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EMPtek ES1010i Subwoofer Review Measurements and Analysis


All tests were conducted using 1 meter groundplane technique outdoors. The mic was placed on the floor firing at middle of the cabinet surface containing the dual 10” drivers. The grille cover was removed during this testing. All tests were conducted using continuous reverse sine-wave sweeps. Sweep tones tend to really stress a subwoofer as the motor structure warms up and pushes the sub out of its nominal operation like it would in real world usage but they don’t always allow for the ability to find max SPL per discrete frequency like the CEA2010 test method. This is why it’s important to make apples to apples comparisons in our published tabulated data tables when viewing subwoofer output levels tested either to CEA-2010 or reverse sine-wave sweep testing.

For more information, see: Audioholics Subwoofer Measurement Data Compilation & Report


EMPtek ES1010i SPL vs Frequency (1 meter groundplane)

The ES1010i review sample I initially reviewed accidentally had a 4-ohm driver installed from their ES10i subwoofer model which lowered the overall impedance the amplifier saw to 2.7-ohms instead of 4-ohms (by running two 8 ohm drivers in parallel). This put more strain on the amplifier and thus dropped the overall output almost 3dB below 40 Hz as you can see in the green trace. EMP has since then sent me the correct driver to make the correction. They also have increased the port tube length on new products shipping to increase usable bass output below 40Hz as you can see in the red trace.

The ES1010i proved to be a bit too small for its own good. Because of the smallish internal volume, the system exhibits a fairly significant peak at resonance (50-55Hz) which may explain why at times I felt the upper bass sounded a bit thick or overemphasized. Users finding this not to their liking are encouraged to use an external PEQ such as ones found in modern A/V receivers to notch this out but I suspect some listeners will perceive it as a benefit for increased slam factor especially given its modest output capabilities at lower frequencies. Personally I’d love to see EMP increase the box volume (by adding vertical height), flare the internal ports to further reduce the potential for chuffing and employ a small PEQ notch at system resonance in a future but likely costlier product offshoot.

System tuning appears to be around 30Hz with about a 16dB/octave roll-off below tuning. The high pass on the amplifier is 12dB per octave.  The measured acoustics slope is 30dB per octave between 20Hz and 10Hz.

With the LPF disabled (using the LFE input), this sub is flat out to 500Hz. This makes blending this sub with a small satellite speaker system as easy as pie, since you can choose a higher-than-80Hz crossover point without losing any upper bass thanks to the light mass of the drivers. On the downside, this sub also exhibits limited 20Hz, so corner placement is a must if you want to get this sub to produce as much tactile response as possible.

I scaled the Max output data to 2 meters (rms) and tabulated it below for comparative purposes to other products previously reviewed.

Frequency (Hz) SPL (dB)
20 85
25 91
30 97
40 102.5
50 106
60 105
80 105
125 105

2 meter groundplane measurement RMS SPL Sweep Results for EMP ES1010i  

The ES1010i sub maintained good composure through all my sweep tests. Only at the maximum sweep level did I hear some cabinet noise at higher frequencies (above 80Hz) and some port chuffing below 25Hz, but the limiter did a great job of ensuring the sub was never overdriven at low frequencies which is what matters most


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Recent Forum Posts:

KEW posts on November 29, 2012 22:02
FWIW, compared to 2ea 10“ drivers, a 12” driver has 28% less and a 15" driver has 12.5% more surface area.
gene posts on November 29, 2012 19:53
ES1010i Subwoofer Room Rating


i fear our room rating may have given people pause considering this subwoofer.

Please realize I used sweep data instead of CEA data to extrapolate a room rating. This usually tracks fairly well above where the sub is driver limited depending on the extent of the limiter circuit.

That being said I updated the review as follows and hope this adds some clarity:

Although we didn't use CEA 2010 test data to certify the room rating for the ES1010i subwoofer we extrapolated using RMS sweep data. The EMP ES1010i subwoofer achieves the Audioholics Bassoholic “Small” room rating which means that this sub is recommended as maintaining adequate headroom in small sized spaces less than or equal to 1,500 cubic feet and/or users who usually listen at a moderate volume level.

Editorial Note about Room Rating of the ES1010i Subwoofer:

While the ES1010i subwoofer didn't receive our “Medium” room rating at 25Hz, it passed it for all other frequencies (30Hz to 80Hz). This is a really excellent budget sub with a lot of usable output. It sounds great and looks great. In fact, the ES1010i, if corner-loaded, would easily measure out enough at 25Hz to achieve our “Medium” room rating.

Folks at our GTG event were very impressed with the output of this sub as I've also seen by fellow owners here.
raynist posts on June 30, 2012 16:17
spyboy, post: 892552
After clicking on “More Information” I found the $499.00 price, however, the $599.00 price when you first click on this product is yet another example of sloppy practices and a lack of quality control. :o

Strange. I pointed this out to them a few weeks ago. They made the change and now it says $599 again??
theJman posts on June 30, 2012 01:11
gene, post: 892640
You're free to start your own website and do your own product testing. Until then stop trolling or find another forum to complain on.

spyboy stop trolling and do his own testing? Not likely. He merely travels from forum to forum harassing others who put forth the effort he won't (or can't). It's his MO, everywhere he goes.
gene posts on June 29, 2012 20:52
spyboy, post: 892604
I didn't even bother to note that the resonance between 50-55Hz is a fairly serious anomaly. Just looking one would think that this sub is tuned to 52Hz.

I have to tread lightly because you decided to have someone in your family get an entire EMP Tek set-up. Why you didn't have someone else on your staff test this sub mystifies me. I saw all the reviews you have done for EMP TEK. EMP TEK is one of your regular advertisers, no wonder they wanted you to be the first to test this product. IMHO in the future you should recuse yourself instead of continuing to review EMP TEK products.

All the same I don't think there is any rush by other sites to highlight EMP TEK products. In a shootout at any of the different prices (especially $499) there is some pretty good competition.

In the end it still comes down to cosmetics and WAF, and not performance.

PS How does one find out when you are having a promotion like the one on this product?

PPS Do you have any idea if EMP TEK is going to take any steps to improve its quality control? No matter the price a subwoofer with the wrong driver is really sloppy.

You're free to start your own website and do your own product testing. Until then stop trolling or find another forum to complain on.
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