hours without any fatigue.

All these observations are without an Analog-Preamp in the chain and with an untreated room. I think I can get an even more better Sound Quality when I upgrade to proper Analog Preamps, Streamer & with Roon in the Chain.

I would like to thank following FMs for Clearing my doubts & guiding me to reach here.
@prem @AVM @panditji @Rajeshh @sandeepsasi @SachinChavan @drkrack @elangoas @Kannan


Regards,
Sathish Chandran


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very detailed review. can sense your enthusiasm. i am glad its working well for you. Its important to now focus on enjoying the music and not listen for any deficiencies. othewise you will slip into the upgraditis slope which few audiophile (real or wannabes) recover from

the only investment that I would make now would be for a high quailty streaming service that offers your choice of music. (dont look at Maazon music as high quality - tidal is good start or apple music for AAC streaming (IMHO far better thatn 256kbps would indicate)
 

newlash09

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Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
979
Points
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Location
hyderabad
Hi satish :)
Very good afternoon.

Very happy to know that you are happy with the sound quality. Iam generally a proponent of active speakers, as it takes the matching/ synergy out of the equation. Plus less cables too...So whats not to like :)

I was very interested in audio alchemy a few years back, but then they were still not under the elac brand. I would expect the newer ddp-2 to again have a synergy with the elac active speakers. But thought I'd just throw my own curved ball into the mix.

I've gained infinitely by adding dsp in my system. And I remember seeing a mini dsp shd in our sales section. It is streamer that does live dirac correction to the digital stream and then you can output that a dac of your choice. It also comes with its own dac, if you so choose. It runs on volumio, which is the only bummer if you ask me. But dirac live correction will certainly make up for any pitfalls.

Besides going ahead into the future, book shelves, any of them, can only do so much bass. So probably adding a sub or two, will definitely give more musical enjoyment. And this mini dsp box can accomplish that too with aplomb. So just thinking aloud, placing myself in your shoes :)

All the best :)
 

musiz_craze

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Messages
109
Points
28
Location
Bangalore
About Myself:
I will start from telling a liitle bit about myself. I am a music lover from childhood. I am not sure whether I am entitled to be called as an audiophile but definitely an aspiring Audiophile. Since my childhood I always enjoyed listening to Music. As Time passes by, I craved for more quality in the music I have been listening. So my choice of Audio device has been changing since 1990's from Pocket-FM-Radio, Mobile Phone with basic Earphone, Phone specialized for Music (Nokia N91), 2.0 Speaker for Computer, Good Quality Earphones, Basic 2.1 Speaker system for TV (SONY SRS D9), Smartphone with Audiophile Quality DAC (LG G6), Audiophile Quality Earphones (1More Triple-Driver).

Search for my first HiFi Stereo Setup:
As my ears got used to Audiophile quality music from HiRes Earphones, I can't stand with my old SONY 2.1 speaker. So I decided to go with an HiFi Stereo setup. Initially I thought of going all out with HiFi Seperates and almost thought of buying but some of the knowledged FMs in this forum I have discussed with advised me to go gradually from all-in-one solution devices.


I shortlisted 2 Active Speakers "KEF LS50W" & "Elac Navis ARB-51". I chose the later as Many of the reviewers of ELAC Navis ARB-51 has stated that Navis is more warmer and non-fatiguing. Moreover I don't prefer inbuilt DAC of KEF LS50W becoming the bottleneck in future upgrades. Having said that, for Hifi Minimalists, KEF LS50W is one of the best all-in-one solution speaker.

About Distributor/Dealer:
I ordered "ELAC Navis ARB-51" Active speaker from Kripa Electonics https://www.keihifi.com/ . Kripa Electonics is authorized distributor of ELAC in India in addition to many brands like Bluesound, Fyne Audio, NAD, Pioneer etc,. I ordered it on Corona lockdown period of April 2020 and got it delivered to me on June 2020. Kripa Electronics Staff Mr. Sayee Jayaraman (Ph: 9840477568) is very polite and friendly throughout all phases of order such as Quotation Negotiation, Ordering and delivery status updates. Even though the order got stuck in transit during Lockdown period, Mr. Sayee Jayaraman has constantly kept me updated about current status of the shipment without the need for me to call him for updates. I will recommend Kripa Electronics whole heartedly as I hope they will treat you the same as they treated me.

Stereo Setup:
Unlike KEF-LS50W which is a Combo of Speaker/Poweramp/Preamp/DAC/DSP/Streamer, "Navis ARB-51" is just a Combo of Speaker/PowerAmp. We need "Preamp & DAC" to complete the chain or atleast a DAC with volume control. Navis ARB-51 is one of the best choice if you want your speaker to scale well with High-end Preamp/DAC's. I thought of buying Cambridge Audio CXN-v2 (Streamer/DAC/Digital-Preamp) for my Navis but later changed my decision to go for Streamer/DAC/Analog-Preamp combo device like Elac Alchemy DDP-2. As Alchemy DDP-2 costs $2500 which is more than the price of Navis ARB-51, I decided to buy a used one from USA and hand carry with help of my friend. Till that plan worksout, I need to look for cheaper alternatives, so I bought "Topping E30" for 11K which is just a DAC with Volume control. I bought a Used "Chromecast Audio" as well from an FM in this forum just to check how well it sounds. I bought Mogami 2549 RCA Interconnects from SoundFoundations @magma.

Navis - Topping E30 - Chromecast Audio:
Intially to test the funtionality of Chromecast Audio, I just plugged it to a basic 2.0 speaker via 3.5mm Jack. I heard a better sound quality from that basic 2.0 speaker possiblly because of reasonably good DAC for its price in Chromecast Audio. All I can say is CCA will not disappoint you if your speakers are not Audiophile grade. Then, I hooked Navis with Topping E30 with CCA as source. The sound qaulity is very Good but not Great. As I am predominantly an earphone listener I can feel that something is missing in the detail. So I replaced my CCA to Laptop as source.

Navis - Topping E30 - Laptop:
I played Spotify & FLAC Files via Jriver on Laptop. Now I am getting a Sound quality which I was Craving for all these years. Every aspects of sound quality like Dynamics, Sounstage, Highs, Lows exceeded my expectations. I am mesmerized with the Midrange & vocals from these Navis Speakers that I keep on hearing the same song few times.

Songs that I Enjoyed on Navis:
1. At Last - Etta James
2. Feeling Good - Micheal Buble (Madison Square Live)
3. Helium - Sia,
4. Stay Gold - Stevie Wonder,
5. Maula Mera Maula - Anwar
6. Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai - Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
7. En Kadhale En Kadhale - Duet (Tamil)
8. Ooru Sanam Thoongidichu - Mella Thirandhadhu Kanavu (Tamil)
9. Vinmeen - Thegidi (Tamil)
10. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe - Unnai Arindhaal (Tamil)

Vocals in songs 1, 5 & 8 are mesmerizing and coudn't stop repeating it few times. Midrange are warmer and easy on ears for longer listening.
Soundstage in song 2 are excellent and feels like we are in concert.
Saxophones on Songs 4 & 7 are very soothing and overwhelmingly impressive at the same time.
Highs on Song 6 is a great example of How impressive Navis can be on Highs. Many believe that a Speaker with warmer sound cannot produce excellent highs but Navis defies that logic.
I am not a bass head so I can't say Navis requires a SW or not. But to me, I don't think I will buy SW for stereo setup as Bass on song 10 are simply more than I can take of. Transients on this Speakers are also Very Good.

My ears gets fatigued after 30-50 mins of listening on other speakers & Earphones but I was able to listen Elac Navis more than 3 hours without any fatigue.

All these observations are without an Analog-Preamp in the chain and with an untreated room. I think I can get an even more better Sound Quality when I upgrade to proper Analog Preamps, Streamer & with Roon in the Chain.

I would like to thank following FMs for Clearing my doubts & guiding me to reach here.
@prem @AVM @panditji @Rajeshh @sandeepsasi @SachinChavan @drkrack @elangoas @Kannan


Regards,
Sathish Chandran


View attachment 51790



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View attachment 51792
Very nice setup, Any particular reason why you chosen active speakers ?
 

rikhav

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Joined
Mar 27, 2008
Messages
2,554
Points
113
Had a listen to the Elac Navis for the very first time.
It was setup in their 2 channel demo room and was completely setup by Mr. Harsh Merchant.
Room itself is special as it's fully treated with proper measurements taken , again by Mr. Merchant.
With earlier experience I know the room does sound indeed very good and gets the best out of any setup and this was the first time I was hearing to any active speaker and that too which was not a studio moniter.
I was there for a brief time but that was more then enough to know how do they sound.
Heard the following tracks
1) Isao Suzuki Trio - Aqua Marine
2) Pink Panther Theme
3) La Lubna Brilla - Jennifer Warnes
4) More Pichhwarva Chandan - Chhannulal Mishra

Blue sound node was being used as transport and NAD M12 as dac and preamp.

With the first track it showed how well it could image. One could pinpoint exactly where each instrument played in the stage. I know it's a typical sentence used in any review and room too played a major role. In a way room was making it sure we heard the best out of the speaker.

Third track had some very deep bass and it played without a hint of boom and it was superbly textured.

The last track has some superb vocals and the sound had a very live feeling

Overall it was a very pleasant experience to hear the Navid. I may not have described the sound in detail, excuse me for that but I am not very good with words.

Obviously, there would be some downsides but that can be only highlighted once you hear the setup for few days. But again special mention for how the room is done. It really gets the best out of any setup.

In the end we heard all these tracks again with speakers directly connected to the blue sound node, using it's analogue outs.

Everything went down by a few notches but that does not mean bluesound node is not good. Speaks a lot about how good the M12 is but at maybe four or five times the price of bluesound :)
 

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sathtom

Active Member
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Oct 14, 2017
Messages
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Location
Chennai
the only investment that I would make now would be for a high quailty streaming service that offers your choice of music. (dont look at Maazon music as high quality - tidal is good start or apple music for AAC streaming (IMHO far better thatn 256kbps would indicate)
Subscribed to both Tidal & Roon using offers on Black Friday.. :)
Need to test audible diiference between Jriver & Roon...
 

sathtom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
178
Points
43
Location
Chennai
I've gained infinitely by adding dsp in my system. And I remember seeing a mini dsp shd in our sales section. It is streamer that does live dirac correction to the digital stream and then you can output that a dac of your choice. It also comes with its own dac, if you so choose. It runs on volumio, which is the only bummer if you ask me. But dirac live correction will certainly make up for any pitfalls.
"MiniDSP SHD" was also on my Mind before concluding to ELAC Alchemy DDP-2.

Besides going ahead into the future, book shelves, any of them, can only do so much bass. So probably adding a sub or two, will definitely give more musical enjoyment. And this mini dsp box can accomplish that too with aplomb. So just thinking aloud, placing myself in your shoes :)
Pardon me for my overenthusiastic lines on Bass...:)
Will definitely test with SW in Future.
 

sathtom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
178
Points
43
Location
Chennai
Very nice setup, Any particular reason why you chosen active speakers ?
There is so much discussion going on among Audiophiles about matching Speakers with correct Amplifiers...Synergy & all. We don't need to care if we go for Active Speakers as the manufacturer deisgns it synergized. One less thing to worry..:)
But one of the downside to it is the lifespan of Power-Amp is lower than Speakers. So if there is any issue in electronics in future it will be a single point of failure.
 

ssf

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Aug 18, 2010
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Location
Mangalore
Enjoy your speakers. Am sure with your Tidal and Roon subscriptions, you will be burning the midnight oil. :)
 

drkrack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
1,393
Points
113
Location
Hyderabad
About Myself:
I will start from telling a liitle bit about myself. I am a music lover from childhood. I am not sure whether I am entitled to be called as an audiophile but definitely an aspiring Audiophile. Since my childhood I always enjoyed listening to Music. As Time passes by, I craved for more quality in the music I have been listening. So my choice of Audio device has been changing since 1990's from Pocket-FM-Radio, Mobile Phone with basic Earphone, Phone specialized for Music (Nokia N91), 2.0 Speaker for Computer, Good Quality Earphones, Basic 2.1 Speaker system for TV (SONY SRS D9), Smartphone with Audiophile Quality DAC (LG G6), Audiophile Quality Earphones (1More Triple-Driver).

Search for my first HiFi Stereo Setup:
As my ears got used to Audiophile quality music from HiRes Earphones, I can't stand with my old SONY 2.1 speaker. So I decided to go with an HiFi Stereo setup. Initially I thought of going all out with HiFi Seperates and almost thought of buying but some of the knowledged FMs in this forum I have discussed with advised me to go gradually from all-in-one solution devices.


I shortlisted 2 Active Speakers "KEF LS50W" & "Elac Navis ARB-51". I chose the later as Many of the reviewers of ELAC Navis ARB-51 has stated that Navis is more warmer and non-fatiguing. Moreover I don't prefer inbuilt DAC of KEF LS50W becoming the bottleneck in future upgrades. Having said that, for Hifi Minimalists, KEF LS50W is one of the best all-in-one solution speaker.

About Distributor/Dealer:
I ordered "ELAC Navis ARB-51" Active speaker from Kripa Electonics https://www.keihifi.com/ . Kripa Electonics is authorized distributor of ELAC in India in addition to many brands like Bluesound, Fyne Audio, NAD, Pioneer etc,. I ordered it on Corona lockdown period of April 2020 and got it delivered to me on June 2020. Kripa Electronics Staff Mr. Sayee Jayaraman (Ph: 9840477568) is very polite and friendly throughout all phases of order such as Quotation Negotiation, Ordering and delivery status updates. Even though the order got stuck in transit during Lockdown period, Mr. Sayee Jayaraman has constantly kept me updated about current status of the shipment without the need for me to call him for updates. I will recommend Kripa Electronics whole heartedly as I hope they will treat you the same as they treated me.

Stereo Setup:
Unlike KEF-LS50W which is a Combo of Speaker/Poweramp/Preamp/DAC/DSP/Streamer, "Navis ARB-51" is just a Combo of Speaker/PowerAmp. We need "Preamp & DAC" to complete the chain or atleast a DAC with volume control. Navis ARB-51 is one of the best choice if you want your speaker to scale well with High-end Preamp/DAC's. I thought of buying Cambridge Audio CXN-v2 (Streamer/DAC/Digital-Preamp) for my Navis but later changed my decision to go for Streamer/DAC/Analog-Preamp combo device like Elac Alchemy DDP-2. As Alchemy DDP-2 costs $2500 which is more than the price of Navis ARB-51, I decided to buy a used one from USA and hand carry with help of my friend. Till that plan worksout, I need to look for cheaper alternatives, so I bought "Topping E30" for 11K which is just a DAC with Volume control. I bought a Used "Chromecast Audio" as well from an FM in this forum just to check how well it sounds. I bought Mogami 2549 RCA Interconnects from SoundFoundations @magma.

Navis - Topping E30 - Chromecast Audio:
Intially to test the funtionality of Chromecast Audio, I just plugged it to a basic 2.0 speaker via 3.5mm Jack. I heard a better sound quality from that basic 2.0 speaker possiblly because of reasonably good DAC for its price in Chromecast Audio. All I can say is CCA will not disappoint you if your speakers are not Audiophile grade. Then, I hooked Navis with Topping E30 with CCA as source. The sound qaulity is very Good but not Great. As I am predominantly an earphone listener I can feel that something is missing in the detail. So I replaced my CCA to Laptop as source.

Navis - Topping E30 - Laptop:
I played Spotify & FLAC Files via Jriver on Laptop. Now I am getting a Sound quality which I was Craving for all these years. Every aspects of sound quality like Dynamics, Sounstage, Highs, Lows exceeded my expectations. I am mesmerized with the Midrange & vocals from these Navis Speakers that I keep on hearing the same song few times.

Songs that I Enjoyed on Navis:
1. At Last - Etta James
2. Feeling Good - Micheal Buble (Madison Square Live)
3. Helium - Sia,
4. Stay Gold - Stevie Wonder,
5. Maula Mera Maula - Anwar
6. Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai - Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
7. En Kadhale En Kadhale - Duet (Tamil)
8. Ooru Sanam Thoongidichu - Mella Thirandhadhu Kanavu (Tamil)
9. Vinmeen - Thegidi (Tamil)
10. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe - Unnai Arindhaal (Tamil)

Vocals in songs 1, 5 & 8 are mesmerizing and coudn't stop repeating it few times. Midrange are warmer and easy on ears for longer listening.
Soundstage in song 2 are excellent and feels like we are in concert.
Saxophones on Songs 4 & 7 are very soothing and overwhelmingly impressive at the same time.
Highs on Song 6 is a great example of How impressive Navis can be on Highs. Many believe that a Speaker with warmer sound cannot produce excellent highs but Navis defies that logic.
I am not a bass head so I can't say Navis requires a SW or not. But to me, I don't think I will buy SW for stereo setup as Bass on song 10 are simply more than I can take of. Transients on this Speakers are also Very Good.

My ears gets fatigued after 30-50 mins of listening on other speakers & Earphones but I was able to listen Elac Navis more than 3 hours without any fatigue.

All these observations are without an Analog-Preamp in the chain and with an untreated room. I think I can get an even more better Sound Quality when I upgrade to proper Analog Preamps, Streamer & with Roon in the Chain.

I would like to thank following FMs for Clearing my doubts & guiding me to reach here.
@prem @AVM @panditji @Rajeshh @sandeepsasi @SachinChavan @drkrack @elangoas @Kannan


Regards,
Sathish Chandran


View attachment 51790



View attachment 51791


View attachment 51792
Good Review.
Elacs are somehow bit underrated in India in my opinion, Thanks for Sharing!


It'd be great if you could Share the Picture of the Back and Explain your Experience with the HF, LF optimization switches and their utility for not so ideal rooms. As @Rajeshh suggested isolation of speakers from a wooden Rack underneath will improve the SQ in a very desirable way. Also is it possible to check out and compare the SQ difference with XLR inputs? Did the audio Alchemy Streamer arrive? Roon and Tidal integration?
 

vinothkumar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Messages
706
Points
63
Location
Chennai
About Myself:
I will start from telling a liitle bit about myself. I am a music lover from childhood. I am not sure whether I am entitled to be called as an audiophile but definitely an aspiring Audiophile. Since my childhood I always enjoyed listening to Music. As Time passes by, I craved for more quality in the music I have been listening. So my choice of Audio device has been changing since 1990's from Pocket-FM-Radio, Mobile Phone with basic Earphone, Phone specialized for Music (Nokia N91), 2.0 Speaker for Computer, Good Quality Earphones, Basic 2.1 Speaker system for TV (SONY SRS D9), Smartphone with Audiophile Quality DAC (LG G6), Audiophile Quality Earphones (1More Triple-Driver).

Search for my first HiFi Stereo Setup:
As my ears got used to Audiophile quality music from HiRes Earphones, I can't stand with my old SONY 2.1 speaker. So I decided to go with an HiFi Stereo setup. Initially I thought of going all out with HiFi Seperates and almost thought of buying but some of the knowledged FMs in this forum I have discussed with advised me to go gradually from all-in-one solution devices.


I shortlisted 2 Active Speakers "KEF LS50W" & "Elac Navis ARB-51". I chose the later as Many of the reviewers of ELAC Navis ARB-51 has stated that Navis is more warmer and non-fatiguing. Moreover I don't prefer inbuilt DAC of KEF LS50W becoming the bottleneck in future upgrades. Having said that, for Hifi Minimalists, KEF LS50W is one of the best all-in-one solution speaker.

About Distributor/Dealer:
I ordered "ELAC Navis ARB-51" Active speaker from Kripa Electonics https://www.keihifi.com/ . Kripa Electonics is authorized distributor of ELAC in India in addition to many brands like Bluesound, Fyne Audio, NAD, Pioneer etc,. I ordered it on Corona lockdown period of April 2020 and got it delivered to me on June 2020. Kripa Electronics Staff Mr. Sayee Jayaraman (Ph: 9840477568) is very polite and friendly throughout all phases of order such as Quotation Negotiation, Ordering and delivery status updates. Even though the order got stuck in transit during Lockdown period, Mr. Sayee Jayaraman has constantly kept me updated about current status of the shipment without the need for me to call him for updates. I will recommend Kripa Electronics whole heartedly as I hope they will treat you the same as they treated me.

Stereo Setup:
Unlike KEF-LS50W which is a Combo of Speaker/Poweramp/Preamp/DAC/DSP/Streamer, "Navis ARB-51" is just a Combo of Speaker/PowerAmp. We need "Preamp & DAC" to complete the chain or atleast a DAC with volume control. Navis ARB-51 is one of the best choice if you want your speaker to scale well with High-end Preamp/DAC's. I thought of buying Cambridge Audio CXN-v2 (Streamer/DAC/Digital-Preamp) for my Navis but later changed my decision to go for Streamer/DAC/Analog-Preamp combo device like Elac Alchemy DDP-2. As Alchemy DDP-2 costs $2500 which is more than the price of Navis ARB-51, I decided to buy a used one from USA and hand carry with help of my friend. Till that plan worksout, I need to look for cheaper alternatives, so I bought "Topping E30" for 11K which is just a DAC with Volume control. I bought a Used "Chromecast Audio" as well from an FM in this forum just to check how well it sounds. I bought Mogami 2549 RCA Interconnects from SoundFoundations @magma.

Navis - Topping E30 - Chromecast Audio:
Intially to test the funtionality of Chromecast Audio, I just plugged it to a basic 2.0 speaker via 3.5mm Jack. I heard a better sound quality from that basic 2.0 speaker possiblly because of reasonably good DAC for its price in Chromecast Audio. All I can say is CCA will not disappoint you if your speakers are not Audiophile grade. Then, I hooked Navis with Topping E30 with CCA as source. The sound qaulity is very Good but not Great. As I am predominantly an earphone listener I can feel that something is missing in the detail. So I replaced my CCA to Laptop as source.

Navis - Topping E30 - Laptop:
I played Spotify & FLAC Files via Jriver on Laptop. Now I am getting a Sound quality which I was Craving for all these years. Every aspects of sound quality like Dynamics, Sounstage, Highs, Lows exceeded my expectations. I am mesmerized with the Midrange & vocals from these Navis Speakers that I keep on hearing the same song few times.

Songs that I Enjoyed on Navis:
1. At Last - Etta James
2. Feeling Good - Micheal Buble (Madison Square Live)
3. Helium - Sia,
4. Stay Gold - Stevie Wonder,
5. Maula Mera Maula - Anwar
6. Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai - Minsara Kanavu (Tamil)
7. En Kadhale En Kadhale - Duet (Tamil)
8. Ooru Sanam Thoongidichu - Mella Thirandhadhu Kanavu (Tamil)
9. Vinmeen - Thegidi (Tamil)
10. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe - Unnai Arindhaal (Tamil)

Vocals in songs 1, 5 & 8 are mesmerizing and coudn't stop repeating it few times. Midrange are warmer and easy on ears for longer listening.
Soundstage in song 2 are excellent and feels like we are in concert.
Saxophones on Songs 4 & 7 are very soothing and overwhelmingly impressive at the same time.
Highs on Song 6 is a great example of How impressive Navis can be on Highs. Many believe that a Speaker with warmer sound cannot produce excellent highs but Navis defies that logic.
I am not a bass head so I can't say Navis requires a SW or not. But to me, I don't think I will buy SW for stereo setup as Bass on song 10 are simply more than I can take of. Transients on this Speakers are also Very Good.

My ears gets fatigued after 30-50 mins of listening on other speakers & Earphones but I was able to listen Elac Navis more than 3 hours without any fatigue.

All these observations are without an Analog-Preamp in the chain and with an untreated room. I think I can get an even more better Sound Quality when I upgrade to proper Analog Preamps, Streamer & with Roon in the Chain.

I would like to thank following FMs for Clearing my doubts & guiding me to reach here.
@prem @AVM @panditji @Rajeshh @sandeepsasi @SachinChavan @drkrack @elangoas @Kannan


Regards,
Sathish Chandran


View attachment 51790



View attachment 51791


View attachment 51792
Wow lovely review and congratulations. Wanted to say something about the placement of the speakers, try something like this under the speakers to isolate them for better output.


Its even available in local hardware for 75rs per piece. Just give a try.
 

sathtom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
178
Points
43
Location
Chennai
Good Review.
Elacs are somehow bit underrated in India in my opinion, Thanks for Sharing!


It'd be great if you could Share the Picture of the Back and Explain your Experience with the HF, LF optimization switches and their utility for not so ideal rooms. As @Rajeshh suggested isolation of speakers from a wooden Rack underneath will improve the SQ in a very desirable way. Also is it possible to check out and compare the SQ difference with XLR inputs? Did the audio Alchemy Streamer arrive? Roon and Tidal integration?
I am sorry for replying very late.

HF/MF/LF EQ switch:
I tested the EQ switches with different combinations for each songs. The changes I am doing in EQ are easily noticable, It will be very handy for those who are in not so ideal rooms so that they can use it for longer periods with same settings.. but it is not for those who wants to play with Equalizer for fun as it is like a 3-band Equalizer with limited steps in Increase/Decrease. I am not a fan of equalization, so I reverted back to the default settings with no EQ.

Navis - Mogami 2549 XLR - Cambridge Audio CXNv1:
I bought a Preowned CXNv1 four months ago just to test how it fares with my Navis speaker. Overall Sound Quality was better in CXNv1 compared to Topping E30. CXNv1 excelled in Detail retrieval , Clarity, Excellent Highs, slightly better lows. Topping E30 was more pleasing to my ears as it produced a Warmer Midrange compared to CXNv1's slightly bright sound signature. I had to half-heartedly sell CXNv1 as I was not able to listen to CXNv1 for more than 1.5 Hrs whereas with Topping E30 I can listen for more than 3 Hrs without any Listening Fatique. Having said that, It is just my ears being more sensitve to even slighly brighter sound and there is nothing wrong with CXN performance.

Navis - Tellurium Q Silver Diamond XLR - Elac Alchemy DDP-2:
My Friend finally came to India carrying My "Elac Alchemy DDP-2" two weeks ago. I also bought a preowned "Tellurium Q Silver Diamond XLR" cable just to be sure that cable doesn't bottleneck my stereo chain. To be honest, Sound Quality in DDP-2 is unbelievably Good. DDP-2 is absolutely nailing it in every department including the Depth in soundtage.

Roon vs Jriver (Via DLNA):
I tested both Roon & Jriver listening with the same lossless FLAC files in DDP-2. I couldn't hear any noticable difference in Sound Quality even after listening to so many songs. Roon is an advantage only if we want better UI and lots of other loaded features like DSP etc.,



The only next investment I will do with respect to improving the Sound Quality is Isolation. I may buy ISOAcoustics Puck-Mini or OREA Bronze or Aperta Stands after few months.
 

OM_2K19

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
1,372
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
WoW, glad to see a Navis owner in HFV. It's an Engineering Marvel. LS 50 Wireless and Navis have re-iterated the fact that one can still enjoy Audiophile quality Music without going through the pain of Speaker/Amp matching and spending tens of thousand of $.
 

rajafan

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
88
Points
18
Location
Chennai
I am sorry for replying very late.

HF/MF/LF EQ switch:
I tested the EQ switches with different combinations for each songs. The changes I am doing in EQ are easily noticable, It will be very handy for those who are in not so ideal rooms so that they can use it for longer periods with same settings.. but it is not for those who wants to play with Equalizer for fun as it is like a 3-band Equalizer with limited steps in Increase/Decrease. I am not a fan of equalization, so I reverted back to the default settings with no EQ.

Navis - Mogami 2549 XLR - Cambridge Audio CXNv1:
I bought a Preowned CXNv1 four months ago just to test how it fares with my Navis speaker. Overall Sound Quality was better in CXNv1 compared to Topping E30. CXNv1 excelled in Detail retrieval , Clarity, Excellent Highs, slightly better lows. Topping E30 was more pleasing to my ears as it produced a Warmer Midrange compared to CXNv1's slightly bright sound signature. I had to half-heartedly sell CXNv1 as I was not able to listen to CXNv1 for more than 1.5 Hrs whereas with Topping E30 I can listen for more than 3 Hrs without any Listening Fatique. Having said that, It is just my ears being more sensitve to even slighly brighter sound and there is nothing wrong with CXN performance.

Navis - Tellurium Q Silver Diamond XLR - Elac Alchemy DDP-2:
My Friend finally came to India carrying My "Elac Alchemy DDP-2" two weeks ago. I also bought a preowned "Tellurium Q Silver Diamond XLR" cable just to be sure that cable doesn't bottleneck my stereo chain. To be honest, Sound Quality in DDP-2 is unbelievably Good. DDP-2 is absolutely nailing it in every department including the Depth in soundtage.

Roon vs Jriver (Via DLNA):
I tested both Roon & Jriver listening with the same lossless FLAC files in DDP-2. I couldn't hear any noticable difference in Sound Quality even after listening to so many songs. Roon is an advantage only if we want better UI and lots of other loaded features like DSP etc.,



The only next investment I will do with respect to improving the Sound Quality is Isolation. I may buy ISOAcoustics Puck-Mini or OREA Bronze or Aperta Stands after few months.
Others have already spoken about speaker isolation. The right speaker is placed in a corner and bound to produce more volume than the left due to boundary gain which may result in sound stage tilting to the right. How did you manage this? Also let me know the distance from the front wall to the rear panel as well the side walls to the side panels. I am in similar placement situation with right speaker producing extra 2db and using Jriver to cut it artificially. I am also thinking of moving to powered setup to reduce the components in the sound chain.
 

sathtom

Active Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Messages
178
Points
43
Location
Chennai
Others have already spoken about speaker isolation. The right speaker is placed in a corner and bound to produce more volume than the left due to boundary gain which may result in sound stage tilting to the right. How did you manage this? Also let me know the distance from the front wall to the rear panel as well the side walls to the side panels. I am in similar placement situation with right speaker producing extra 2db and using Jriver to cut it artificially. I am also thinking of moving to powered setup to reduce the components in the sound chain.
You are right. soundstage slightly tilted towards right due to shelf very near to Right Speaker. I will try Jriver settings as you mentioned to mitigate it. Please find the Diagram below.

1627977213230.png
 
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