ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. Pioneer SP-FS52

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower Speakers
$2000 $260
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
35.19” × 8.88” × 10.63”
894mm × 226mm × 270mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 40-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of immersive soundscapes, the ELAC ARB51 Navis and the Pioneer SP-FS52 tower speakers offer distinct experiences. The ARB51, a powered bookshelf speaker, boasts an inbuilt amplifier delivering pristine audio with remarkable clarity and depth—ideal for connoisseurs seeking a refined and space-efficient sound solution. In contrast, the SP-FS52, designed by the legendary Andrew Jones, offers an affordable floor-standing option that excels in producing a rich and expansive soundstage, though it requires an external amplifier. Each caters to different audiophile preferences, balancing the scales between performance, space, and budget.

Speaker Comparison

In the ever-evolving world of audio gear, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers stand as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology expected by audiophiles. With their sleek design and robust sound, these self-powered gems offer an intriguing contrast to the more traditional, passive Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower Speakers, which reflect the enduring legacy of Andrew Jones' design genius.

Design and Build Quality

When it comes to design, the ELAC ARB51 exudes a contemporary vibe, with clean lines and a compact form factor that is sure to complement any modern interior. The build quality is exceptional, with every component feeling substantial and meticulously engineered. In contrast, the Pioneer SP-FS52, though larger and more imposing due to its tower structure, showcases a classic approach to speaker aesthetics. The curved cabinet design not only lends it a unique visual flair but also contributes to its acoustic performance by reducing standing waves inside the cabinet.

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

Power and Performance

Perhaps the most significant difference lies in the powering mechanism of the two contenders. The ELAC ARB51s are active speakers, meaning they have built-in amplification, which is tailored to match the drivers perfectly. This integration allows for astonishing control and responsiveness, directly translating to cleaner, more accurate sound reproduction. On the flip side, the Pioneer SP-FS52s require an external amplifier or receiver. While this necessitates an additional component in your audio setup, it also provides the flexibility to pair the speakers with an amp that suits one's personal taste, potentially enhancing the overall sound experience.

Sound Quality

In the realm of sound quality, the ELAC ARB51 speakers impress with their articulate and detailed performance across the frequency spectrum. With a dedicated midrange driver, smooth highs from the tweeter, and a surprisingly robust bass response for their size, they offer a well-balanced and immersive listening experience. Conversely, the Pioneer SP-FS52s, with their three 5-1/4" woofers and oversized magnets, deliver a warm and rich sound. Their soundstage is wide and inviting, making them well-suited for movie aficionados and those who enjoy the grandeur of live performances.

Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower Speakers
Pioneer SP-FS52 arrow (at Amazon.com)

It's worth noting that the ARB51's built-in amplifiers are a game-changer for eliminating the hassle of matching speaker and amplifier impedances. This ensures optimal performance without the need for external tweaking. However, Pioneer's SP-FS52s, with their 6 ohm impedance, are generally easy to drive, giving them the versatility to pair well with a wide range of amplifiers, from budget to high-end models.

Connectivity is another area where these two diverge. The ELAC ARB51 offers both analog and digital inputs, catering to a broader range of audio sources and future-proofing the investment. In comparison, the Pioneer SP-FS52 is a passive speaker with traditional binding posts, requiring users to rely on their chosen amplifier for input versatility.

Ultimately, the choice between the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower Speakers comes down to a matter of personal preference, listening habits, and the specific needs of one's audio setup. The ELACs shine with their all-in-one convenience and acoustic precision, while the Pioneers appeal to those who enjoy the process of crafting their sound through component selection. Both sets are admirable performers in their own right, and either would be a worthy addition to the home of any discerning audiophile.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower Speakers
Pioneer SP-FS52 Tower 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.