ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. Klipsch Reference R-41M

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
$500 $150
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
11.30” × 5.75” × 7.90”
287mm × 146mm × 201mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 68-21,000 Hz
ASR Score
n/a 2.8
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
n/a 5.7

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of bookshelf speakers, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 presents a refined, three-way design that delivers a sonically rich and detailed soundstage, courtesy of its concentric driver layout. The UB5s favor a more natural, balanced presentation, excelling in midrange clarity. Conversely, the Klipsch Reference R-41M boasts an energetic, punchy performance with the brand's signature horn-loaded tweeter offering an immediate and dynamic listening experience. These speakers are more sensitive and easier to drive. Both cater to different listener preferences—the UB5 to the discerning audiophile valuing nuance, and the R-41M to the enthusiast seeking impactful, room-filling sound.

Speaker Comparison

When we venture into the realm of high-fidelity audio, the search for the perfect bookshelf speaker can seem like a quest for the Holy Grail. Today, we're pitting two contenders against each other: the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Klipsch Reference R-41M. These speakers, though they may share a similar form factor, offer distinct sonic signatures and build philosophies to cater to different listener preferences. As we delve into this comparison, I invite you to consider not just the specs, but also the soul of these speakers.

The Tale of the Tweeter and Woofer

ELAC's Uni-fi UB5 speaks volumes with its concentric driver design, which places a 1-inch soft dome tweeter at the heart of a 4-inch aluminum midrange. This unique configuration promises a seamless integration between highs and mids, resulting in a coherent and time-aligned sound that can be quite enchanting. On the other hand, Klipsch's R-41M employs a more traditional approach with its 1-inch aluminum LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) tweeter mated to a square Tractrix horn, a hallmark of the brand, coupled with a 4-inch spun-copper IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) woofer. The Klipsch's horn-loaded design is touted for its efficiency and dynamic impact, capable of delivering a lively and immediate sound that grabs your attention.

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

Enclosure and Build: A Study in Contrast

The cabinets of these two speakers tell a story of their own. The ELAC UB5 showcases a sturdy MDF cabinet with a sophisticated three-way bass reflex design and custom-designed bracing for reduced cabinet vibration, a factor that contributes to its clean, uncolored sound. Its vinyl finish is understated yet refined. In contrast, the Klipsch R-41M sports a more utilitarian look, with its MDF construction and textured wood grain vinyl wrap that's built to last but perhaps less aesthetically pleasing to some. The emphasis here seems to be on practical durability and the no-nonsense delivery of sound.

Soundstage and Imaging: The Listener's Perspective

Soundstage and imaging are where the UB5 often shines. Thanks to its concentric driver design, it can create a holographic and immersive listening experience, with instruments and vocals placed with pinpoint precision across a three-dimensional space. The Klipsch, with its directivity controlled by the Tractrix horn, tends to produce a more forward soundstage that excels in width but may not have the same depth and layering as the UB5. However, for those who prefer their music with a sense of immediacy and presence, the R-41M's presentation can be invigorating and engaging.

Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-41M arrow (at Amazon.com)

In terms of tonal balance, the UB5 leans towards a warm and smooth character with a full-bodied midrange, which is particularly flattering to acoustic instruments and the human voice. The blend of its sophisticated crossover design and the concentric driver layout achieves a balanced sound that is forgiving yet detailed. The R-41M, however, is more about the sparkle and punch, with an emphasis on high-frequency clarity and mid-bass slam. This makes it an excellent match for genres that thrive on energy and excitement, such as rock and electronic music.

For the critical listener who likes to dissect every nuance of a recording, the UB5's ability to unravel complex musical passages with finesse is a virtue. It renders subtle textures and low-level details with a delicate touch that can be quite revealing. The R-41M, in contrast, is less about introspection and more about the sheer joy of listening. It doesn't coax you to analyze the music; it simply asks you to turn it up and feel it.

Let's not overlook the power requirements and amplifier matching for these two speakers, as it can greatly influence their performance. The UB5, with its 4-ohm nominal impedance and 85 dB sensitivity, demands a robust amplifier to truly sing. The Klipsch R-41M is more forgiving with an 8-ohm impedance and a high sensitivity of 90 dB, making it friendlier to a wider range of amplifiers, including lower-powered options. This means the R-41M can be a better fit for those with modest amplification or looking for a speaker that is easier to drive.

In the end, choosing between the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Klipsch Reference R-41M is a matter of personal preference and intended use. The UB5 may appeal to the audiophile seeking a speaker that can articulate the finer points of a recording with poise and depth, while the R-41M will undoubtedly satisfy the listener craving a dynamic and spirited sound that can inject life into any party. Both stand as testaments to the art of speaker design, and either way, the music is the winner.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-41M 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.