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The Elac Debut Speakers Andrew Jones Success Story

The Andrew Jones and Elac Debut speakers success story is an interesting one with some exceptional experience and expertise being brought to the Elac table and resulting in 3 new ranges of speakers, that started with the Debut range, being introduced that certainly have grabbed a lot of attention and received many accolades for their design and performance. ELAC celebrated its 90th birthday in 2017, and introduced its first hi-fi product in 1948, a turntable. It became a leader in turntable manufacturing by 1957, and holds the patent for the first stereo moving-magnet cartridge. In more recent times, with loudspeakers that feature the JET tweeter (a Heil type ribbon driver), ELAC has become recognized as a major player in high-end audio. This essentially is what persuaded Andrew Jones to bring his esteemed resume to Elac.

Although well known in the U.S. in the past for the Miracord turntables, in recent years the company has not been very visible there, known only to those that take an interest in European brands. However in Europe, ELAC is very well regarded and has garnered an astonishing number of very favorable reviews and a strong and enthusiastic following. The idea behind setting up a new design facility is many fold: to expand the product range both upwards and downwards; to refine existing technologies and develop new ones; to introduce new product categories; and to re-invigorate the U.S. market.

Andrew Jones' story started In his teens he became very interested in electronics and hi-fi. Andrew gravitated towards speakers and, he admits, did not know what he was doing. He wondered, how does one really know what they are doing when it comes to loudspeaker design. Sure a kit educates you, yet does not really teach you the why and what. Seeking to design something right, he felt measuring was the way to go. He soon learned that measurements alone did not tell him all the answers, and left him with yet more questions.

Andrew studied physics and acoustics in university, plus quantum mechanics and other subjects that were perhaps not fully relevant to speaker design. He later went into post-graduate research in computer aided X-over network design and optimization. Later, Andrew did work with noise cancellation and control. Still, he longed for getting into hi-fi speaker design. This wish was fulfilled when he received an invitation to join KEF.

He began work at KEF starting in 1983 until 1994. This is when the 104/2 and other legendary designs came about. Andrew initially sought how to better measure speakers to find some correlation between measurements and what a loudspeaker design sounds like. While KEF did have impressive technology to understand design to achieve accurate results, Andrew also had access to many great people including such luminaries as Peter Walker of Quad, Peter Baxandall, professors Lipshitz and Vanderkooy, Richard Small and Neville Thiele (of Thiele/Small parameters fame), and of course his mentor and great friend Laurie Fincham, KEFs technical director. Membership in the Audio Engineering Society (AES) was a requirement and a superb resource. Andrew was able to draw from the knowledge and expertise of others to learn about how to design and measure speakers. KEF was in fact his loudspeaker university.KEF always built their own drivers, so he started off in research there developing measurement techniques and that stood me for everything he's done since then, because, yes, you listen to speakers, but you got to tie it into how they measure, and if you don't measure accurately, you're not going to make that connection.

After a three-year post as chief engineer at Infinity, an invitation extended to him from Floyd Toole, he joined Pioneer and began designing and implementing designs with exotic materials such as beryllium. The Japanese provided Andrew access to new materials to further his knowledge in personally exciting ways, culminating in the launching of TAD Consumer and the development of the Reference One,acclaimed as one of the greatest speakers of all time. At Elac a new set of technologies gives him the ability to design speakers at all price levels. He approaches the task the same regardless of price. While Andrew admits it is great to design $80,000 speakers, and is very happy to find that it is largely the music enthusiasts who buy them, these designs reach only a few people. By carefully planning the materials and strategy to achieve a more obtainable price point, his designs can benefit a far broader audience.

Originating in Germany and designed in Southern California, the Elac Debut range of bookshelf and floor-standing speakers and subwoofers released in 2016 brought high-end audio to the mainstream market, at a "very affordable" price point."ELAC Debut series delivers superior performance thanks to custom made key components, with no off-the-shelf parts," says Jones. "Unlike many more expensive speakers that mix parts-bin drivers, bare-bones crossovers and generic cabinets — every ELAC speaker is built from a clean-sheet design."

After all the accolades and hot reviews on the original Elac Debut series of bookshelf speakers it would seem to have been a huge challenge for their world famous designer Andrew Jones to upgrade these amazing budget speakers to an even higher level of sonic performance.In facing the challenge of bringing even more to the new Series 2.0 Debut by employing the technologies learned in designing the highly respected Unifi and Adante lines, Andrew Jones and Elac have done it again.....improved on a highly successful formula for a quality budget loudspeaker.Improving on its award-winning predecessor was no easy task, but the Debut B6.2 sets a yet higher standard, delivering performance in inverse proportion to its diminutive size and with the larger 6 inch Mid/Bass driver there is an even fuller room filling sound over the Debut 5.2. And it remains the best value in the world of affordable speakers, with sound that surpasses speakers many times the price.

Jones' next foray after the original Debut release was the Uni-Fi Series. The Elac Uni-Fi speakers deliver all the potentials of this next level of speaker refinement with rhythmic enthusiasm that keeps on giving.Unlike the Debut they are a concentric 3 way design which delivers the most coherent and accurate reproduction across the treble and midrange frequency spectrums. Because of their high cost, concentric drivers are traditionally used in only the most expensive speakers.True to form, Andrew Jones has made the Uni-Fi UB5 exceptionally affordable,for which again they have received accolades.

 Andrew Jones couldn't resist creating one of their most ambitious speakers to date, the Adante Series. The Adante’s advanced design starts with a precision-built cabinet that features Interport-Coupled Cavity bass loading to exploit the highest performance from new active and passive bass drivers. The inherent superiority of this design solution delivers some of the most authoritative, realistic bass around. Complementing Adante’s custom low-frequency drivers is the all-new concentric midrange/tweeter, a natural-sound wonder engineered expressly for the Adante series. The face of each cabinet is an elegant, bonded-aluminum front baffle for maximum rigidity, contoured to incorporate waveguides that ensure optimum dispersion from each driver.

Ever since he decamped to ELAC a few years back, you can’t open a web browser about audio without seeing Andrew Jones' beaming smile and man-of-the-people disposition staring right back at you.There is good reason for this as no other speaker designer has recently made such an impact on budget through to midrange speaker design and value as Andrew Jones. Oh,.....and there is more to come....a new higher level active design is on the way!

In his own words............"And I will say that whenever I design something, I'm not specifically targeting a “market” in that sense and changing the sound balance because I think, “This market would like that sound balance.” And I'm the only one responsible for deciding what it's going to sound like. Nobody else contributes to that process. Fortunately, what I like seems to be popular in the marketplace. One of the things I do look for is vocal reproduction. I want a presence.Now, I want good performance for cymbals; all the treble stuff. I want a good bass foundation, a mid-bass so that the voices aren't thinned out — because as soon as you thin them out you lose that realism."

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