I adore compact bookshelf speakers so I decided to do Dynaudio Emit 20 Review per the request of one of my readers.
Although it occupies the position of entry-level speakers in the hierarchy of the famous Danish manufacturer, the Emit 20 series is not just there to fill the offer. On the contrary – their quality is indisputable, and the sound will satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles, whether it’s a stereo or multi-channel setup.
In an effort to offer fans of good sound a high-quality speaker at an acceptable price, Dynaudio has come a long way in the past ten years from the original DM series, through the first Emit models, to the tested second generation of Emit speakers. This generation of Emit speakers, therefore, brings elaborate models, which contain solutions taken from more expensive series and are packaged in a much more elegant finish, and their tonal qualities allow them to become a pillar in the formation of an affordable and good-sounding audio system. The series includes two bookshelf models and two floor-standing models, as well as a central speaker for surround systems, and below I will introduce you to the larger Emit 20 bookshelf model.
Dynaudio Emit 20 Specifications
- Recommended amplifier power: up to 160 W
- Type: Bookshelf
- Sensitivity (dB @ 2.83V/1m): 86
- Lower Cutoff (Hz @ +/- 3 dB): 53
- Upper Cutoff (kHz @ +/- 3 dB): 25
- Lower Cutoff (Hz @ -6 dB): 42
- Upper Cutoff (kHz @ -6 dB): 35
- Box Principle: Bass reflex rear double flared port
- Crossover: 2-way
- Crossover Frequency (Hz): 3800 Hz
- Crossover Topology: 1st order tweeter / 2nd order woofer
- Tweeter: 28mm Cerotar soft dome with Hexis
- Midrange/Woofer: 18 cm MSP
- Weight kg: 10,3
- Weight lbs: 22 6/8
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 205 x 370 x 311 mm
- Packaged WxHxD mm: 552x445x480
- Packaged weight kg: 23,5
- Speakers per packaged box: 2
- Grille: Black
You can download the manual here->Dynaudio Emit 20 Manual
Construction & Design
Although Dynaudio is one of the manufacturers that strongly adheres to tradition and continuity, the leap forward of this Emit series compared to the previous generation is noticeable at first glance. The angular front, with recognizably notched edges and somewhat industrial design, has been replaced by a far more refined look and an overall more contemporary appearance. The gently rounded features of the face, that is, the front of the new speakers, are perfectly blended with the frames of the speaker units, which, unlike their predecessors, are slightly recessed and attached without visible screws.
The driver setup has been significantly improved. In the upper part, inside the large frame, we find the Cerotar tweeter, which is directly taken from the more expensive Evoke series. This tweeter driver is equipped with a 28 mm diameter textile calotte membrane, under which is the famous internal dome called Hexis, responsible for optimizing airflow, which achieves a better frequency response and reduces unwanted vibrations. A ferrite-ceramic magnet is used for the drive, which, according to the manufacturer, maintains complete control and unchanged sound quality even during very loud playback.
Their hunger for power is really not too great – it will be enough to pair them with a stable amplifier of a high-quality voltage stage.
The second part of the two-system topology is represented by the midrange-bass unit, which is equipped with an MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) membrane with a diameter of 180 millimeters. Also based on drivers from the Evoke series, this unit is distinguished by the absence of the classic dust cover – instead, there is now an integrated part that increases the overall surface area of the membrane and also includes cooling holes along the edge. The coil windings are made of aluminum covered with a surface layer of copper, while the body of the coil is made of double-layer fiberglass, and the setup is completed by a new long-travel suspension and a powerful ferrite magnet.
Dynaudio Emit 20 speakers are available in three colors: White Satin, Walnut Wood, and Black Satin.
As the next important element of every speaker, the crossover was made using all the knowledge and technologies that Dynaudio has, and it is particularly noteworthy that a separate and customized crossover was developed for each model in the series. The Emit 20 uses a hybrid topology, where a first-order circuit is used for the tweeter, and a second-order setup for the mid-bass, which enables exceptional control of each driver individually. The fact that Dynaudio’s laboratory called Jupiter was used for all tests speaks volumes about the seriousness of the approach when creating the new Emit series. This large cube-shaped room, sides 13 meters, is equipped with state-of-the-art measurement equipment, including 31 microphones and a robotic arm to operate them, in order to make the most precise measurements possible in a 360-degree circle – so not only at the ideal listening position but and all around the speakers.
The aesthetics of the new model have been improved compared to its predecessor, which can be seen in the more modern front panel, but also in the application of a higher quality finish. The Emit speakers are now available in black and white finishes, as well as a combination of black front and walnut cabinet, while the associated cloth covers are attached using hidden magnetic holders. The back side can be said to be normal and contains a bass-reflex port in the upper part, while the lower half is reserved for a recessed panel with one pair of terminals. The speaker terminals are of very good quality and combine a gold-plated metal base and a transparent plastic casing, and accept all types of connections.
Although the sensitivity of the tested speakers of 86 decibels is among the lower ones, the nominal impedance has been increased to six ohms, so the Emit 20 will represent less load for the amplifier compared to the previous generation. These speakers can handle power up to 160 watts per channel, so I believe that, like all other Dynaudio speakers, they will benefit from slightly stronger amplification. Unpacked and placed in their places within the system, the Emit 20 seems rather bulky, which is primarily due to the somewhat larger width of the cabinet, and the weight of over 10 kilograms per piece instills confidence in the internal construction and good damping of the speakers.
On critical listening, the Emit 20s prove to be serious and mature boxes with a comprehensive sound, despite being at the very beginning of Dynaudio’s range. The overall tonal balance is a shade warmer and, I would say, slightly sweetened, but in a positive way: namely, although I am used to neutrality with more expensive Dynaudio speakers to the point of cruelty towards the recording and the rest of the equipment, the manufacturer obviously had in mind that the speakers of this price class may not always be paired with an equally high-quality amplifier or source, so in this way, they enabled users of slightly weaker devices to enjoy good sound. In addition, the speaker units for the shade are oversized compared to their class rivals, so the Emit 20 provides really massive sound from a modest size and could easily be compared to smaller sub-standard boxes.
Thanks to the MSP unit with a diameter of 18 centimeters, the lower part of the spectrum is one of the biggest strengths of the speakers tested. According to our subjective impression, the bass reaches much deeper than the specifications suggest – in this respect, only heavyweights in the same class, such as Monitor Audi with a 20-centimeter membrane, can match them. The low tones are well-defined and maintain a clean and precise presentation down to the lower threshold of audibility, and the macro-dynamics are very good and provide a strong punch. Emit 20 is also quite up to the demanding bravado of electronic music, so the upper basses are very fast and sharp when necessary, with the possibility of clear presentation and very good separation of a large number of tones. Their hunger for power is really not too great – it will be enough to pair them with a stable amplifier of quality voltage stage, and they will reciprocate with solid and powerful bass.
Despite the strong low-frequency part of the spectrum, the Emit 20 maintains a very well-measured balance between the ranges, so the mid-tones are completely in line with the rest of the presentation, without retreating and falling into the background. The midrange is quite vivid and displays an abundance of full and clear tones, while not looking back too much on the musical direction – whether it’s rock, jazz, electronica, or classical music, you’ll enjoy the many details and elaborate presentation.
In one segment, Dynaudio did not deviate from the established principles, and it is about the presentation of vocals: the human voice is presented faithfully, primarily thanks to the great integration of a large number of finesse, so the vocals are impressive and really present in the room. In the final sum, the color and dynamics of the midrange allow the Emit bookshelves to provide a musical and, at times, playful reproduction, and even to sacrifice a bit of precision in the midrange, which is not often found with this Scandinavian manufacturer.
During playback, the effort that Dynaudio invested in the design of the crossover is noticeable as a flawless fit of all parts of the spectrum, so the transition to the tweeter unit is completely imperceptible. The Cerotar tweeter provides really great detail and very precise tonal separation, but even more than that, I was fascinated by the way the Emit 20 utilizes the virtues of this driver. High tones are reproduced in a fluid way, forming a fine network of notes in three-dimensional space, so the speakers outline a rather large stage, which is displayed on all three axes. Therefore, although they generally strive for powerful reproduction and great sound, the Emit 20 is still capable of very good microdynamics and an intimate presentation of a piece of music.
Dynaudio Emit 20 Video Review
Although at the beginning of the test, I was somewhat unpleasantly surprised to learn that the new Emit loudspeakers have increased in price by as much as a third compared to their predecessors, the Emit 20 convinced me during the meeting that the implemented improvements are worth at least that much. Compared to the previous generation, the new Emit 20 brings better sound in every respect and performs supremely as one of the best bookshelf boxes in the three-digit price range, while the combination of the contemporary and classic design will surely meet with the approval of our household.
Dynaudio Emit 20 Pro & Cons
- Deliver clean and sweet high-frequencies
- Excellent clarity and balance in sound reproduction
- High-quality construction and durability
- Impactful bass and improved sound quality
- Its weight may make it less portable
- The speaker’s size may be too large for some setups or rooms