Elipson Prestige Facet 7.2.4 Speaker Package Review
Multi-faceted and multi-channel
What is the Elipson Prestige Facet?The Elipson Prestige Facet series is the latest version of a range of speakers that the French manufacturer has been making since 1975. These speakers have always strived for neutrality and audio fidelity, but Elipson clearly felt there was room for improvement. The company upgraded the entire range in 2016, adding a number of new features that includes the sculpted facet silicone rings surrounding each tweeter and mid-bass driver. These are not only designed to improve the performance, but also give the updated range its name: Prestige Facet.
As well as tweaking the design and performance of its Prestige Facet speakers, Elipson also added a number of new models that addressed the changing nature of multi-channel audio in the 21st century. The package I'm reviewing here directly reflects that and is composed of a pair of 14F floorstanding speakers, a 14C dedicated centre speaker, four 7SR dipole surround speakers, a pair of SUB10 subwoofers, and four 6ATM Dolby Atmos speakers. All that allows you to run a full 7.2.4-channel system, which is the limit of my dedicated home cinema.
It might seem like a lot, but this entire system can be put together for around £3,500 as at the time of writing (December 2018), which is actually quite reasonable when you consider all you're getting. The big question of course is how does it sound? The Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT really impressed me when I reviewed it a couple of months ago, so if this 7.2.4 Prestige Facet immersive audio system sounds as good as that speaker, then we could be looking at a real bargain.
Elipson Prestige Facet 14F Floorstanding SpeakerThe Elipson Prestige Facet 14F is 2.5-way floorstanding speaker that costs £900 a pair. Each one is equipped with a 1-inch soft dome tweeter, a 6.5-inch woofer, and a 6.5-inch mid-bass driver. The latter is also fitted with a bullet-shaped phase plug intended to limit vibrations, and all the drivers are surround by the multifaceted silicone rings.
These rings look like cut diamonds and are designed to reduce the baffle effect and limit diffractions, resulting in a smoother listening experience. Other improvements made to the new range include reinforcing the cabinet, a double-layered front, using better crossover filters, and adding dual binding posts. This 6 Ohm speaker has a claimed frequency response of 38Hz-25kHz, a claimed sensitivity of 92dB, and the speakers are front-ported for a spot of tuning.The build quality is excellent, with the curved cabinet edges and meticulous lacquered finish looking especially classy. There’s a choice of three colours – black, white, or black/walnut (which is the version I reviewed), and the front is covered by a magnetic black fabric grille. The speakers sit on a removable plinth, and there's the option of rubber or spiked feet.
At the back, you’ll find dual speaker terminals which offer the possibility of bi-wiring and bi-amplifying, while also benefiting from silver-plated contacts to maximise signal transmission. The 14F is the smaller of the two floorstanders in the range but it's still fairly big, measuring 238 x 1026 x 351mm (WxHxD) and weighing in at 20.5kg.
These are well made and attractive speakers, with a choice of black, white, or black/walnut
Elipson Prestige Facet 14C Centre SpeakerThe Elipson Prestige Facet 14C is a dedicated centre speaker that retails for £400. It is designed to complement the 14F and thus shares many of the same characteristics. So you get a pair of the same 6.5-inch mid-bass drivers and the same 1-inch soft dome tweeter, all of which are surrounded by the multi-faceted rings. The use of the same drivers and tweeters should ensure a seamless handover as sounds move across the front three channels. The 14C is a 6 Ohm speaker that uses a sealed enclosure, with a claimed frequency response of 43Hz-25kHz and a claimed sensitivity of 93dB.
The 14C has the same excellent build quality as the 14F, with the same reinforced cabinet, double-layered front, and better crossover filters. The cabinet also has the same curved edges, lacquered finish, and choice of black, white, or black/walnut colours. The speaker also has a removable plinth stand, and silver-plated dual speaker terminals. The 14C measures 600 x 310 x 250mm (WxHxD) and weighs 15kg.
The facet design reduces diffractions and delivers a smoother performance
Elipson Prestige Facet 7SR Surround SpeakerThe Elipson Prestige Facet 7SR is a surround speaker that costs £280 a pair. It uses a dipole design with a 5.5-inch mid-bass driver (with the multi-faceted ring) mounted in the middle, and out-of-phase 1-inch tweeters on either side. This is designed to result in a more dispersive surround sound, but is also intended to tonally match the other Prestige Facet speakers.
The 7SR is an 8 Ohm speaker with downward facing ports, a claimed frequency response of 65Hz–25kHz, and a claimed sensitivity of 87dB. It also has screw holes at the rear, and has been designed to be wall mounted. The 7SR is extremely well made, but unlike the 14F and 14C it uses a single set of binding posts and is only available in black with magnetic black fabric grilles. Each speaker measures 380 x 220 x 170mm (WxHxD) and weighs 5kg.
The speakers work well together, resulting in a balanced and immersive system
Elipson Prestige Facet 6ATM Dolby Atmos SpeakerThe Elipson Prestige Facet 6ATM is an upward-firing speaker that sells for £350 a pair. These speakers were developed in conjunction with Dolby for use with Atmos systems, although I should point out that they will work just as well with DTS:X soundtracks. The speaker has the same 5.5-inch mid-bass driver (with the multi-faceted ring) and 1-inch tweeter used in the 7SR. The difference is that they fire sound waves at a 15˚ angle up at the ceiling, which are then reflected back to the listener, creating the sense of overhead channels.
The 6ATM is a 6 Ohm speaker, with a claimed frequency response of 65Hz–25kHz, and a claimed sensitivity of 90dB. It also has the same excellent build quality as the other speakers in the range, and like the 14F and 14C it has the same lacquered finish, and choice of black, white, or black/walnut colours with magnetic black cloth grilles. The speaker has a single set of binding posts, measures 207 x 181 x 290mm (WxHxD) and weighs 4.8kg.
The Atmos speakers are effective but don't fit on top of the surrounds
Elipson Prestige Facet SUB10 SubwooferThe Elipson Prestige Facet SUB10 is a forward-firing active subwoofer that costs £650. As the name suggests it uses a 10-inch driver with the multi-faceted ring around the outer edge, along with 250W of Class D amplification. The bass-reflex port situated at the bottom is intended to improve the diffusion of lower frequencies throughout the listening room, regardless of location, and there's a claimed frequency response of 27Hz–150Hz. There's no remote control, but the SUB10 does have an automatic standby feature.The rear panel is fairly straightforward, with a stereo phono line-level input, an LFE input, along with level, phase and crossover controls, but that's all you're likely to need. The SUB10 sits on a removable plinth, which is designed to give the bass-reflex port some room to operate. Overall the build quality is very good, but the supporting silver columns look a bit cheap. The subwoofer has the same lacquered finish, and a choice of black, white, or black/walnut colours with a magnetic black cloth grille. The SUB10 measures 405 x 424 x 445mm (WxHxD) and weighs 22kg.
The subs deliver plenty of bass and are well integrated with the rest of the system
How was the Elipson Prestige Facet tested?I tested the Elipson Prestige Facet 7.2.4-channel speaker system in my dedicated home cinema. I positioned the 14F floorstanders at the front of the room on either side of my projector screen, and I placed the 14C centre speaker between them.
Since the 7SRs are dipoles, you need to position them correctly in order to get the desired effect. Elipson recommend a height of 60cm above the sweet spot and thankfully each speaker is marked Surround Left and Surround Back Right or Surround Right and Surround Back Left, making installation simple. I positioned two either side of and just behind the sweet spot, and the other two at the rear of the room.
The 6ATM speakers also require some careful positioning to create the illusion of overhead channels. That means you need a fairly low, flat and reflective ceiling for the best results, and for the desired effect you place two speakers at the front and two at the rear. The location of the front positions is fairly obvious, you simply put them on top of the 14F floorstanders and they fit quite snugly.
When it came to the rear Atmos speakers, things weren't quite as simple. I’d recommend putting them over the two surround back speakers, but due to the shape of the 7SR, the 6ATM doesn't really fit on top. That means you have a choice of either putting up a shelf (which I wasn't going to do) or Blu-Tack the Atmos speakers on top of the surrounds (which is what I did do), although that's hardly the most elegant solution.
If you were building a 7.2.4-channel system yourself using Prestige Facet speakers, I suggest using the Prestige Facet 8B for the two surround back channels. The 6ATMs would fit nicely on top of this speaker, but if Elipson really want you to use the dipoles at the rear, perhaps they should create a new model with built-in upward-firing drivers.
Finally, I placed the two SUB10 subwoofers at the front of the room, one each between the centre and front channel speakers. The subs were located away from the wall and firing forwards.In order to run the full system I used my reference Arcam AVR850 AV receiver in its 7.2.4 configuration. That required me to connect the seven ear-level channels and the two subs to the AVR850, while I used an Arcam P429 four-channel power amplifier to drive the four Atmos speakers. That gave me eleven channels of identical Class G amplification.
My primary source was the Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, and I tested the Elipson Prestige Facet 7.2.4-channel system with a mixture of material ranging from Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD and music streaming services such as Tidal.
The surrounds are excellent, and the Atmos speakers deliver plenty of overhead effects
PerformanceBefore I get started on the main part of this review it's worth pointing out that in order to get the full benefit from this system, you'll need an AV processor, amplifier, or receiver that can actually decode and process all eleven (7.2.4) channels. It's also handy if your processor, amp, or receiver has two subwoofer outputs, although you can daisy-chain the two subs.
Another important aspect I should point out, is that the success of the 6ATM speakers will very much depend on the type of ceiling you have. This applies to any Atmos speaker that uses upward-firing drivers, because the sounds are bounced off the ceiling to create the illusion there are speakers overhead.
If you have a very high or vaulted ceiling, or if your ceiling has been treated and absorbs sounds, then this is not the best speaker for you. I should also stress that although these speakers have been developed in conjunction with Dolby, they will also work with DTS:X soundtracks.
So how did the Elipson Prestige Facet system perform in actual testing? In a word: fantastic. The first thing to stress is that a full system like this is incredibly immersive, with enough speakers to ensure that sounds can be seamlessly moved around in three-dimensional space. This is the big selling point of object-based audio, but to get the best effect you need as many speakers as possible.
A 7.2.4 is about as immersive as you can get at the moment, with most processors, amps and receivers being limited to eleven channels of amplification – although we are seeing some that can handle thirteen channels, and there are even some high-end processors like the Trinnov that can handle many more.
The difference that all these speakers make can be quite profound, and now that sound designers are starting to get a handle on how best to use the extra overhead channels, the results can be very impressive. That even applies to TV shows and watching Iron Fist in Dolby Atmos, I was immediately struck by the effectiveness of the object-based mix.
In a key scene, Danny Rand is practicing martial arts in a basement next to a subway station. The sound design uses the overheads to relay the noise of the trains rumbling above, while the subtle sounds of his breathing and movement reverberate around the room.
The 7SRs moved the surround effects seamlessly around the sides and rear of the room, while the 6ATMs delivered the overhead sounds of the trains. As Danny starts to smash a metal door with his glowing 'iron fist', the front of the room jumps into life, and the SUB10s weave some bass energy into the mix.The sense of an entire system working in unison was palpable and there was also great tonal balance, not to mention timbre matching from one speaker to another. The speakers themselves retained a neutrality, which meant there was a precision to their delivery. As a result, the fidelity of the soundtracks were retained, and subtle details were made more obvious.
The general improvements made to the speakers, and the facet rings in particular, help create a smoother performance. The crossover from the subs to the rest of the speakers was also effective, with bass very well integrated. This gave bass effects a tightness and responsiveness that really impressed.
The film A Quiet Place is a great test of all these attributes, because its Dolby Atmos soundtrack makes full use of the object-based nature of the format. The film is largely silent in terms of dialogue, and the main thrust of the plot is that the protagonists must refrain from making any noise in order to not attract the monsters.
This means the sound designers place enormous emphasis on subtle audio cues such as the wind rustling through the leaves, people's breathing, and the sound of footsteps. The mix is very directional, with sounds clearly moving through three dimensional space, and it makes full use of the overhead channels, especially in a scene where one of the characters is in the basement, and a monster is moving around above them.
The combination of the Arcam and the Elipson Prestige Facet system, revealed every tiny detail, and created a completely believable sense of three-dimensional space. The effects sounded incredibly natural, and were steered with seamless precision, while what little dialogue there is was delivered with clarity. The film uses dynamic range very effectively, and when a noise is made, it is terrifyingly loud. The same was true of the monsters, and the subs helped make them seem even larger and scarier.
Despite the use of Dolby Atmos speakers, this system sounded just as good with DTS:X soundtracks. I thoroughly enjoyed the over-the-top sound design in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The sequence in the control room, as the volcano erupts overhead and a dinosaur gradually approaches in a tunnel, was a great example of the Elipson's ability to squeeze out every tiny detail, while still delivering a big and bold immersive soundstage.
There were the sounds of the eruption above, which used the overhead channels, but also a constant low rumble to remind you of what's coming. Mixed in with this volcanic rumble was the growl of the dinosaur, while other noises echoed around the control room, creating a sense of environment. It's a very layered sequence, but the Elipson Prestige Facet picked out each detail with precision.
Once the volcano did erupt, then the entire system burst into life and every channel was energised. There was plenty of sub-sonic energy as a pyroclastic cloud ripped across the island and lava rained down from above. The scene isn't exactly subtle, but the sound design never felt overblown and the system was always in control of all the channels and the subs. The heart-breaking cries of the dinosaurs as they try to escape their inevitable fates were carefully positioned within three-dimensional space, despite the cacophony of sounds that surround you.
If you want a full 7.2.4-channel system, this is both impressive and competitively priced
- Excellent sound quality
- Highly immersive
- Clever design
- Attractive and well made
- Competitively priced
- Atmos speakers don't fit on the surrounds
Elipson Prestige Facet 7.2.4 Speaker Package ReviewThe Elipson Prestige Facet 7.2.4-channel system is a superb package, that delivers a winning combination of build quality, performance and value. The speakers themselves are attractively designed, extremely well made and, aside from the 7SR surrounds, offer a lovely lacquer finish with a choice of black, white, or black/walnut. There are even removable plinths and dual silver-plated speaker terminals on some of the models.
The improvements that Elipson has made to the Prestige line-up retains what was so good about those speakers and builds on it; so you still get the neutrality and fidelity, but also a more focused performance that really lends itself to today's multi-channel soundtracks. There's a dynamism to these speakers that really immerses you, while the subs deliver plenty of low-end impact. The result is a forceful performance that is sure to please.
There's very little to complain about, aside from the fact that the Atmos speakers don't fit on top of the surround speakers – which is a bit annoying. Otherwise, when you consider you can buy this entire 7.2.4 system for around three-and-a-half-grand, that's a lot of speaker for the money. If you want to demo the system take a look here but when I weigh up the build quality, performance and value, this Elipson Prestige Facet speaker package is definitely worthy of a Best Buy badge.
I've reviewed quite a few speaker packages recently, and none of them have had the option of a Dolby Atmos speaker, which definitely gives the Elipson Prestige Facet package the edge. I would certainly urge manufacturers like Bowers & Wilkins, Q Acoustics, and Arendal to consider developing an Atmos option, because it's the question I get asked more than any other when I review a speaker package.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £3,500.00
Value For Money10
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