The Dynaudio Emit range has just recently been refreshed. The model numbers have kind of reset. For example, the Dynaudio Emit M10 has been replaced by the Dynaudio Emit 10. Here I’m looking at the Dynaudio Emit 50 floorstanding loudspeakers, the peak model in this series. But I’ll quickly note that, as I write, there are a few of the Emit M-models available at a discount, just in case you want to get into Dynaudio at a bargain price.
Now, returning to the new models: there are five in the lineup. The Dynaudio Emit 10 and 20 are stand-mount models. I’ve got the 20 here as well, so a review of it will be appearing here soon. The Emit 30 and 50 are floorstanding. And there’s an Emit 25C centre channel speaker, so if you want to go surround sound, you’re covered.
The Dynaudio Emit range is Dynaudio’s entry-level. Above them in price and performance are the Evoke, Contour and Confidence ranges. So, let’s drill into the Dynaudio Emit 50 loudspeakers.
- Dynaudio Emit 50 are floorstanding, bass reflex, three-way, four driver loudspeakers
- Heavy, solid build: each weighs more than 25kg
- 1,170mm tall on included feet and spikes on my carpeted floor, 204mm wide in the body and 322mm deep, including grille
- Footprint (due to angled legs) 302mm wide by 376mm deep
- Spikes, rubber feet and metal plates for spikes included
- Two bass reflex ports, foam bungs for tuning included
- 28mm “Cerotar” soft-dome tweeter with Hexis inner dome. Borrowed from higher-level Evoke series
- 150mm magnesium silicate polymer midrange with 38mm aluminium voice coil
- 2 x 180mm magnesium silicate polymer cone woofers with copper voice coils
- Hybrid crossover, 1st order to tweeter, 2nd order to midrange and 4th order to woofers
- Crossover frequencies at 540 and 4400 hertz
- 33-25,000 hertz ±3dB frequency response; -6dB @ 28 and 35,000 hertz
- 4 ohms nominal impedance
- 86dB sensitivity (for 2.83 volts at one metre)
- 240 watts IEC power handling
- Available in satin black, white and walnut finish
- I approached these speakers kind of expecting adequacy, but instead found a dynamic, balanced sound, very nicely layered and detailed, that really ought to cost quite a bit more. No, a lot more. A bit of unexpected magic here.
- Price: $3299 per pair
- Available at fine high fidelity retail outlets, and direct from distributor's retail division here.
A few more notes
The specifications of a lot of floorstanding loudspeakers seem to suggest that much of the industry has surrendered to the subwoofer. Why bother going low – it’s hard, and expensive – when the sub can manage those frequencies? So many floorstanding loudspeakers aspire to a mere 40 hertz bottom end. That’s all well and good for home theatre systems, but potentially leaves those of us who use just a single pair of stereo speakers rather bass deficient. The Emit 50’s specified response down to 33 hertz within the ±3dB envelope, and a -6dB point at 28 hertz, is very welcome for stereophiles.
The powers that be saw fit to send me white ones for review. They were extremely well built, and beautifully finished, but I do not like the look of white loudspeakers. My wife, however, rather liked them. That makes for intriguing possibilities with regard to installing larger, more imposing loudspeakers than you might otherwise manage. That said, I’d likely choose the walnut finish.
Getting these loudspeakers up and running was fairly fast, and easy to do compared to getting them up the stairs to my second-floor office. They’re 32kg in their cartons.
They come with four diecast metal legs for each loudspeaker. These are secured to the underside inset metal mounting points on the loudspeakers with the included bolts. Then you can choose whether you want to screw in the spikes or instead just rely on the rubber doughnut feet. The latter are appropriate if you have a hard floor, spikes if you have carpet (as I do). Also included are four metal discs with each loudspeaker, which allows you to use the spikes on a hard floor without damaging the floor.
As is Dynaudio’s way, there is no provision for bi-wiring the loudspeakers, no bi-amping them. I agree with Dynaudio on this front. In installed the loudspeakers toed in so that they were pointing directly at the listening position. The speakers stand quite tall. The centre of the tweeter – on spikes on my carpeted floor – was 1090mm from the floor. That actually put it a little above the level of my ears in my listening chair (which is pretty much the height of a regular couch).
Listening with the Dynaudio Emit 50 loudspeakers
Let me summarise, first. I confess I was expecting a significant step down in sound quality after having spent the past few weeks treating myself to the glories of the Dynaudio Contour 20i (review here). But the family resemblance is strong with Dynaudio, and any weaknesses really were minor.
Overall, the superb dynamism for which I’ve long loved Dynaudio loudspeakers is retained, along with a simply excellent tonal balance. It’s detailed, yet easy to listen to.
Now for some detail, let’s start with a 2008 recording of a young jazz band, Austin Benjamin Trio. The album Amalgama manages to mostly stay on the fine line between avant-garde and accessibility and delivers it in recording of near unbelievable presence and reality. Which is precisely what the Dynaudio Emit 50 loudspeakers delivered.
The layering and air around each of the instruments, and in particular the dancing percussive strikes shone through with these speakers. The music relies on a dynamic delivery and precise control. There’s so much air in the recording that any slowness in the speaker will smear the sound in obvious ways. Particularly in the first track – “An Overture” – which builds up slowly, piece by piece with first piano, then drums (the bass member of the trio holds off until the next track), I found myself almost stunned. The kick drum, when it finally appeared, had a rounded, reverberant completeness that was glorious. But even with the more tightly packed tracks, the staging was superb and the speakers revealed every element of the music.
Of course, most readers will never have heard of this band, nor have the CD. Don’t worry, it’s available here for streaming or download for just $5 (plus GST). Do yourself a favour and get it.
Since this was a (then) new Australian group, and was prompted to go to another then-new Australia group, George, and its early “Bastard Son/Holiday” EP. There’s a naïve honesty to the engineering of this album. I gather it was self-recorded, and lacking access to studio tools, there’s a marked lack of compression, EQ or other tricks. Katie Noonan’s voice on “Holiday” is as glorious as ever. The bass accompaniment was powerful. But the drums again stood out, or rather stood back, clearly placed behind Noonan, with again excellent space around them, a proper three dimensional distance.
I decided to stay with female singers for a while, but moved to very old school analogue: Robert Flack’s debut album First Take, which I purchased such a long time ago it cost me $8.20 new. Side 2 has one of the greatest songs ever recorded, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. The stereo imaging was glorious. John Pizzarelli’s guitar is off to the right, while the Ron Carter’s bass is at the centre (you don’t try to push deep bass to one side or the other on vinyl or you run into problems.) Flack’s voice has that gorgeous hint of huskiness, fully revealed. The recording quality is only so-so. Atlantic Records clearly used the pop-music recording, rather than a jazz recording outfit. Still, there’s not too much compression or messing with the sound, and Flack’s piano chords were conveyed with authority by the Emit 50 loudspeakers. On “Tryin’ Times”, the drum kit is in the left channel, the piano in the right, the bass and Flack’s voice in the centre. And it all works.
Since Austin Benjamin Trio was a Canberra group, I stuck with the theme and pulled out a gorgeous 1979 recording – one that has apparently never made it to any form of digital: the small baroque ensemble Capella Corelli with their album For ye Lovers and Masters of Musique. This was recorded at the Canberra School of Music. The group of three play baroque violin, recorder, viola da gamba (kind of a larger fretted viola that is played in the manner of a cello) and harpsichord. The John Blow “Chaconne in g minor” on side 2 is a solo harpsichord piece, and when you hear this track through the Dynaudio Emit 50 speakers, you’re forced to abandon any preconceptions you had about the harpsichord as a harsh, screechy instrument. Played well, recorded well (a single Neumann SM69 stereo microphone was used), and played back well, it was delivered with a near haunting beauty and sweetness. Yet also with a dynamic forthrightness that such a rhythmic piece demands.
One thing you find when you’re using loudspeakers with extended and powerful bass is that it eventually becomes apparent that sometimes recording engineers don’t have speakers performing equally well in the bass department, particularly for older stuff. For example, I was listening to the title track of The Door’s second album, Strange Days. The drum delivery was wonderful, and clarity was first class. But there were also a number of deep, bass thumps as the recording proceeded, scattered randomly through the track. I can’t say I’d noticed them before, probably because I’ve mostly used an early CD release over the years and if it’s present on this, it’s at such a low level it hasn’t been evident. However, it is definitely present on the 2012 remastered version (I used the 24-bit, 96kHz version). I had the impression that the fundamental of this thumping – presumably some spurious noise picked up in the studio – was below 30 hertz. Which made me wonder, how low do these speakers go?
A quick measurement
So how deep was the bass going? Here’s a quick measurement with the microphone places roughly halfway between the woofers and the two bass reflex ports. Note, this is not a proper frequency response measurement. No doubt Dynaudio did plenty of those in its massive Jupiter design and measurement facility. All I’m doing here is seeing how far the bass output reaches. As you can see it reaches easily down to a useful 25 hertz, perhaps a bit lower.
The Dynaudio Emit 50 loudspeakers turned out, I reckon, to be great loudspeakers. They actually sound more like quality stand mount speakers in their agility and balance, yet provide a solid bass underpinning, revealing content that you may miss with stand mounts. Take your favourite music with you, visit a Dynaudio retailer, and have a listen. I think you’ll agree that these loudspeakers are bargains.
As you may have gathered, I did rather enjoy these loudspeakers (apart from the white finish).