ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. Sony SSCS3

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers
$2000 $460
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
36.30” × 9.00” × 10.25”
922mm × 229mm × 260mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 45-50,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis offers a refined experience with its powered bookshelf design, delivering a rich, precise soundstage. Their built-in amplifiers ensure a seamless blend between drivers. Conversely, Sony's SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers, standing tall in the more budget-conscious bracket, bring a commanding presence to the room with their larger footprint. They offer a dynamic range on a passive platform, requiring an external amplifier. The choice between the ELAC's detailed finesse and the Sony's robust, floor-standing scale encapsulates the audiophile's perennial debate: purity of sound versus the grandeur of power.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to high-fidelity audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers represent two distinct approaches to sound reproduction. Both are lauded in their respective fields, but they cater to different listener profiles and preferences. The ELAC ARB51 comes from a brand that has been synonymous with precision and audiophile-grade performance, while the Sony SSCS3 represents a more consumer-friendly approach to sound, balancing quality with affordability.

Design and Build Quality

The ELAC ARB51 is a testament to meticulous engineering, with a build quality that exudes sophistication. Its compact design makes it suitable for smaller spaces without sacrificing on audio fidelity. In contrast, the Sony SSCS3 tower speakers, with their slender and tall profile, offer a commanding presence in any room. While they are well-built, the emphasis is on cost-effective materials and design, which is reflected in their price point.

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

Sound Quality and Performance

Sound quality is where the ELAC ARB51 truly shines. These powered bookshelf speakers boast an integrated amplification system that ensures seamless synergy between the drivers and electronics, resulting in a more accurate and controlled sound. The BASH amplification in the ARB51s allows for impressive dynamics and a richness in audio that is hard to match. The Sony SSCS3, on the other hand, is a passive speaker that relies on an external amplifier. They offer a pleasant and balanced soundstage, with a clear high end, thanks to the super tweeter, but they may lack the nuance and depth provided by the ELACs.

The bass response between the two is also notably different. The ELACs, with their custom-designed midrange/bass drivers, deliver a tight and articulate bass performance. The Sony SSCS3, with its larger cabinet and dedicated woofer, produces an extended low-end, but it might not match the precision and definition of the ELAC speakers. This is particularly evident in complex musical passages or when the volume is pushed to higher levels.

Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers
Sony SSCS3 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Connectivity and Features

Connectivity is another aspect where the ELAC ARB51 and Sony SSCS3 diverge. The ELAC speakers, being powered, offer a range of inputs including XLR, RCA, and wireless capabilities for those willing to invest in ELAC's Discovery Connect transmitter. This makes them highly versatile and ready to interface with a variety of sources. The Sony SSCS3, as passive speakers, have a more straightforward set-up, relying on traditional speaker wire connections to an amplifier or receiver. They do not feature built-in amplification or digital inputs, which simplifies their use but also limits flexibility.

Value and Overall Experience

In terms of value, it's important to consider what each set of speakers is designed to deliver. The ELAC ARB51 is a premium offering, aimed at those who are seeking a top-tier listening experience right out of the box, without the need for additional components. The price reflects the advanced technology and convenience of an all-in-one system. The Sony SSCS3, while not matching the ELAC's performance in every aspect, offers a very respectable sound quality for its price, making it a great entry-level option for the aspiring audiophile or a cost-conscious music lover.

In conclusion, choosing between the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers comes down to your listening preferences, space considerations, and budget. If pristine audio quality, compact size, and integrated features are top priorities, the ELAC ARB51 is a compelling choice. However, for those starting their high-fidelity journey or seeking a more traditional and wallet-friendly option, the Sony SSCS3 tower speakers provide a solid foundation to build upon. Ultimately, both sets of speakers have their merits and will appeal to different audiences in the vibrant world of home audio.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers
Sony SSCS3 3-Way Tower Speakers

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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.