ELAC ARB51 Navis vs. Sony SSCS5 3-Way Speakers

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers Sony SSCS5 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers
$2000 $200
Dimensions (H × W × D)
13.58” × 7.44” × 9.45”
345mm × 189mm × 240mm
13.25” × 7.13” × 8.75”
337mm × 181mm × 222mm
Power Type
Powered Passive
Frequency Response
44-28,000 Hz 53-50,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 4.5
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 7.2

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the ELAC ARB51 Navis stands as a paradigm of engineering prowess—a fully active design with bespoke amplification for each driver. The sonic signature is marked by eloquent neutrality and room-filling presence. Conversely, the Sony SSCS5, an affordable passive option, surprises with its expansive soundstage and vibrant detail for the price. While the Sony offers exceptional value and compatibility with a variety of amplifiers, the ELAC's self-contained ecosystem commands a higher investment but rewards with audiophile-grade refinement and plug-and-play simplicity, embodying the adage: you get what you pay for.

Speaker Comparison

In the world of high-fidelity audio, bookshelf speakers are a staple for both audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Today, we bring two distinct models into the spotlight: the ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers and the Sony SSCS5 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers. At first glance, the disparities are clear, not least in terms of price and design philosophy. ELAC's Navis ARB51 is a premium offering designed to deliver uncompromised audio performance, whereas the Sony SSCS5 enters the arena as an affordable, yet respectable, contender in the budget-friendly market.

Design and Build Quality

ELAC's ARB51 speakers exude a sense of sophistication with their sleek, minimalist design. The build quality is top-notch, with the cabinets constructed to reduce unwanted resonances, allowing the listener to enjoy a purer sound. Conversely, the Sony SSCS5 may not boast the same level of craftsmanship, but it does offer a solid build for its price point. The SSCS5 has a more traditional look, which may appeal to those who appreciate a classic bookshelf speaker aesthetic.

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

Sound Performance

When it comes to sound, the ELAC ARB51 is a clear step up. With its built-in amplification, it is tailored for precision and offers a degree of control that passive speakers like the SSCS5 can't match. The ARB51 employs a 3-way design with a dedicated midrange driver, which ensures that vocals and instruments are rendered with remarkable clarity and presence. The bass is tight and well-defined, thanks to its robust aluminum woofer and sophisticated crossover design.

In contrast, the Sony SSCS5, while impressive for its price, can't quite reach the nuanced performance of the ELAC. It does feature a 3-way design, with a dedicated tweeter, woofer, and super tweeter, aiming to cover a wide frequency range. However, the SSCS5 may struggle with the intricacy of complex musical passages and the dynamic range that the ELAC handles with ease. That said, for everyday listening and those just starting their hi-fi journey, the SSCS5 offers an engaging and lively sound that can bring out the best in your favorite tracks.

Features and Functionality

The ARB51, being an active speaker, means it has built-in amplification, eliminating the need for a separate amp or receiver, which can be a significant advantage in terms of cost and space. Additionally, the ARB51 features connections for both analog and digital sources, including an optical input, making it a versatile choice for a variety of setups. On the other hand, the passive SSCS5 requires an external amplifier or receiver, which can be seen as a drawback or an opportunity to customize your sound system with a preferred component.

One should also consider connectivity and ease of integration in a broader audio system. ELAC's offering allows for a more plug-and-play approach, ideally suited for modern, minimalist systems or setups where space is at a premium. On the contrary, the Sony SSCS5, as part of a traditional passive setup, provides the user the flexibility to experiment with different amplifiers, which can be a joy (or a journey) in itself for the audiophile who loves to tweak and tune.

At the end of the day, the choice between the ELAC ARB51 and the Sony SSCS5 boils down to what you value most in your listening experience. If you're after a high-end, refined sound with the convenience of a self-contained unit, the ELAC ARB51 is the way to go. However, if you're on a budget or just starting out, the Sony SSCS5 offers a solid, cost-effective gateway into the world of high-quality audio. Regardless of your choice, both speakers are capable of delivering delightful auditory experiences that will enhance your appreciation for music.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC ARB51 Navis Powered Bookshelf Speakers
Sony SSCS5 3-Way Bookshelf Speakers
Sony SSCS5 3-Way Bookshelf 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.