Elac Fs247 Sapphire Edition (£3000)

Classy German design matches fine build to engaging sonics

Elac’s F247 Sapphire is finished with the sumptuous attention to detail. A slim, elegant floorstander boasts an eye-catching front baffle and mirror-like piano black finish. Elac’s signature JET tweeter and a pair of its multifaceted aluminium mid/bass drivers are fitted.
   These unusual cones are an aluminium sandwich design with cellulose filling, shaped to reduce unwanted vibrations. The voice-coil is bonded to both the cone neck and the rear aluminium membrane, which Elac claims extends bandwidth. The crossover has its heavyweight coils on a separate board, all wired together with cable from The Chord Company.
   The cabinet itself is dual-ported with a large aperture firing straight down into the gap between plinth and cabinet, and another high on the cabinet rear. There’s a solid rubber port bung for fine-tuning the LF response. Results with this proved highly dependent on the speaker’s room position. Our eventual compromise was to bring the speakers some 1.5m away from the rear walls and leave the bungs out – any closer and there was a slight clouding of the upper bass.
   More interesting is the JET tweeter Dispersion Control tuning element. This comprises four metal clips fitted radially around the tweeter to hold in place a velvet-covered foam ‘doughnut’. As the JET tweeter has a very wide horizontal dispersion pattern, this kit is intended for small or very lively rooms where too many sidewall reflections could confuse the image.
   There’s a choice of cloth or all-metal grille – the latter rather ‘industrial’ for UK tastes. The plinth is fully lacquered to match the cabinet and has both stainless steel spike cones and tough silicone inserts for hard floors.

The F247 Sapphire sounds clean, crisp and seamlessly well balanced throughout the top end of the spectrum with wide, wide, projection. The result is a soundstage you can measure in acres with a very generous listening sweet-spot. That JET tweeter is breathtakingly sweet and articulate.
   The hard acoustic guitar on ‘Liar’s Dance’ from Robert Plant’s Manic Nirvana, for instance, was delivered with lightningfast leading edge attack and the track filled the room with genuine threedimensional presence.The sound of fingers sliding over the strings was immaculately detailed and built on the song’s passion and intensity.
   You could slide across the sofa with barely a change in tone or focus, with parts of the soundstage projected so far into the room they created an almost surround-sound effect. Plant’s dulcet tones joined the mix at the front of the stage, making up for slightly loose focus with power and a wonderfully dynamic edge. Even on compressed pop the Elacs seemed to dig into the music and project it into the room with superb air and space.

The FS247 combines the sweetness and ultra-wide imaging of Elac’s proprietary JET tweeter with pace and neutrality across the rest of the spectrum. Impressive from the outset, it is about as music-genre agnostic as loudspeakers get and very easy to live with.

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Originally published in the Yearbook 2011