Dynaudio Emit M20
Sweeping dynamics; refined; well-built cabinets
KEY FEATURES 52 single wiring Max power: 150W Not quite so adept with poorer recordings
“Dynamically, the Dynaudios are always on the move within their generous range, proving as capable with explosive changes as subtle ones”
If you read July’s issue of What Hi-fi?, you’ll have seen the Dynaudio M10 standmounts (£500) made a huge impression, knocking the B&W 685 S2s – two-time Product of the Year winners, no less – off their pedestal. That takes some doing.
Now it’s the turn of the Emit M20s – larger versions of their impressive siblings – to try to make their mark. Place them side by side and the M10s and M20s are akin to those Russian dolls: different dimensions but made to the same proportions.
They both sport a satin lacquer (available in either white or black) and driver-dominated baffle which, thanks to a symmetrical smattering of screwheads bordering the drivers, looks as though it has been used as target practice.
But it’s not just the M20’s 36cm height and 27cm depth that qualify them as the senior standmount model in the Danish company’s entry-level speaker range. As is the Dynaudio way, new drivers have been designed specifically for each Emit model, with the M20 featuring a 28mm soft-dome tweeter and 17cm magnesium silicate polymer mid/bass driver – up from the M10’s 14cm.
That bigger driver goes a long way to explaining the M20’s greater ability when it comes to authority, scale, dynamics and bass depth. That is, after all, what you should expect from a larger standmount. More importantly, it hasn’t all come at the expense of musicality and agility along the way.
In Ludovico Einaudi’s Ancora, piano sequences bask in nuance and texture, to the point where it sounds not so much as though he’s striking keys but giving you a personal lesson in advanced piano playing. While the M20s don’t play their sibling’s compact card, the scale and openness they deliver is nonetheless very impressive.
Dynamically, the Dynaudios are always on the move within their generous range, proving as capable with explosive changes as subtle ones. Each piano note is solid, exact and punctual – even if in absolute terms they sometimes trade outright control for fun.
Unlike some speakers that favour certain music genres, the Emit 20s are game for everything – including the glitchy synths and intensely heady electrobeats in 65daysofstatic’s Prisms. They whisk through the song with plenty of attack, and even in the most complex moments find the discipline and rigour to pick out the multiple trails of thought – rhythmic drums, ambient guitar lines, cutting cymbals – without sidelining any element.
They exhibit the audacity of the Dali Opticon 2s, but stabilise it with a pleasant smoothness and refinement, and that winning algorithm makes them versatile and listenable.
Though they aren’t quite as flexible with poorer recordings, the M20s aren’t afraid to lift the lid on the slightly bright and edgy quality of The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me album, revealing the recording’s constrained nature. That’s further proof of their transparency, but also a warning that you won’t get the best from them playing below-par recordings.
Nor will you by shoving them up against a back wall, for when it comes to placement they require a bit of space to hit the right tonal balance. Toeing them in slightly helps with stereo imaging too, so that when we finish our testing with Traffic’s John Barleycorn Must Die, tambourines, flutes and guitar pluckings are all precisely mapped on the sonic landscape. With both the M10 and M20 standmounts receiving five-star reviews and Group Test-winning status, it’s a thoroughly impressive two from two for the Emit series. If you, or rather your room, determine that more scale, dynamic range and bass is better, the M20s are bang on the money.
The screws on the drive units can be covered by the speakers’ grilles, for a neater look