Dynaudio Emit 10 Loudspeakers Review & Test
Full review and laboratory test of the Dynaudio Emit 10 Loudspeakers by Australian Hi-Fi Magazine. Free download.
The following equipment review consists of a full subjective evaluation of the Dynaudio Emit 10 Loudspeakers written by Jes Roden, but omits the technical analysis.
If you would like to read the complete review, together with a complete set of independent laboratory tests and graphs conducted by Newport Test Labs and a test report written by Steve Holding, click on the graphic at the right, which is a downloadable pdf that is an exact replica of the original pages on which the review appeared in Australian Hi-Fi Magazine, January/February 2017 issue (Volume 48 Number 1).
Dynaudio Emit 10 Loudspeakers Review & Test
Dynaudio is one of those increasingly-rare companies that’s not only a specialist loudspeaker manufacturer (that is, it makes only loudspeakers, not amplifiers, streamers and so on) but is also a loudspeaker company that makes its own drivers as well (that is, it doesn’t buy drivers from other manufacturers). This not only gives the company total control over all the speakers it builds, but also it means it’s able to use technologies and techniques that are rarely found in loudspeakers made by manufacturers that don’t make their own drivers.
The Emit M10 is the smallest loudspeaker in Dynaudio’s range, measuring just 170×292×240mm (WDH). To save you reaching for your ruler, if you clench your fist, the height of the Emit M10 is about the same as the distance between the crook of your elbow and your knuckles. Put your hands side by side and the width is around the same as the distance between the knuckles of your little fingers. Yep… they’re that small!
The Emit M10 is also the least costly model in Dynaudio’s range, still selling here in Australia for less than $1,000, despite the plunge in the Aussie dollar that followed the Donald’s win in the USA. It should be pointed out right now that the reason for this low cost is not because Dynaudio has moved production to China. According to George Poutakidis, of BusiSoft, who distributes Dynaudio in Australia, all Dynaudio speakers are still manufactured in Denmark, just as they have been since the company was founded in ‘way back in 1976.
As should be evident from the photograph, the Emit M10 is a two-way design. The bass/midrange driver is specified by Dynaudio as being 140mm in diameter, but the overall diameter is somewhat larger, at 144mm, and the mounting hole diameter, which is often used to specify driver diameter slightly smaller, at 134mm. The total moving part of the speaker (that is, cone plus roll surround) is 113mm, the Thiele/Small diameter is 106mm and the cone diameter is 95mm. This puts the effective piston area (Sd) of this driver at 90cm².
As with almost all Dynaudio’s cone speakers, the bass/mid in the Emit M10 uses the company’s trademarked ‘MSP’ (magnesium silicate polymer) as its cone material. The cone is driven by a 38mm diameter voice coil wound with aluminium wire, rather than the copper wire that most driver manufacturers use. As aluminium is much lighter than copper, this allows Dynaudio to increase the number of turns in the coil and also use larger-diameter voice coils, while still keeping those coils extremely light.
Dynaudio says that using aluminium makes it possible to double voice coil diameter without increasing mass. This enables the driver to turn electrical energy into cone movement more effectively (technically referred to as the ‘sensitivity’ or ‘efficiency’ of the driver, and stated in dBSPL in the specifications) and also means the coil can dissipate heat more efficiently, which reduces the chances of both short-term and long-term dynamic compression effects (which occur when the voice coil gets hot, because this causes an increase in coil impedance which results in a corresponding decrease in efficiency).
Obviously, such a high-power coil/magnet combo needs a rock-stable platform, and Dynaudio’s driver chassis is certainly that. No flimsy pressed-steel baskets for Dynaudio… the chassis of the bass/midrange driver in the Emit M10 is an incredibly rigid solid alloy casting whose six support ribs have been shaped to enable free air-flow from the rear of the driver. Also, the six ribs are very thin, which also helps with air-flow freedom. The huge, weighty magnet is centre-vented and the frame vents the voice coil both above and below the suspension. Overall, I can’t remember a bass/midrange driver of such high quality being used in a speaker in the Emit M10’s price category.
The tweeter in the Emit M10 is a 28mm soft dome with a conventional ferrite magnet and the gap between the voice-coil and the magnet structure is filled with ferro-fluid to increase efficiency and help with voice coil cooling. Like the bass/midrange driver, the tweeter’s voice coil is also made from aluminium wire. The soft dome itself is made from silk fabric treated with a coating to fill the micro-gaps between the silk fibres.
What looks on our photographs of the Emit M10 to be a cut-away section of the tweeter’s front plate to allow Dynaudio to put it closer to the bass/midrange driver, which improves the point-source imaging and reduces phase errors across the crossover point, is actually not a cutaway at all. The tweeter’s front plate sits flush with the baffle and the bass/midrange driver is mounted on top of the baffle, with the top edge of the chassis overlapping the tweeter’s face-plate. The tweeter itself is the same Dynaudio 81702 type used on all Emit series models.
Not that you could tell from the photograph of the front baffle, because the port is at the rear of the speaker, but the Emit M10 is a bass-reflex design. The port, which measures 140mm long by 50mm diameter, is located high above the speaker terminal plate, which itself is home to just a single pair of multi-way gold-plated fully-shrouded speaker terminals.
As is becoming increasingly common, Dynaudio supplies foam bungs that can be inserted in the ports to, in the company’s words, ‘attenuate the bass output (if required).’ According to the manual, if you place the speakers close to a rear boundary, you may get, depending on your room: ‘a room-induced boost in the low frequency range’, in which case it says using the bungs will ‘dampen the deep frequencies, yielding a more clear and tight sound.’
Dynaudio specs the Emit M10 at ‘50Hz to 23kHz’ (though you should note that because no dB variations are indicated, this is not technically a frequency ‘response’ as such, but a frequency ‘range’), the sensitivity at 86dBSPL (1w @ 1m) and the nominal impedance at 6Ω. The speakers are available in two painted finishes: black and white.
Buying small speakers means you also need to make a decision about where they’re going to be placed in your listening room. They’re obviously ideally suited for wall-mounting using brackets, if this suits your application. They’re also ideally suited for positioning on flat surfaces such as side tables. They’re also ideal for desktop use. In the Emit M10’s case, they are also small enough to be placed on a standard-height bookshelf, which is something that can’t be said of most so-called ‘bookshelf’ speakers! If you do place the Emit M10s on a bookshelf, you’d be best-advised to fit the port plugs to block the rear-firing bass reflex ports.
Of course many users will choose to place the Emit M10s on stands, which adds to the overall cost, of course, since you have the extra outlay for the stands, but it’s stand-mounting that will allow the Emit M10s to deliver their best and ‘airy-est’ performance. Remember that the further out into the room you put the stands, the better the stereo imaging and stage depth, but the level of bass will diminish the further you move them outwards. These effects are true for any small speaker… it’s advice not just limited to the Emit M10 design. In my listening sessions I compromised by using the speakers on stands, but positioned those stands only around 20cm from the rear wall… and enjoyed the substantial lift in bass that was the direct result. Obviously you don’t use the bungs in this application.
Despite being small loudspeakers the Emit M10s are big in the bass department. I discovered this immediately with the very first album I played, which was the late Leonard Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ whose first track is also the title track. After a short motif from the Shaar Hoshomayim Synagogue choir a keyboard bass chimes in and the Emit M10s nail the sound perfectly so you immediately know it’s not a bass guitar, just an instrument that happens to sound exactly like one. Then, when Cohen’s gravelly baritone sings ‘If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game’ the emotion of what he’s singing… or, more accurately sing/speaking … was perfectly conveyed by Dynaudio’s Emit M10s. The speakers also managed to keep the single tap-percussion beat integrated yet separated, and so beautifully paced, that it never once sounded like a click-track. Later on, when we get to hear real instruments, David Davidson’s mournful violin is a stand-out. I have to say that Cohen’s son Adam did a beautiful job with this album.
I also had my debut listen to Lisa Mitchell’s latest (‘Warriors’) but was disappointed with the album because it was far more electronic than her previous albums, which I loved. But I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the way the Dynaudio Emit M10s delivered the layered synth sound cleanly, and the way they didn’t let any of the electronica interfere with the clarity of Mitchell’s plaintive-sounding voice. Not that the album is all electronic, with tracks such as Josephine and What is Love and, of course, my favourite track, Love, Death X, but it took me a long time to get over the ‘programmed’ sound of the intro track… first impressions and all that.
Indeed no matter what musical genre I played, I found the clarity of the midrange and treble from the Emit M10s was always a highlight, along with the stereo imaging, which I found to be perfect: so the Emit M10s were able to deliver not only image width, but also image height and stage depth, yet still enable pin-point accuracy when identifying the precise location of musicians on stage… at least on well-recorded albums.
The highest frequencies also get a special mention, because the Emit M10s punch well above their weight here. Just listen to the tone of a violin, or the sound of cymbals, particularly when they’re brushed. The Emit M10’s high-frequency extension is fabulous, yet there’s no glare at all, just pure, clean treble. My personal guess is that at least a part of the reason for this is that in order to keep the ‘sound’ of the Emit M10 the same as the larger and more expensive models in the Emit range, Dynaudio has been forced to use exactly the same tweeter it uses in those models, so it’s probably rather ‘higher-spec’ than they would have otherwise chosen to install in a speaker selling at the Emit M10’s price bracket.
Obviously, being very small speakers, if you push hard enough you will find there is a ceiling on how loudly you can play the Emit M10s before they start sounding a little hard and compressed, plus there are the inevitable deep bass limitations that affect all small two-way loudspeakers, but for the most part Dynaudio’s Emit M10s stretch all these limits to a far greater extent than I’ve heard from any other speakers their size.
Do yourself a favour and book a good, solid listening session with Dynaudio’s Emit M10s, because you’ll be amazed at how good they sound. They’re fabulous little speakers. So good that even if you already own a pair of outstanding speakers you will likely invent an excuse why you need a pair of Emit 10s for your bedroom or study. # Jes Roden
Model: Emit M10
RRP: $999 per pair
Warranty: Five Years
Distributor: BusiSoft AV Pty Ltd
• Very small
• Big sound
• Easy to drive
A full technical appraisal of the performance of the Dynaudio Emit 10 Loudspeakers with test results, frequency response graphs and an analysis of the technical performance, is contained in the LABORATORY REPORT which is in the pdf version of this review. (Click the RED box above).