Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 review: Clear sound, great build quality, excellent value


The original Elac Debut B6 came out of nowhere in late 2015. Designer Andrew Jones had only recently left Pioneer, yet here he was with a fully formed speaker design — one that immediately became our favorite bookshelf speaker for the money. Over the next three years he followed up with the equally impressive Uni-Fis, Adantes and then an unexpected update to the speaker that started it all.

The Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 makes some improvements on the original speaker, namely in terms of build quality and overall clarity. The design sounds like a cross between the old Debut and the original Uni-Fi, with a clearer, more open performance than before. I miss the laid-back qualities of the original B6, but nonetheless the B6.2 is a fine speaker for less than the price of an AV receiver.

Since the B6.2 first came out in 2018, other companies have caught on to what Jones is doing. Q Acoustics, Emotiva and Polk also offer compelling speakers for similar prices to the B6.2, and the  Q Acoustics 3030i in particular manages to challenge the Elac with superior bass power and versatility. 

The original B6 earned our Editors’ Choice award as the slam-dunk best speaker in its class, and the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 continues the tradition. If you want a pair of affordable speakers with a more expansive, enveloping sound than the Q Acoustics 3030i, the Elac B6.2 is a great choice.

Update, June 23, 2021: The Q Acoustics 3030i was the previous Editors’ Choice winner for best speaker for the money, but its price went up $70 recently, so that honor now belongs to the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2. While both speakers are excellent values, the Elac is now the best speaker in its class by a nose. The remainder of the review, originally published March 6, 2018, remains largely unchanged.

Not much family resemblance

The Elac Debut B6 (left) and the new Debut 2.0 B6.2.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The B6.2 has a cheerfully retro appearance that recalls older British designs from Bowers and Wilkins or Wharfedale. When placed alongside the original Debut B6 it looks like a completely different speaker — where the B6 was short and squat, the update is taller and slimmer with the noticeable addition of a front bass port.

Like the original the B6.2 boasts a 6.5-inch aramid fiber (similar to Kevlar) woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter, but their implementation is different. For example, the tweeter on the 2015 model was recessed which made the speaker more directional, but this time around the mesh-covered tweeter is almost flush with the front panel. In addition the driver now boasts an extruded dust cap, which is designed to make the driver more responsive.

The B6.2 with the grille on and off.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The dimensions are familiar for a pair of stand-mount speakers at 7.69 inches wide by 14.76 inches high and a relatively thin 10.55 inches deep. While the original Debut was resonant — rap a knuckle on the side and it rang — the B6.2 has had additional bracing installed to reduce potential sonic coloration. Knocking on it gives a faintly metallic plop. 

Extra bracing isn’t the only change. Upon closer inspection you’ll notice the use of an old-school black ash wrap instead of the brushed vinyl of the original Debut. Finally, around the back you’ll find a pair of metal binding posts.



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