Week 8, 2019: Vinyl vs. digital: who cares? Emotiva T-Zero speakers again, Emotiva military discount

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 8, 2019

Last week I bumped the planned column forward so I could tell everyone about the Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero speakers. I had to bump the column forward again as it has involved a bit more research than anticipated. It is about cable and satellite television, DVR recording, and consumer satisfaction with pay TV. Stay tuned!

Q. Does anyone really believe that vinyl sounds better than digital? Only digital deniers! Reproducing stereo sound from a vinyl record involves many issues and compromises including high and low frequency reproduction, varying track speeds, a groove that contains left and right sounds, all coupled with dust, scratches, record and needle wear, and motor distortions. How about doing a blind test of a live band vs. digital vs. vinyl?

-S.A., Lakeville, MI

A. I myself prefer vinyl over digital for music reproduction, despite vinyl’s limitations as you have described them. I also have many more LPs than CDs and my turntables get much more use than my CD players or streaming devices. Despite my preference I do not consider myself a “digital denier” and lack the reasoning or motivation to conduct such a blind test. I don’t think it is necessary to prove one format is better than the other, and everyone can enjoy both vinyl and digital formats the same way one might enjoy Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican and American food. Someone may have a favorite format or type of cuisine, or they may not, but it is nice to have variety and enjoy them all. There is also a lot of music available on vinyl that is not available on digital, and vice-versa. So, we need them both.

One place where digital is clearly king is home theater. I can’t imagine a needle in a groove trying to re-create lossless audio from a movie soundtrack the way Blu-ray can!

Q. Thanks for recommending the Emotiva Airmotiv T-Zero speakers. I just ordered them and discovered that Emotiva offers a military discount to active service members, veterans and dependents. I photographed my DD214 and sent it in for verification. I received a 10% discount and total cost for the speakers was only $359.10, with free shipping. Any company that recognizes vets will get my money first, provided they are selling quality gear!

-J.S., San Jose, CA

A. What a great find! Thank you for your service, and thank you for passing on the information. After I received your email I found the appropriate page on Emotiva’s website. Active duty military, veterans and dependents covers a lot of people out there. If you are eligible go to emotiva.com to sign up for the 10% discount.

The Airmotiv T-Zero speakers are already a stunning value at $399. At $359.10 they are a steal. I am a few weeks into my review now and I have to say, they keep sounding better as I break them in. I just played my vinyl LP of “Phantom of the Opera” with the original London cast and it sounded just fantastic. Not only was the sound very beautiful, the speakers can be played at high volumes without breaking up. The sound quality and realistic volumes made me feel like I was reproducing the performance in my listening room, which I don’t think I have ever said about any other speakers selling for under $400.

Combine the $399 Emotiva TA-100 receiver with the $399 Airmotiv T-Zero speakers and you have the basis of a really great stereo system with high-end panache. If you quality for the 10% discount the system comes to only $718.20 including shipping.