EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker Package - Product Review

EMP Tek Home Theater Loudspeakers

EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package
EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package. Photo(c) EMP Tek
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Manufacturer's Site

Balancing style, price, and sound quality can be tough when choosing loudspeakers. If you are looking for new set of loudspeakers for your home theater, you might want to check out the stylish, compact, and great sounding EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package. The system consists of an EP50C center channel speaker, four EP50 compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and a compact ES10 powered subwoofer.

How did it all come together? Keep reading... After reading this review, also check out my EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package Photo Gallery.

EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package Overview

Product Overview - EF50C Center Channel Speaker

1. Frequency Response: 100 Hz - 20 kHz (average response range for compact bookshelf speakers).

2. Sensitivity: 88 dB (represents how loud the speaker is at a distance of one meter with an input of one watt).

3. Impedance: 6 ohms (can be used with amplifiers that have 8-ohm speaker connections)

4. Power Handling: 120 watts RMS (continuous power).

5. Drivers: Woofer/Midrange Dual 4-inch ( aluminized fiberglass), Tweeter 1-inch Silk

6. Crossover Frequency: 3,000 Hz (3Khz)

7. Dimensions: 14”w x 5”h x 6.5”d

8. Can be mounted on an optional stand.

9. Weight: 9.1 lbs each (not including optional stand weight).

10. Finish: Black, Baffle Color Options: Black, Rosewood, Cherry

Product Overview - EMP EF50 Compact Bookshelf Speaker (mains and surrounds)

1. Frequency Response: 100 Hz - 20 kHz (average response range for compact bookshelf speakers).

2. Sensitivity: 85 dB (represents how loud the speaker is at a distance of one meter with an input of one watt).

3. Impedance: 6 ohms (can be used with amplifiers that have 8-ohm speaker connections)

4. Power Handling: 35-100 watts RMS (continuous power).

5. Drivers: Woofer/Midrange 4-inch (aluminized fiberglass), Tweeter 1-inch Silk

6. Crossover Frequency: 3,000 Hz (3Khz)

9. Dimensions: 5”w x 8.5”h x 6.5”d

10. Can be mounted on an optional stand.

11. Weight: 5.3 lbs each (not including optional stand weight).

12. Finish: Black, Baffle Color Options: Black, Rosewood, Cherry

Product Overview - E10s Powered Subwoofer

1. Driver: 10-inch Aluminum

2. Frequency Response: 30Hz to 150Hz (LFE - Low-Frequency Effects)

3. Phase: Switchable to 0 or 180 degrees (synchronizes in-out motion of sub speaker with in-out motion of other speakers in system).

4. Amplifier Type: Class A/B - 100 Watts Continuous Output Capability

5. Crossover Frequency (frequencies below this point are passed to the subwoofer): 50-150Hz, continuously variable. Crossover Bypass feature included which allows control of crossover via home theater receiver.

6. Power On/Off: two-way toggle (off/standby).

7. Dimensions: 10.75" W x 12" H x 13.5" D

8. Weight: 36 lbs

9. Connections: RCA Line ports (stereo or LFE), Speaker Level i/o ports

10. Available Finishes: Black.

Additional Hardware Used in This Review

Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147, Onkyo TX-SR304, and Pioneer VSX-1018AH (on review loan from Pioneer).

DVD player: Oppo Digital DV-983H.

Blu-ray Disc Players: Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Player and Yamaha BD-S2900 (on review loan from Yamaha).

CD-Only Players: Technics SL-PD888 5-Disc Changers.

Loudspeaker Comparison Systems

Loudspeaker System #1: 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center

Loudspeaker System #2: Klipsch Quintet III 5-channel speaker system.

Loudspeaker System #3: 2 JBL Balboa 30's, JBL Balboa Center Channel, 2 JBL Venue Series 5-inch Monitor speakers.

Powered Subwoofers used: Klipsch Synergy Sub10 - used with Systems 1 and 2. and Polk Audio PSW10 - System 3.

TV/Monitors: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor, Syntax LT-32HV 32-inch LCD TV, and Samsung LN-R238W 23-inch LCD TV.

All Displays were calibrated using SpyderTV Software.

Audio/Video connections were made with Accell, and Cobalt cables.

16 Gauge Speaker Wire was used in all setups.

Level checks for speaker setups were done using a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter

Software Used

Standard DVDs used included scenes from the following: Godsmack: Changes, Hero, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol1/2, Lord of Rings Trilogy, and Master and Commander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

Blu-ray Discs used included scenes from the following: 300, A Night at the Museum, Across The Universe, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Chronicles of Narnia, Crank, Hairspray, Iron Man, John Mayer - Where The Light Is, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, Transformers.

For audio only, various CDs included: HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Lisa Loeb - Firecracker, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Al Stewart - A Beach Full of Shells, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite.

DVD-Audio discs (played on the Oppo DV-983H) included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACD discs (played on the Oppo DV-983H) included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Content on CD-R/RWs was also used.

Manufacturer's Site

Manufacturer's Site

The Listening Test and Evaluation

Audio Performance - EF50C Center

Whether listening at low or high volume levels, I found that the EF50C Center and delivered clear sound across a wide range of frequencies, but on some vocals, there was a slight lack of depth. However, this is with regards only to some music vocal performances, but not movie dialog. Dialog was distinct and natural.

Audio Performance - EF50 Left and Right Main/Surround Speakers

The EF50 Booksehelf Speakers delivered great sound that was clear and distinct.

With Dolby and DTS-related movie soundtracks, the EF5-'s did a great job reproducing fine detail and provided good depth and direction. Good examples of this are provided by the "Echo Game" scene in House of the Flying Daggers and the "Arrows" scene in Hero.

Good examples of good stereo and surround reproduction on music-based material were on the harmonies in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, the instrumental detail on Dave Matthews/Blue Man Group's Sing Along, and the orchestral sound field in Joshua Bell's performance of The West Side Story Suite.

Audio Performance - ES10 Powered Subwoofer

Despite its compact size, the ES10 is a solid unit with adequate power output.

I found the ES10 powered subwoofer to be a very good match for the rest of the speakers. On soundtracks with LFE effects, such as Master and Commander, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and U571, the ES10 showed some drop-off of very low frequencies, when compared to the low-frequency response of Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

In addition, as a music subwoofer, the ES10 reproduced the famous sliding bass riff on Heart's Magic Man, which is an example of extreme low frequency bass not typical in most music performances, with some drop off at the deepest end, once again being outdone by the Klipsch Sub10 comparison sub, but faired well on many other recordings.

On the other hand, despite the above examples, taking everything into consideration, the bass response of the ES10, based on its design and power output, did provide a satisfying subwoofer experience in many cases, without being overbearing.

What I Liked

1. The speaker system provides very good all-around performance. Despite a slight lack of center channel depth on some vocals, I was very satisfied with the overall performance of the bookshelf speakers in this system.

2. Very smooth transition between the rest of the speakers and ES10 Powered Subwoofer.

3. E10s Subwoofer provides a very good bass response for its size and amplifier power output.

4. Replaceable faceplates available in several colors. This feature is very useful for accommodating different room decors.

5. Speakers can be table or stand mounted.

What I Didn't Like

1. Vocals on some CD recordings sounded a little restrained from the center channel speaker. Vocals on some CD recordings lacked as much impact as I would have preferred.

2. I would have preferred less low frequency drop off on the deepest bass frequencies - However, for its size and power output, the subwoofer provided a good match for the rest of the system.

3. It is important to not that, according to EMP specifications, the speakers and subwoofer used in this system are not video shielded for use near CRT-based televisions.

In other words, if you are still using a CRT Tube set or CRT-based rear projection television, avoid magnetic-related effects by placing these speakers a few feet away from the television. Owners of Plasma, LCD, or DLP projection sets should not be concerned. If you are not sure, contact EMP Tek for more details.

Final Take

I found that the EMP Home Theater Speaker System delivered clear sound across a wide range of frequencies and well-balanced surround sound image.

The EF50C center channel speaker sounded good, but its diminutive size seemed to contribute to a lack of strong impact on some vocals and dialog.

However, that being said, the EF50C does integrate well into the rest of the system. With a little center channel tweaking using a home theater receiver, the user can still get satisfying results from the EF50C.

The EF50 bookshelf speakers, which were used as both left and right mains and surrounds, performed their job well. Although very compact, they held their own in reproducing both front and surround effects and balanced well with both the EF50C center speaker and the E10 subwoofer. The EF50's did a great job with surround effects in several notable movie scenes, such as the first battle scene from Master and Commander, the arrow assault scene in Hero, and the echo game scene from House of the Flying Daggers.

I found the ES10 powered subwoofer to be an excellent match for the rest of the speakers. Despite its compact size, the subwoofer provided a good lower frequency transition from the mid-range and high-frequency response of the EF50C and EF50. The bass response was fairly tight and complemented both music and movie tracks appropriately.

I really enjoyed using this system and found that it provided good, overall, performance, with just a couple of caveats:

I would have preferred a fuller lower mid-range/upper bass response from the EF50c center channel speaker.

The system is best used in a small-to-medium size room.

The system does a better job with movie and instrumental music material than with vocal emphasized music performance.

However, these criticisms are minor in comparison to the total performance of the system, with regards to its main application: a modest Home Theater.

I give the EMP EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package a 4 out of 5 Star Rating.

For another look at the EMP Tek HTP-551 5.1 Home Theater Package, check out my Photo Gallery

Manufacturer's Site

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.