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Elemental Designs EL8.3t Tower Speaker First Look

Elemental Designs EL8.3t Tower Speaker

Elemental Designs EL8.3t Tower Speaker


  • Product Name: EL8.3t Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Elemental Designs
  • Review Date: January 29, 2010 05:10
  • MSRP: $2,200/pair EL8.3t, $1,100/each EL8.3c, $1099/pair EL6.3b
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Model : EL8.3t
System Design : 3Way Tower Speaker
Frequency Response : 40 - 22KHz +/- 3dB
Weight Per Speaker : 75lb


Model : EL8.3c
System Design : 3Way Center Speaker
Frequency Response : 40 - 22KHz +/- 3dB
Weight Per Speaker : 70lb


Model : EL6.3b
System Design : 3Way Bookshelf Speaker Pair
Frequency Response : 40 - 22KHz +/- 3dB
Weight Per Speaker : 35lb

Elemental Designs (eD for short) has made a name for themselves making monster subs for the bass enthusiast (some might suggest that "enthusiast" isn't the right term and that "addict" might better fit). They've made forays into the full range and home theater market in the past. We reviewed a pair of their tower speakers a while back and while we weren't blown away by the sound, the pricing was definitely attractive. But eD is going in a new direction with this new line of speakers - quality over low prices.

The new EL line of speakers are a whole new direction for Elemental Designs. Headed by the EL8.3t towers, gone is the orange peel finish and rock bottom prices. Enter a more refined look completely with upgradable veneers and matching prices. First, a word on the nomenclature. "EL" refers to the name of the company (decided against eD for obvious reasons) with the number representing the size of the woofer and the design. The last letter lets you know the size/type of speaker. So for the EL8.3t, you have an 8" woofer (technically two) in a 3-way design in a tower cabinet. That final letter can be either t (tower), c (center), b (bookshelf), or mtm (for a D'Appolito array - which will be confusing as this speaker designed can be used in just about any type of speaker).

The new EL line is constructed out of 3/4" EFS (Environmentally Friendly Substrate), a material that is denser than the industry standard MDF (and is practically synonymous with eD as they are the only ones we know of that use it). Not only are the cabinet walls constructed out of 3/4" EFS, but also all the internal bracing. All the speakers are front ported to ease placement near boundaries. The standard finishes on the speakers are matte black or white but the real story is the veneers. All the speakers pictured are in bamboo - a renewable wood. Also avalable are Cherry, Maple, and Walnut. The veneers are finished in a water based satin clear though stains can be applied as well. Veneer is a premium option with a stain a bit above that.

When pricing speakers at the level of the EL's, you expect a certain level of quality. Elemental Designs has promised a no compromise design. From the over built cabinet to high end crossover components, you're promised quality at every turn. The drivers start with a 1-1/8" fabric dome tweeter with a integrated rear chamber. At this price point, you expect nothing less. In a move that may help the EL speaker stand out, instead of a concave midrange (something most people are used to), eD went with a 3" fabric dome. According to the company, the choice tweeter was made partially because they could place it closer to the midrange and the midrange choice was predicated on the off-axis response of the driver. The two woofers in the line are the 8" (included in the Towers and Center) and a 6.5" (on the bookshelves). The baskets on the woofers are cast (rather than stamped) with extra venting for better heat management. The cones are constructed out of a paper/fabric composite with a high excursion motor design. Now for the speakers themselves:


  • Tower Pair, 3-way design with dual 8" woofers
  • Dimensions - 49.75" x 9.75" x 12"
  • Weight - 71lbs each
  • 4 ohms
  • Pricing - Matte: $2200/pair, Veneer: $2875/pair - free shipping


  • eD_EL8_3cCenter channel, 3-way design with dual 8″ woofer drivers.
  • Dimensions - 11″ x 42″ x 12″
  • Weight - 65lbs each.
  • 4 ohm
  • Pricing - Matte: $1,100/each, Veneer: $1,375/each - free shipping


  • eD_EL6_3bBookshelf pair, 3-way design with single 6.5″ woofer driver
  • Dimensions - 17″ x 10″ x 12″ D
  • Weight - 31lbs each.
  • 4 ohm
  • Pricing - Matte: $1,100/pair, Veneer: $1,475/pair - free shipping

Note - the small black line on the right of the lower driver is a slot-style port. As mentioned before all the EL speakers are front ported which is particularly important for center and bookshelf speakers which tend to be shoved into component cabinets for centers or (gasp!) on bookshelves. The bass-reflex design of the EL speakers should help increase bass output and extension though we have a hard time believing that all of these speakers reach all the way down to 40Hz (as claimed on the eD website). Either this is a misprint or eD is using some "creative" measurement techniques for the EL6.3b and EL8.3c. Alternatively, they could be conservatively rating the tower speakers which should, based on simple physics, reach lower than either of the other offerings (or why else pay more for the tower speaker?).


While Elemental Designs has a very large can vigorous following online, it doesn't take an expert to see that they are taking a big risk with these new speakers. While they've been known to do custom speakers for specific customers, these are a mass market offering. With prices as far outside of their comfort zone as we've seen, eD has a lot on the line with the EL line of speakers. On paper these speakers look great. With frequency responses for all the speakers listed down to 40Hz and promised top notch construction and components, they certainly are putting all the right ingredients into the mix. The question that will have to be answered by consumers is whether eD is a high end sub manufacturer with decent budget speakers or if can step up to high end (and therefore expensive) speakers.

For more information, please contact www.edesignaudio.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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