We’ve been enjoying the open, transparent sound of ELAC’s ARB-51 bookshelf speakers for a while now, so we were excited to see the company expand on that success. The floor-standing ARF-51 offers a total of three 5-1/4″ aluminum woofers, plus a 4″ midrange with concentrically mounted 1″ soft-dome tweeter. It’s basically more of a very good thing.
Note: Navis ARF-51 powered speakers do not have a volume control. If connected directly to a fixed output source, the volume will be at maximum level and may damage the speakers and your hearing. Only use these speakers with variable output sources and/or a preamplifier like the NAD C 165BEE.
The ELAC Navis speaker features handy EQ switches on the back panel, so you can tweak the sound to suit your unique listening space.
In audio-design lingo, these speakers are “three-way” — with dedicated woofers handling the bass frequencies, plus a separate midrange and tweeter. To make sure each driver section does its job with maximum efficiency and precision, ELAC gave them individual amplifiers, each with their own power supply. There’s 160 watts for the woofers, 100 watts for the midrange driver, and 40 for the tweeter.
All analog, all the way
ELAC’s Navis lineup makes one major departure from the usual design approach used by others in their class. They don’t use DSP (digital signal processing), so input from an analog source — like a nice turntable — never gets digitized. This approach keeps the signal as pure and uncolored as possible.
Wired and wireless connectivity
Ever the innovators, ELAC created their own wireless protocol called AirX that helps solve a specific bothersome issue: “Usually when you’re on Wi-Fi, the only way to synchronize the left and right speaker is to run a cable between them,” said Andrew Jones, ELAC’s chief designer. “We don’t have to do that.” The ELAC Discovery Connect (not included) provides a robust streaming platform for Spotify® Connect, Bluetooth®, Apple® AirPlay® and Roon, so you can eliminate one more wire from your system.
For making wired connections to your preamp or audio source, each speaker has a single unbalanced RCA input and a single balanced XLR input.
The final piece of the puzzle when trying to get the best sound out of any pair of speakers is finding out how they sound in your unique listening space. Each ARF-51 comes with its own separate EQ switches on the back for adjusting high-, mid-, and low-frequency response. “You can match the sound to your environment,” said Mr. Jones.
Each individual tower also has a switchable high-pass filter that can be set “flat” to get the most out of the speakers alone, or switched to cut off at 60 Hz or 80 Hz for easy integration with a subwoofer. A subwoofer can be added to your system via your preamplifier’s subwoofer output.
Inside each Navis Bookshelf Loudspeaker is a Tri-Amp Pure Analog Amplifier, employing three separate amps for each transducer: a 160-watt BASH AB amplifier for the woofer, a 100-watt BASH AB amplifier for the midrange, and a 40-watt Class AB amplifier for the tweeter. A total amplifier power of 300 watts ensures that each transducer is optimally—and amply—powered, eliminating clipping and crossover distortion, and driving each transducer with authority. Specs like a 110 dBA signal-to-noise ratio and 100 uV noise floor could only come from such audiophile-quality amps!
Local inputs include balanced XLR, RCA and Wireless, when used with ELAC’s Discovery Connect wireless transmitter to stream Discovery, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, AirPlay and Roon. Just switch Wireless “Off” for a no-compromise analog input and output.
Navis’s elegant design integrates perfectly with any interior. Its enclosure has a fine-furniture finish, available in Gloss Black, Gloss White and Wood Veneer. A dedicated floor stand completes the installation, and is recommended for optimum
All New Custom Designed Midrange/Tweeter
One reason the Navis sounds so natural is because of its in-house developed transducer, a 4-inch aluminum midrange driver with a concentrically mounted 1-inch soft-dome tweeter. Combined, this signature configuration lets Navis set the performance standard for its class.