Emotiva Airmotiv T1 3-Way Tower Speakers Hands-On - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 43 Old 08-07-2017, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Emotiva Airmotiv T1 3-Way Tower Speakers Hands-On

Tower speakers are a mainstay of both 2-channel and multichannel audio systems. Emotiva's Airmotiv T1 tower ($699/pair) is a notable entry in the genre thanks to the price and performance it offers. With its 3-way design, dual 6.5" woofer, and AMT (air motion transformer) tweeter, this is a tower designed to beat the competition at anywhere near its price point.

The Airmotiv T1 is a 3-way tower speaker that's equally well suited for use in two-channel audio systems and home theater surround-sound rigs. Like the rest of Emotiva's Airmotiv lineup, it uses a folded-ribbon AMT tweeter to reproduce high frequencies.

These speakers feature beveled baffles that combat diffraction and look very aggressively future-tech. The industrial look works with home theaters and modern decor—like an urban loft.. A magnetically-mounted cloth grill can be used to make the speakers more discreet.

According to Emotiva, the T1 can handle 150 watts RMS, 300 watts peak power. It's a 4-ohm speaker with 88 dB (2.83V/1m) sensitivity and a rated frequency response of 37 Hz to 28 kHz (+/-3 dB). Dual speaker terminals support bi-amplification.

Follow this link to read more: Emotiva Airmotiv T1 Tower Speakers 2-Channel Hands-On

I plan to publish a review of the complete Emotiva 7.2 system I've assembled. But for now I can mention this... measurements from Dirac Live using a UMIK-1 indicate that before correction, the response of these speakers looks extremely good. I'll have graphs and stuff soon enough, I promise. These speakers are something special.


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The AVS Forum Hands-On Review Process (master list of hands-on threads)

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post #2 of 43 Old 08-07-2017, 02:19 PM
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Looking forward to reading your impressions of them.
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post #3 of 43 Old 08-07-2017, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by christoofar View Post
Looking forward to reading your impressions of them.
Same goes for me too! I have been enjoying my T1's since January and went with a full 5.1.4 setup with T1's in the front and rear, a C2 for the center (upgraded from the C1) and E1's for the TF & TR Atmos channels. I am doing a DIY subwoofer with dual 15's. At this point, I am extremely happy with the Emotiva's. I have never owned them before but had certainly heard of them. Great value, IMHO! I am also lucky in the fact that I have a local brick and mortar store that is an Emotiva dealer so I was able to audition them before making any kind of commitment to them. I know they have an in home trial period, but even that can be a pain and a hassle sometimes. Excuses I know!
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post #4 of 43 Old 08-07-2017, 03:09 PM
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One of these days I will make another thread posting my own experiences with these speakers. I am still breaking in the C2 at the moment though, so it might be a few days or so. I will also try to post comments about the C1 vs. the C2. but initial impressions is that is just more (moar?) of the C1. Which is what I was after since I liked how the C1 sounded but just felt like it was just not quite enough for my space.
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post #5 of 43 Old 08-24-2017, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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There's now an extended hands-on post on the AVS Forum homepage. Follow this link to read it: Emotiva Airmotiv T1 Tower Speakers 2-Channel Hands-On

Mark Henninger, Senior Editor at AVS Forum
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post #6 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by esappy View Post
Same goes for me too! I have been enjoying my T1's since January and went with a full 5.1.4 setup with T1's in the front and rear, a C2 for the center (upgraded from the C1) and E1's for the TF & TR Atmos channels. I am doing a DIY subwoofer with dual 15's. At this point, I am extremely happy with the Emotiva's. I have never owned them before but had certainly heard of them. Great value, IMHO! I am also lucky in the fact that I have a local brick and mortar store that is an Emotiva dealer so I was able to audition them before making any kind of commitment to them. I know they have an in home trial period, but even that can be a pain and a hassle sometimes. Excuses I know!
Great!
How beefy is that AMT tweeter? Any strain when you crank them to reference? How's your listening distance?

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There's now an extended hands-on post on the AVS Forum homepage. Follow this link to read it: Emotiva Airmotiv T1 Tower Speakers 2-Channel Hands-On
Compared to the Klipsch RP-280F, which one do you prefer for movies?
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post #7 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post
Compared to the Klipsch RP-280F, which one do you prefer for movies?
Would like opinions on this as well.

Regards to all

Spoiler!
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post #8 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post
Great!
How beefy is that AMT tweeter? Any strain when you crank them to reference? How's your listening distance?

Compared to the Klipsch RP-280F, which one do you prefer for movies?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredandLovingIt View Post
Would like opinions on this as well.
I sit 11-12 feet back from the screen. I was not able to get the tweeter to stumble.

Versus the RP-280F... let's discuss.

- I like the T1's price better.
- I like that the RP-280F is taller.
- Without EQ, the T1 is the better behaved speaker
- Post EQ, it's hard to tell 'em apart
- The RP-280F is much more AVR friendly due to higher impedance and sensitivity
- The right comparison is T2 versus RP-280F (based on size & price). But T1 holds up well anyhow.
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post #9 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 05:35 AM
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@imagic
Quote:
Now, before I go on, it’s worth mentioning that Emotiva makes the T2 tower, a speaker that offers higher sensitivity, as well as higher power handling. But, it’s the same design. The point being, if you need more output than what the T1 offers, Emotiva has that covered.
This confuses me.

Do all the T1/T2/C1/B1 share the same HF element? If yes, then the only limitation is how low the speaker plays (due to different LF woofers), am I right?

Quote:
Another remarkable quality of the speakers is how well-behaved the off-axis frequency response is, both in terms of what I heard and what I measured. At 30° off-axis, output remained linear except for a slight drop off in ultrahigh frequency extension; instead of measuring flat up to 20 kHz and beyond, there was a slight dip in response at the topmost frequencies of 16,000 Hz and above. But overall, what I see is a speaker that has very well-behaved dispersion characteristics.
Graph, please

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post #10 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I sit 11-12 feet back from the screen. I was not able to get the tweeter to stumble.

Versus the RP-280F... let's discuss.

- I like the T1's price better.
- I like that the RP-280F is taller.
- Without EQ, the T1 is the better behaved speaker
- Post EQ, it's hard to tell 'em apart
- The RP-280F is much more AVR friendly due to higher impedance and sensitivity
- The right comparison is T2 versus RP-280F (based on size & price). But T1 holds up well anyhow.
Right now everything is setup in my living room. I like my speakers very much and am slowly but surely in the process of changing my basement family room into my "home theatre". At that time I will be moving my current speakers downstairs and will need replacement speakers for my living room.

While I like the Klipsch speakers, I have heard good things about the Emotiva speakers and was especially interested in the T2's along with a C2 for my "secondary" listening/viewing area. May have to give them a try.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Steve

Regards to all

Spoiler!
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post #11 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post
@imagic

This confuses me.

Do all the T1/T2/C1/B1 share the same HF element? If yes, then the only limitation is how low the speaker plays (due to different LF woofers), am I right?
Nothing complex there. As with many lines of speakers where the same tweeter is used on various models, a speaker with a higher power handling and higher sensitivity will play louder than one with less sensitivity and lower power handling.

For bass extension, Emotiva's specs indicate the T2 plays ever so slightly lower (-3 dB at 35 Hz instead of 37 Hz). But that's not as relevant as the 3 dB higher sensitivity, which cuts amplification requirements in half for a given output level. Add to that 25% greater power handling (200 watts vs. 150 watts) and if you go by Emotiva's specs you should get roughly 4 dB more output from the T2s than the T1s.

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post #12 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 06:20 AM
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Mark, regarding this comprehensive Emotiva setup, have you changed any of the components out with other products to compare individual elements with others?

I'm asking because it seems that having a completely new and unique system to review must make it more difficult to see what each element adds to the overall sound.

That said, I'm really eager to hear your comments on the whole system. I've been ambivalent about Emotiva's avr/processors in the past, for various reasons. Their amps have always been well-regarded, but it seems that everything they're doing is on the cutting edge of the cost : performance ratio, with decided emphasis on performance.

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post #13 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Utopianemo View Post
Mark, regarding this comprehensive Emotiva setup, have you changed any of the components out with other products to compare individual elements with others?

I'm asking because it seems that having a completely new and unique system to review must make it more difficult to see what each element adds to the overall sound.

That said, I'm really eager to hear your comments on the whole system. I've been ambivalent about Emotiva's avr/processors in the past, for various reasons. Their amps have always been well-regarded, but it seems that everything they're doing is on the cutting edge of the costerformance ratio, with decided emphasis on performance.
I ran the speakers with my Denon X4300H AVR before making the switch, even used them with Atmos and all that. IMO the speakers are amazing. It took me a awhile to get over the pricing and realize I could not pick out any shortcomings versus setups that cost double or more. I also used them with a high-end StormAudio i.isp integrated unit and again, performance was transparent. The StormAudio sounded best though, IMO, thanks to the fact it uses Dirac.

To me, what matters is if the system as a whole delivers the experience I seek, be it impactful music with great imaging, or movies that sound and feel "real." There's a lot of correlation to good measurements, setup, use of EQ/room correction, and other sound principles, that lead to a good result.

Anyhow, long story short is the main thing worth swapping is speakers, and unless you have a turntable like the one Harman used for its tests, there's a whole mess of issues with individual gear-swap subjective comparisons. And that's before getting into the fact that systems should be individually EQ'd and calibrated and that the room is always interacting with speakers so that what I observe may not be valid for someone else's use/needs.

I think much of what is written by professional reviewers who do that sort of thing (swap USB cables and hear a difference... are you kidding?) is wishful thinking. That, as they say, is "in my opinion." Swapping speakers & subs, that's where you hear real differences.

Anyhow, I don't have to perform a gear swap to know that the BasX system has more juice on tap than many midrange AVRs with all channels driven, it's in the specs. Not a huge difference, mind you, but the T1s are low sensitivity speakers and a 4 ohm load so they do demand a good amp if you push 'em. Aside from power, the biggest difference between the electronics is in terms of the room correction itself, and (more tangentially) whether the system supports 3D immersive audio.

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post #14 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I ran the speakers with my Denon X4300H AVR before making the switch, even used them with Atmos and all that. IMO the speakers are amazing. It took me a awhile to get over the pricing and realize I could not pick out any shortcomings versus setups that cost double or more. I also used them with a high-end StormAudio i.isp integrated unit and again, performance was transparent. The StormAudio sounded best though, IMO, thanks to the fact it uses Dirac.

Anyhow, I don't have to perform a gear swap to know that the BasX system has more juice on tap than many midrange AVRs with all channels driven, it's in the specs. Not a huge difference, mind you, but the T1s are low sensitivity speakers and a 4 ohm load so they do demand a good amp if you push 'em. Aside from power, the biggest difference between the electronics is in terms of the room correction itself, and (more tangentially) whether the system supports 3D immersive audio.
So the Denon 4300 did not have major heat issues driving them to satisfactory levels at your listening position?

If so that actually bodes well for most users with mid level AVRs...especially crossed over to a sub(s).

My AVR generally runs +10 degrees F compared to ambient using a laser thermometer and if I lower the crossover from 80hz to 60hz it runs +20 degrees hotter than ambient.

Still not hot at all.

Mind you my front three they are 8ohm nominal and 90db sensitivity.

As to the AMT being great on vocals that is exactly what separated my AMT Martin Logan LX16s from two other excellent dome tweeter designs in my home last year.

The LX16s were worth every penny....at 1/2 msrp.

It sounds like the Emotivas are worth every penny at full msrp!

Geoff A. J., California
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post #15 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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So the Denon 4300 did not have major heat issues driving them to satisfactory levels at your listening position?

If so that actually bodes well for most users with mid level AVRs...especially crossed over to a sub(s).

My AVR generally runs +10 degrees F compared to ambient using a laser thermometer and if I lower the crossover from 80hz to 60hz it runs +20 degrees hotter than ambient.

Still not hot at all.

Mind you my front three they are 8ohm nominal and 90db sensitivity.

As to the AMT being great on vocals that is exactly what separated my AMT Martin Logan LX16s from two other excellent dome tweeter designs in my home last year.

The LX16s were worth every penny....at 1/2 msrp.

It sounds like the Emotivas are worth every penny at full msrp!

No, it did not overheat, but I ran them with subs and I'm using one of these: AC Infinity Aircom Series T8 and T9 Component Cooling Fans Hands-On

Come to think of it, I should run an impedance sweep on the T1. Be back in a few with that graph.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
No, it did not overheat, but I ran them with subs and I'm using one of these: AC Infinity Aircom Series T8 and T9 Component Cooling Fans Hands-On

Come to think of it, I should run an impedance sweep on the T1. Be back in a few with that graph.
Wow that is one cool gadget for the "airflow impaired."

But as most of us do not have such a device I'd run without just to replicate "real world" conditions.

But that is one one cool option for many that stuff their AVRs into cabinets.

Certainly looks like it would be far more than $99.

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The rear-ported cabinet measures 42″ L x 14″ W x 17″ H
Not very tall for towers. Pretty long though. ;-)
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post #18 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 09:49 AM
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Any thoughts on these handle more acoustic instruments? I certainly listen to lots of bands and movies with electronics but I do like the occasional acoustic guitar.
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post #19 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow that is one cool gadget for the "airflow impaired."

But as most of us do not have such a device I'd run without just to replicate "real world" conditions.

But that is one one cool option for many that stuff their AVRs into cabinets.

Certainly looks like it would be far more than $99.
Lol, that's the sort of detail that I'm not gonna sweat. I'm not gonna try and make my AVR overheat, and besides that was a casual reply to a comment, I'm not reviewing the AVR here.

Oh snap I got distracted... impedance measurement coming up.

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Question not directed for Mark, but has anyone heard these (or the bookshelves vs the Chane 1.4s) side by side with the Chane towers? Wondering how the tweeters compare...

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Lol, that's the sort of detail that I'm not gonna sweat. I'm not gonna try and make my AVR overheat, and besides that was a casual reply to a comment, I'm not reviewing the AVR here.

Oh snap I got distracted... impedance measurement coming up.
Well, whenever Emotivas are recommended the main caution seems to be the 4 ohm rating.

Maybe down the road you can review a mid pack AVR, (msrp around $500 or so), and hopefully be able to test them with 4ohm speakers as there is much confusion around this issue.

Only Yamaha seems to make even a cursory mention of 4ohm "dynamic power" and NAD certainly touts their 4 ohm capability.

Thing is, when I had my sealed B&W CM1 Concept 90s that my daughter now has the NAD T770 AVR would shut down at "max volume" levels while my Denon AVR 1912 never did.

That whole 4 ohm thing could make for an interesting article down the road as it relates to mid level AVRs.

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Well, whenever Emotivas are recommended the main caution seems to be the 4 ohm rating.

Maybe down the road you can review a mid pack AVR, (msrp around $500 or so), and hopefully be able to test them with 4ohm speakers as there is much confusion around this issue.

Only Yamaha seems to make even a cursory mention of 4ohm "dynamic power" and NAD certainly touts their 4 ohm capability.

Thing is, when I had my sealed B&W CM1 Concept 90s that my daughter now has the NAD AVR would shut down at "max volume" levels while my Denon AVR 1912 never did.

That whole 4 ohm thing could make for an interesting article down the road as it relates to mid level AVRs.
I agree, it's a complex topic and worth more discussion. Then there's the fact 4 ohm power ratings are often listed with a THD around 1% while 8 ohm ratings are 0.0-whatever %.

You just made me realize that I don't even have a mid-range AVR to test, lol. If I had some $600-700 unit I could beat up, I would. And I'd love to see how much difference the fan makes, too.
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post #23 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, whenever Emotivas are recommended the main caution seems to be the 4 ohm rating.
Looking at this chart, what I'd say is that most manufacturers would call the T1s 6-ohm speakers, or maybe use a term like "6-ohm compatible"

For most of the frequency range they are what many manufacturers would advertise as 6 ohms. All we've got is one dip around 100 Hz that bottoms out around 3 ohms.

The bigger issue is likely the low sensitivity, simply put these towers need juice to sing.

Related point... I've been using fans to help ventilate my amps since 1991, I strongly recommend it to anyone who can implement it. Lots of cheap options out there to get the air flowing.

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Quote:
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Looking at this chart, what I'd say is that most manufacturers would call the T1s 6-ohm speakers, or maybe use a term like "6-ohm compatible"

For most of the frequency range they are what many manufacturers would advertise as 6 ohms. All we've got is one dip around 100 Hz that bottoms out around 3 ohms.

The bigger issue is likely the low sensitivity, simply put these towers need juice to sing.

Related point... I've been using fans to help ventilate my amps since 1991, I strongly recommend it to anyone who can implement it. Lots of cheap options out there to get the air flowing.
Rated at 88db sensitivity; doesn't really sound that bad but perhaps that spec is overly optimistic.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #25 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Rated at 88db sensitivity; doesn't really sound that bad but perhaps that spec is overly optimistic.
Sure, I guess it's actually average for a tower that size with dual 6" bass drivers. In the world of high-end audiophile speakers, it's actually pretty good.

Anyhow, I have not run into an issue driving the T1s at any point in time. But I'm not a psycho trying to go deaf at an early age, lol. I do think they are good enough speakers to merit powering with ample amplification.

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Last edited by imagic; 08-25-2017 at 11:08 AM.
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post #26 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:08 AM
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Mark, since this is your home theater what are your usual or reference speakers in this space since this is presumably the sound you're most familiar with? I understand with the "hands on approach" that you are not committing to a formal review approach which is a reasonable position to take IMHO. Clearly speakers are a very subjective topic, especially given interaction in a room combined with whatever setup, room correction and/or eq is applied. But it seems to me it would be useful to have some context.
Thanks
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post #27 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Mark, since this is your home theater what are your usual or reference speakers in this space since this is presumably the sound you're most familiar with? I understand with the "hands on approach" that you are not committing to a formal review approach which is a reasonable position to take IMHO. Clearly speakers are a very subjective topic, especially given interaction in a room combined with whatever setup, room correction and/or eq is applied. But it seems to me it would be useful to have some context.
Thanks
The closest I have to reference systems are Klipsch Reference Premiere and KEF R Series systems, KEF gets me refined "cone and dome" sound and of course Klipsch uses horns that can be very dynamic and revealing.

"My" system is based on GoldenEar Tritons (a pair of Sevens and a pair of Fives), I have that setup right now in my downstairs TV room. I don't bother putting it in the home theater since the gear up there just gets swapped from one review rig to another.

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post #28 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:20 AM
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But I'm not a psycho trying to go deaf at an early age, lol.
Whatever. We've all seen the flying carpet video.

Regarding the "unmentionable" speaker brand, I'm assuming you mean ML. As I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on a pair of Motion 60XT's, I wonder what your thoughts are on that speaker. The reviews are mixed, but I'm after something that will perhaps voice with my stat center a bit better than my 802 D2's (and yes, I would then be the crazy who replaced B&W Diamonds with Chinese boom boxes.)

HT: B&W 802 D2 - Martin Logan Focus - DefTech XTR-20BP - Dual SVS SB2000 - Parasound Halo A21 and A31 - Anthem AVM 60 - Samsung UN65JS8500

Office 2CH: Martin Logan Motion 60Xt - Crown XLI 800 - Bluesound Node 2
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post #29 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:22 AM
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Looking at this chart, what I'd say is that most manufacturers would call the T1s 6-ohm speakers, or maybe use a term like "6-ohm compatible"

For most of the frequency range they are what many manufacturers would advertise as 6 ohms. All we've got is one dip around 100 Hz that bottoms out around 3 ohms.

The bigger issue is likely the low sensitivity, simply put these towers need juice to sing.
Do you think something like the Outlaw Audio RR2160 "Retro Receiver" would power the T1s (or T2s) well? The specs:

Continuous Average Power:
110 watts per channel, 20 Hz - 20kHz,<0.05% THD, both channels driven into 8 ohms
165 watts per channel, 20 Hz - 20kHz,<0.05% THD, both channels driven into 4 ohms

Looking to pull the trigger on a new two-channel (plus sub) system soon, and the RR2160 is on my list. :-)

Thanks!

Chris

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post #30 of 43 Old 08-25-2017, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cgramer View Post
Do you think something like the Outlaw Audio RR2160 "Retro Receiver" would power the T1s (or T2s) well? The specs:

Continuous Average Power:
110 watts per channel, 20 Hz - 20kHz,<0.05% THD, both channels driven into 8 ohms
165 watts per channel, 20 Hz - 20kHz,<0.05% THD, both channels driven into 4 ohms

Looking to pull the trigger on a new two-channel (plus sub) system soon, and the RR2160 is on my list. :-)

Thanks!

Chris
That unit looks well-equipped to power these T1 speakers, and kudos to them for giving a 4-ohm rating that is with 0.05% THD.
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