ELAC NAVIS ARB-51’s - opinions?

Spooky Electric

Active Member
I’m currently considering a number of options, as regards upgrading my audio setup (currently, I have the passive KEF LS50’s paired with a Cambridge Audio 650A amp).

The ELAC NAVIS ARB-51’s are starting to sound like an appealing option, but I face a lengthy drive to get to a dealer who has them available for testing. Therefore, before I commit to that, I’d like to get forum members’ opinions.

How do you rate them? What other equipment do you pair them with (or recommend they be paired with)? Are there any better options at a similar price point and speaker type and so on?
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’ve not read anything but complete praise for the active Elacs.

And for the time being you could use the preouts from the CA to drive them.

If you spend a couple minutes here I think you might be convinced.

 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
Thanks. This was one of the videos I’d seen recommending these speakers.

Lots of people seem to be hooking a pair of the ELAC’s up to a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ or Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. What else would I need in addition to this to get the best out of them and also are there any alternate PreAmp/DAC products that sit below the Mytek price points that would still do a great job here?
 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
Further to the above.

If I were to end up with this Elac/Mytek combo, would I only need a good quality XLR cable to be good to go (such as, the Audioquest Yukon)?

Aside from any potential streaming of music, I store my ‘owned’ music collection on a Mac Mini, via iTunes and played through the Pure Music software.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Further to the above.

If I were to end up with this Elac/Mytek combo, would I only need a good quality XLR cable to be good to go (such as, the Audioquest Yukon)?

Aside from any potential streaming of music, I store my ‘owned’ music collection on a Mac Mini, via iTunes and played through the Pure Music software.

First things first. Absolutely not with the cable business.

These are all you’d ever need even if you bought a twenty grand source.


(Or choose from hundreds just like them).

And if you must have posh ones then these are very well made and will last longer than most people.

 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
...and this is all you’d realistically need with the Elacs.


Although that’s not to say you can’t spend more for incremental improvements.

(The Mac mini is simply connected by usb to the Audiolab. You might want to use a galvanic isolator, just to certain you’re squeezing every last drop out of the mini without adding noise to whatever dac/pre you choose).

For something that’s probably as good as the best gets along with the mytek stuff there is always this legend too.

 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions.

Apologies for what are probably questions with obvious answers, but just so I’m clear, the Audioquests’ would be overkill for XLR cables?

Similarly, the Audiolab is a DAC-only, right? No preamp needed for the ELAC’s?

Finally, the Benchmark is a similar price point to the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. In your opinion, is the Benchmark better?

I’m asking, as a number of reviewers and purchasers have praised the ELAC/Mytek combo, so, just want to make sure I get the best setup I can.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
It depends on your budget to really decide what the best set up would be.

Due to the ever present law of diminishing returns, the increase in fidelity over the Audiolab by either the Mytek or the Benchmark is going to be not huge. But almost certainly worth having if you can happily afford it.

And just to be a pain (sorry) I’d also add this to the mix.

And, if it were my budget, it is what I’d buy straight away, no questions, because of the RoomPerfect.


It’s an integrated amp/dac/streamer but I’d be using it as a preamp/dac/streamer as both the Elacs (and my own speakers) are active.

Here’s a decent review to consider.


And as for the Audioquest cables, they are simply a waste of money.

£170 for their cheapest three metre pair, and they sound precisely the same as the Mogami cables I linked to earlier. Much better to save the hundred quid and buy wine with which to enjoy your awesome new hifi.

As it will be whichever route you decide on.

I’d give careful consideration to the Lyngdorf 1120.

It would be difficult for me to over stress the excellence of modern, excellent quality room correction and what it does for music reproduction.

It is worth more than any conceivable dac upgrade.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the suggestions.

Apologies for what are probably questions with obvious answers, but just so I’m clear, the Audioquests’ would be overkill for XLR cables?

Similarly, the Audiolab is a DAC-only, right? No preamp needed for the ELAC’s?

Finally, the Benchmark is a similar price point to the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. In your opinion, is the Benchmark better?

I’m asking, as a number of reviewers and purchasers have praised the ELAC/Mytek combo, so, just want to make sure I get the best setup I can.
The Audiolab is a preamp as well.

I would also suggest not spending large sums of money on cables from overtly ‘hi-fi’ brands. Buy what the pros buy, which will not be expensive.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the suggestions.

Apologies for what are probably questions with obvious answers, but just so I’m clear, the Audioquests’ would be overkill for XLR cables?

Similarly, the Audiolab is a DAC-only, right? No preamp needed for the ELAC’s?

Finally, the Benchmark is a similar price point to the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. In your opinion, is the Benchmark better?

I’m asking, as a number of reviewers and purchasers have praised the ELAC/Mytek combo, so, just want to make sure I get the best setup I can.

Ps, my apologies.

That Audiolab M-dac is also a preamp as DT pointed out and I should have.
 

dazed&confused

Well-known Member
I haven't heard those speakers but I did have a long demo (a few hours) of some equipment using some ELAC passive floor standers, and I also spent some time listening to a couple of other pairs of ELAC speakers at a hifi show. All of them sounded extremely impressive. At the hifi show I could see that people were clearly impressed, especially those who were rather unfamilar with the brand, and I could hear murmerings of 'favourite room', 'giant killers', etc. It's also plain to see that all of their products are very well engineered, using premium materials. Plus, if you happen to live with someone who is concerned about the 'furniture' looking nice, ELAC tends to be a winner. If I were going to change my speakers then ELAC would definitely be on my list.
 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
Thanks for the additional tips and detail.

So, the ELAC’s, plus a Preamp/DAC (Streamer functionality in addition TBC), plus a modestly priced XLR cable and I’d be good to go?

As for the Preamp/DAC, what are the noticeable differences in performance that justify a 2x to 3x increase in price point between the likes of the Audiolab and the Lyngdorf and Mytek products mentioned here?

I ask, as I’m trying not to tempt myself in splurging a lot more money on something like the Mytek, if the benefits it brings for the money are “nice to haves”, rather than “must-haves”.

It’s frustrating I’m not able to easily test this particular equipment, so, all context provided here is very useful as part of my research.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the additional tips and detail.

So, the ELAC’s, plus a Preamp/DAC (Streamer functionality in addition TBC), plus a modestly priced XLR cable and I’d be good to go?

As for the Preamp/DAC, what are the noticeable differences in performance that justify a 2x to 3x increase in price point between the likes of the Audiolab and the Lyngdorf and Mytek products mentioned here?

I ask, as I’m trying not to tempt myself in splurging a lot more money on something like the Mytek, if the benefits it brings for the money are “nice to haves”, rather than “must-haves”.

It’s frustrating I’m not able to easily test this particular equipment, so, all context provided here is very useful as part of my research.

The underlined bit is exactly right, yes.

For the rest, sorry to say that only you, hearing them in your home, can decide if spending an extra £1200 or more on a dac/preamp/streamer is worth it to you.

That fact is one of hifi’s first truths.

I can say that the Lyngdorfs RoomPerfect is a much, much better way to spend that extra £1200 over, say, the Audiolab, than spending it on an incremental increase in SQ of a dac pre without room correction.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
And, as a further amp to consider then this is currently the bargain of the moment.


It come ready loaded with DiracLive. Another mighty fine room correction device.

£999 is a silly price for such a superbly specified, Dirac enabled machine.

For people after a streamer, dac and preamp, this is far and away the best way to go about it at the moment.

It’s the Dirac that does it, as well as the fact that it is a £2500 item initially, and of course Arcams undoubted sound quality.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, as you’re keen not to splurge extra money for minimal gains, that makes the Arcam an even better buy.

Frankly, I can’t think of anything that offers so much for such a (comparatively) small sum.

Out of those already mentioned, and any others I’m aware of, it would be my choice, especially if I couldn’t justify the extra thousand pounds for the Lyngdorf.
 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
Thanks Paul, very useful context for me to factor in. I’ll get to researching it all some more.

Agree it ultimately comes down to reviewing with my own ears, but local dealer availability of much of this equipment (for testing purposes) is limited at present.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thanks Paul, very useful context for me to factor in. I’ll get to researching it all some more.

Agree it ultimately comes down to reviewing with my own ears, but local dealer availability of much of this equipment (for testing purposes) is limited at present.

It is a pain, I know.

For preamp/dac/streamer purposes, past a certain point (and all mentioned here are way past that point), there is little to choose between them all.

That’s one of the reasons I’d strongly suggest one with room correction, as that really does make a wonderful difference.

But speakers, that’s different.

They are always a personal choice.

I’d think the Elacs are a very safe buy; the designer certainly knows what he’s doing and the reviews are all very positive indeed.

And, distance selling regulations always allow returns. Add to that the fact that some sellers are giving even longer periods due to the C-19 thing, and it make sure it easier to test at home without being terrified of being stuck with something that’s not right for you.

Richer sounds have an extended return policy for buying during the Covid period for instance.
 

Spooky Electric

Active Member
One further question (there’s always one!).

What is the best cable option for connecting the Mac Mini (mid-2011 model) to whichever Preamp/DAC I end up with?

As I understand it, the headphone jack on the Mac Mini serves as its digital audio output but, any intel on required cables, adaptors etc. will help.

Presuming the answer is keep it simple, as per the XLR cable recommendation, but worth checking.
 

Spooky Electric

Active Member

daytona600

Active Member
Both great speakers but the Hedd are unbeatable for the price
Elac great in small rooms Hedd work in small or large rooms
detail , dynamics & bass are remarkable for the size & price

 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Both great speakers but the Hedd are unbeatable for the price
Elac great in small rooms Hedd work in small or large rooms
detail , dynamics & bass are remarkable for the size & price



Designed by the guy who founded Adam and designed their top class speakers.

If you can happily put up with the ‘pro’ appearance then the Hedds are a serious alternative.

I’ll be looking there first when it comes to 7 new speakers for my home cinema. Though as I’ll have a pair of whopping subs and RC I’ll be going for the Type 05.
 

daytona600

Active Member
Hedd are analogue speakers but can be converted to digital pop in a l bridge IO board into the back for streaming audio via ethernet for 7 channel or even 256 channels dolby & atmos




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The HEDD Bridge – Paving the Way toward Digital Connectivity in Studio Monitors
Today, a number of digital protocols have become established constants in various audio sectors. While they certainly exhibit different advantages, they all essentially focus on the transportation of audio signals (Audio-over-IP, AES3, Bluetooth, etc.). In order to secure an ideal – future-oriented, safe, and flexible – integration of our HEDD studio monitors in digitally based work-spaces, we developed our very own modular input-card system, the HEDD Bridge. The HEDD Bridge was inspired by the rather simple and yet absolutely vital idea that our speakers should feature a freely configurable system that, being located on the back panel of each monitor, allows for the integration of a digital audio protocol.

Currently we are offering the B1-Dante card for the HEDD Bridge. We are convinced that Ethernet-based multi-channel systems are the future of the studio, live music, and installation sector. While Audio-over-IP has by now become more and more prominent in mix-down, interface, and microphone technologies, this development has yet to reach the level of studio monitors. The HEDD Bridge is the first system to close this gap.

The B1-Dante enables your HEDD monitors to interact with today’s most established audio network protocol:

You can directly connect your computer to loudspeakers via a CAT.6 Ethernet cable in order to stream high resolution audio
In complex multi-channel setups (Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D etc.), multiple separate loudspeakers can be fed with a single high-resolution audio stream and each one of these speaker channels can be controlled individually by software control applications
Audio devices in different rooms or facilities (e.g. movie theaters, conference rooms, live concerts and music festivals) can be controlled from one or multiple workspaces connected to the Ethernet network
AoIP will enable broadcast engineers to simplify the in-house signal distribution in broadcast stations
 
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