ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. Klipsch Reference R-51M

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
$500 $350
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
13.00” × 7.00” × 8.56”
330mm × 178mm × 217mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 62-21,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of bookshelf speakers, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 presents a refined, audiophile-grade experience with its concentric driver design, offering a seamless blend of treble and midrange, while the Klipsch Reference R-51M energizes the room with dynamic punch and the distinctive Klipsch horn-loaded tweeter's lively sparkle. The UB5 leans towards a warmer, more sophisticated sound, demanding critical listening, whereas the R-51M delivers more immediate excitement, ideal for rocking out. Both claim their own loyal followers, with ELAC catering to the detail-oriented listener and Klipsch appealing to those craving more visceral impact.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to bookshelf speakers, audiophiles are often in search of the perfect balance between size and performance. Two contenders that have sparked interest in the hi-fi community are the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Klipsch Reference R-51M. Each with its own set of strengths, these speakers offer distinct sound signatures to the discerning listener.

Let's begin with the ELAC Uni-fi UB5. Designed by the renowned Andrew Jones, these speakers boast a concentric driver design. This unique approach places the tweeter in the center of the midrange woofer, aiming for a more accurate and cohesive sound that emanates from a single point. This meticulous design yields a soundstage that is both precise and expansive, allowing for an immersive listening experience.

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

On the other hand, the Klipsch Reference R-51M offers a different approach to sound reproduction. Klipsch is well-known for its horn-loaded tweeter design, which is meant to deliver a more dynamic and efficient output. The R-51M speakers come equipped with Klipsch's proprietary Tractrix horn technology, paired with aluminum tweeters for a crisp and clear high-frequency response. The result is a speaker that projects sound with vigor and can fill a room with ease.

Build Quality and Design

When it comes to build quality, both speakers have much to offer. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5 features a sophisticated three-way design and is constructed with quality MDF that lends a sense of sturdiness to the cabinets. Aesthetically, the UB5 presents a clean and modern look, finished with a black brushed vinyl that's both understated and elegant.

Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M arrow (at Amazon.com)

In contrast, the Klipsch R-51M comes with a more traditional appearance, exuding a classic charm that is characteristic of Klipsch speakers. The MDF cabinets are reinforced and finished with a textured wood grain vinyl, giving it a durable and rugged feel. Visually, the copper-spun IMG woofers against the black cabinet provide a striking look that is instantly recognizable as Klipsch.

Performance and Sound Characteristics

Diving deeper into the sound characteristics, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 reveals its proficiency in delivering a balanced and neutral sound profile. The bass response, while not earth-shattering, is tight and well-defined. Midrange frequencies are rendered with an organic warmth and clarity, which makes vocal performances particularly captivating. The highs are detailed without being overly bright, allowing for extended listening sessions without fatigue.

The Klipsch R-51M, with its emphasis on efficiency and dynamic range, presents a bolder sound. The bass is punchy and more pronounced, which might appeal to those who favor a robust low-end. The midrange is clear, though some might find it a tad less nuanced than the UB5's. High frequencies are vibrant and energetic, benefiting from the Tractrix horn's ability to articulate the finer details of a recording. For listeners who enjoy a lively and forward presentation, the R-51M delivers in spades.

Room Acoustics and Placement

Both speakers will interact differently with room acoustics, and placement can play a significant role in their performance. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5's three-way design and concentric driver layout make it somewhat more demanding in terms of getting the placement right for optimal soundstage and imaging. They may benefit from some breathing room away from walls to control bass response and to allow the sound to unfold naturally.

The Klipsch R-51M is less finicky about placement, thanks in part to its horn-loaded design, which is adept at distributing sound throughout a room. These speakers are forgiving with positioning and can perform exceptionally well even when placed closer to room boundaries. This versatility makes the R-51M a suitable choice for a variety of room sizes and layouts.

Ultimately, the decision between the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Klipsch Reference R-51M bookshelf speakers will hinge on personal taste and the specific needs of one's listening environment. Whether one prefers the UB5's refined and articulate soundstage or the R-51M's dynamic and room-filling presence, both speakers stand as testaments to the vibrant diversity within the world of high-fidelity audio.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-51M 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.