ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. Micca RB42-C

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker
$2000 $90
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
5.20” × 14.80” × 8.30”
132mm × 376mm × 211mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 50-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis offers audiophiles a self-powered, bookshelf speaker solution boasting custom drivers, a dedicated 300-watt BASH amplifier for the lows, and a 100-watt class AB amp for both mids and highs. This trifecta promises a pure, uncolored sound. In contrast, the Micca RB42-C center channel speaker is a passive design focused on delivering clear dialogue and vocals for home theaters. Its compact size, affordability, and rich performance make it a popular choice, though it lacks the Navis’ sophistication and power. Choosing between the two depends largely on usage, preference for active versus passive designs, and budget.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to audio fidelity and the pursuit of pure, unadulterated sound, the nuances between different speakers can be night and day. The world of audiophilia is replete with choices, and today we are juxtaposing two interesting options: the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker. While one is a set of larger, self-powered bookshelf speakers, and the other a compact center channel unit, both bring impressive credentials to the table.

The Powerhouse: ELAC ARB51 Navis

The ELAC ARB51 is a force to be reckoned with, embodying what many audio enthusiasts seek in a powered bookshelf speaker. Each speaker in this pair comes with its own built-in amplification—a triumvirate of BASH amplifiers delivering a combined 300 watts per speaker. This power allows the ARB51 to handle a wide dynamic range with ease, providing thumping lows and crystalline highs that can fill a room without breaking a sweat. The sound stage is expansive and detailed, giving you the feeling of a live performance right in your living room.

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

Compact Versatility: Micca RB42-C

In contrast, the Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker, while not a powered alternative, shines in its own right. It's compact, designed to fit into small spaces, and complements home theater systems where it anchors dialog and action flawlessly to the screen. The RB42-C boasts dual 4-inch woofers and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter, which together produce a sound that's impressive for its size. Although it can't compete with the raw power of the ELAC ARB51, the Micca RB42-C is a winner when it comes to clarity and dialogue intelligibility in a home theater setup.

Design and Build Quality

From a design standpoint, the ELAC ARB51 speaks to the audiophile who appreciates a modern, yet understated aesthetic. Its build quality is exceptional, with a cabinet that helps to minimize unwanted vibrations and a finish that is both elegant and durable. On the other hand, the Micca RB42-C, though modest in comparison, is well-built for its category. The textured wood grain vinyl gives it a classic look that can seamlessly blend into any décor. While it doesn't scream "luxury," it also does not cut corners where it matters most.

Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker
Micca RB42-C arrow (at Amazon.com)

Connectivity is another domain where the ELAC ARB51 excels. It offers a variety of inputs including RCA, XLR, and Optical, catering to both digital and analog sources. This makes the ARB51 incredibly versatile and easy to integrate into a hi-fi setup. In contrast, the Micca RB42-C, as a passive speaker, requires external amplification and uses traditional speaker wire connections, making it a good match for standard AV receivers.

Sound Character and Performance

The ELAC ARB51 Navis is tuned for audiophiles. Its sound is neutral with a slight warmth that adds a velvety texture to music. The bass is tight and punchy, mids are articulate, and the highs are clear without being sibilant. The ARB51 truly shines with high-resolution audio, revealing layers in the music that lesser speakers might blur. The Micca RB42-C, though not as expansive in soundstage or as detailed in the lower frequencies, is voiced to deliver clear and focused sound, particularly in the vocal range. This makes it an excellent choice for movie lovers and those who prioritize speech in their audio mix.

To conclude, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker serve different purposes and audio preferences. The ELAC ARB51 is a high-end choice for the discerning audiophile looking for a do-it-all powered speaker that excels with music and can handle a variety of audio sources. The Micca RB42-C, on the other hand, is a budget-friendly, dialogue-centric speaker that integrates well into a home theater system, ensuring that every word and nuance is captured with clarity. Both offer value in their respective arenas, and the best choice ultimately depends on the listener's needs and the context of their audio system.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker
Micca RB42-C Center Channel Speaker

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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.