Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT Speaker Review
A multifaceted wireless speaker
What is the Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT?The Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT is the newest addition to the French manufacturer’s Prestige Facet range. Elipson's most famous speaker may be the spherical Planet, but the Prestige has been wowing audiophiles since 1976. Encouraged by the Prestige's popularity with Hi-Fi fans, Elipson recently gave the range an upgrade, adding various new features.
These include a double-layered lacquered front, the use of improved damping materials, the development of steeper crossover filters, and a new diamond-shaped sculpted ring that surrounds both the tweeter and the woofer. The latter feature doesn't just offer cosmetic benefits, it actually serves an acoustic purpose by ensuring a more focused sound.
The multifaceted nature of the rings is actually so important to the sound quality of the revised speakers, that the entire range is called the Prestige Facet. The 6B BT is a two-channel system and comes with an integrated amplifier and Bluetooth built-in. The BT suffix denotes the built-in wireless capabilities, but there's also the regular 6B, which is the entry-level stereo speaker in the Prestige range.
'Connected High-Fidelity' is the name that Elipson gives to its speakers that combine an amplifier and built-in Bluetooth (along with a Chromecast Audio dongle thrown in for good measure), and the intention is to deliver streaming music in stereo and high quality. The 6B BT costs £499 as at the time of writing (October 2018), and it certainly looks very promising on paper but can it really deliver connected Hi-Fi? Let's find out.
DesignFrom the front, the Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT looks exactly like the passive 6B speaker, with the same classic two-way design – a tweeter on the top and a woofer on the bottom. Around the drivers are the diamond cut-like facet rings, and the only clue to the system's full purpose is an IR receiver on the left-hand speaker. Although, with the magnetic black cloth grilles attached, you can't even see that.
The 6B is an attractive speaker, with a gorgeous lacquered finish and a dark silver trim around the tweeter and woofer. There's a choice of colours, with black, white or black/walnut. Whichever colour you choose though, the facet rings and drivers remain black. The front is double-layered, the cabinet MDF, and the overall build quality is excellent. The right-hand passive speaker weighs 5.6kg and the left-hand one, which contains the built-in the amplifier, clocks in at 7kg.
The 6B BT is attractively designed, very well made, and has a lovely lacquered finish
Connections & ControlIf you move around to the back, you’ll find a bass port and, in the case of one of the speakers, a set of binding posts. That's because this speaker is just a normal 6B, which is why there are dual binding posts, even though you don’t need all of them for connecting to the active speaker.
It’s this speaker that’s really interesting, and here you’ll find the connections and controls. There’s a stereo analogue input that uses RCA connectors with a switch for choosing between phono or line input. There’s even a ground terminal, so you can use the 6B BT directly with a turntable. There’s also an optical digital audio input and a 3.5mm auxiliary input.
The latter allows you to connect the Google Chromecast Audio dongle that Elipson include for free. The 6B BT includes an RCA subwoofer output, so you can connect an active sub if you like. There are outputs for the right-hand speaker – Elipson has helpfully identified which speaker goes on which side – and you connect them using the provided speaker cable, although you can also use your own.
There’s also a three-pin connector for the power cable, an on/off switch, and a volume dial. This has a triple purpose: turn it and you can change the volume, but give it short press and you can cycle between inputs, while a long press activates Bluetooth pairing.
There's a remote included, and while it's the kind of tiny small controller that's easy to lose down the back of the sofa, it does at least get the job done. It has a nice brushed metal effect and includes all the controls you'll need. You can turn the 6B BT on and off, choose inputs, change volume, mute the audio, activate Bluetooth pairing, adjust the bass and treble, and control playback.
There's a solid set of connections and a handy little remote control
Elipson PF 6B BT FeaturesThe Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT boasts a solid set of features and is composed of two high-quality speakers. That means you'll get a genuine Hi-Fi stereo experience, while the 140W of Class D amplification also ensures that there's plenty of horsepower under the hood of this active system. There's also a sub out (20-220Hz at +/-3dB), so you can turn it into a 2.1-channel system if you have an active subwoofer.
The speakers themselves are essentially the 6B, which means they have a 1" tweeter and a 5" driver in a classic two-way configuration. There's a rear bass port and the speakers have a claimed impedance of 6 Ohms, sensitivity of 90 dB/1W/1m, and a frequency response of 57Hz to 25kHz. The cabinets have internal bracing and use a double-layered and lacquered front panel, MDF construction, and a vinyl veneer.As already mentioned the 6B BT has phono and line analogue audio inputs, an optical digital audio input, and a 3.5mm jack. That means you can connect turntables, CD players, TVs, Blu-ray players, and just about anything else to the system
The big selling point of the 6B BT, and the reason for the BT suffix, is the inclusion of built-in Bluetooth with aptX. This allows for CD-quality streaming of high resolution music files from a paired device, although since Elipson is so focused on sound quality, it's a shame it didn't include Wi-Fi as well. The inclusion of a Google Chromecast Audio dongle goes some way towards rectifying this, but it isn't the tidiest solution.
The features are impressive, and the speakers are easy to setup and control
Setup & TestingThe Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT is easy to setup, you simply position the speakers on a solid surface (or stands) a few feet apart, connect them together and plug in the active one. Elipson identifies the left and right speakers, which is handy, and then all you need to do is connect your sources.
If you plan to use the 6B BT with a turntable, then just switch the RCA analogue input to phono, plug in the turntable and attach the ground wire. Otherwise leave the analogue input set to line in, and connect your other sources as and when you need them.
Using the optical digital input, I connected the 6B BT to an LG 65C8 TV, an LG UP970 UHD Blu-ray player, a PS4 Pro, and a Humax FVP-5000T set top box at various times. I also paired my iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9+ to the Elipson using Bluetooth, with testing including high-res files, Tidal, and Spotify.
These speakers sound fantastic, delivering proper stereo Hi-Fi from a wireless source
PerformanceThe Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT's big selling point is that, because the package is composed of two genuine speakers, you get proper stereo. The single unit wireless speakers that seem to be everywhere these days can sound very good, but they will always struggle to deliver any kind of stereo separation, and as result, the stereo imaging will suffer.
Since the 6B BT is composed of a pair of Hi-Fi stereo speakers, that isn't a problem, and you can get real stereo separation and thus perfect imaging. The difference is quite profound, and as soon as I set up the 6B BT, it impressed me with its sound quality. I had reviewed the Acoustic Energy Aego BT2 just before the 6B BT, and while the BT2 is a cracking wireless speaker, the Elipson is in a different league.
My testing primarily focused on music, because these speakers are sold as an audiophile solution, but I did also try them with my TV, games console, PVR and Blu-ray player. The sound quality of the LG C8 is actually very impressive for an ultra-slim TV, but putting the 6B BT speakers either side of the screen lifted the audio to another level.
The front soundstage was wider, deeper and more refined. The sense of stereo separation and the improved imaging this allows, resulted in more precise localisation of effects and instruments. The superior mid-range ensured that dialogue was clear, while the excellent treble gave the higher frequencies more presence.
The speaker's deeper bass extension also gave effects like explosions more impact, and the 140W of amplification meant the 6B BT could go very loud without ever sounding strained. You also have the option of adding an active subwoofer and creating a 2.1-channel system.All the benefits of using the 6B BT with a TV or Blu-ray player were equally applicable with music. I started by streaming from Spotify, and the results immediately impressed. The Prestige range is extremely neutral, retaining its fidelity and reproducing whatever is in the original content: for good or for bad.
The better the source, the better the sound, but even with lower resolution Spotify, the 6B BT could deliver the goods. Listening to Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like a Wheel was a wonderful experience, and a song like Willin' retained all its fragile beauty.
Moving on to Tidal and the higher resolution nature of the source was apparent as I listened to M83's epic Oblivion soundtrack. The soundstage created by the 6B BT delivered the widescreen synth landscapes of the album with precision.
There was excellent clarity and detail, with the Elipson reproducing the complex layering of the mix with ease. The frequent use of deep bass remained impressive and well integrated with the 6B BT, while the mid-range was nicely defined, and the higher frequencies never sounded shrill.
The use of a Chromecast dongle may not be the most elegant solution, but it sounds excellent. Streaming audio, including high-res up to 24/96kHz sounded genuinely good and the flexibility of Chromecast is a clear winner. The ability to send any streaming service, and a host of other apps via your smart device to the Elipson makes for a very pleasing addition.
The addition of the facet rings around the tweeters and drivers is intended to focus the sound waves more precisely. While I didn't have a pair of original Prestige speakers on hand to compare the new ones against, the soundstage is quite focused, so a degree of toeing-in is certainly worthwhile.
Overall the Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT is a classy performer that delivers an audiophile performance from both wired and wireless sources. A single-unit wireless speaker might be more convenient, cheaper, and have extra bells and whistles, but the 6B BT will sound better than almost anything in its price range.
The 6B BT is hard to fault, and my only complaint is the lack of built-in Wi-Fi or multiroom
- Great sound quality
- Good connections
- Chromecast dongle included
- Excellent build quality
- Attractive lacquered finish
- No built-in Wi-Fi
- No multiroom capability
Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT Speaker Review
Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT VerdictThe Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT is a fantastic wireless speaker package, that combines old-school audio design with cutting edge technology. The Prestige range is a speaker classic, but Elipson has made some excellent upgrades that retain the fidelity and neutrality that the range is famous for, but also focuses the sound more precisely.
That's where the diamond-cut facet rings come in, not just giving the range its name or looking eye-catching, but also improving the performance. The build quality is excellent and the lacquered finish is particularly attractive. You really get the feeling that you're buying a serious piece of Hi-Fi kit with the 6B BT, and there's plenty of power thanks to 140W of Class D amplification.
There's a good selection of connections, that includes a phono input, and setting up and controlling the 6B BT is very easy. The performance is exceptional, with proper stereo separation and precise imaging. The sound is clean and clear, with loads of fine detail retrieval, resulting in a genuine high fidelity experience. Elipson's efforts have clearly been rewarded, with an audio performance that's hard to fault.
If I was looking to criticise, my only minor complaints would be the lack of built-in Wi-Fi and multiroom functionality, but Elipson have even sidestepped that to some degree by including a Google Chromecast Audio dongle free of charge.
To sum up, this is a classy piece of kit, that looks and sounds fantastic. There are plenty of wireless speakers on the market, but very few deliver a real Hi-Fi stereo experience, making the Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT the ideal choice for any audiophiles out there.
What are my alternatives?If you're looking for an alternative to the Elipson Prestige Facet 6B BT, then the obvious contender is the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2. You can currently pick this two-speaker wireless package up for just £329, and it offers a similar set of features that includes optical digital, a 3.5mm jack, and Bluetooth with aptX; there's even a sub out.
The MR1 Mk2 isn't as big or as well made as the 6B BT but it does have a rather cool retro look and it sounds great. It doesn't have the bass extension or power of the 6B BT, but that's where the extra £170 comes in. However, if you're looking for a well designed and effective two-channel wireless solution that won't take up too much room or break the bank, then the Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 is definitely worth considering.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £499.00
Ease of Use9
Value for Money9
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