EMP Tek Impression Series E55Ti Review

EMP’s E55Ti floor standing speakers provide a big, engaging sound with clean high frequency detail in an attractive, statuesque package.
EMP’s E55Ti floor standing speakers provide a big, engaging sound with clean high frequency detail in an attractive, statuesque package.
EMP’s E55Ti floor standing speakers provide a big, engaging sound with clean high frequency detail in an attractive, statuesque package.


  • Lush midrange reproduction
  • Clean and articulate high frequencies
  • Attractive, glossy finish


  • Lacks deepest bass octave
  • Taller than average cabinet
  • Some unwanted cabinet resonance

emp tek impression series e55ti reviewSpeaker maker RBH Sound has a well earned reputation for designing and manufacturing premium speaker products. The only drawback, for some, is that RBH’s excellent speakers are only available through specialty dealers and installers which may preclude them as an option for would-be buyers. That’s where EMP Tek comes in. A subsidiary of RBH, EMP produces speakers that take advantage of the same highly experienced engineers as their dealer-exclusive cousins, but offer them directly to customers via the internet. Consider, however, that the internet-direct speaker market has enjoyed some healthy success over the past few years and isn’t such an easy club to join anymore. To stand out amongst a growing crowd of excellent competition, EMP needs to offer something special. In this review, we take a look and listen to the E55Ti, the flagship of EMP’s Impression Series, and determine its relative place in the super popular internet-direct speaker market.

Out of the Box

As an internet-direct brand, EMP’s speakers ship directly to customers from their office in Layton, UT or from one of a handful of authorized internet resellers. For that reason, proper product packaging is crucial. Shipping through UPS and FedEx takes its toll on speaker packaging so it must be robust enough to keep the finish of a speaker from being damaged in transit. We were pleased to see that EMP’s packaging was superb. Both the top and base of the speaker were amply cushioned by thick foam caps. The midsection of the speaker was also protected by two well placed foam sleeves. The speakers were wrapped in a cloth sack and then further protected by a thick plastic sheath. Also in the box with the speakers were the outrigger pieces and associated hardware for assembling the base of the E55Ti speakers.

The E55Ti is available in a Red Burl or Black Ash finish. The samples we received were suited with the Black Ash finish. The finish appears to be a paper-thin laminate with a substantial coat of lacquer applied over it. The result is a highly glossy speaker finish that, from even a modest distance, has a classy appeal to it. Upon very close inspection, however, the less costly nature of the finish begins to become more apparent to the trained eye. The wood-grain laminate that is used lacks the dimension that only a real wood finish can offer. Also, the heavy gloss coating suffers from a slight “orange peel” effect or dimpling that can only be seen under extreme scrutiny. We make mention of these observations because the finish quality of a speaker plays a hefty role in the cost of its production. If it was EMP’s aim to make small sacrifices with finishing the cabinet in lieu of sacrificing driver or crossover quality, we support that intention; we’d rather see performance where it counts than dress up shoddy components in a fancy suit.

Features and Design

The E55Ti is a pretty stunning speaker to behold. At 47 ½” tall, 8 ½” wide (at its widest point) and 12 ¼” deep, the smoothly curved E55Ti tends to make a bold statement in a room. They exude a sense of confidence and refinement that hints at high-end construction and sound.

emp tek impression series e55ti reviewThe base of the E55Ti is comprised of two steel outriggers that can be fitted with either brass spikes or rubber feet, depending on the flooring material upon which they will be placed. This style of plinth serves to de-couple the cabinet from the floor and tighten up bass performance. The rear of the speaker sports two flared ports located toward the bottom of the cabinet. Just below the ports we found a single set of binding posts for speaker wire connection. As it turns out, the E55ti is not bi-ampable. The ability to bi-amp a speaker is not always an advantage but in the case of the E55Ti, it would have made sense. We’ll offer more on that topic in the bass performance section of our review.

The E55Ti’s driver compliment consists of two 5.25” “poly-matrix” woofers outfitted with phase plugs and oriented in a D’Appolito, or MTM, configuration with a 1” fabric dome tweeter sandwiched in between them. Below that, we found three 6.5” poly-matrix woofers stacked on top of each other. By doing some poking around, we were able to determine that the midrange drivers and tweeter seem to be in their own, sealed cabinet within a cabinet, leaving the three woofers a generous amount of cabinet space to work with.

All of the drivers are mounted to a thick baffle on the front of the speaker. The rest of the cabinetry does not seem to be quite as dense as the baffle, however. Whatever the cabinet thickness may be, the side, top and rear walls of the cabinet seem substantially less dense and more prone to vibration during performance. When given the “knock test” the E55Ti had a sort of hollow ring to it. The speaker’s weight also tells a story about the cabinet quality. With a speaker of this size we were expecting a weight of 80 lbs. or more. Surprisingly, the E55Ti weighs in at just 52 lbs. While the lower weight should certainly reduce shipping costs and affect the speaker’s bottom line, we wonder at the ramifications it may have on performance.

Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.

The best movie soundtracks of all time, from 'Star Wars' to 'E.T.'

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled popular music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Home Theater

How to make your TV squeaky clean for not much green

Not sure how to clean the LCD, OLED, or plasma display that's the cornerstone of your living room? You don't need to buy expensive cleaning solutions to clean your TV -- we'll teach you how to do it with simple household items.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances to hit home entertainment in years.

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…