When it comes to true hifi heritage, few can hold a candle to Dynaudio’s legacy for building class leading loudspeakers that remain true to the brand’s roots.
Launched in 1977, the Skanderborg based company has carved out a respected reputation that straddles the pro, domestic and automotive industries with equal weight. If you want proof, take a quick tour around the BBC’s broadcast studios and you’re guaranteed to find some unassuming Dynaudios on monitoring duties, highlighting their knack for combining analytical focus with musical enjoyment.
While this Danish audio giant offers loudspeaker ranges well into five-figures, the models on test here come freshly picked from its newly revised entry level Emit range. Being the smaller of two floorstanding models, The Emit 30 is the cheapest floorstander Dynaudio now offers at £1300, towering above two Emit bookshelf models and below its four-driver bigger Emit 50 brother.
Trickle down tech
Despite the affordable price, it’s clear Dynaudio has not compromised on quality for the Emit 30. This 2.5 way tower stands proud at 94.6cm, which includes its heavy-duty outrigger feet that come equipped with optional spikes and rubber pads to suit a range of surfaces. The driver array is made up of two 14cm woofers, formed from the latest iterations of Dynaudio’s proprietary Magnesium Silicate Polymer (MSP) material. These woofers also feature trickle down tech from the brand’s Special Forty models, being driven by twin-stacked strontium carbonite Ferrite+ ceramic magnets with aluminium voice coils.
Being a 2.5 way design, both woofers handle the mid and bass frequencies in parallel, with the lower driver rolling off at a lower frequency than the upper one. The upper driver then hands over at 3550Hz to a 28mm Cerotar tweeter. This tweeter is also an in-house design, lifted directly from the more pricey Evoke range and featuring Dynaudio’s Hexis inner dome, designed to smooth airflow and even dispersion. Shine a torch on the tweeter and you can easily see the Hexis’ silhouette through the fabric of the soft-dome tweeter. Completing the air-moving apparatus are two fluted rear ports tuned to 48Hz, one sited to the rear of the tweeter and the other venting the lower chamber. Each speaker also comes supplied with foam port bungs for extra fine-tuning.
Back in black
Each cabinet is formed from 18mm veneered MDF for the main structure with a 21mm thick front baffle. Inside the polyester fibre damping is precision measured for optimum resonance suppression. Externally there’s a choice of laminate finishes with walnut, white or black to pick from. At 17cm wide and 27cm deep The Emit 30 cuts an elegant figure. The subtle curve atop the front panel combined with overlapping driver surrounds helps soften their presence and make them look every bit the modern loudspeaker.
For the Emit 30 I opted for the black option, which is usually the finish I tend to steer clear of (perhaps due to overdosing on too much black ash veneered hifi in the late ’90s). Thankfully these speakers show how a black finish can be brought bang up to date for 2021, with a subtle matt texture that has a modest glitter effect when the light catches it. My camera doesn’t do this finish justice, so it’s well worth viewing them in the flesh before choosing which one to go for.
Read more about the Emit range in our exclusive interview with Dynaudio Senior Acoustics Engineer Stephen Entwistle.
Once unboxed, with outriggers fitted and magnetic grilles removed the Dynaudios are ready to rock, positioned 3m apart, 1m from any room boundaries and 3m from my listening position with a slight toe in. Having run them in for a good week without serious listening, I’m confident they’ve relaxed into my system and are suitably loosened up.
Given the finish, and that this is a speaker range reborn, it seemed only fitting to reach for AC/DC’s landmark Back in Black album via a 16-bit/44kHz ALAC rip, streamed via my reference Primare NP30 media player into a Musical Fidelity M6 pre/power amp combo.
As soon as the opening riff to Hells Bells makes its presence known it’s clear that these are Dyns with a difference. Dynaudios of old tended to sound accurate while controlled, erring on the dark or damped side, which helped garner their reputation as excellent studio monitors where hours of fatigue free listening is the order of the day. On the flip side, those looking for thrills and spills at the expense of honesty, often missed the brand’s more mature appeal. The Emit 30 however strikes a perfect balance at this price point by retaining all of Dynaudio’s trademark acoustics for accuracy and control, while not compromising any of the excitement. Angus Young’s guitars sound raw, fresh and full of life as their notes slice through the air in front of me, like they’ve been laced with neat adrenaline. This is also aided by the Emit’s pace and ability to handle dynamic swings with ease, which has me eagerly sending the volume north.
What these speakers also convey well is scale, even at lower volumes. At this price many moderate floorstanders seem to be built to give you lots of box for your buck, but in the audio quality stakes this can be to their detriment, by sounding more shut in or wayward than their standmount brethren. With the Emits however, this equation is reversed. The soundstage they convey is vast and rich, and goes way beyond my expectations for a cabinet of this size and price, as they drive my room with ease. This is in abundance with the AC/DC album but how do the Emits handle a change of flavour? Spooling up a remastered 16-bit/44kHz stream of the Pet Shop Boys’ What Have I Done To Deserve This? via Qobuz provides the answer by showing how grand these speakers make the track sound.
Easy to please
The Emits’ soundstage gives Dusty Springfield’s dreamy vocals and accompanying synthesisers an abundance of space to occupy across the midrange and upper frequencies without congestion, allowing the cabinets to aurally disappear in a way that’s also uncanny for a speaker at this price point. Whether this is due to the tweeters’ inner Hexis and rear port I cannot say, but what I can attest to is how open sounding they are.
This also makes these speakers a much more forgiving speaker with off-axis listening compared to many rivals. The Emits aren’t overly sensitive to positioning tweaks because their stereo ‘sweet spot’ is wider and more even than many rivals, that’s reminiscent of omni directional speakers, but with added focus.
At the other end of the scale, the Emits have a bass depth and presence that’s deep and firm yet finely tuned and free of bloom. Ask them to punch low and they respond with ease. With London Grammar’s Stay Awake from their If You Wait LP spinning on my VPI Scout 1.1’s platter, the Dynaudios refuse to be outwitted. Especially on vinyl, I find that this track can wrong foot many an ill prepared loudspeaker, causing the thunderous lower frequencies to become muddied and smeared. But the Emits relish the task, delivering room shakingly low frequencies while mastering the rapid fire speed of the deeper notes, underlining how the brand’s pro studio experience has been applied where it matters.
While the Emit 30 may seem entry level for this brand at the price, don’t be fooled into thinking this is an entry-level sounding speaker. Thanks to the trickle down tech that’s been harvested from Dynaudio’s more senior offerings, understated looks and no-nonsense design, what you get here is decades of knowhow brought together into an affordable package. These speakers sound dynamic, open and well balanced, making for an exceptional allrounder at this price point.