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Elac Solano BS 283 Review: Elegant and expressive speakers

Throughout its long history, the roots of which are found in 1926, the Elac company has undergone many changes, sometimes dramatic. The next “zigzag of fate” that happened a few years ago led to significant changes in its assortment and model lines. Thanks to the acquisition of the American high-end electronics manufacturer Audio Alchemy, the company now produces not only speakers, but also amplifiers and networking devices.

However, more traditional products are not left without attention either: the old speaker lines are being modernized, new series are appearing. At the same time, it is very interesting to observe how well-known Elac approaches and technologies are combined with new designs, materials, ideas.

We are pleased to note that the rulers and, accordingly, the columns have not only indexes, but also names – Debut, Carina, Navis, Vela, etc. – some of which are related to the nautical theme, which is also a tribute to the history, as well as the location of the headquarters – company apartments in the city of Kiel on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The new series of AC Solano, probably, based on this rule, got its name from the hot southeast wind, however, blowing in the Mediterranean Sea.

It occupies a step in the corporate hierarchy between the Carina and Vela lines (if you do not take into account the active Navis speakers), that is, on the transition from solid Hi-Fi to unconditional High-End status. If we pay attention to the BS 283 index, then we can conclude that these AS are the continuation and development of the long-term 200th series, a kind of starting point,

It is easy to see that the models of the Carina line, which is just below, belong to the same family, but they were more influenced by new trends – their shapes are far from the parallelepipeds, beloved by the German Elac developers. But at the Solano speaker, we see more familiar features. They have rectangular cases, but with corners rounded in the new corporate fashion. There is a gap between them and the pedestal, like some previous Elac speakers – small, but nevertheless allowing the bass reflex port to be brought out to the bottom panel, which makes the speakers more versatile in terms of placement in the room.

Of course, the Solano BS 283 is equipped with the latest version of the JET 5 ribbon tweeter, loaded onto a shallow aluminum waveguide. Instead of the usual “crystal” midrange / woofer, a new, but similar in design, 15-centimeter with a wide rubber surround and a diffuser made using AS (Aluminum Sandwich) technology is used.

The speakers look very elegant – unobtrusive, but at the same time so that there is not the slightest doubt about their high status and quality. They will easily fit into any interior.

Elac Solano BS 283
The block of connectors for dual-cable connection looks very solid

Full and dismissive sound

These Elacs sound pleasant, warm and inviting. In addition, they try to give out as much bass as possible, and they succeed, and without side effects such as delay or resonant swelling, as is sometimes the case with small-sized bass-reflex speakers. If you close your eyes, then by ear it may seem that something larger is playing, since the scene turns out to be large-scale, going beyond their physical limits. However, at the same time, a complex structure of the angular directivity pattern is noticeable: depending on the position of the listener, the tonal nature of the sound changes slightly, and approaching the speaker does not lead to the formation of that special immersive sound aura that is characteristic of some shelf speakers, for which they call monitors.

This state of affairs can be explained by the special properties of ribbon tweeters, however, thanks to them, very high detail and timbre saturation of the presentation of musical material are provided. Thus, in Tuba Mirum from Mozart’s Requiem performed by the MusicAeterna orchestra and choir under the direction of T. Currentzis, the images of the soloists are very clearly focused, their voices are lively, full, legible, as well as expressive and characteristic. The stereo panorama is wide, it is not cramped for the choir groups. Dynamic take-offs in Dies Irae are given to the speakers without problems, at high volume the stage remains stable, there are no signs of distortion or overtones.

Even better, they manage to give pleasure from listening to compositions such as songs from the Brothers in Arms album by Dire Straits, where it is necessary to emphasize the individuality of each element, be it vocals or guitar. Mark Knopfler’s voice is far from bel canto, however, it is so velvety, expressive and attractive. Solano BS 283 allows him to reliably and intelligibly convey the whole range of emotions – from irony in Money for Nothing to light sadness in the title piece. In the last of the mentioned, it is also worth noting the weighty and well-developed bass, quite large-scale, detailed, with a subtle nuance of dynamics, recreating either thunderclaps, or the echo of war.

Emotion is the character’s strong point of these Elacs. Even if they fail to be absolutely precise – most often in terms of organizing the stage space – they always know how to create a mood. So, in the composition Koto Song from the concert album Concord on a Summer Night by Dave Brubeck’s quartet, the piano part of a little more necessary attracts attention, pushing the rest of the instruments to the sidelines of perception. However, this does not prevent the listener from plunging into the languid atmosphere of the southern night.

All small-sized shelf units are not the best contenders for the reproduction of large-scale, oversaturated with information things, both symphonies and modern studio compositions filled with electronic effects, and Solano BS 283 is no exception. They manage to convey in general terms the rhythm and dynamics of the Muse’s Take a Bow and Starlight songs , but their “fine structure” remains undisclosed, but Hoodoo , in which the vocals are arguing over emotionality with the accompanying guitar, sounds very, very soulful, and also rich, weighty and warm.

During testing, the source was the TEAC NT-505 network player , as well as the Cambridge Audio Edge A and Plinius Reference A-150 amplifiers , which are unlikely to be the speakers’ companions in a real system. However, they allowed them to reveal their talents, and also to demonstrate that special attention should be paid to the selection of components. In particular, Edge A allowed these speakers to better organize the music scene.

Elac Solano BS 283
Whichever finish you choose, the company has the right black or white racks to ensure maximum sound quality.


The elegant bookshelf speakers Elac Solano BS 283 are worth paying attention, first of all, to those who want to acquire a small-sized Hi-Fi system for a small or even medium-sized room and who prefer to listen to music filled with emotions by compact genres of performers. They are endowed with a lively, warm, inviting, rich and large-scale sound, as well as a discreet but attractive appearance that makes them suitable for any interior. We advise you to take a closer look.

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