ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. KEF LS50 Meta

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
$500 $1600
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
11.90” × 7.90” × 11.00”
302mm × 201mm × 279mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 79-28,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 4.6
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 6.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and KEF LS50 Meta are two heavyweight contenders in the bookshelf speaker arena. The UB5 impresses with its concentric driver design, offering a coherent soundstage at a more affordable price point. Conversely, the LS50 Meta, with KEF's pioneering Uni-Q driver and Metamaterial Absorption Technology, promises high-resolution sound and a pristine midrange. The LS50 Meta tends to have a more expansive soundstage and nuanced detail retrieval, whereas the UB5 delivers remarkable value with its rich and balanced audio performance. Both demand careful pairing with quality amplification to shine, but cater to different listener priorities and budgets.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to modern audiophile bookshelf speakers, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the KEF LS50 Meta represent two of the finest offerings in their class. Both have been the subject of much praise in the audiophile community, each for its unique approach to delivering compelling sound from a compact form. At first glance, the UB5's three-way design with its concentric driver may seem to promise a more complex and accurate sound, while the LS50 Meta, with KEF's Uni-Q driver and Metamaterial Absorption Technology, hints at a sophisticated blend of innovation and performance.

Design Philosophy and Driver Configuration

The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 takes a classic approach to speaker design, featuring a custom-designed concentric driver which allows for a precise time alignment between the tweeter and midrange, presumably offering improved coherency. This three-way design is relatively unusual for bookshelf speakers, potentially giving the UB5 an edge in the midrange clarity and depth. On the other hand, the LS50 Meta is built around KEF's patented Uni-Q driver, where the tweeter is placed at the acoustic center of the midrange cone. This technique aims to create a more detailed and integrated sound, with the added benefit of KEF's Metamaterial Absorption Technology, which is engineered to absorb unwanted sound from the rear of the driver, reducing distortion and resulting in purer sound.

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

Soundstage and Imaging

Listeners who prioritize soundstage and imaging will notice distinct characteristics from both speaker sets. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 tends to create a broad soundstage with good depth, allowing listeners to pinpoint the location of instruments and vocals in a mix. The concentric driver design aids in this precise imaging, providing a cohesive and unified sound. Conversely, the KEF LS50 Meta, with its Uni-Q driver, excels in creating an expansive 'sweet spot', thanks to the seamless integration of the tweeter and woofer. This makes the LS50 Meta particularly forgiving in terms of listener positioning, while still maintaining a holographic soundstage that can fill a room with ease.

Bass Performance and Overall Balance

When it comes to bass performance, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is respectable for a speaker of its size. The dedicated bass driver ensures that low frequencies are represented with enough weight and authority, though the UB5 may not reach the lowest octaves without the help of a subwoofer. In contrast, the LS50 Meta, despite its compact enclosure, is renowned for its articulate and punchy bass response, a result of KEF's meticulous design and the use of advanced materials. The overall balance of the LS50 Meta is often described as neutral and revealing, with a slight emphasis on transparency and detail that may appeal to purists and critical listeners.

KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta arrow (at Amazon.com)

Regarding aesthetics, both the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the KEF LS50 Meta have distinctive looks that will appeal to different tastes. The UB5 has a more traditional appearance with its boxy shape and wood-grain vinyl finish, while the LS50 Meta sports a modern and sleek design, available in a variety of high-gloss color options. The build quality of both speakers is excellent, but the LS50 Meta may have an edge with its denser cabinet and more premium feel.

One cannot discuss these two speakers without considering value and market positioning. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 comes in at a lower price point, making it quite appealing for those seeking high-end sound on a more modest budget. The LS50 Meta, although pricier, justifies its cost with cutting-edge technology and a level of sound refinement that is typically found in more expensive speakers. The decision between the two may come down to personal budget constraints and the weight one places on the latest audio technologies versus raw performance per dollar.

Ultimately, both the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the KEF LS50 Meta represent exceptional achievements in speaker design, with each boasting its own set of strengths. The UB5 may allure those seeking a rich and layered midrange with traditional aesthetics, while the LS50 Meta shines with its innovative approach to driver integration, delivering an ultra-clean and detailed listening experience. Whichever route one takes, both speakers stand as testaments to the heights that modern audio engineering can reach, even within the relatively small cabinets of bookshelf speakers.

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ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta Bookshelf Speakers
KEF LS50 Meta 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.