ELAC Uni-fi UB5 vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$500 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
12.81” × 7.94” × 12.19”
325mm × 202mm × 310mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
46-25,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the battle of bookshelf supremacy, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 punches above its weight with a coherent soundstage and precise imaging, courtesy of its concentric driver design. Meanwhile, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition celebrates legacy with its classic wood finish and warm, inviting sonics that harken back to the golden age of hi-fi. The Dentons offer a lush midrange, perfect for vocal lovers, while the UB5s excel in transparency and detail. Choosing between these two depends on personal taste: the UB5 for the analytical listener and the Denton for the vintage enthusiast craving auditory nostalgia.

Speaker Comparison

When we delve into the realm of high-fidelity audio, few things excite the audiophile community more than a head-to-head comparison of top-tier bookshelf speakers. In this case, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers stand as formidable competitors, each with their own set of loyal followers and acoustic merits. Both are celebrated for their sound quality and craftsmanship, yet they cater to slightly different audiences within the audiophile spectrum.

The Legacy of Sound

The Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary edition is a nod to the classic speaker design, both aesthetically and sonically. This model captures the essence of what has made the brand so iconic over the years: warm, rich tones that enshroud the listener in a blanket of comfortable, lush sound. The Dentons are characterized by their smooth midrange and a well-rounded bass that, while not overly aggressive, provides a satisfying depth and presence. Their retro look with a beautiful wood veneer finish is a visual treat, harkening back to the golden age of Hi-Fi.

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

The Modern Contender

On the flip side, the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 speakers represent a more contemporary approach to bookshelf speaker design. Helmed by the renowned audio designer Andrew Jones, the UB5s exude clarity and precision. They feature a concentric driver design, which allows for a more precise soundstage and imaging. This means that the UB5s excel in delivering an articulate and detailed sound that's hard to beat at their price point. They are unapologetically modern, both in appearance and in sound, with a more neutral tonal balance that appeals to listeners who crave detail and accuracy.

Build Quality and Components

The construction of the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 is robust, with a no-nonsense, sturdy cabinet and a custom-designed concentric driver that delivers an exceptional audio experience. The UB5's three-way design, featuring a separate woofer, midrange, and tweeter, allows for a more refined crossover and thus a purer sound. Conversely, the Wharfedale Dentons, while also well-built, rely on a two-way design with a woven Kevlar woofer that delivers their signature warm sound. The attention to detail in the Dentons is clear, with their vintage-inspired looks and anniversary edition badges adding to the collector's appeal.

Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th arrow (at Amazon.com)

When it comes to the user experience, the ELACs are a bit more demanding in terms of amplification. They have a lower sensitivity rating, which means they require a more powerful amp to truly shine. The Wharfedales, meanwhile, are more forgiving and easier to drive, making them a good match for a wider range of amplifiers. This is an important consideration for those who might not want to invest in additional high-powered amplification equipment.

In the Listening Room

Subjecting these two sets of speakers to the test of a listening room reveals their unique personalities. The ELAC Uni-fi UB5s, with their intricate detail retrieval, bring a level of nuance to recordings that can be revelatory. They excel with genres like jazz and classical, where the complexity of the music is laid bare. The Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers, with their velvety smooth sound profile, might be better suited for those who enjoy rock, folk, or any music where a warm, nostalgic sound is desired. They have a way of making old recordings feel new again, with a sound that's both inviting and comforting.

Ultimately, choosing between the ELAC Uni-fi UB5 and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speakers comes down to personal preference and the particulars of one's listening space and system. The UB5s may appeal to the purist seeking audible precision and a modern aesthetic, while the Dentons might be the choice for the aesthete looking for a timeless design and a warm, engaging sound. Both sets of speakers stand as a testament to their manufacturers' dedication to quality and audiophile standards, and either would be a worthy addition to any listener's home audio setup.

Check Current Prices:

ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
ELAC Uni-fi UB5 Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary 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.