A Very Interesting Speaker

A Very Interesting Speaker: Emotiva T-1 Towers, $700 per pair

37 5/8h, 8 3/8w, 11 5/8d
SPL 88dB, 4 ohms, Bi-amp/Bi-wire terminals, 5 year warranty

What If…

You could buy a set of $2000 towers for $700? You can. For your consideration, we have the new Emotiva Airmotiv T-1 Towers.


What you get for your money is very impressive:

You get a lightning fast, slightly brighter than neutral ribbon tweeter
You get a 5 1/4” Woven Fiber midrange driver. It’s the same as Kevlar.
You get two 6” Woven Fiber woofers. Ditto.
You get an audiophile grade crossover with film caps, air core inductors and precision resistors.
You get a thick cabinet. The front baffle is 1” High Density Fiber Board. The sides and rear are ¾”.
You get internal bracing of the cabinet.
You get beveled angles on the face to control dispersion.
You get magnetic grills which apply easily.
You get a finish of several coats of satin lacquer.
The speaker looks nicely finished, grill on, or grill off.
You get terminals for bi-wiring or bi-amping, if you’re so inclined.
You get a 4 ohm load which sneaks more power out of your amplifier or receiver.

Let’s Analyze

You’re getting A LOT for your investment in T-1!

Here’s what most speaker companies are doing these days. They are branding speakers made by OEM vendors. The standard “package” delivered to the market under a plethora of brand names, is an aluminum dome tweeter, 4-5” paper midrange, and one or two 5” paper woofers. The
typical price point for this generic 32 pound box is $2200-2500 per pair.

You can see this speaker with various wrinkles all over the marketplace. Hi-Fi News did a speaker comparison in 2016 that pitted six of these competitors against each other. HFN concluded that this one was a touch better in this category or that, but the bottom line is, all 6 were so similar, that they couldn’t recommend one above the group. Why? Because all were made by OEM houses and the differences boiled down, literally, to Ding Dongs vs Ho Hos.

Another range of competition features primarily Euro or American companies who screw a 6” Seas mid/woof and dome tweeter into a pretty box and charge you $6k for the pair! These drivers are available off the shelf for $100 a pop or less to anyone who is interested. You’re paying dearly for the brand name and aesthetics.

Let’s Analyze Some More

T-1 gives you a conspicuously large dose of hardware for your investment- MORE than the $2500 guys described above. You absolutely get more hardware with T-1 than these HFN reviewed speakers- for a third the price.
And, this hardware is better! You’re getting a sophisticated, chunky, yet not opulently finished cabinet that weighs in at 41 lbs. You’re getting a ribbon tweeter. You’re getting Kevlar equivalent drivers- without paying for the actual DuPont product.


T-1 is a shade brighter than neutral. Its sound is open and airy. As with any speaker, you’ll have to assess whether it’s your cup of tea. If you listen at low to moderate volume and are over 50 years old, I’m betting this IS your cup of tea. In fact, it is a strong recommendation as our wives yell at us for playing too loudly. That’s what we need to do to get articulation out of generic dome tweeters. With the Emo ribbon, you won’t have to go as loud.

T-1 has very respectable bass, but it won’t break your windows. I like this. It means if you DO want to rattle your floorboards, you’ll add a powered subwoofer. At anywhere near this price point, I like the idea of going with a tower with full, BALANCED sound- that is less than pulverizing. If you spend a grand or two in a tower, you’re still not achieving what a sub will add. Hence T-1 with a testosterone laden $500-700 sub from GoldenEar, is a strong recommendation. You get the open articulation and nicely balanced bass of T-1. You can add a foundation moving sub if you choose. All in, $1200-1400.

T-1 images quite well. It not only produces a nice center, but provides a wide window. The ribbon provides lighter, airier sound than what you’ll derive from a dome. To get this ALL for $700, is quite the deal.


You can get a matching center and surrounds, all utilizing the ribbons.

How Can You Beat T-1?

Can you beat T-1? Yes. But not for $700pr. It will take $1400pr. You can buy the GoldenEar Triton 7 (with ribbon tweeter) which has superior timbre balance. If you want to hear clarinets, oboes and horns to their most accurate flavor, according to me, you double the price to get GoldenEar.