Good Afternoon All,
This past weekend I directly compared the EMP EF30T, Klipsch RF-52 II, and the EMP E55ti. I'm not going to get into the sonic details of each and every track. The speakers were compared in an A\\B arrangement on the Onkyo TX-NR3008. All EQ was turned off and volumes were leveled using a Radio Shack SPL meter. All speakers were used with a 60hz crossover to my TC Sounds LMS-R 15" subwoofer.
My spouse really liked the "cute" little Klipsch when they first arrived. She had liked the Klipsch RF-82s (and rc-64) when I owned them. First impressions were not so great to me. The finish looks similar to what you would find on a Polk Monitor speaker, nothing special. And the sound immediately reminded me of the RF-82s I had sold. The Klipsch Reference line has an interesting sound to them. They sound good on their own. The first thing you'll notice is a boost in volume (efficiency) over most speakers. The bass is ample and the horns have a live, in your face sound. All this is well and good until you switch to a volume leveled speaker that is tonally neutral. We immediately noticed deficiencies in the Klipsch. The tweeter often sounds shrill with high notes, the bass is boomy, the midbass is recessed, and the overall sound is compressed and colored. They do offer a solid soundstage with very good imaging. I've always wanted to try a pair of RF-7s but after trying various Klipsch models I seem to have lost my affinity for Klipsch
After the Klipsch RF-82s I tried the Polk RTI series. The RTI series was too laid back to us. They just sounded very bland and lacking in detail. So I took the plunge on the EF30T series next. The 5.0 setup was on sale for approx $800 at the time and I figured I'd probably end up sending them back. To my surprise they stayed in my living room longer than the Klipsch or the Polk!
When compared directly to the RF-52 II, the EF30T sounds more natural, tonally neutral, and less boomy. The Klipsch seem to pump up the bass and treble but leave the midbass in the background. The EF30T CAN play bass and\\or treble heavy if you so desire, but they don't just play that way by design! Their are two complaints I have about the EF30T. Firstly, the soundstage never really felt convincing in my living room. Making it very difficult to locate the source of a sound in a game or movie. Then there are the aesthetics, the rosewood finish is downright ugly. Despite these downfalls, I'd still rather own the EF30T than the RF-52 II. In fact, my spouse called me into the living room to switch back to the EF30Ts (from the Klipsch) half way through last weeks American Idol broadcast.
When the E55Ti's arrived I had already been comparing the other two for nearly a week. My first impression was a WOW moment. These speakers downright outclass the other two when it comes to aesthetics. However I was reserving judgement until I had a chance to hear them! To my delight, the E55Ti also outclasses the other two in sound quality! They offer the detail of the Klipsch without the harshness of the horn. The neutral sound of the EMP but with a much better soundstage. They also play louder and cleaner than the other two. I did notice some breakup in the upper midrange when listening to rolling with the king (dvd-a) at high volume. Something that did not happen on the same track at lower volume. I'm not sure if the "noise" was from the tweeter or the midrange, either way it seemed noteworthy.
My two cents is that the EMP E55Ti is a stellar bargain that I would own over any of the other speakers I have mentioned throughout this post.
I have pics but no where to host them at the moment, I'll try to add them later.