Epos Acoustics ELS 3 Bookshelf Speakers

ELS 3

The first in a line of lower cost speakers, the ELS-3 mini monitor maintains the high standards expected of any product bearing the Epos name.

  • power handling: 100 watts
  • frequency response: 65Hz-20KHz
  • 4 ohms nominal
  • sensitivity: 87db

  • User Reviews (11)

    Showing 1-10 of 11  
    richard   AudioPhile [Jul 27, 2015]

    Traded a pair of Magies for these and it was a mistake. Of all the many small speakers, this Chinese abortion is the worst. Yes, I have had most all of them and this one is at the bottom. I'm using Radio shack Lineaums from goodwill for my back channel, while these sit on the shelf unused.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    1
    VALUE
    RATING
    2
    DanTana1   AudioPhile [Jul 24, 2009]

    I purchased these used off CL for a good price. After reading all the positive reviews, especially by Stereophile Magazine I wanted to try a pair. I had been using some decent (I thought) vintage speakers. Infinity Kappa's, Altec Valencia, Ohm C2, Jamo Coronet, Infinity Reference 2000.6. I had recently been to Best Buys Magnolia room and spent a few hours auditioning the Vienna Acoustics Hayden, Bach, Klipsh, Definitive Technology, Martin Logan, Mirage. I would probably compare the Epos ELS-3 closest to the Vienna Acoustics Hayden. I am driving them with a Sony TA-F700ES integrated amp, Oppo DVD, Sony PS-6 with SME3009 arm Ortofon MC cart, several tuners, Hitachi FT-8000, Denon TU-1500RDS, Carver 11A. I find the Epos to be an amazing speaker because of the imaging and I always feel I'm listening to a much larger speaker. I am using a Polk PSW-10 subwoofer with it, an amazing component in it's own right. The Epos bass response for a small bookshelf is excellent, not because it goes super low, and it amazes me when people think a small bookshelf should have 20 hz ratings, but that is extremely well detailed and coherent just like the rest of the bandwidth. The treble is never fatiguing and quite clear I don't crank them to ear splitting levels so I haven't experienced any grain or harshness, nor do I feel they are at alll rolled off. The ability of the Epos to extract the utmost information from your system and music will show any weaknesses in your system and reward you with it's strengths. The ability of these speakers to just disappear and create a wide and deep soundstage never ceases to amaze me, I have to keep looking and realize this beautiful music is coming from such tiny objects. Small they are but they have considerable heft to them, I was suprised how heavy they are.

    Lately I have also been listening to my Comcast music stations, and find the quality extremely good. I have been adding a new appreciation for the variety of music on there because I now have a true audiophile speaker to dissect the music and reveal it. I feel the Epos ELS-3 is up to the fine Sony TA-F700ES amp and it's ability to output the fine detail. Hearing the small nuances of a given song and badkground instruments and being able to focus on one or another and not lose it inside the rest of the song is amazing. One of my favorite all time albums is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon. Hearing all the voices in the background and the detail has given me new appreciation to the all time classic. For moderately loud listening levels it does a great job, The Beatles Sgt. Peppers was another new listening experience hearing the voices of McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, Starr was brought to a whole new level of realism. Don Henley's voice on Hotel California never sounded better.

    When I hear others talk about the Epos they compare them to speakers costing hundreds to a thousand dollars more, names like Harbeth, Rogers, B&W, Spendor, Magnepan, Vandersteen, Dahlquist, Martin Logan, Vienna Acoustics are just a few, and that is pretty heady company I think. The only speaker I might want to upgrade to now might be the Epos M16i that I've read other excellent reviews of, but for now I am extremely happy and sometimes just can't wait to turn on the stereo and begin listening to my music all over again, and find myself smiling as I listen to a newly familiar song again. I find that these will be the speakers that I compare all others to for now. Great things truly come in small packages.

    If you can find a pair of these for a reasonable price used, and now you should be able to for around $200.00 or under, I wouldn't hesitate. I think you'd have to spend 3-5 times more to match this speaker. I have to tip my hat to the owners and designers at Epos Acoustics for a truly great bargain product.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Justin Bentrup   AudioPhile [Jul 16, 2008]
    Strength:

    Midrange, imaging, texture, detail

    Weakness:

    Bass, grainy treble, harsh at higher volumes, price

    I wanted some bookshelf speakers for a small bedroom system and had a credit with Music Direct. Since I wasn't interested in anything else at the time I bought these. I have owned the Epos Els 3's for about a year and they do many things very well. They have a very clear midrange with good detail and texture on instruments. The Els 3's also image very well. They are of course limited on bass, but what do you expect from a 5 1/4" midrange?

    Compared to other speakers I have experience with I do sometimes tire of the sound of these speakers. I find their treble to be grainy and when turned up they become bright. I would recommend these speakers to someone who doesn't prefer to listen too loud and has a bias towards tubed gear. I would guess tubed gear might smooth out some of the perceived grain in the treble. The midrange driver is excellent; Epos would have a full-fledged winner if they would develop a smoother tweeter.

    Since the price of these speakers has risen to $400/pr, and assuming someone else wouldn't be bothered by the treble, I still think on the value side of things there are better options. With the midrange driver incapable of bass below 65 Hz these will always sound pretty light-weight even by bookshelf monitor standards which means a small subwoofer, at least, would be desired.

    For another $50 the Wharfedale Diamond 9.2's have a much sweeter (not rolled-off) treble; it has more clarity w/o grain or harshness when volume is increased. The bass is superior with maybe just a little less detail in the midrange. But that could be the result of the larger mid/bass driver (6 1/2"). This would alleviate the desire for a small sub, and top-to-bottom be more satisfying in my opinion. The Wharfedale's cherry vinyl and cabinet construction is also superior to that of the Epos.

    The Energy RC10 would also be a good consideration which has exceptional treble response and comparable midrange/midbass qualities to the Epos; the drawback is that it is $550/pr, so another $150 leaves your pocket. However, you are paying for really fine quality since you are getting real wood veneers, a more inert cabinet, and a kevlar midrange driver with a stationary phase plug (if the phase plug is attached to the center of the cone it has added mass which slows down the musical response of the driver and can also cause more non-linear cone motion producing distortion). Like the Wharfedale, it also can handle being turned up without compression or harshness.

    Once again, this conclusion is based on what you are getting for $400; at $330 the Epos was very good, and you can sometimes find good pricing from someone selling on audiogon or ebay. But if you want smooth treble that remains smooth when you turn up the volume look elsewhere.

    Similar Products Used: Energy RC 10, Wharfedale Diamond 9.2, Infinity, Paradigm, Polk, Boston Acoustics, Definitive Technology, Klipsch, etc.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    3
    thymanst   AudioPhile [Sep 08, 2007]
    Strength:

    Very balanced and detail,great soundstage, small, cost

    Weakness:

    none

    These speakers sparkle and are very balanced - I enjoy them very much - I have a lot of speakers and I ussually tire of one pair and then set up another - I havent changed speakers in 3 months! Vocals are great and the speakers really disappear - I have a pair of Infinity IL100s'ssubs to take care of the lower end (set up with RABOS these subs are tight and deep and blend perfectly- A true subwoofer bargain - I've had a couple of other subs - Velo cht12,polk,yamaha,klipsch, Velo FSR-15 and I could never get them to blend with pairs of monitors i've had) - I'm running the speakers off a Apple mac mini with a Behringer dac/jitter reducer, a Arcam a90 integrated with preout to a Musical fidelity Studio T amp.

    Similar Products Used: Other bookshelfs - Paradigm Studio 20v3, Kef Ref 101,Polk monitor 40, B&W dm601,Paradigm monitor 5,Klipsch Heresy,mirage omnisat, JBL, Polk 5jr, Bose am5,
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    jkroon   AudioPhile [Jul 21, 2007]
    Strength:

    Neutral sound. No boomy bass or chuffing. Smooth liquid highs. Almost perfect midrange. Detailed sound, but not bright or harsh. Build quality is very good. A very affordable way to get high end sound.

    Weakness:

    Powered sub required for low bass. These have little to no bass output below 60 Hz.

    Excellent value. Neutral, smooth, detailed sound. Not at all bright or harsh sounding unless you really crank the volume to their limits. These speakers LOVE acoustic recordings, but they sound great with all types of music. They project a wide and deep soundstage, image well, and work surprisingly well in a home theater despite their small size. I'm cured of upgrade-itis. I highly recommend these to anyone looking to put together a high quality stereo or surround sound system on a budget for small to medium sized rooms. Pair these with a good powered sub. Also, speaker stands are a must.

    Similar Products Used: Polk RT55i (I sold these to buy the ELS3's. I don't miss them)

    Paradigm Studio 20 (Also very good speakers. They have a slightly hard edge to the highs though. Better bass extension than the ELS3. Midrange and imaging about the same as the ELS3. Maybe a bit warmer sounding. Better fit and finish, but more expensive than the ELS3.)
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    E. van Aken   AudioPhile [Jun 28, 2007]
    Strength:

    Midrange and highrange, looks small but have a extended sound. Your cd's sounds different.

    Weakness:

    Bass and dynamic, with the subwoofer it's acceptable. Buy good cables.

    If you listen to jazz this is a ideal speaker. The human voices sounds very good as well as piano's. You really get into a song and enjoy the music. The size is very nice and the speakers looks good without the grill.
    I allready had a powered subwoofer from Magnat, so the bass is excellent.
    Without the subwoofer the bass is light weightet. Also lounge music sounds very good with the beautiful midrange. Buy speakerstands from nexus.

    Customer Service

    Very good

    Similar Products Used: Infinity RS2000 (1989), they're ugly but sounds dynamic.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Rob H.   Audio Enthusiast [May 19, 2006]
    Strength:

    clarity, imaging, non-fatiguing sound. Delineation of instruments in space and the ability to follow individual instruments in an ensemble is competitive with the better $1000 speakers.

    Weakness:

    bass extension --- but at under $300, c'mon what do you expect

    These speakers are rather remarkable for the price. I have them set up in my office at work placed on a shelf inches from the wall (non-ideal) and run 8 - 10 hours a day of satellite radio as the source (also modest in source quality). Despite the less than ideal setting these little speakers perform wonderfully. They are clear, easy on the ears, image well (even in my non-ideal set - up) and are non-fatiguing to listen to. I have heard many $500 - $750 speakers and this is the best of the bunch until you hit the $750 range where Vandersteen 1c's and Axiom speakers and others go to the next level. It seems that the next quantum leap in performance is at that $750 price point. So, no the ELS3 cannot hang with the speakers at approaching three times their price. But should they?

    At this price point, these are a great, great buy. For under $500 you would be hard pressed to do better — and if you can do better it will be only marginally better such that diminishing returns are still going to favor the ELS3. My point then is this — if you are not willing to go to $750 or more for speakers then I suggest you stop at ca. $300 and get these little British marvels. Great value!

    Similar Products Used: Polk, Axiom , Paradigm in this range. Vandersteen 1c's at 3X the price (and better by a reasonable margin --- though not 3X better). Mate with a $400 subwoofer and it likly would best the Vandersteen.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    foxman1   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 25, 2006]
    Strength:

    High frequency, mid range and imaging.

    Weakness:

    Bass response...the speaker has great bass sound, but just does not go very low.

    I purchased these speakers based on high ratings in profesional publications. This speaker has incredible imaging, mids and high frequency response. I feel these compare well to the many monitors I have listened to in the $1000.00 range. The Epos ELS-3 is a mini-monitor and bass response cuts out at 65hz. I am running these with a Yamaha Sub, with the crossover set at 70hz. If you have a small to mid size room, I highly recommend these speakers. Also, my Rotel integrated amp only puts out 40 watts and drives these speakers just fine.

    Similar Products Used: Cambridge Soundworks Newton M50
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    foxman1   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 22, 2005]
    Strength:

    high frequency and mid range

    Weakness:

    will not accept bananna plugs

    I recently purchased these speakers based on the numerous positive professional reviews. I am using them in a second system with Rotel components. I feel for a inexpensive moniter, they sound wonderful. I feel they image highs and midrange as good as my Energy Veritas 2.2's which retail for more than a grand. I am running the epos with a subwoofer set at 65hrz. For both stereo and home theater, I would give these a serious listen.

    Similar Products Used: Cambridge Soundworks Newton M50, Energy Veritas 2.2.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Petek177   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 01, 2004]
    Strength:

    Smooth, dynamic, detailed, 3 demensional sound.

    Weakness:

    None for it's size, but a sub would be useful for base extension although it isn't necessary provided room accoustics are good.

    The EPOS ELS 3 produce a very full, dynamic, clear sound for such a tiny speaker. I also have a pair of NHT Super one's, and I am not sure which I like better. The Epos produce a more 3-dimensional sound stage. I think the EPOS are also a bit more revealing in the highs. The NHT sound a little bigger (which they are) and more powerful. Substituting one for the other in the home theater room and using the same electronics (Rotel 850), the NHT and EPOS both sound great. In my small home office, using different electronics (NAD 2150 amp/Soundcraftsman pre-amp), the highs on the Epos become somewhat less clear while the base remains good. The EPOS are still plenty good in that room and that is where they normally stay. I haven't tried the NHTs in the office recently but recall that they also don't do as well as in the Home theater room. Goes to show that many variables contribute to a sound quality. Anyway, I highly recommended EPOS ELS 3.

    Similar Products Used: NHT Super One's
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Showing 1-10 of 11  

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