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Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 review: A bargain at just over $300

The Elac’s Debut series was released in 2016 to critical acclaim. The original B5 is an excellent speaker with the right punch and vibrancy; however, many noticed how it lacked the neutrality most audiophiles look for.

Enter the Debut 2.0 B5.2, a bookshelf speaker that offers impressive sonic neutrality and a balanced sound that will enrich your listening sessions without breaking the bank.

Let’s analyze every aspect of this exceptional (and affordable) speaker.

Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 with speaker stand
Debut 2.0 B5.2 bookshelf speaker | Image: Elac

Final verdict on the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 5.0

The Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers perform brilliantly regardless of the music genre they reproduce, providing a pristine soundscape and a balanced, pleasant listening experience.

The B5.2 is remarkable in its neutrality. While a good sub would add warmth and vibrancy, even when on their own, these speakers can create an excellent sonic texture, ideal for audiophiles but also audio professionals looking for great passive speakers.

If you consider that they cost only $300, then it’s a no-brainer to me. The Elac B5.2 will be an excellent addition to your hi-fi system and will no doubt upgrade your listening experience.

What I like

  • Excellent audio reproduction.
  • Build quality made to last.
  • Versatile.
  • Unbeatable for the price.

What I don’t like

  • Lower frequencies lack clarity and depth.
See current price at: AmazonCrutchfield

Why you should trust me

Marco Sebastiano Alessi, writer at Higher Hz

I am an audiophile and audio engineer with over 10 years of experience in the music industry. When testing passive speakers, I’m interested in clarity and neutrality, first and foremost, but I also want the sound to be enjoyable and engaging.

When I use my hi-fi equipment for deep-listening sessions, I pay attention to the quality of frequency response across the spectrum, and when it comes to bookshelf speakers, I ensure they can perfectly reproduce whichever music I throw at them.


Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

You can also check the Comparison section, where I put the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 bookshelf speakers against the competition.

Build quality 5.0

The Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 comes with a 5.25-inch aramid-fiber woofer and a 1-inch cloth dome tweeter, with a reflex port in the front panel to enhance lower frequencies. Two solid single-wire terminals connect the speaker directly to the amplifier.

Elac B5.2 speaker's woofer
A close-up look at the speaker’s woofer | Image: Elac

The bookshelf speakers can be used both with or without tweeter grilles and while some reviewers complain the grille generates some ugly resonances in the 6 kHz – 9 kHz range, I haven’t noticed it during the tests.

All in all, the Debut 2.0 B5.2 features an impressive build quality and a modern line that makes it an ideal bookshelf speaker for most environments, from living rooms to recording studios.

Design 4.5

The Debut 2.0 B5.2 features the unobtrusive, minimalist design most bookshelf speaker producers opt for. It’s relatively narrow and tall, making it ideal for rooms where floor space is limited.

Whether you place it on a stand or on your furniture, the Elac B5.2 will blend in your room perfectly, giving the impression of music flowing all around you without any defined source.

Elac B5.2 speaker in interior design
B5.2 speaker as a part of the interior design | Image: Elac

Personally, I love the basic and modern design, and while it might not be the most striking speaker on the market, it’ll undoubtedly fit your listening room.

Compatibility 4.5

The connectivity options offered by the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 are standard, and you can pretty much connect it with any amplifier or receiver.

For example, the budget-friendly amp Denon PMA-600NE or the receiver Yamaha R-S202 are both valid options to enhance the sonic characteristics of these speakers.

When it comes to placement in the room, the Elac B5.2 speakers are forgiving and straightforward, delivering superb sound reproduction anywhere you place them.

Sound 5.0

Let’s get to the juicy part. Personally, I find the sound quality of the Debut 2.0 B5.2 to be way above its price tag. The soundstage is deep and wide, tonally transparent, and highly detailed.

With the tweeter providing responses up to 35 kHz, the higher frequencies will sound vibrant and defined.

Music’s spatiality is perfectly placed and provides a realistic soundscape. I tested this pair of speakers with the wonderful “Noon Hill Wood” by Richard Skelton as I wanted to check whether I could hear every nuance created by the looped violin.

The results were outstanding: not only could I hear every element joining the ethereal soundscape of the composition, but also the ambiance reached a new depth, increasing the song’s depth and poignancy.

From lush orchestrations and energetic drum solos, these speakers can handle everything you play on them and deliver a high-fidelity sound that’s surprisingly good for the price.

It goes without saying that if you’re into cavernous basslines, you’ll need a sub to give music the right punch. However, I feel these speakers can offer a balanced and colorful listening experience even when left on their own.

Compared to other bookshelf speakers

Coming in at just around $300 a pair, the Debut 2.0 B5.2 is one of my top picks for the best budget bookshelf speakers. But let’s take a look at a few other options within the same price range and draw some comparisons.

Debut 2.0 B5.2 vs Sony SS-CS5

I’m a big fan of the SS-CS5, which is why it’s so hard to admit that I prefer the Elac B5.2. Despite being a three-driver speaker with 50 kHz response, the soundstage offered by the Elac speaker feels deeper and more authentic.

Furthermore, while the SS-CS5 might require a careful placement to find its sweet spot in the room, the B5.2 sounds well almost anywhere you place it, making it ideal for those with limited space or acoustics knowledge.

Debut 2.0 B5.2 vs Wharfedale Diamond 220

For almost a decade, the Diamond 220 has been one of the most sought-after bookshelf speakers on the market, and for the right reasons: the sound quality and clarity these speakers provide are extraordinary, with a refined sound that shows unique personality and warmth.

When compared with the B5.2, the Diamond 220 has more personality, while the Elac model tends to sound more neutral. Aside from that, they’re both exceptional speakers that’ll upgrade your listening experience. To me, it’s a draw.

Who are the Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 speakers best suited for?

The Debut 2.0 B5.2 offers excellent value for money. It’s a great option for those who’re just entering the world of high-fidelity, but even more experienced audiophiles will be surprised by how transparent the sound coming out of these speakers is.

All in all, these bookshelf speakers can enhance the sound quality of a hi-fi system, home theater, and recording studio, so whoever is looking for outstanding audio reproduction on a budget shouldn’t look any further than the Elac B5.2.

See current price at: AmazonCrutchfield

Recent updates

  • March 25, 2024: I’ve fixed minor inconsistencies and updated the text for clarity. I’ve also added quick jump links for faster navigation between the sections.
  • May 16, 2023: I published the original review based on my experience with the bookshelf speaker and the test results.

1 comment
  • How would a passive speaker ever include Bluetooth or WiFi….surely in that case the only way is for the amp to provide this?…the yamaha amp you mentioned has Bluetooth