Reviews

Review: Elac Concentro S 503 Bookshelf Speaker – Remarkable Sonic Attributes

Review: Elac Concentro S 503 Bookshelf Speaker - Remarkable Sonic Attributes - "Explore the transformative audio journey with Elac Concentro S 503, a speaker uniting sonic excellence, innovative features, and aesthetic sophistication."

Introduction

Embarking on a sonic journey often requires a companion that effortlessly combines craftsmanship, innovation, and an immersive auditory experience. The Elac Concentro S 503 steps into this role with a unique narrative, beginning with an unexpected incident that led the author to appreciate the significance of lightweight speakers. The subsequent exploration of these compact wonders, weighing 13 kilograms each, unfolds into a detailed review, shedding light on their design finesse, technical marvels, and the intriguing experimentation they offer to audiophiles.

Intricately crafted and visually stunning, the Elac Concentro S 503 captures attention with its walnut finish and high-gloss lacquer and introduces a novel approach to sound customization. As we delve into the technical specifications, the speaker’s origins from the acclaimed Concentro series and its incorporation of advanced technologies promise a sonic adventure that transcends traditional expectations. Join us as we delve into the nuanced facets of this speaker, examining its performance across genres and applauding its ability to reveal hidden details within the realms of music. The Elac Concentro S 503 beckons enthusiasts to rediscover the joy of pristine audio, offering a compelling blend of elegance and sonic prowess.

Founded in Kiel, Germany, Elac is a venerable name in the world of audio craftsmanship, boasting a legacy of over 90 years. Renowned for its commitment to innovation and precision, Elac has consistently pushed the boundaries of audio technology, delivering a range of speakers that redefine the listening experience. The company’s roots in Kiel are deeply embedded, with the entire Concentro series, including the distinctive Elac Concentro S 503, proudly manufactured in this coastal city. Elac’s dedication to quality is not merely confined to the auditory realm. Still, it is also evident in the aesthetic allure of its speakers, exemplified by the fine wood finishes, high-gloss lacquers, and meticulous design that characterizes each product. As Elac continues to shape the future of audio, its heritage, coupled with a forward-thinking approach, cements its status as a trailblazer in premium audio solutions.

Product Specifications

TypePassive – 3-way, bass reflex
Transport volumetric dimensions70
Frequency range34 Hz – 50000 Hz
Impedance4 Ohm
Recommended amplifier power60 W – 500 W
Crossover frequency400 | 2600 Hz
Low-frequency speaker1 x Jet 5c
Medium frequency speaker1 x 2 in
Low frequency speaker1 x 7 mm
Midrange1 x 50 | 130mm Ø, AS-XR AL Cone
Tweeter1x JET 5c
Nominal | Peak Power Handling240 W | 300 W
Minimum impedance4.8 Ω at 120 Hz
High-frequency speaker1 x 180 mm Ø, AS-XR Cone
Dimensions with base (HxWxD)225 x 400 x 372 mm
Accessories includedbi-wiring set, gloves, tip set, washer
Weight12.9 kg
ColorBlack High Gloss, White High Gloss, Walnut High Gloss
Suitable for amplifiers from… to:4 – 8 Ω
Sensitivity88 dB at 2,83 V/m
Accessories IncludedBi-Wiring Set, 3 DCR (Directivity Control Ring )

Unboxing Elegance

Embarking on the journey of unboxing the Elac Concentro S 503 is an experience that seamlessly blends anticipation with sheer aesthetic delight. The packaging exudes a sense of care and attention, setting the stage for what lies within. As the layers unfurl, revealing the meticulously crafted speakers, the observer is greeted by an exquisite walnut variant that immediately captures the eye. The fine wood finish is not merely a superficial embellishment but a testament to Elac’s dedication to craftsmanship. The high-gloss lacquer adds a touch of luxury, elevating the visual appeal to a level of sophistication.

Beyond the visual allure, the inclined design of the speakers introduces an element of dynamism, creating a sense of movement even in their stationary state. This inclination is mirrored in the accompanying speaker stand, enhancing the overall aesthetic coherence. Including specialized gloves and cleaning cloths demonstrates Elac’s commitment to preserving the pristine elegance of the product. Each element, from the packaging to the final presentation, contributes to an unboxing experience that transcends the ordinary, unveiling speakers and a curated embodiment of sonic and visual luxury.

Craftsmanship and Design

The Elac Concentro S 503 is a testament to the meticulous artistry and unparalleled craftsmanship that defines its construction. At first glance, the attention to detail in its design is unmistakable, showcasing a level of finesse that elevates it to the pinnacle of audio aesthetics. The choice of materials, notably in the visually captivating walnut variant, is a harmonious blend of functionality and elegance. The fine wood finish is not just a surface treatment; it embodies the essence of precision, revealing a seamless integration of form and function.

The high-gloss lacquer, whether in the sophisticated walnut or classic black and white options, is more than a visual flourish; it is a tactile experience that communicates the commitment to excellence. The inclined shape, a deliberate design choice, imparts a dynamic flair, creating an illusion of movement and ensuring that these speakers are not mere audio devices but also visual statements. The matching speaker stand, crafted with equal attention, complements this design ethos, creating a cohesive and visually pleasing ensemble.

Moreover, Elac’s commitment to protecting this aesthetic masterpiece is evident in the provision of specialized gloves and cleaning cloths. This thoughtful inclusion reflects an understanding of the materials’ delicacy and underscores the desire to preserve the sober elegance of the product. In essence, the craftsmanship and design of the Elac Concentro S 503 transcend the realm of audio equipment, embodying a fusion of artistic sensibility and engineering prowess that captivates both eyes and ears.

Technical Marvels

The Elac Concentro S 503 emerges as a pinnacle of audio engineering, seamlessly integrating technical marvels that redefine the boundaries of sonic excellence. Drawing inspiration from its larger Concentro siblings, this compact speaker mirrors the grandeur of its lineage with a host of advanced features.

At the heart of its technical prowess lies the 180 mm woofer, featuring the AS-XR crystal membrane. With its eye-catching faceted surface structure, this crystal-clear membrane is more than a visual spectacle; it represents a leap in material technology. The aluminum sandwich construction of the chassis, achieved through a meticulous adhesive process, underscores Elac’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of speaker design. The reduction of material thickness to an astonishing 0.125 mm, coupled with Long Linear Drive (LLD) technology, ensures unparalleled lifting movements even in high-load operation.

The coaxial “stepX-JET” chassis, housing the new JET-5c tweeter and a midrange driver with an aluminum membrane, exemplifies Elac’s dedication to sonic precision. The intricate meander-shaped foil membrane, folded partly by hand and partly by robots, is a testament to the marriage of craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. The North Germans’ proprietary “Directivity Control Ring” technology, allowing for manipulating midrange radiation behavior, introduces an unprecedented level of adaptability to room acoustics and personal preferences.

Furthermore, including interchangeable rings for the midrange driver adds a layer of customization rarely seen in speakers. This innovation, coupled with Elac’s comprehensive explanation of each ring’s effects, allows users to tailor the speaker’s sound profile to their specific room dimensions and listening preferences.

The Elac Concentro S 503 is more than a speaker; it’s a symphony of technological ingenuity, marrying advanced materials, precision engineering, and innovative customization options to deliver a sonic experience transcending conventional boundaries.

Experimenting with Sound

One of the standout features of the Elac Concentro S 503 lies in its commitment to offering a personalized sonic experience through innovative experimentation. This auditory exploration begins with the bi-wiring connection panel, featuring bridges already installed for convenience. The user-friendly design reflects Elac’s dedication to ensuring an accessible and enjoyable experience.

A unique aspect of experimentation comes to the forefront with the incorporation of the “Directivity Control Ring” (DCR) technology, a distinctive feature derived from Elac’s more prominent floor-standing speakers. This patented technology allows users to influence the radiation behavior in the midrange, offering a rare degree of adaptability to room acoustics and individual taste.

The inclusion of three interchangeable rings, each with its characteristics – “Neutral,” “Focus,” and “Spacious” – opens up a realm of sonic customization. These rings, supplied in small fabric bags, are accessories for tailoring the sound profile. Elac’s thoughtful provision of an information sheet detailing the effects of each ring empowers users to make informed choices based on their room size and listening preferences.

Experimenting with these rings is not just a technical exercise; it is an invitation for users to engage with their auditory experience actively. Whether seeking a balanced ratio of direct and diffuse sound or aiming for more immediate or diffuse output based on room dimensions, the user-friendly nature of this feature encourages exploration. The quick and easy process of changing the rings adds a dynamic element to the listening experience, allowing users to fine-tune their audio environment to perfection.

Elac’s emphasis on experimenting with sound transforms listening into a personalization journey. Incorporating interchangeable rings exemplifies the brand’s commitment to empowering users to sculpt their auditory landscape, ensuring that the Elac Concentro S 503 delivers impeccable sound and becomes a versatile canvas for sonic exploration.

Sonic Prowess

The sonic prowess of the Elac Concentro S 503 is a symphony of precision, power, and depth, marking it as a formidable contender in the realm of high-end audio. At the forefront of its sonic arsenal is the 180 mm woofer, adorned with the AS-XR crystal membrane. With its eye-catching faceted surface structure, this technological marvel delivers a kick bass that is sensational. Smooth, fast, and remarkably precise, the Elac’s bass performance is addictive, reaching astonishing depths down to 34 Hertz with a controlled richness that defies its compact size.

The speaker’s ability to maintain composure even at high volumes is a testament to its engineering excellence. The bass remains detailed and controlled, avoiding any tendency to drone or soften. The Elac Concentro S 503 asserts its dominance not just in the clarity of its bass but in its ability to navigate complex musical landscapes with finesse.

This prowess extends to the treble, where the “stepX-JET” coaxial chassis comes into play. The JET-5c tweeter, a product of decades of refinement, delivers high-resolution details with an openness that is both captivating and immersive. The precision of the Elac extends beyond mere technicalities; it translates into a nuanced portrayal of shades and impulses. Whether delving into the rhythmic intricacies of a drumming sequence or navigating the delicate intricacies of a hi-hat and cymbal playback, the Elac stays true to its promise of clarity without veering into excessive brightness.

The Elac Concentro S 503 dynamics are best described as fast and precise, transcending the conventional boundaries of compact speakers. It gallops through musical passages with a level of energy that is both engaging and exhilarating. Compared to its peers, such as the Nubert nuBoxx B-60 or the compact Harbeth P3ESR, the Elac stands out with a dynamic prowess that captivates the listener.

In the realm of imaging, the Elac Concentro S 503 astounds with a vast stereo panorama that extends beyond the physical boundaries of the speakers. This immersive experience creates “walls of sound,” enveloping the listener in a three-dimensional sonic tapestry. Instruments’ meticulous depth gradation and precise location ability further enhance the overall spatial impression, providing a vivid and lifelike listening experience.

The Elac Concentro S 503, with its dynamic kick bass, high-resolution treble, and an expansive soundstage, achieves a sonic prowess that transcends expectations. It is not just a speaker; it is a powerhouse of audio excellence, offering a level of performance that redefines the possibilities within its price and size class.

Musical Journey

Embarking on a musical journey with the Elac Concentro S 503 unveils a captivating expedition through diverse genres, each revealing unique facets of the speaker’s sonic character. As the Curses album “Incarnadine” notes unfold, the Elac immerses the listener in a mesmerizing mix of EBM, techno, synth-pop, new wave, and gothic. Tracks like “Boundless” and “Smoke” breathe life into the room, showcasing the Elac’s ability to render intricate layers of bass with addictive precision. This bass-heavy album’s sheer agility and depth resonate in a way that transcends mere listening, transforming the musical experience into a visceral journey.

Shifting gears to the Traitrs album “Horses In The Abattoir,” the Elac unravels the nuances of wave and post-punk, adorned with vocals reminiscent of Robert Smith. Despite the recording’s slightly musty and swampy production, the Elac imparts a clarity that brings forth the raw energy and emotional nuances embedded in the music. The transparency and high-resolution detail retrieval allow the Elac Concentro S 503 to tease out elements in recordings that might be overlooked on other systems.

The Elac truly shines in its versatility, effortlessly adapting to various musical styles, including rock and metal. The acoustic EP “Jar Of Flies” by Alice In Chains unfolds with transparency and high resolution, showcasing natural instruments with exceptional transparency and high resolution. The Elac’s sober and matter-of-fact midrange presentation, while less rich in fundamental warmth, serves as a canvas for the listener to explore the intricacies of acoustic arrangements, providing a refreshing perspective on familiar tracks.

In its exploration of diverse musical landscapes, the Elac Concentro S 503 emerges as a chameleon, adapting to the unique characteristics of each genre. Its ability to communicate the essence of the music while maintaining a neutral and precise presentation makes it a companion for an expansive musical journey, revealing new layers and details in every track. The Elac isn’t just a conduit for sound; it is an interpreter, unraveling the intricacies of each musical narrative with a finesse that elevates the overall listening experience to a realm of sonic discovery.

Notable Characteristics

The Elac Concentro S 503 has a constellation of notable characteristics that converge to define its identity as a standout performer in high-end audio. Among its distinctive features is an unparalleled ability to unravel delicate nuances within music, exposing hidden layers and subtleties that might escape notice on conventional speakers. This characteristic transforms listening into a meticulous exploration, offering audiophiles an immersive experience of discovering intricate details within their favorite tracks.

The speaker’s versatility is crucial, adapting seamlessly to various music genres and production styles. From the bass-driven rhythms of the Curses album “Incarnadine” to the more subdued tones of Traitrs’ “Horses In The Abattoir,” the Elac Concentro S 503 effortlessly navigates the diverse musical landscape, delivering an authentic representation that transcends genre boundaries. Its ability to reproduce both the raw energy of rock and metal and the finesse of acoustic arrangements underscores its adaptability and broad appeal.

The Elac Concentro S 503 stands out in sonic customization with its innovative “Directivity Control Ring” technology. Including interchangeable rings introduces a layer of experimentation, allowing users to tailor the speaker’s sound profile to their specific room dimensions and listening preferences. This level of adaptability ensures that the Elac isn’t just a static audio device but a dynamic tool for shaping the auditory environment according to individual tastes.

The Elac Concentro S 503’s notable characteristics extend to its impressive soundstage, which defies expectations for a compact speaker. A vast stereo panorama stretching beyond physical boundaries creates an enveloping “wall of sound” that captivates the listener. Instruments’ meticulous depth gradation and precise location ability contribute to a three-dimensional sonic image transcending traditional spatial limitations.

The Elac Concentro S 503’s notable characteristics go beyond technical specifications; they encapsulate a holistic approach to the auditory experience. From its ability to reveal hidden details to its adaptability across musical genres and innovative customization options, the Elac Concentro S 503 emerges as a speaker that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of discerning audiophiles.

Functionality

The Elac Concentro S 503 dazzles with its sonic prowess and stands out for its intuitive functionality and versatile connectivity options, offering users a seamless and user-friendly experience. The bi-wiring connection panel, adorned with bridges already installed, simplifies the setup process, catering to both seasoned audiophiles and those new to high-end audio systems.

Including a bass reflex opening strategically positioned above contributes to the speaker’s functionality by enhancing the low-frequency performance. This thoughtful design choice ensures an optimal balance between the drivers, resulting in a well-defined and controlled bass response. Additionally, the careful placement of the bass reflex opening allows for versatile speaker placement, accommodating various room configurations without compromising performance.

Moreover, the Elac Concentro S 503 doesn’t just offer a premium listening experience—it invites users to engage actively with the speaker’s sonic character. The innovative “Directivity Control Ring” technology introduces an element of adaptability, enabling users to influence the radiation behavior in the midrange. Including three interchangeable rings—Neutral, Focus, and Spacious—allows users to fine-tune the speaker’s sound profile according to their room size and personal preferences.

Regarding connectivity, the Elac Concentro S 503 showcases a bi-wiring configuration with bridges already in place, allowing users to connect to their preferred amplification system effortlessly. This flexible connectivity option is a nod to Elac’s commitment to accommodating diverse audio setups. The speaker also maintains a bi-wiring connection panel, adding an extra layer of versatility for users seeking to refine their audio experience further.

The functionality and connectivity options of the Elac Concentro S 503 thus extend beyond mere technical specifications, embodying a user-centric design philosophy. Whether simplifying the setup process or empowering users to customize the speaker’s sound characteristics, Elac has seamlessly woven functionality and connectivity into the fabric of this audio masterpiece, ensuring that it performs at the highest echelon and offers a delightful and accessible user experience.

Usability

The usability of the Elac Concentro S 503 is characterized by a combination of thoughtful design and unique features, making it a standout choice for audiophiles seeking both performance and user-friendly functionality. One of its distinctive features is the inclusion of the “Directivity Control Ring” technology, allowing users to tailor the speaker’s midrange radiation behavior. With three interchangeable rings, this innovative addition introduces a level of customization rarely found in speakers, enabling users to adapt the sound profile to suit their room acoustics and personal preferences.

Beyond its customizable sonic characteristics, the Elac Concentro S 503’s usability extends to its straightforward setup. The bi-wiring connection panel, equipped with pre-installed bridges, streamlines the installation process, catering to seasoned enthusiasts and those new to high-end audio setups. This simplicity in connectivity ensures that users can quickly integrate the speakers into their audio systems without complex adjustments.

Including specialized gloves and cleaning cloths underscores Elac’s commitment to preserving the aesthetic elegance of the speakers. This attention to detail enhances the user experience during the unboxing process and reflects a dedication to maintaining the pristine appearance of the speakers over time. The walnut finish, high-gloss lacquer, and the inclined design contribute to a visually pleasing and user-friendly aesthetic.

Moreover, the usability of the Elac Concentro S 503 is elevated by its adaptability to various musical genres and recording styles. From the bass-driven rhythms of electronic music to the subtleties of acoustic arrangements, the speaker seamlessly accommodates diverse preferences, providing a versatile listening experience.

The Elac Concentro S 503’s usability is a harmonious blend of practical features and advanced customization options. Its user-friendly design and unique features like the “Directivity Control Ring” technology ensure that users experience exceptional audio quality and have the tools to tailor the speakers to their individual preferences. Elac’s commitment to sonic excellence and user satisfaction culminates in a speaker that transcends the conventional boundaries of usability, offering a truly engaging and personalized audio journey.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Elac Concentro S 503 emerges as a paragon of audio excellence, seamlessly marrying technical innovation with an unwavering commitment to user satisfaction. Its sonic prowess, characterized by a dynamic kick bass, high-resolution treble, and an expansive soundstage, redefines expectations within its price and size class. The ability to effortlessly navigate diverse musical genres and recording styles, coupled with the innovative “Directivity Control Ring” technology, positions the Elac Concentro S 503 as a versatile and customizable audio companion.

Beyond its remarkable sonic attributes, the speaker’s craftsmanship and design elevate it to a realm of aesthetic sophistication. The meticulous attention to detail, from the fine wood finish to the inclined shape, reflects Elac’s dedication to form and function. The usability of the Elac Concentro S 503, manifested in its user-friendly setup and unique features, transforms the act of listening into a personalized journey of sonic exploration. Whether adapting to room acoustics or refining sound preferences, the Elac Concentro S 503 is a beacon of innovation and artistry in high-end audio, inviting users to immerse themselves in an unparalleled auditory experience.

Reasons to Buy:

  1. Exceptional Sonic Prowess: The Elac Concentro S 503 delivers a powerful and nuanced audio experience, boasting impressive kick bass and high-resolution treble.
  2. Versatility Across Genres: Adaptability to diverse musical genres and recording styles ensures a versatile listening experience for different preferences.
  3. Innovative Customization: The “Directivity Control Ring” technology offers a unique customization feature, allowing users to tailor the sound profile to their preferences.
  4. Craftsmanship and Design: Meticulous craftsmanship, fine wood finish, and an inclined shape contribute to an aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated speaker design.
  5. User-Friendly Setup: Streamlined bi-wiring connection panel with pre-installed bridges ensures easy setup, catering to audiophiles and newcomers.

Reasons Not to Buy:

  1. Neutral Midrange: The Elac Concentro S 503’s midrange presentation tends to be more matter-of-fact, lacking the warmth and richness preferred by some listeners.
  2. Studio Monitor Aesthetics: Its design, resembling studio monitors, may not appeal to those seeking speakers with a more traditional, warm, or euphonic sound signature.
  3. Premium Price: The high-end price tag might deter budget-conscious buyers from considering other lower-priced options.
  4. Limited Color Options: While the walnut and high-gloss black/white variants exude elegance, the limited color choices might not suit all aesthetic preferences.
  5. Space Requirement: To fully appreciate its deep bass, the Elac Concentro S 503 may require more space, potentially posing a challenge in smaller rooms.

Read More

Read more reviews of Elac products