Reviewed by Russell Williams, 1st December 2011.If you value music's unparalleled ability amongst the arts, to communicate a message, lift the spirits, or change a mood, then you're going to like the Elipson Planet Ls, a lot. Read the full review...
I just have the opportunity to listen to them. They're surprising ! Better than the typical "lifestyle" satellite. And bigger as well, which is a good thing : even if they don't go very deep, they go deeper than a mini satellite and you don't have to ask the sub to produce frequencies it's not designed to. They're very clean, and have an "out of the box" sound (although that can be a placebo effect due to their appearance).
The price is very moderate for what you get, except for the stands, which are ridiculously expensive.
I know the stands look expensive, but it should be noted that they're certainly no worse than any other low volume, model specific stand I've seen.
Out of interest, what kit were they being demoed with? I recently heard them on an Icon Audio valve amp which did wonders in the mid range. It was a bit less successful at the bottom end, with a slight lack of grip that made them sound fatter, if less precise.
All NAD (middle range... i don't remember exactly which ones). I'm usually a fan of NAD and almost every hifi store stocks them, so I can compare more easily. They did definitely not sound fat, at the contrary. The owner is a buddy, so I tend to stay a lot (and chat a lot), so I listened to them for a long time. They were clean but not in an emotionless Dynaudio way (I compared to some Focus floorstanders the same day).
Like so much gear, I'd love to! But alas, I have to fit everything in around my real job.
What I will say is that in terms of the lifestyle and/or more compact systems I have tested as of late, they're starting to get frighteningly good. Okay, the really small, or really flat ones seem to suffer a few more trade-offs in their form factor, but some of the more normal stuff has bowled me over. Once upon a time, you used to say they were damn good, with the 'for a small one' caveat attached. No longer.
I'm sitting here listening to a £1000 5.1 package (in 2.1 stereo, with music) as we type. Individually that's £150 per speaker and £350 for the subwoofer - The package knocks 10% off the individual prices. I can honestly say, that you would struggle with floorstanders and an AV amp, to deliver anything like the sound with music this package is delivering for the same price.
To be fair, the Planet Ls are a different proposition as they are a full sized loudspeaker with very much their own raison d'etre, but I did spend a lot of time with them watching TV and the occasional movie. For this, I did press my subwoofers into use, which does sidestep the bottom end of the Planet Ls, to put it mildly. In this role, the vocal dexterity of the Ls shines out and as the SPL cap of the Ls is mostly related to their bottom end, they absolutely sing when configured thus. I wish I'd asked for five rather than two, because I think they would be a cracking speaker with movies.
All in all, the boundary between pretty/lifestyle products and imposing hi-fi/AV speakers is no longer as clear cut as it once was. Now, you can have your gateau and not pay the price for eating it. Sweet.
Glad to hear that 'pretty/lifestyle products' are getting better. I have had to remove my beloved Sonus Fabers from the living room due to our increasingly curious 2 1/2 year old. The Elipsons have an option to hang from the ceiling, which appeals for this reason! They would be great for a year or two, and then move them into the bedroom when it is safe to bring the SFs out again.