ELAC Debut Reference DBR62 Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

Price: $700.00

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When it comes to audio equipment, the name ELAC has become synonymous with excellence and innovation. With a rich history dating back to 1926, ELAC has consistently pushed the boundaries of audio engineering, delivering top-notch components that captivate audiophiles worldwide. A key figure behind their recent success is the renowned speaker designer Andrew Jones, whose expertise has shaped the sound signature of many ELAC speakers, including the Debut Reference 62 bookshelf speakers (DBR62) (buy at Crutchfield). Even though Andrew has moved on to work with MoFi designing speakers, his legacy is still being realized in many of ELAC’s best-selling speakers today. 

In this review, we delve into the ELAC DBR62, a product that exemplifies ELAC’s commitment to quality and the art of sonic reproduction. With their exceptional performance and affordable price tag, these speakers have emerged as a vital player in the market, catering to both discerning enthusiasts and newcomers seeking an immersive audio experience.

ELAC DBR62 audiophile bookshelf speakers reviewed installed at Nasim Abu-Daggar's audiophile system
Take a look at the ELAC DBR62 installed in Nasim Abbu-Daggar’s reference audiophile system

What Makes the ELAC Debut Reference DBR62Bookshelf Speakers Special?

  • The DBR62 features custom-designed drivers specifically engineered for optimal performance. The 6.5-inch aramid fiber woofer delivers punchy and accurate bass response down to 44hz, while the one-inch soft dome tweeter ensures clear and detailed high frequencies.
  • ELAC has employed high-density fiberboard (HDF) in the construction of the cabinets. This choice of material reduces unwanted resonance and vibrations, resulting in a cleaner, more accurate sound reproduction. The cabinets include a front port, which increases the bass response of the speakers
  • The DBR62 offers a balanced sonic signature that is pleasing to a wide range of listeners.The midrange on these ELACs is particularly notable for its clarity, making vocals and instruments sound lifelike and engaging. The bass is tight and controlled, and the highs are detailed without being overly harsh. The frequency response is flat with a touch of warmth, which leads to a very natural and pleasing listening experience. 
  • Whether you enjoy classical music, rock, jazz, or any other genre, the ELAC DBR62 excels at reproducing a wide variety of audio content. Their versatility allows you to appreciate the subtle nuances of acoustic performances or the energetic impact of more dynamic genres.
  • The bookshelf form factor of the ELAC DBR62 speakers allows for easy placement in a variety of listening environments. They can be used as part of a stereo system or integrated into a home theater setup as front or surround speakers, providing flexibility and versatility in any configuration.
  • ELAC has paid attention to both the sonic and aesthetic qualities of this small speaker. The DBR62 boasts a sleek and modern design with a matte finish that enhances any room’s decor, adding a touch of sophistication to any audio setup. They come in two color ways: a more vintage-inspired two tone with a dark grey face and dark wood finish, and a modern lighter wood finish paired with a white face. 
ELAC DBR62 audiophile bookshelf speakers reviewed installed at Nasim Abu-Daggar's audiophile system
Here’s a view of the rear of the ELAC DBR62 audiophile bookshelf speaker.

Why Should You Care About the ELAC DBR62 Audiophile Bookshelf Speakers?

One compelling reason to take notice of the DBR62 speakers is their ability to deliver an incredible full-range sound experience when paired with a subwoofer. While these bookshelf speakers offer impressive bass response on their own, combining them with a dedicated subwoofer takes the listening experience to another level. The ELAC DBR62’s precise and articulate midrange and detailed highs, when complemented by a subwoofer’s low-frequency prowess, create a truly immersive and balanced soundstage. Whether you’re watching movies or enjoying your favorite music, the addition of a subwoofer fills in the lower frequencies, providing depth and impact that can elevate your audio enjoyment. This versatility allows the ELAC DBR62 speakers to adapt to various listening preferences, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a complete and captivating audio experience.

Some Things That You Might Not Like About the ELAC DBR62 

  • While the DBR62 delivers impressive bass for its size, its compact form factor limits its ability to reproduce extremely low frequencies with the same impact as larger floorstanding speakers. Audiophiles with a preference for deep, visceral bass and a disdain for subwoofers might find the ELAC DBR62’s bass response slightly lacking on its own. As discussed above, this is easily remedied by pairing with a subwoofer. Steven Stone just reviewed the ELAC Verro Reference RS500 sub (buy at Crutchfield) which is a likely excellent match if you really want to rock.  
  • Like most bookshelf speakers, the positioning of the ELAC DBR62 can significantly affect performance. Placing them too close to walls or in acoustically unfavorable environments may result in a loss of clarity or bloated bass. Careful consideration and experimentation with speaker placement are recommended to achieve optimal sound reproduction for any audiophile speaker, but especially with a speaker as resolute as these ELACs. 
  • Although the compact size of the ELAC DBR62 is a benefit for many, it may not be suitable for those who are looking for a more visually impressive speaker.
  • The DBR62 has a sensitivity of 86dB, which means that if you enjoy listening to your music loud, you’ll want to make sure to grab a high-power amplifier. 

Listening to the ELAC DBR62 Bookshelf Speakers

I use the ELAC DBR62s in my home setup, driven by my Yamaha A-S301 integrated amplifier, paired with an SVS SB-1000 subwoofer. My source when listening critically is always lossless FLAC files or Compact Discs. 

Where these speakers really excel is the midrange. On The Beatles “When I’m Sixty-Four” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, McCartney’s vocals are incredibly life-like and musical. The slight warmth of the speakers gives the lead vocal a really buttery smooth sound that is very easy to listen to yet accurate and detailed as compared to other small-ish speakers I’ve listened to in this price range. 

“When I am 64” From The Beatles Sgt. Peppers

Pairing that excellent midrange with fantastic imaging makes tracks like Pink Floyd’s “Is There Anybody Out There” from The Wall an incredible trippy experience, where the listener is really transported into an atmospheric, sonic environment. You can very clearly place Roger Waters’ voice dead center in the room singing “Is there anybody…” and so when a background of many voices surrounding the listener reply “out there” it can give even seasoned audiophiles goosebumps. These speakers imagine like few others in their class or price range. 

“Is There Anybody Out There” from The Wall by Pink Floyd

Listening to a modern electronic piece “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals is a treat via the ELAC DBR62. The speakers can get loud and retain the clarity and image of the vocals while producing a lot of punchy bass. Listening in an appropriately sized room, even without a subwoofer, this song sounds great in terms of low-end extension and even better when nicely paired with a modest subwoofer. 

Who Competes with the ELAC DBR62 Bookshelf Speaker?

If looks are important, and the ELAC design language does not agree with you, the Focal Chora 806 Loudspeaker ($600) makes an excellent alternative. It is another bookshelf speaker with a 6.5-inch woofer and a front port. Although the mid-bass may be a little too congested for some, the speaker excels at spatial imaging and high-frequency performance.

The KEF Q150 ($600) speakers are highly regarded for their exceptional clarity and imaging. With a Uni-Q driver array that places the tweeter in the acoustic center of the woofer, these speakers offer an immersive soundstage and precise stereo imaging. While the Q150 speakers provide a similar level of detail and accuracy to the ELAC DBR62, they may require a little more power to reach their full sonic potential.

The Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 ($500) speakers are known for their warm and rich sound. They excel in reproducing vocals and midrange frequencies with depth and naturalness. While the ELAC offers a more balanced and detailed sound, the Wharfedale provides a slightly more laid-back and relaxed presentation. Additionally, the Wharfedale speakers may not have the same level of build quality as the DBR62.

The Monitor Audio Bronze 100 ($725) boasts a refined sound with an emphasis on detail and clarity. The company’s C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) drivers deliver an articulate and engaging performance. While the Bronze 100 speakers offer impressive clarity and detail similar to the DBR62, they may not have the same level of bass response and overall dynamic impact.

The Klipsch RP-600M ($439) is known for its lively and energetic sound signature, thanks to its horn-loaded tweeters. It offers excellent efficiency and can deliver powerful sound even with lower-powered amplifiers. While the RP-600M speakers provide a more dynamic and energetic presentation, the DBR62 speakers offer a more balanced and accurate sound reproduction across the audible spectrum.

Each of these competing bookshelf speakers brings its own strengths and sound characteristics to the table. While the ELAC DBR62 holds its ground with its impressive build quality, balanced sound, and affordability, the choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and priorities in terms of sound signature, design, and specific use cases.

ELAC DBR62 audiophile bookshelf speakers reviewed installed at Nasim Abu-Daggar's audiophile system
ELAC DBR62 audiophile bookshelf speakers in black

Do the ELAC DBR62 Bookshelf Speakers Have Any Resale Value?

Yes, the ELAC DBR62s will absolutely retain value. On the secondhand market, used pairs of go for around $400. Because of their bookshelf form factor, they are relatively easy to ship compared to floorstanding speakers, which makes them even more appealing from a resale perspective. 

Final Thoughts on the ELAC DBR62 Audiophile Loudspeaker

The DBR62’s ability to reproduce sound with astonishing clarity and precision is truly remarkable at this price point. Whether you’re listening to your favorite music tracks or immersing yourself in a thrilling movie, these speakers excel in delivering a captivating audio experience. The balanced and detailed soundstage is truly a delight to the ears, and the build quality of the DBR62 is top-notch, reflecting ELAC’s commitment to producing high-quality audio equipment. The cabinets are solidly constructed, minimizing resonance and ensuring that the sound remains pure and uncolored. The attention to detail in both the design and construction is evident, resulting in a visually appealing and acoustically impressive product. For audiophiles building a setup with a budget of $1,000 to $2,000 all in, these speakers are hard to beat. 

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Erin at Erin’s Audio Corner on YT measured & compared the B62, DBR62 & UBR62 &, the DBR was his favourite!
I prefer the lean but tuneful bass of the B62, it’s also a lot cheaper. Horses for courses, there’s an ass for every seat.

jeff kalina

Please include the country of origin in the first paragraph of all reviews. I know these are made in china having owned the Reference version. Thank you. Good review.

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