ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. Klipsch Reference R-820F

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers Klipsch Reference R-820F Tower Speakers
$500 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
43.00” × 10.94” × 17.50”
1092mm × 278mm × 444mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 35-21,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of high-fidelity audio, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers and Klipsch Reference R-820F tower speakers present a study in contrasts. The UB5s offer a refined, compact design with a concentric driver that delivers a precise soundstage and rich midrange, ideal for smaller spaces. On the other hand, the R-820F towers pack a punch with their dynamic, high-efficiency design that produces a lively and engaging sound with deep bass presence, suited for larger rooms. Both are strong contenders in their categories, yet they cater to different listener preferences and room requirements in the audiophile landscape.

Speaker Comparison

When we pit the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers against the towering presence of the Klipsch Reference R-820F, we're not just talking about David and Goliath in terms of size. This comparison dives into the essence of what defines their acoustical philosophies, revealing how each speaker caters to different segments of the audiophile spectrum. The UB5s, designed by the venerable Andrew Jones, deliver a concise and meticulously crafted soundstage that's nothing short of compelling for bookshelf speakers. Conversely, the Klipsch R-820F speakers, standing tall with their imposing stature, offer a robust and dynamic experience that is hard to match by their smaller brethren.

Design Aesthetics and Build

Starting with design, ELAC's UB5 sports a clean, understated look, housing a concentric driver that combines the tweeter and midrange, which allows for a more unified sound dispersion. The build quality is solid, though the vinyl finish is less luxurious than real wood but still pleasing to the eye. On the flip side, the Klipsch R-820F towers convey an aggressive stance with their copper-spun IMG woofers and Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, giving them a distinct, muscular aesthetic that commands attention. The larger footprint and floor-standing design of the Klipsch make them more visually prominent in a room setting.

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

Sound Signature and Performance

Moving on to the sonic signature, the ELAC UB5 presents a balanced and detailed sound with a remarkable coherence thanks to its concentric driver layout. The sound is characterized by a warm midrange, silky highs, and surprisingly deep bass for their size. In comparison, the Klipsch R-820F delivers a more forward and lively sound profile. The hallmark Klipsch horn tweeter offers exceptional efficiency and results in a bright and sparkling high-end that can energize a room with ease. This approach may appeal to those who crave a sense of liveliness and excitement from their listening experience.

For low-end delivery, the two speakers diverge significantly. The ELAC UB5's are respectable performers in their class, offering tight and controlled bass that satisfies in smaller rooms or when paired with a decent subwoofer. Klipsch's R-820F, however, utilizes its larger cabinet size and dual 8-inch woofers to pump out deep, room-filling bass that can stand on its own even in larger spaces. The difference in bass response between the two is not just quantitative but also qualitative, with the Klipsch providing a visceral impact that the UB5s can't match.

Klipsch Reference R-820F Tower Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-820F arrow (at Amazon.com)

Imaging and Soundstage

Imaging and soundstage are areas where the ELAC UB5 excels; it paints an intimate and well-defined soundstage with precise imaging that draws listeners into the performance. The UB5's have the ability to disappear in the room, allowing music to emerge from a black backdrop with pinpoint accuracy. The Klipsch R-820F's, while capable of delivering a wide soundstage, do so with less subtlety. They prefer to make a bold statement with their sound, placing instruments and vocals in a broad, albeit slightly less focused, sound field. This makes them more suited to larger rooms where their power and scale can be fully appreciated.

In terms of powering these speakers, the ELAC UB5's sensitivity is on the modest side, and they benefit from a quality amplifier to unlock their full potential. The Klipsch R-820F's, however, are highly efficient and can be driven to satisfying levels with less powerful amplifiers. This efficiency is a double-edged sword; while it makes them more versatile in terms of amp pairing, it can also make them sound too aggressive if not matched with the right equipment to tame their spirited nature.

To cap off this comparison, the choice between the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Klipsch Reference R-820F really boils down to the listener's preference and room requirements. The UB5's are a perfect fit for those seeking a nuanced and articulate sound in a modestly sized room, while the R-820F's are designed to fill larger spaces with their bold and dynamic presentation. Both speakers are impressive contenders in their respective categories, and either choice would be a testament to the owner's passion for quality sound reproduction.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-820F Tower Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-820F 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.