Review: Dynaudio Emit 20 high-performance standmount speaker : In terms of the qualities, it come quite close to most expensive models.
“The most expensive loudspeakers in the world!” and “The mega-million system!” are headlines that are popular because they attract attention and suggest that only a high financial investment can produce very good sound. Fortunately, many manufacturers regularly answer the question of whether this really has to be the case with “No” – and so does Dynaudio , although the Danes can certainly be expensive. They are currently putting an exclamation mark behind this statement with the newly launched Emit line. We tested the larger of the two compact models in the entry-level series, the Dynaudio Emit 20 (price: 950 euros).
Unlike in the economy, this works quite well with the trickle-down in the hi-fi sector: The Dynaudio Emit 20 can now appear with an 18-centimetre-diameter woofer with a 0.4-millimeter cone made of magnesium silicate polymer (MSP), which is based on the corresponding driver of the larger Evoke product family. The previous model was an older development with a diameter of 17 centimetres.
The MSP developed by Dynaudio should bring a particularly good combination of lightness, stiffness and damping. Of course, these are all membrane properties required in chassis construction, but unfortunately they contradict each other physically: Very light and stiff material likes to resonate, stiff and low-resonance materials are rather heavy, and strongly damping material is generally neither light nor stiff. It’s all about the right mix. Another advantage of this material is that the MSP driver membranes can be made in one piece, according to Dynaudio. The dust cap – the dust protection cap for the drive – is not glued, but is an integral part of the membrane and thus has a stable connection to the voice coil. According to Dynaudio, this should benefit the precision of the membrane movement.
Another special feature of the Dynaudio drivers is the copper-coated aluminum voice coil, which is wound on a fiberglass bobbin. Since aluminum is lighter than the copper normally used, more windings can be used – good for the magnetic force of the drive – without increasing the weight too much, which in turn is important for the responsiveness of the driver, especially at low signal strengths.
On the other hand, Dynaudio did not save on the weight of the magnets in the mid-bass drivers. The magnet ensemble of the new Emit 20 woofers could definitely be used in one of the top models of the Danes purely from the appearance and use of material – two “stacked” magnets sit behind the basket, build together almost as high as this and should are largely responsible for the 10 kilograms of an Emit 20 (and thus almost 3 kilograms more than the old Emit M20). I have never seen anything like this in this price range. In combination with the newly designed, long-throw bead, this driver should definitely have power. Interestingly, Dynaudio has not tuned the new Emit 20 quite as low as the predecessors: Instead of 50 hertz at -3 dB, the newcomer has 52 hertz at -6 dB on the data sheet.
Dynaudio took the Cerotar tweeter, which was already very convincing there, directly from the larger Evoke line – the second major change to the 2015 Emit series after the more powerful woofer. The coated textile tweeter with a membrane diameter of 28 millimeters has the Hexis inner dome developed by Dynaudio: The Hexis is a kind of “dome” behind the fabric dome, which, thanks to its shape and structure, acts like a diffuser and is intended to break up standing waves. According to Dynaudio, this leads to lower resonances , a smoother frequency response and higher efficiency.
And while the magnets in the woofer/midrange are made of conventional ferrite, the Cerotar boasts a ferrite+/strontium carbonate ceramic magnet system, which is said to deliver a stronger magnetic field of the same size than conventional ferrite magnets.
Incidentally, the separation frequency between the mid-woofer and the tweeter is rather unusually high: At 3800 Hertz, Dynaudio uses a “first- and second-order hybrid topology for the tweeter and woofer” – this means that the woofer is low-pass filtered with twelve decibels per octave and the tweeter is filtered downwards expires at six dB/octave.
As is well known, one of the biggest cost factors in loudspeaker construction is the housing. And while Dynaudio is more bulky than sloppy at this point with the Evoke series, the Emit 20 shows a little bit of the cost pressure of the lower price range. So – relative to the Evoke. In absolute terms, they can more than compete with their direct competitors with the 18 millimeter thick side walls and the 25 millimeter thick MDF front. Only there are no side walls that taper towards the rear and no veneer that flatters the hand as seductively as with the more expensive siblings, but “slide on box”. On the other hand, even the smallest speaker covers can be attached to the housing with magnets – not exactly a matter of course for speakers in this class.
Sure, below about 35 Hertz the Dynaudio Emit 20 have little to say in the listening room – and yet nothing is really missing with “handmade” music such as jazz, but also with rock à la Rage Against the Machine . With electronics like Yello’s “Kiss the Cloud” from the album Toy or with the organ in “Schlichte Weisen” from the album Cantate Domino , the Emit 20 gently fades out the very lowest notes from the action, but neither a B&W 606 can do that (700 euros) nor the closed ATC SCM7 (1,300 euros) better. On the contrary, when it comes to pressure and volume, punch and coarse dynamic force like the fat bass drum in Brendan Perry’s“This Boy” (Album: Ark) goes, the Dane shows both Brexitlers reasonably clearly where the Viking swings the bearded axe. Only the Canton A45 BS (1,300 euros) produce an even stronger, more emphatic blackness than the Dynaudio Emit 20, and the ATC SCM7 appear somewhat more controlled overall and draw what is happening even more clearly. But: None of the loudspeakers mentioned is as coherent as the Dynaudio in combining all the relevant bass characteristics in a balanced manner into a precise, informative and always pleasant and substantial whole.
This integrative ability extends further into the midrange, whose most important characteristic is its characterlessness. Although the B&W 606 can differentiate the voice of the lead singer of The Cat Empire in “Fishies” from the album So Many Nights almost as openly and finely unraveled in detail, they appear a decisive touch less substantial and comparatively paler in the timbres. The Dynaudio Emit 20 reproduce the voice action at least as transparently, but portray it a little richer and with a brushstroke that does not cover the details. In terms of naturalness and attention to detail in the midrange, they come pretty close to the outstanding Dynaudio Evoke 10 (1,400 euros) or the voice specialists ATC SCM7 – and that’s saying something.
The Cerotar tweeters of the Dynaudio Emit 20 operate with a rather symbolic respectful distance regarding the company’s internal hierarchy. Sparkling brass in “Capulets and Montagues” on Romeo and Juliet in the performance of the Munich Symphony Orchestra under Sergiu Celibidache and fine synthesizer textures in Felix Labande’s “Black Shoes “ (Album: Dark Days Exit) they work out of the mix almost as detailed and silky as the Evoke 10. At most they leave a tiny little bit of this – often only imaginable – ethereal floating when drum tins swing out on really outstanding ones miss audiophile exceptions.
Depending on the music program, I can’t help but get the impression that the entire high-frequency range of the Emit 20 seems a little more reserved than that of the Evoke 10. However, this is by no means at the expense of the cleanliness with which the 28 millimeter domes go about their work . On the contrary: It’s great how informative, detailed and at the same time pleasant and unobtrusive a loudspeaker can be tuned even in the three-digit price range and how clear it can be. If you know how it’s done.
This determination is not only noticeable in the characteristics of the high-frequency reproduction. How well a driver can understand impulses, transients and fine dynamic nuances depends above all on how quickly it reacts to signal changes. And the Dynaudio Emit 20 seems to do this exceptionally well and feels weightless. The Emit 20 are the liveliest and “boldest” Dynaudios I know. Even with my good old Linn Classic Movie II and its 75 watts per channel (at 4 ohms), which the less efficient Evoke 10 have a bit of trouble with, the Emit 20 get going as if there were no tomorrow – at least within the framework of the premise “Loudspeakers from Dynaudio”, which are otherwise on the more reserved side in this regard.
At the same time, they maintain comparatively high – certainly anti-neighborhood – level regions even with the nasty synth meanness of Squarepusher in “Rustic Raver” (Album: Hard Normal Daddy) and the gaudy drum programming in “Prisms” by 65daysofstatic(Album: Wild Light) take control of the membranes and unimpressed torpedo the eardrums with spiced impulse fare. Okay, a Canton Smart Vero 3 certainly has a little higher level reserves, but who can use it (more than once) in a rented apartment…? And again, it’s not the act (“Listen, I can do it fast and loud!”) per se with which the Dynaudio Emit 20 impresses, but the composure and balance with which they skillfully integrate this dynamic performance. The impulses and transients do not stand out as a spotlight, but always remain part of the instrument and musical context.
Spatiality & Image
The Emit 20 also lose relatively little in terms of space if I control them with the Linn DVD surround receiver instead of the Norma audio combo REVO SC2/DAC and REVO PA150 – not even at low levels, by the way. The stage between the two compacts doesn’t extend all that much beyond the outer cabinet walls in any case, but fills the space in between from floor to ceiling and from the loudspeaker level to amazingly far behind with life. And that in the best order, because the choral rows of Oskars Motettkörin “Silent Night, Holy Night” stand as if nailed down and fanned out directly in front of the rear wall, which is about 70 centimeters behind the loudspeakers – but not “virtually behind it” as with the Evoke 10 or the ATC SCM7. The Dynaudio Emit 20 does not work out individual voices excessively, but the edges are sharp enough for the price range.
A few more words about the bass plugs for the reflex openings, because they have a very clear impact on what is happening. They change the tonality from a somewhat full-bodied to a minimally slim character, and the bass resonance around 90 Hertz that prevails in my listening room is almost completely eliminated with them. The upper mid-range and the high-frequency range stand out more prominently and felt a little harder from the mix. On the plus side, voices like that of David Sylvian on “Darkest Birds” from the Nine Horses album Snow Borne Sorrow are more three-dimensional and concise in the space between the speakers, and the subtleties of midrange electric gimmicks appear more clearly defined.
Sure, you can like that and even find it better, but for me something of the pleasantly round feel-good sound of the little Danes is lost. That’s why the plugs stay outside in my listening room – despite the room resonance, which I can manage quite well by installing them a little further from the wall. In rooms under 20 square meters, however, depending on the acoustic conditions, it might be advisable to use the plugs or – my tip – to experiment with balls of wool in the bass reflex channel.
Conclusion: Dynaudio Emit 20
In terms of the sum of their qualities, the Dynaudio Emit 20 come quite close to their more expensive siblings from the Evoke line, even if they are aimed more at the pleasure center of the listener, while the big sisters appeal more to the audiophile finesse. Rarely have I listened to and enjoyed music for so long without being disturbed at any corner or edge. No, the Emit 20 don’t play “spectacularly” – at most spectacularly balanced. Even the midrange, which is superior in its price range, doesn’t really stand out because it’s one thing above all: natural.
So if you are looking for a pleasantly stress-free and well-tuned all-rounder without conspicuous insular talents, if you want to experience every type of music in rooms with an area of between around 20 and 35 square meters and do not want to overstrain your budget, you will come to a listening date with the Dynaudio Emit 20 barely over.
The Dynaudio Emit 20…
- doesn’t sound like entry-level at all.
- create a tonally complete, largely balanced and homogeneous impression without any noticeable weaknesses.
- appear very relaxed and mature thanks to their amazingly clean, distortion-free playing style.
- have a substantial, powerful bass range that is always sufficient, although not exceptionally differentiated.
- It feels like they play deeper into the bass cellar than the data sheet indicates.
- transport a clean, neutral, open and free midrange with natural tones.
- preserve the Dynaudio-typical silky-fine, very clean and distortion-free treble.
- resolve very well, especially in the midrange and treble, which means that they do not emphasize this aspect and still deliver all the necessary information.
- are very capable in terms of coarse dynamics, asserting themselves impulsively, powerfully and casually, especially in the bass, up to high levels.
- play spatially very freely and detached from the loudspeaker housings, but usually do not protrude beyond them.
- create a large and appropriately deep room, stagger the action well and separate individual instruments properly, but do not offer super-sharp edge and outline definition.
- Model: Dynaudio Emit 20
- Concept: 2-way compact speaker with bass reflex housing
- Price: 950 euros
- Dimensions & Weight: 205 × 370 × 325 mm (WxHxD with covers), 10.3 kg/each
- Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
- Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83V/1m
- Finishes: Black Satin, White Satin, Walnut
- Warranty: 2 years (8 years upon registration)