Emotiva T-Zero Speakers are the Sound Advice 2019 Product of the Year, using an old surround sound system with an HDTV (Week 2, 2020)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 2, 2020

Sound Advice Product of the Year 2019: This year’s award was probably determined the moment I first heard the magical sound of an exceptional pair of speakers. I first tested them in my home in January 2019 and knew within minutes they would be hard to beat. After a year of testing many other great products, I still feel that way and am happy to announce the Emotiva T-Zero speakers as the Sound Advice 2019 Product of the Year.

With their thoughtful design and exotic Air Motion Transformer tweeters, the T-Zero towers provide more than a taste of what high-end sound is like, and they do it for only $399 per pair. They make music that is airy, rich yet transparent, enthralling and engaging, and they just plain sound good, no matter what you play through them. You can close your eyes and imagine the performers in your room, and when you start listening you simply don’ t want to stop. You may even find yourself playing your favorites songs over and over again, hearing details and dynamics you never knew existed on the recording.

Whenever I recommend a product that I know is something special, I pay extra attention to the reviews on the manufacturer’s website and Amazon to make sure readers’ experiences mirror my own. With the T-Zero I saw the strongest and most enthusiastic customer response ever, with 13 out of 13 5-star reviews. Some of the reviews mentioned my recommendation, such as the one below that sums it all up very well.

On the the Emotiva website T-Zero owner Donald C. said, “I read a review in our Minneapolis Star Tribune about your speakers and I must say I was skeptical. However, I must say I was truly blown away. They are very balanced and amazing clear. It is like the guitar player is sitting right next to me in my living room. I am a serious lover of music and I had never upgraded my speakers since my college days (1981.) Your speakers are like going from horse and buggy to the space age! My old Advents are now in the garage. Love the fact that they should have been double the price and I still would have been pleased.”

Though the Emotiva T-Zero is rated at 4 ohms, it is an easy 4 ohms and most receivers and amplifiers will drive them. Some good budget choices are the Onkyo TX-8220 ($199) and the Cambridge Audio AXA25 ($249.) Feed them more power and they really come alive. Some of the best sound I heard from the T-Zero towers was with Emotiva’s A-300 amplifier paired with a vintage preamplifier.

Congratulations, Emotiva, and I can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2020.

Q. I have a Yamaha surround system that is perhaps 20 years old. The receiver model number is HTR-5440 and there are matching speakers and a subwoofer.

My grandson tried to connect it to a newer TV, a Philips 46PFL3706/F7. He said that the sound system is too old and is not compatible with the newer TV. Is there any way to make it work?


A. Your grandson can connect the coaxial digital audio output connection from the TV to the corresponding input on the receiver and it will play. The receiver is not compatible with the latest surround sound formats that require HDMI (which it lacks) so some audio quality will be lost.