Aperion Audio Intimus 5B vs. ELAC ARB51 Navis

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
$450 $2000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.00” × 6.75” × 8.00”
305mm × 171mm × 203mm
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
Power Type
Passive Powered
Frequency Response
80-20,000 Hz 44-28,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of immersive listening, the Aperion Audio Intimus 5B bookshelf speakers present a stellar value, offering rich, clear sound and a solid build. They shine with a more traditional passive setup, demanding a separate amplifier to reveal their potential. On the flip side, the ELAC ARB51 Navis are self-powered maestros, merging audiophile-grade amplification with bespoke drivers to deliver a highly detailed and room-filling performance. For enthusiasts seeking a plug-and-play solution with refined sonics, the Navis speakers are a compelling choice, albeit at a higher price point than the Intimus 5B. Each set caters to different preferences in setup and sonic character.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity sound from compact speakers, both the Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers and the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers are standout options that demand audiophile attention. While both are designed to deliver aural excellence, they approach sound reproduction in different ways. The Intimus 5Bs are passive speakers that rely on the quality of the external amplification to shape their sound, while the ELAC ARB51s are active speakers with built-in amplification tailored specifically for their drivers.

Design and Build Quality

The Aperion Audio Intimus 5B speakers boast a traditional aesthetic with a slight modern touch, featuring a furniture-grade finish that exudes timeless elegance. The build quality is robust, designed to resonate with those who appreciate the craftsmanship. In contrast, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers have a more contemporary look, with a design language that speaks to the modern audiophile. The ELACs' cabinet not only stands out visually but is also engineered with precision to minimize vibration and coloration.

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers
Aperion Audio Intimus 5B arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Quality and Performance

Sound-wise, the Intimus 5Bs deliver a warm and rich sound signature, with a balanced midrange and crisp highs that never become fatiguing. Their soundstage is expansive for bookshelf speakers, offering an immersive listening experience. On the other hand, the ELAC ARB51s present a more clinical sound, with an emphasis on accuracy and detail. The ARB51s' built-in amplification ensures that the speakers can be driven to their full potential, showcasing a level of control and finesse that's particularly impressive for bookshelf speakers.

The bass response is one area where these two contenders diverge noticeably. The Aperion Intimus 5Bs have a satisfying low-end that's well-integrated with the mids and highs, but they may require a subwoofer to satisfy true bass aficionados. The ELAC ARB51, with its sophisticated bass management system, offers a tighter and more pronounced bass response that can stand on its own, even without additional subwoofer support.

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis arrow (at Amazon.com)

Connectivity and Flexibility

Connectivity is another key consideration. The passive Intimus 5Bs require an external amplifier, which gives listeners the flexibility to pair them with an amp that suits their listening preferences. This could be a tube amp for those seeking a warmer sound or a solid-state amp for listeners desiring precision. The ELAC ARB51 speakers, being active, eliminate the need for external amplification, making them an all-in-one solution. However, this means listeners are committed to the sound profile determined by the built-in amplification.

Despite the differences in connectivity, both speaker sets offer straightforward setup procedures. The Aperion Audio Intimus 5Bs provide the traditional passive speaker experience, where positioning and amplification play a significant role in overall performance. The ELAC ARB51s streamline the process with their active design, offering high-quality sound without the extra components, which can be a blessing for those with limited space or a preference for minimalism.

Value and Conclusion

In conclusion, the choice between Aperion Audio Intimus 5B and ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers boils down to personal preference and listening habits. The Intimus 5Bs appeal to the traditionalist who enjoys the process of tailoring their sound system, while the ARB51s cater to the modernist seeking a sleek, space-efficient, and high-performance audio solution. Both provide exceptional sound quality, but the deciding factor will often be whether the listener wants the flexibility of an external amp or the convenience of an all-in-one system. Ultimately, either choice is a journey into the realm of high-fidelity sound that will delight any serious audiophile.

Check Current Prices:

Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers
Aperion Audio Intimus 5B Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.