This week, we reviewed the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speaker, an imposing 3-way floorstanding model fitted with two 10” woofers, sold for €2790 a pair. It is the flagship of the Elipson Prestige Facet speaker range, characterized in particular by the ring of synthetic rubber that surrounds each driver to limit the baffle effect and diffraction. This range designed by the French manufacturer also includes the Elipson Prestige Facet 8B speaker, our reference compact speaker, which has received numerous awards from the specialized press.
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: the brand
Elipson was founded by Joseph Léon shortly before World War II. The oldest French manufacturer of hi-fi electronics has become a symbol of French sound, both warm and balanced, and regularly stands out due to its research in acoustics and design. They are credited with the invention of the spherical speaker and its renowned variations featuring ellipsoidal reflectors, as well as the famous Elipson 402 speaker.
Today, Elipson continues to design and sell spherical speakers such as the Elipson Planet L and Planet M speakers, both equipped with a coaxial driver. A spherical cabinet has the particularity of ensuring that the soundwaves behind the driver circulate harmoniously, thereby limiting disturbances to the cone and the risk of coloring the sound. The restitution is balanced, without any harshness or flaws, and the coaxial driver directs the sound precisely to create a soundstage that is both wide and deep.
First launched in 1975, the Elipson Prestige speaker range enjoyed its heyday with the Elipson Prestige 3s (awarded 5 stars by the Revue du Son et du Home Cinéma magazine and the Référence label by Son Video Magazine) and the Elipson Prestige 4s, which are still lauded by their lucky owners. The Prestige range was revamped in 2016, introducing several technological innovations including the facetted rubber ring that circles each driver giving the range its new name. The Elipson Prestige Facet speakers are meticulously designed to optimize acoustic performance and boast an elegant finish.
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: packaging & accessories
The Elipson prestige facet 34F is a colossal floorstander, matched by its packaging. Each speaker comes in an impressive box measuring 53.5 x 134.5 x 47cm and weighs a total of 50kg! Consequently, it is necessary to clear enough space to receive and unbox them. Thick foam padding and a synthetic cover protect each speaker. They also come with two small, flat cardboard boxes that hold the wooden bases, the screws and the decoupling spikes. The height of these spikes can be adjusted to compensate for an uneven floor.
Elipson Prestige facet 34F: presentation
The Elipson Prestige Facet 34F floorstanding speaker is very impressive. Its generous dimensions (295 x 1190 x 360mm without the base) are explained by the presence of two 10” low frequency drivers, both of which are loaded in a substantial quantity of air.
The Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speaker features no less than five drivers: one 1” tweeter, two 7” midrange drivers and two 10” woofers.
Its two 10” low frequency drivers each include a 2” voice coil. This design ensures a very high power handling capacity and maximum cooling during high peaks of power. Each woofer is also loaded in a bass-reflex enclosure, with a long, flared port, allowing them to be tuned to a low frequency (28Hz) without any turbulence or noise generated by air circulation. The French manufacturer announces a frequency response starting at 25Hz (+/-3 dB).
The restitution of the mids and highs is handled by two midrange drivers and a tweeter in an MTM (Medium/Tweeter/Medium) configuration. Positioned in between the two midrange drivers, the tweeter is at ear height. It is a 1” model with a silk dome developed exclusively for this speaker. It includes magnetic components more powerful than those of the tweeters of other models in this range, leading to a higher sensitivity rating (95dB).
The two 7” midrange drivers surrounding the tweeter feature a central phase plug. The latter reduces the turbulence at the back of the cone which can sometimes generate distortion.
As with all of the speakers in the Elipson Prestige Facet range, a cut-to-measure ring in synthetic rubber surrounds each driver. Its function is to limit the baffle effect and diffraction. The frequency response curve is therefore less disrupted, more linear, and the speaker provides a softer restitution.
The cabinet of the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F floorstanding speaker adopts a particularly robust construction. The baffle is made of two materials of different densities and thicknesses (18mm MDF sandwich / adhesive / 21mm MDF). The sides and the rear are in 21mm thick MDF, and the cabinet has many internal braces. This eliminates as much internal vibration and resonance as possible by guaranteeing a perfectly stable cabinet, even when the drivers are in heavy use. Inside the cabinet, three damping materials of different thicknesses are used to reduce the stationary soundwaves without smothering the sound or hampering the transmission of micro information.
The sharp roll-off filter uses audiophile components. The high-end twin speaker terminal with plated silver contacts is compatible with bi-wiring and bi-amping.
The finish is remarkable with a lacquered front panel and superb mat vinyl coating.
The Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speaker uses a 3-way bass-reflex configuration. It has a nominal impedance of 6 ohms and a minimal impedance of 4.5 ohms at the port’s tuning frequency (28Hz). This speaker has a high sensitivity rating: it is capable of delivering 94dB of acoustic pressure at 1 meter for 1 watt of injected power. Lastly, its continuous power handling capacity is 300 watts RMS.
With such characteristics, the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speaker should be relatively easy to drive. However, it is recommended to use a stereo amp with a stable power supply due to the size of the two low frequency drivers.
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: test conditions
We listened to the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speakers with the Atoll IN200 Signature hi-fi stereo amp (2×200 watts/4 ohms), but also with the Cayin CS-55A KT88 tube amplifier with its integrated DAC and even the “little” Marantz M-CR612 network receiver. We chose Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP speaker cables mounted with banana plugs to connect the speakers to the different amps.
Our first source was the Elac Miracord 90 turntable connected to the Cayin’s integrated phono preamp and one of the Atoll’s line inputs via the Thorens MM-008 phono preamp. We also used the D-Stream WR100-D audio streamer connected to the Atoll IN200 Signature to play music on Deezer (Family account, streaming in mp3 quality at 320 kbps) and Qobuz (Hi-Fi Sublime+ subscription, streaming in studio quality up to 24-bit/192kHz).
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: listening impressions
With the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speakers, we experienced everything that we had previously enjoyed with the Elipson Prestige Facet 24F speakers, only better! What struck us right from the outset, besides the soft and balanced restitution, was their ability to bring substance to the music. Even at low volume, the presence of the artists and instruments is tangible. The soundstage is full of details. An abundance of information is carried to the listener’s ears. All restituted with precision and a true sense of nuance…
This is particularly evident when listening to “Javanaise Remake” (from Serge Gainsbourg’s Aux armes Et Caetera album) with its monumental bassline, bright and airy percussion, and Serge Gainsbourg’s vocals, which were more vivid than we had ever heard before with this record. The Cayin only provides 40 watts per channel, but there was definitely plenty of energy.
Even though they are able to go very low with a lot of authority thanks to their two 10” drivers, the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speakers aren’t ostentatious. The lows are very robust, very present, but not at the expense of the other frequencies. The bass has punch when necessary, with great impact and without any dragging, but always toes the line. It always benefits the music being played without being unnaturally emphasized. Balance is key.
The midrange is also very refined, natural and full of detail. Vocals are beautifully reproduced and heavily textured. With The Teskey Brothers’ Crying Shame, Josh Teskey’s gravelly voice provides the listener with a serving of authenticity while the electric guitars fire off their chords. The bassline brings some weight to the track, with intensity and depth, but without bravado. The horns blend in perfectly and the gentle cymbal clashes brighten up the performance nicely.
This is another of this floorstanding speaker’s strengths: the highest frequencies are very precise whilst remaining soft without any brightness.
This is particularly noticeable with songs such as Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing which can rapidly become a nightmare to listen to on speakers that are too exuberant. With the Elipsons, the song’s outburst at 1’40 doesn’t assault your eardrums. The reverberation of metal during the many cymbal clashes is very realistic, but not tiring. The saturation of the guitars is perfectly reproduced without any harshness.
No matter which genre of music you listen to, the different frequencies are positioned harmoniously to create a very balanced soundstage. The spatialization is also impressive, with convincing width and depth. The space is intelligently organized, and the different levels are realistically layered as long as the speakers are correctly positioned. Because they are somewhat assertive, these speakers need to be carefully positioned in order to ensure a satisfactory focus in the listening area.
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: compared to…
Klipsch RP-8000F: more energetic in the lows and mids, the Klipsch speaker delivers a dynamic performance but the Prestige Facet 34F seems more balanced and softer in the mids and highs. The Elipson loudspeaker also has the upper hand when it comes to presence in the lows due to its larger size. Even though it is less expressive as the Klipsch RP-8000F, the Elipson Facet 34F goes deeper without ever being tiring to listen to, even at high volume.
B&W 703 S2: with two 6.5” woofers, the B&W speaker delivers lively lows, but those provided by the French speaker have more substance and energy. The B&W Continuum cone of the midrange driver flatters this frequency range compared to the Elipson, which offers more neutral mids but with less texture. The Nautilus carbon tweeter provides great clarity, guaranteeing an spacious soundstage. Although slightly reserved, the highs produced by the Prestige Facet 34F’s soft dome tweeter are smooth and precise. B&W has the advantage when it comes to aeration and clarity, but the French speaker is more balanced overall. Above all, it offers more punch and can express itself with fewer watts more easily.
Elipson Prestige Facet 8B: this compact speaker has the same sound signature, naturally with less impact and presence in the lows. The 8B demonstrates balance similar to that of the imposing 34F, and fills the room remarkably well given its size. The Prestige Facet 8B will complement the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F nicely when used as a surround speaker in a home theater installation.
Elipson Prestige Facet 34F: conclusion
Just like the other floorstanding models in the Prestige Facet range, the Elipson Prestige Facet 34F speakers are surprisingly easy to drive. This was demonstrated with both the Cayin CS-55A KT88 (2 x 22W / 2 x 40W) and the Marantz M-CR612 (in bridged mode, 2 x 60W) in our listening room of approximately 20m².
Their ability to bring true substance to music is an asset in delivering realistic sound and allows the listener to delve into the heart of the music. Designed to bring sound to large spaces at high volume, they prove to be equally very subtle and know how to maintain balance and coordination at low volume. The spatialization of the soundstage is also very convincing.
They are also very much at ease in a home theater configuration and don’t need to be paired with a subwoofer, provided that the associated A/V receiver provides substantial amplification.
We recommend these speakers for rooms up to 100m², or more, ideally paired with an amplifier that has a minimal power of 100 watts per channel for spaces over 40m².
What we liked:
- The power and depth of the lows.
- The richness and sense of nuance.
- The overall balance.
What we would have liked:
- We can’t ask for anything more considering their price.