EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package

Introduction

EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Package - Front View - Grill On
EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Package - Front View - Grill On. Photo(c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Manufacturer's Site

Finding home theater speakers that sound great, look great with your home decor, and priced right, is not always easy. If you are looking for new set of loudspeakers for your home theater, you might want to check out the stylish and great sounding EMP Tek Impression 5.1 Home Theater Package. The system consists of an E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

How did it all come together? Keep on reading. For additional perspective and close-up look, also check out my Short Review and Photo Gallery.

Product Overview

Product Overview - E5Ci Center Channel Speaker

1. Frequency Response: 60Hz-20kHz ±3dB

2. Sensitivity: 87dB (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: 50-120 watts RMS (continuous power).

5. Drivers: Woofer/Midrange Dual 4-inch (aluminized Poly-matrix), Tweeter 1-inch (Fabric Dome).

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

7. Dimensions: 21 3/4" Wide x 7 1/4” High x 7 3/4” Deep.

8. Weight: 11.1 lbs each (not including optional stand weight).

9. Finish: High-gloss Red Burl or High-gloss Black Ash

10. Can be mounted on optional stand.

Product Overview - EMP Tek E5Bi Compact Bookshelf Speaker (mains and surrounds)

1. Frequency Response: 60Hz-20kHz ±3dB.

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: 50-100 Watts RMS (continuous power).

5. Drivers: Woofer/Midrange 5 1/4-inch (aluminized Poly-matrix), Tweeter 1-inch (Fabric Dome).

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

7. Dimensions: 6 7/8” Wide x 12 3/4" High x 8” Deep

8. Weight: 7.5 lbs each (not including optional stand weight).

9. Finish: High-gloss Red Burl or High-gloss Black Ash

10. Can be mounted on optional stand.

Product Overview - EMP Tek ES10i Powered Subwoofer

1. Driver: Front firing 10-inch Diameter With Poly-matrix Cone with Downfiring port for added bass extension.

2. Frequency Response: 35Hz to 180Hz

3. Phase: 0 or 180 degrees (synchronizes the 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): 40-180Hz, continuously variable.

6. Power On/Off: Two-way Master switch and three position on/auto/off activation switch.

7. Dimensions: 14 1/8" Wide x 15" High x 16 1/4" Deep.

8. Weight: 27 lbs.

9. Connections: RCA Line ports (left/right inputs - for single connection you can use either), Speaker Level i/o ports

10. Available Finishes: High-gloss Red Burl or High-gloss Black Ash.

Additional Hardware Used in This Review

Home Theater Receivers: Onkyo TX-SR705, Harman Kardon AVR147, and Sherwood Newcastle R-972 (on review loan from Sherwood).

DVD player: Oppo Digital DV-980H.

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO Digital BDP-83 and Sony BDP-S350

CD-Only Players: Denon DCM-370 and Technics SL-PD888 5-Disc Changers.

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

Loudspeaker System 2: 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 Polk Audio PSW10 - System 2.

TV/Monitor: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor.

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: House of the Flying Daggers, The Cave, Kill Bill - Vol1/2, V For Vendetta, U571, Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, and U571

Blu-ray Discs used included scenes from the following: 300, Across The Universe, Godzilla (1998), Hairspray, Iron Man, Night at the Museum, UP, Rush Hour 3, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, The Dark Knight, and Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

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

DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Content on CD-R/RWs was also used.

Proceed to Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

Manufacturer's Site

Manufacturer's Site

The Listening Test and Evaluation

Audio Performance - E5Ci Center Channel Speaker

The E5Ci center channel speaker produced very good dialog and vocal presence and blended will with the rest of the system. Good examples of mid-range vocal reproduction was on Norah Jones distinctive rendition of Don't Know Why, the Dave Matthews/Blue Man Group's Sing Along, and Al Stewart's natural sounding vocal on The Immelman Turn.

Audio Performance - ES5i Satellite Bookshelf Speakers

The E5Bi bookshelf speakers, which were used as both left and right mains and surrounds, performed their job well. Although more compact than the center channel speaker, they held their own in projecting sound for both front and surround tasks, and balanced well with both the E5Ci center speaker and the ES10 subwoofer.

The E5Bi's did a great job with surround effects in several notable with movie scenes, such as the first battle scene from Master and Commander, the arrow assault scene in Hero, the echo game scene from House of the Flying Daggers, as well as the surround content from music sources, such as the SACD version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and the DVD-Audio version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (From A Night at the Opera).

Any between-channel sound dips, loss of detail, or the degree of sound fill-in between channels, was affected by what surround sound processing modes were activated and whether the Audyssey (Onkyo TX-SR705) or Trinnov (Sherwood R-972) speaker setup systems were employed.

The E5Bi's did their job very well according to what source material and processing they had to work with.

In addition, the E5Bi bookshelf speakers performed well in a 2.1 channel stereo mode (with the ES10i subwoofer), providing enough phantom center channel body and depth for vocals during CD playback.

Audio Performance - Powered Subwoofer

I found the ES10i subwoofer to be an excellent match for the rest of the speakers. With its 10-inch front facing driver and downfiring port, the subwoofer provided very good lower frequency response, as well good low frequency transition from the mid-range and high-frequency response of the E5Ci and E5Bi. The bass response was fairly tight and complemented both music and movie tracks appropriately, providing good bass effect, without being too boomy.

On the other hand, the low frequency response output of ES10i dropped off in the extreme low frequencies faster than the Klipsch Sub10, which was one of the subwoofers I used for comparison. This was noticed on 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, which is a challenge for even "high-end" subwoofers.

On the other hand, the ES10i faired very well on many other recordings. My overall impression of the bass response of the ES10i, based on its design and power output, is that it did provide a satisfying subwoofer experience with both music and movie content.

PROS

The was a lot to like about the EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package, including:

1. Overall system sound is very good with both movie and music content.

2. E5Ci center channel speaker delivers good vocal presence and satisfactory detail.

3. The E5Bi satellite bookshelf speakers provide good all-around performance in both main and surround configurations.

4. ES10i Subwoofer provides good, tight, deep bass response. just a slightly fast low frequency roll-off.

5. Very smooth transition between the Subwoofer and rest of system.

6. Speakers can be either bookshelf or stand mounted.

CONS

No product is perfect. A couple items to point out with the EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package are:

1. Although the E5Ci center channel speaker provides good vocal presence and detail, it is a little subdued on some fine details, such as when vocal breathiness is an important element (Example: Norah Jones). Some Center Channel speakers capture this very well, and others don't. The ES5Ci does a good job, but the Klipsch C-2 Center Channel speaker used for comparison seemed to do slightly better.

2. The ES10i Subwoofer rolls off slightly fast at lowest frequencies, but more than holds it own with other subs in its price and size class.

3. When set in Auto/Standby mode, the ES10i didn't always activate quite as fast as my comparison subs with the same input level signal.

Final Take

As mentioned in my review introduction, balancing style, price, and sound quality can be a tough choice, when choosing a home theater speaker package. However, the EMP Tek Impression Series Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package satisfies on all three points well.

The E5Ci center channel speaker delivers good vocal presence and satisfactory detail for both movie and music listening applications.

The E5Bi satellite bookshelf speakers, which were used as both left and right mains and surrounds, projected sound into the room well.

In addition, I found the ES10i powered subwoofer to be a good match for the rest of the speakers. The one thing to keep in mind, from a design standpoint, is that even though the subwoofer has a stylish appearance, it is large in relation to subs provided with more compact systems.

To put everything into perspective, there is not much to complain about the EMP Tek Impression Series Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package. Are there better speaker systems? Yes, of course, if you want to spend a lot more money for just a small degree of improvement. However, EMP Tek has put together the right combination of style, performance, and price to make this package a good deal for those that may not be able to afford a high-end speaker system, but don't want to settle for inferior bargain priced big-box store offerings.

The EMP Tek Impression Series 5.1 Channel Bookshelf Home Theater Speaker Package is definitely worth consideration. I give this speaker package a solid 4 out of 5 Star Rating.

For additional perspective, check out my Short Review and supplementary Photo Gallery.

Manufacturer's Site

Manufacturer's Site

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