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Because it was clear that not every shopper interested in the FS 249BE will combine preamps and power amps whose price will seriously multiply that of the speakers, I borrowed a Trigon Energy for a few days to discover how many of the described qualities would survive when the Black Beauties were driven by price-matched amplification. It only took moments to realize ‘a lot’. This €2.500 2x70-watt German integrated veritably burst at the seams with vitality and power. Even when I nastily cued up an SACD with Olivier Messiaen’s early Le Banquet Celeste and La Nativite du Seigneur for organ, I was quite surprised by how self-assured playback of this musically demanding and quite complex fare unwound.
Here organist Wolfgang Sieber plays a Kuhn organ built into the Alfred-Krupp hall of the Essen Philharmonic which I’m intimately familiar with. I got a good impression of how this giant organ flooded the concert hall with its sounds and how the low registers must have massaged the guts of the audience. Check out the final bars of Le Banquet Celeste. The closing chord is underlaid by a 32-foot register. The longest pipe in such a register exceeds 5 meters and produces 16Hz. That’s a serious stress test for any speaker and amp. The mid-power Trigon maintained good grip over the Elacs and felt muscular yet not coarse. Sure, the overall presentation vis-à-vis my luxury electronics grew more compact and gave up a few iota of magnification power but otherwise this marriage of reason entailed no compromises in listening fun. That leaves me thinking that the full potential of Elac’s 249BE remains within reach of even quality integrated amplifiers (preferably of substantial power).
Conclusion. With departure imminent the question arose what would be left after these happy hours spent together. In my case acknowledgement that the white-spot status of Elac on my personal hifi map was ill deserved. The FS 249BE surprised with bass reach beyond its physical stature. A touch more resolution and this surprise would have been perfect. The neutral midband left no wishes open and together with the seamlessly connected treble became the speaker’s calling card. In mid to well-damped rooms that detailed upper end was perfectly integrated without any spotlighting. In more reflective reverberant spaces the Jet Dispersion Control rings allow for some fine-tuning of the response.
Dynamics and soundstaging tracked elevated expectation for this class. Amplification—including integrateds—may offer a few extra watts to maintain bass control and definition on an adequate niveau. This completely German production carefully avoided all cheap and cheerful special effects. I could hear no emphasis at the frequency extremes nor any favouritism in the vocal band. Such carefully built-in balance suggests a long-lived listening love affair. Adieu mon amour! (Given the author’s vehement insistence the editor’s corrective pen skipped over this somewhat saucy ending).
Thanks to a universally neutral tonal balance, this speaker plays no favorites with musical genres.
Plays well accented and with good detail both loudly and quietly. Healthy sensitivity which still appreciates potent amplification.
Highly resolved finely nuanced treble that’s not extreme but perfectly integrated. The coherent midband exhibits equally high transparency and resolution. Adequate microdynamics.
Bass is extended and substantial. Here speed and definition are respectable but the FS 249BE isn’t a poster child for accelerated LF transients.
The Elac manages to completely disappear, i.e. the music decorrelates completely from the enclosures. This creates believable but not extreme soundstaging.
Suitable for rooms up to 40m². Greater SPL stability than the slim line cosmetics would suggest.
Overall fit’n’finish are high. That made it all the more disappointing to discover wood screws without counter nuts or proper threading and push-on connectors for the driver hookup wiring. Nonetheless form factor and cosmetics create a living-room friendly tower speaker that should enjoy high spousal acceptance.
redaktion @ fairaudio.de
Concept: 3-way floorstander
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms, 3-ohm minimum at 120Hz
Trim: Black high-gloss
Other: 10-year warranty, completely made in Germany