The phrase “trickle-down technology” appears frequently in the realm of hi-fi speakers. Essentially, it refers to technologies and design features that are introduced in higher-priced speakers but then find their way into lower-priced speaker lines. When technology functions properly, the benefits are evident.
On paper, Dynaudio’s new Emit range of loudspeakers benefits significantly from trickle-down technology. They are the offspring of the company’s Evoke, Contour i and Confidence lines. Dynaudio’s Core professional reference monitors have also influenced their design. That’s a remarkable roster of contributors, and it only adds to our excitement. After all, this Emit 20 standmounter is following in some great footsteps. We loved the previous model, the Emit M20, and gave it five stars as well as a What Hi-Fi? Award back in 2016.
So, how big is the total of the Emit 20’s parts?
Dynaudio Emit 20 Specs
- Sensitivity 86dB
- IEC power handling 160W
- Impedance 6 ohms
- Frequency response 53Hz–25kHz
- Speaker dimensions (hwd) 37 x 20.5 x 21.1cm / 8.1 x 14.6 x 12.3in
- Weight 10.32kg / 22.8lb
Dynaudio Emit 20 Design
The Dynaudios look clean and sophisticated when unboxed and put on top of a couple of adequately sturdy stands (each speaker weighs a hefty 10kg / 22.8lb), and build quality is solid. The fact that any mounting screws are hidden from view and incorporated into the surface of the speaker contributes to the smooth façade.
The front baffle’s slightly slanted top edge is the only point of interest. It is, however, a very subtle aesthetic element that complements the top edge of the black magnetic grilles if you choose to utilize them.
Elsewhere, the finish meets the standards you’d expect for the price. The Emit 20 cabinets are constructed of 18mm MDF and come in three bespoke laminate finishes: black, white, and walnut.
The drive units may not be as visually appealing as those found in rival speakers such as the KEF LS50 Meta, but as previously stated, there is plenty of remarkable engineering above and beneath the surface.
Starting at the top, the Emit 20 features a 28mm soft dome Cerotar tweeter from the company’s Evoke range.
The Hexis inner dome, which rests directly behind the main dome, is a major element of this tweeter. It directs airflow back into a rear chamber, reducing undesired resonances behind the fabric dome. This, according to Dynaudio, contributes to “even cleaner, sweeter high-frequencies.”
The Emit 20 employs a one-piece 18cm MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) mid-bass woofer (increased from 17cm on the original M20), based on the one found in the Evoke series, beneath the tweeter. The driver has a dual-stacked ferrite-ceramic magnet technology to improve control over its movement.
The mid/bass driver and tweeter are linked by a custom-designed crossover created by the same team that created Dynaudio’s Heritage Special and Core speakers. For the tweeter and woofer, the Emit 20 employs a hybrid first- and second-order design.
Single-wired connections and a new dual-flared bass-reflex port can be found on the back of the Emit 20. Because the rear-firing port configuration makes speakers more sensitive to placement, we’d avoid shoving the ’20s up against a back wall or into the corners of a room. We also discovered that leaning in towards our listening position helped focus the stereo image.
Dynaudio Emit 20 Sound
Our first impression of the Emit 20 is that it sounds huge and has an excellent sense of scale for a standmounter. When we play Kanye West’s Black Skinhead through our reference Burmester 088/911Mk3 pre/power amplifier and Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer, the Emit 20 immediately explodes into life, delivering a wide-open sound field and an outstanding feeling of scale. Each drum thwack is robust and smacks with authority before the speakers descend to gather the track’s darker, more probing bass notes. Low frequencies have significant weight as well, but the speakers never sound heavy-handed and provide plenty of room for textures to shine.
As you move up the frequency spectrum, the Dynaudio’s demonstrate that they are also extremely smart speakers. When we play the end credits from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the highs are very memorable. It makes string instruments seem sweet and refined. There is no doubt that these are a significant step up from entry-level, budget speakers.
We switch circuits and replace our Burmester amplifier with something more cost-effective. It’s the Naim Nait XS3 in this case. Mountains by Bat For Lashes follows, and the Dynaudios smoothly ride that throwback ’80s synth wave. We’re drawn in by the highs, lows, sweeping vocal, and sharp chimes. The speakers provide an outstanding level of detail across the board while balancing insight and fun. They can provide you with a lot of information without taking the life out of the song.
So far, so good, but the longer you listen, the more obvious it becomes that something is lacking. All of the aspects are present and sound great on their own, but when it comes to bringing them all together and capturing the heart of the song, the Emit 20 falls short of the absolute finest at this level. The KEF LS50 Meta, for example, has a radically different sound signature. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the KEFs express the track’s dynamics and timing in a somewhat more natural and credible manner.
When playing The Streets’ Blinded By The Light, the Dynaudios’ delivery of Mike Skinner’s narration isn’t as convincing. As his night unfolds and a sudden shift in mood and terror sets in, the dynamic shift in delivery becomes less noticeable. The KEFs, on the other hand, simply communicate more precisely what is going on.
- Impressive sense of scale
- Smooth, sophisticated delivery
- Good detail levels
- Dynamics can be bettered
- Presentation lacks a little cohesion
The Dynaudio Emit 20 has a lot to offer. They have a remarkable sense of scale for a pair of standmounters, and several characteristics, particularly the smooth, nuanced treble and midrange, stand out.
However, when it comes to communicating music in its whole and sewing together all the many pieces of the auditory jigsaw, they fall short of the absolute finest at this level.