Elk Speakers


Staff member
I am thinking about getting a 4 or so ELK speakers (http://www.automatedoutlet.com/customer/pr...p?productid=195), and would like to know if anyone else here is using these. I am not expecting cd quality, as it will only be used for TTS, but I would like it to be pleasant. I am planning on putting one in the garage (so the house can remind me to take the trash out in the morning etc), some downstairs and 1 in the bedroom.

Do I need to buy an amp or can I just split the pc soundcard output?


PS: If you like other ELK speakers better, please let me know which model and why
I'm using 3 ELK-73 speakers driven by an ELK-800 amplifier. These are for TTS only and are distributed about my apartment. For TTS and simple wave files, they sound great. For music, they're horrible.

The output of my motherboard sound is connected to the ELK-800 amplifier. The speakers are split from this following the example in the amplifier manual.

Here is my collection of posts on this setup from the HS board:
HS board - 1
HS board - 2
HS board - 3
HS board - 4

I am really pleased with the quality of this setup. There is a slight hiss coming from the speakers when there's otherwise no sound, but I only notice it when I'm really close to the speaker.

I don't think you can really drive these directly from the sound card. The amplifier is inexpensive and works well. The only problem with my setup is that I don't have individual control over speaker volumes. If this were important to me, I'd consider using a separate ELK-800 for each speaker and splitting the audio from the computer - they're pretty inexpensive and a block of them together might look kind of cool.
What kind of quality are we talking about here (just for the TTS part), phone quality?

How many speakers can you drive with 1 elk-800 amp?
I think the quality is certainly telephone or better. I'm running a 16kHz ATT&T voice (Audrey) and it sounds good.

The amplifier documentation says it will drive up to 16. You just need to keep the overall speaker load between 2 and 16 ohms. You can do this with the speakers wired in combinations of serial and parallel. The manual shows examples for 2, 3, and 4 speakers. How you wire them will affect the relative volume of each speaker - it's easier to wire 4 and keep the same level than it is for 3. I have not found this to be a concern with my 3 speaker configuration.

Speakers in series
R = R1 + R2

Speakers in parallel
R = (R1 R2)/(R1 + R2)

You can build up your total impedance using these formulae. The ELK speakers are nominally 8 ohm, I think.

Here's the amplifier on the ELK site. There's a link to the manual on this page.
ELK-800 Audio Amplifier
Hi E

I'm also using this Elk Amplifier with this and two of these speakers.

I'm just driving three speakers in parallel off of the amplifier. I'm also using a well regulated 24 volt DC supply for the amplifier power (the amp does not come with a power supply).

I agree that the sound is telephone quality. I use the Crystal AT&T voice with the built in sound capability of my Epox 8K7A mobo. I announce when windows/doors are open, alarm system armed/disarmed, etc...

I'm very happy with this setup, especially since the pricing is right!
"R" means resistance.

If you have a series string (speakers connected like xmass tree light string) the total resistance adds.

If you have a parallel arrangement (think of it as trying to plug a lot of lamps into ONE electrical outlet) you calculate the resistance as smee mentioned.

Does this make sense?
Which speakers do you like the best, and why? I guess I can't use my unregulated universal powersupply with this amp?
E, I prefer the larger of the two (Elk-70). These speakers use an echo effect for the sound and the larger case volume seems to have a slightly better quality of sound (I'd use this one if space and a few extra pennies were not a problem).

Another thing is you can paint the cases of these speakers to match your walls if needed. Funny but the larger speaker actually already matched my wall color (ie WAF seal of approval here at this house). :)

As far as the power supply question, not sure. Look at the Elk amp's specs to see its power supply requirements (current required), then see how much your supply can provide. In my case I already had a 24 volt DC supply, so just used it.
Guys, when I get to Texas, I was going to order one of these: http://www.automatedoutlet.com/customer/pr...6&cat=69&page=1 for each room I have with a phone jack.

I had read/heard before about people using the two unused wires in their phone line to distribute the audio to these speakers. Then you hook the the internal amplifier of each speaker to an appliance module, and be able to control which speakers are on at a given time (so you won't have non-important announcements sounding off in the bedroom while you are sleeping).

I think we had a big discussion about this particular technique with Martin during chat about 2 months ago.

The beauty of this setup, is using the phone lines, it's very non-invasive, which will be great for people like me who are changing apartments every 1-3 years!
Yeah, I wouldn't plan on blasting your stereo through them but for announcements, especially at those prices, you can't really go wrong. As soon as I get a breather here, I'm going to hook some up through the spare wires in my phone jacks as well.
I have never tried running audio through the "extra" wires in the phone lines. Many people do seem to have had success doing it.

However, I have run audio through one pair of wires in a cat5 line. The other wires were used for 1-wire and power. I had individual (cheap) amplified speakers distributed about the apartment. I found that I was getting a lot of noise in the speakers.

I ended up replacing this system with the ELK-800 and ELK-73's. The speakers are now wired to the amplifier using twisted-pair alarm wire. I did not try running the amplified audio through the original cat5. No more noise.

I'd try it in the phone lines and see if there is any interference - either way. I don't know if things like ADSL would also have an affect.
That's a good point about the DSL... Does DSL use the same pair as the phone or the other pair, or does it vary by service?
ADSL uses the same lines as your normal phone line (red/green for line 1 if it's wired correctly). The black/yellow lines (line 2) are not used. That's why you need to add a filter to each phone. I'm just not sure about any noise that might be "broadcast" between the pairs of wires.

Also, I've heard of people running across wiring that was not done correctly. I just helped a friend add a new extension and the original wiring was haphazard to say the least. Also, for the most part only 2 of the 4 lines were run to each extension.
I use a 50ft CAT5 run to bring the audio from my HS PC from the basement to my Yamaha 2.1 speakers in the living room, no hissing noise at all, and I run IR/phone using that same CAT5 drop, so I am hoping CAT5 will work, otherwise I will probably run some of my alarm wiring I guess.