Audio & TV

ELAC Air-X 409 in the Test

ELAC active speakers series air-X grows – up! The air-X 409 comes for the first time a full-blown stand box digital wireless honor and competes with real high change in the test thanks to three-way technique and amp power.

At active speakers from the Studio and musicians use, which have long become the standard, excessive blinking ads, lights and all sorts of shenanigans include now de rigueur. So, as they wanted to celebrate their superiority over passive models light too strong.

The air-X series of ELAC is, however, still on the understatement. Only one blue or white luminous LED next to the tweeter points depending on the condition, that the new top model air-X 409 with a full cargo of active electronics is equipped and thus eliminates the need by the way the most components of a classic HiFi chain.

Basic model of active wireless variant was the passive FS 409 a full 3.5-way box with which the air-X chassis, and housing shares. Instead of a conventional terminals and passive crossover, a particularly sophisticated active electronics unit but inside the rear Chamber of the air-X. This takes, as have the smaller sister models 403 and 407, signals both digital-wireless by an optional, ELAC’s own TV station contrary to as well as analog via RCA or XLR Cable. With the supplied remote control can be easily back between the sources and switch on and off. even the parallel use of up to three transmitters is possible. This is especially handy if you between the channels of sound from PC, TV and CD player and toggle wants.

Audiophile Ernst

That sounds like a hint of Multiroom comfort and gimmick, far away from audiophile seriousness. But it lacks the large air-X 409 by no means! A 300 Watt came to the already known amplifier branch of 407 now strong power amplifier module in ICE-power technology, which drives the two woofers and controlled directly without intermediate crossover components, which leads to the decisive increase in accuracy compared to a passive version.

The two woofers are 18 cm measuring models in the famous crystal membrane technology, so a sandwich made of cardboard Cone and superior reverse dome Crystal embossed. About the quite generous interior volume of 409, they drive the bass reflex tube that sits in the bottom of the box and is working on a defined volume of air between floor and base. So an unchanging coupling to the room is guaranteed regardless of spikes, flooring and installation. Both bass work in contrast to the passive FS409 parallel, because the extended possibilities of digital active crossover Bündelungs – and interference effects can be avoided by technology without 3.5 -. The low-pass looks at 350 Hz, so that the important Formantbereich klangfarben – and location-related overtones are reproduced only by the midrange.

Also this is waiting with the ELAC’s crystal membrane, is designed but with 15 cm slightly and by drive, beading and centering on the pure medium tone operation fully in a three-way design. You can tell that about the completely flat, but only for small strokes beading and generally very light construction.

At the upper end of the Formant area, at 2700 Hz, acquires an almost classical at ELAC JET tweeter (version 5). This air motion transformer, a Mmuf with multiple folded foil membrane, was crucial in the transition area for Magnetostats in the distortion improved and benefited again from the now digital designed soft, that much more effectively can filter out the unfavourable for the drivers frequencies below its range of application, than a passive version ever could.

Medium such as tweeters are powered by strong per an own, 140 Watt amplifier, which is executed in classic audiophile A/B technology, so rather than switching amplifier. The upstream DSP crossover, which protects the drivers if needed also against overload and destruction is, however, also for medium – and high-frequency digital.

Hearing test with fun

That was not necessary in the stereoplay listening room, because the air-X 409 emerged as active speaker with amazing level and bass reserves. The dominant reason setting bass is too strong, which can make adapting to his room about dip-switch combinations. In the listening room, a reduction of one box on “On-Wall” turned out to be best solution; the resulting level differences are anyway irrelevant for the ear that can locate any low-frequency.

As follows adjusted started the ELAC with Sturm und drang: Dream Theater normal playing pretty fast “images and words” pounded with a double-bass drum-power in the listening room, impressively restrained the superiority of the active technique in bass. The pressure waves of each fence disappeared as quickly as they had come.

Otherwise, the ELAC on pulse processing was bred: singing and energetically-guitar, hard, direct and impelling the rhythms, and above all, the very close projected falsetto voice of singer James LaBrie enthroned Bell-clear.

Same song positions, but a musical change, yes a break in style, how he could be a little stronger: Bach’s elegiac quiet Cantata “I have enough’, in the version with counter tenor. Jochen Kowalski sings out Opera-like the quiet Arias, and ELAC captures the voice with the highest precision in the timing, and supports them with a dense, full, and with voltage Orchestra. So outstanding the timbres, so diverse and accentuated the musical event. As a somewhat limited evacuation settled but sometimes does not deny; the air-X is perhaps not quite the right speaker for fans of round spotlights and wonders of space.

It will not be: Friedemann’s “Saitensprung” with his federnd-precise deep bass and the lapel played a guitar of licks the impulsive character of the ELAC significantly more suited: it played smart, to the point, ultra precise, but never with exaggerated analysis, above all but never exhausting. By the way, completely regardless of whether the recording was fed analog XLR Cable or digital optical cable in the ELACSender: a proof of the transparent function of the transmission line.

That was also included in high end sources: Miles Davis’ “Tutu” sounded from the HiRes master at best a tiny tick free via the analog tape and once again demonstrated the impressive skills of the ELAC dynamics and bass. Only a few speakers for stereoplay have played so precisely, tired, loose and impulsive. And with wireless convenience and absolute for hearing health. What you want?


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