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An insanely great speaker for tiny rooms

The Dynaudio Emit M10 is a dream speaker for audiophiles with small rooms.

I've always had a thing for high-performance speakers that come alive in small rooms. The best ones are invariably small, and the Dynaudio Emit M10 monitor ($799, £499, AU$1,099 per pair) definitely qualifies as tiny, it measures a mere 6.7 by 11.5 by 9.5 inches (170 by 292 by 240 mm), and it's offered in black or white satin lacquer finishes.

The Dynaudio Emit M10

Steve Guttenberg/CNET

This pint-size Dynaudio sports a 1-inch (28 mm) soft dome tweeter, and a 6-inch (140mm) magnesium silicate polymer midrange/woofer. The speaker has a small bass port on its rear end, and impedance is listed at 6 ohms. The Emit M10 is the baby of the Emit line, moving up from there you get the larger Emit M20 bookshelf, Emit M30 tower and the Emit M15 C center channel speaker for home-theater applications. The speakers all come with grilles.

I heard the Emit M10 at the In Living Stereo store in New York City, and I have owned and auditioned many Dynaudio speakers dating back 15 years, but even so the Emit M10's sound wasn't exactly what I expected. It was really nice, but more alive and exciting than the sweet house sound I associate with Dynaudio.

The Emit M10s unfurled a wall-to-wall soundstage with great depth as I played Brian Eno's new album, "The Ship." The first track is a rambling, ambient trip, with a churning low bass foundation that I could hardly believe was coming from speakers as small as these. I was so totally sucked into Eno's slow-motion vortex of sound and texture that I forgot that I was listening to the Emit M10s; I was lost in the music.

I also played Nap Eyes' spicy "Thought Rock Fish Scale" album to see how the Emit M10s handled rock, which they did with aplomb. It's hardly head-banger music, but Nap Eyes recorded these tunes to four-track tape without overdubs, and even before I knew about that, I heard the music had a refreshingly direct, less-processed and live sound than most rock albums. Nap Eyes' crazy rhythms and Nigel Chapman's vocals were right there, firmly planted between the two Emit M10s. Chapman sounds like Lou Reed at times, and the band has a Velvet Underground vibe, but there's nothing overtly retro about Nap Eyes music I can put my finger on.

My brief encounter with the Dynaudio Emit M10 left me with a respect for its abilities, and I expect to review more Dynaudio speakers later this year.

The complete Dynaudio family of Emit speakers