For a company that’s fast closing in on its 95th year in business, ELAC certainly took its sweet time to become a loudspeaker manufacturer. Taking more than two decades to transition from sonar technology to turntables for the consumer audio market (as ELAC did between its inception in 1926 and the debut of its PW1 record player in 1948) is one thing – hanging around until 1984 before starting to develop loudspeakers is quite another. Perhaps if we live long enough, we might get to listen to that pair of ELAC headphones the company’s almost certainly planning to launch in the middle of the century.
In the meantime, though, these Vela FS 408 floorstanding loudspeakers are plenty to be getting on with.
It should probably come as no great surprise that the Vela FS 408 have taken their time getting here at all. After all, ELAC’s well-regarded 400 series of loudspeakers was superseded by the Vela 400 series getting on for three years ago – and, as a range, it looked to be pretty comprehensive. But it turns out the stable door hadn’t been properly shut, and subsequently Vela FS 408 has emerged. A little bit smaller than Vela FS 409, a little bit bigger than Vela FS 407 – and surely the final piece of the Vela 400 series. We need only wait another four or five years to be certain.
If you’re at all familiar with the Vela 400 series, nothing about the way the Vela FS 408 looks is going to come as any great surprise. This is a cabinet of reasonably assertive dimensions – at a touch over 114cm tall, getting on for 28cm wide and over 33cm deep, you’re realistically looking at a medium-sized listening room as a minimum requirement. Neither of the available finishes (high-gloss back or high-gloss white – the walnut option enjoyed by the rest of the Vela 400 series is nowhere to be found here) do anything to minimise the physical presence of the FS 408, either.
The convex baffle shape is a little bit of welcome relief as far as industrial design goes – and, of course, in conjunction with the angled, non-parallel cabinet sides it helps minimise reflections and standing waves. The Vela FS 408 lean back quite a way on their die-cast bottom plate, too – if a person adopted this attitude during conversation you’d read their body language as ‘sceptical’.