Elac Carina BS243.4 vs. ELAC Uni-fi UB5

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
$1000 $500
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.63” × 8.06” × 9.69”
321mm × 205mm × 246mm
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-30,000 Hz 46-25,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of audiophile favorites, the ELAC Carina BS243.4 and Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speakers present two distinct sonic signatures from the same pedigree. The Carina, with its Jet tweeter, exudes a more open, detailed treble, and a lusher midrange, perfect for those seeking an airy soundstage. The Uni-Fi UB5, however, offers a coherence and depth with its concentric driver technology, appealing to listeners who crave a punchier, more textured bass response. Both share ELAC's commitment to quality but cater to different auditory preferences and room acoustics, making the choice a matter of personal taste and listening environment.

Speaker Comparison

When considering the rich tapestry of ELAC's offerings in the bookshelf speaker realm, the Elac Carina BS243.4 and ELAC Uni-fi UB5 stand out as two intriguing options for the audiophile. At first glance, they may seem similar; both are compact, boast meticulous German engineering, and promise an engaging listening experience. Yet, despite their shared lineage, these two speakers diverge significantly in their approach to sound reproduction, build quality, and overall performance.

Design Philosophy and Build Quality

The Carina BS243.4 is the newer sibling, bringing a fresh outlook on ELAC's design philosophy. It sports a sleeker, more modern look with its Jet 5 tweeter and compound curvature aluminum woofer that not only adds to the aesthetic but also enhances the acoustic performance. This model shows a refined evolution in ELAC's build quality with its superior cabinet finish and overall fit. In contrast, the Uni-fi UB5 retains a more traditional appearance with its concentric driver design. The build quality is robust, but the Carina edges out with a touch more sophistication and premium feel.

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Signature and Imaging

The sound signature of the Carina BS243.4 is smooth and detailed, with an airy high-end that never becomes fatiguing. Its bass is taut and controlled, offering a more neutral overall balance. The Carinas exhibit exceptional imaging, creating a wide and deep soundstage that invites the listener into an immersive sonic landscape. In comparison, the Uni-fi UB5 has a slightly warmer tone, with a rich mid-range that makes vocals stand out. Its soundstage is also commendable, although it might not reach the expansiveness of the Carina's. The UB5, nonetheless, delivers a cohesiveness and punch in the low-end that will be appreciated in jazz and rock genres.

Performance and Power Handling

Delving into the performance aspects, the Carina BS243.4 shows off its prowess with its new tweeter design, which allows for an extended high-frequency response that adds to the detail retrieval without becoming sibilant. They also have a higher power handling capacity compared to the UB5s, meaning they can remain composed and dynamic at higher volumes. The UB5s, on the other hand, with their three-way design, offer an excellent transient response and balance, but they can be a bit more demanding on the amplifier, requiring a bit more power to shine.

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 arrow (at Amazon.com)

One key aspect where these two diverge is in their bass performance. The Carina BS243.4, while articulate in the lower frequencies, may not satisfy those looking for room-thumping bass without a subwoofer. The UB5s, in contrast, are surprising in their low-end delivery for their size, partly due to the dedicated bass driver and the larger cabinet volume which allows for a more pronounced bass presence.

In terms of efficiency, neither speaker is particularly easy to drive, but the Carina BS243.4 is a bit less demanding, with a slightly higher sensitivity rating. This could make the Carina more versatile across different room sizes and amplifier types. The UB5, with its 4-ohm impedance and complex crossover, might call for an amplifier with a bit more grunt to really let loose.

Critically, price becomes a significant factor when comparing the two. The Carina BS243.4 enters the market at a higher price point, reflecting its updated technology and superior build. The Uni-fi UB5, being a little older and less expensive, represents an incredible value for those who are willing to compromise slightly on the finish and the ultimate edge in soundstage depth for a more accessible entry into high-fidelity audio.

Ultimately, the choice between the Elac Carina BS243.4 and the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 will come down to the listener's priorities. If one seeks the latest in design and a speaker that can perform effortlessly across a variety of genres with a natural and expansive soundstage, the Carina may be the preferred choice. However, for those who want a rich, engaging listening experience at a more modest price point, and who perhaps value midrange warmth and fuller bass over ultra-detailed highs, the UB5 could be the ideal companion. Both speakers unmistakably carry the ELAC pedigree, and either would be a worthy addition to an audiophile's collection.

Check Current Prices:

Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
Elac Carina BS243.4 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 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.