Emotiva T-1 Speakers, $700 per pair
37 5/8h, 8 1/3w, 11 5/8d, 40lbs ea.
Emotiva of Tennessee has long been known for high value electronics. Its current array of
BALANCED ELECTRONICS: CD Player, Preamp and 300×2 Power Amp are among the finest values in our industry. Is it fair that they are game changing the affordable speaker category as well?
Well, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Emotiva’s new line of speakers employs its ultra low mass ribbon tweeter. There are those of us that just love ribbons! We think they’re more articulate than domes of any shape, size, material or price.
Endemic to domes is that they’re not under equal control throughout the cross section of the driver. Ribbons are. The air and detail of ribbons is unsurpassed. Up until now, it took about $1400 per pair to get a fine tower with a ribbon tweeter, the GoldenEar Triton 7. And in fact, I still prefer the T-7 to the T-1 described here. The beauty of T-1 is that it comes in at half the price! The GoldenEar is warmer, better balanced and images better. The T-1 is in a price strata that competes with the world of dome tweeters and vanquishes them.
There have to be 300 speaker companies out there. That’s proof that falling in love with speakers is a subjective emotion. But I would contend that… if you’re going to spend $700, you simply cannot attain the air, space and “breathy” sound from any dome as well as the T-1. You can debate all day long that this speaker has too much bass, that one has too little, and the third one is just right. But what I hear is… the essence of the music just isn’t as lively and immediate without the ribbon. Emo has it. It’s their own design.
T-1 has more going for it than a low mass ribbon tweeter. It features a 5 1/4” Woven Fiber Midrange driver and two 6” Woven Fiber Woofers. The cabinet is aesthetically plain, so what? Some competitors make fancier cabinets- and stuff them with cheap cones/domes. It’s a free market and you can do whatever in attempts to sell stuff. But in terms of performance, Emo is putting
the money in the drivers, crossover and cabinet design, not the cosmetics.
T-1 tends to the brighter side of neutral. T-1 definitely provides a muscular sound. It hits hard and surprisingly deep for the price. While rated at 88dB SPL, I promise you’ll find T-1 very easy to drive. Our 40×2 NAD integrated can easily drive T-1 well. This is wonderful because no matter what starter amp you might have, it will drive T-1!
Happily, the T-1 is good enough that it will reward you for a superior source (Bluesound Node 2 with MQA!) and better amplifier. How crazy do you want to go for a $700 pair of speakers? That of course, is up to you. The good news is that T-1 will keep getting better and better as you improve what’s in front of it. Most $700 speakers are more than a shade dark/murky and there’s little benefit to upping what’s ahead of them.