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Eminent LFT-16 (2)
Sound quality
Readers Letters
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I am happy to say I received my pair of Eminent Technology LFT-16 loudspeakers on the same day you got the new review pair. They were delivered by Darren Hatcher of A&D Audio. The fit and finish does leave something to be desired. There were loose screws in both treble units, one that had no wood behind to fix to. Some glue or other material is evident on the midrange units and the wood has a small crack above one unit. Having said this the boxes are heavy and feel sold. They certainly pass the knuckle wrap test.

Initially I was underwhelmed by with sound, it was a little muddied and veiled. The speakers were initially on low heavy spiked bases tilted backwards and angled inwards. The system they are in consists of a Benchmark DAC 1 pre amp, Channel Audio D200 power amps an Xtreamer digital source and Michell GyroDec with Hadcock 242 arm Benz M2 cartridge and Benz Micro PP1 phono amp. All connected with a mix of Van Den Hul The First interconnect and Odyssey 2 speaker cable.  The speakers were run in with a burn-in CD from a rival magazine for 48 hours (source: an X Box). After running in the sound opened up a little, sounding more transparent with good front-to-back depth. They did however still seem a little dull to me. I experimented by putting the treble on the high (0 dB) setting. This was not successful and made them sound a little phasey on some material. 

Having spoken to Darren he suggested the speakers be raised so the treble unit was at ear level. The speakers now reside on Atacama SL400 stands. These are sand filled, very rigid and not prone to ringing.  I have liked the bass on the LFT -16 from the beginning. It is very tuneful and fast, no doubt due to the sealed box. However, on the stands it takes another leap forward and integrates with midband seamlessly. The speakers are far from being dull as I first thought and are very well balanced. They don’t shout the midrange or treble, but there is no lack of detail or insight. Tonally, I have never heard instruments more convincing. As for the sound stage there is space and air around each instrument and a real sense of height. I am genuinely hearing aspects of recordings I have not before, such as dubbed instruments and room acoustics.  The speakers are understated but dynamic, it is this ability to reproduce dynamics that gives the realism to the music. Records I have previously found difficult to listen to, such as the Sundazed reissue of MC5’s ‘High Time’ (Sundazed make the best of a poor original recording) now have more body and atmosphere that allow you to concentrate on the music for what it is. It is enough to say I usually combine listening with reading a hi-fi magazine or two, but since I have had these speakers I just find myself putting it down to listen.

Thanks for a great magazine.

Kevin Foster

Hi Kevin - that was a timely and interesting e-mail. I have only measured our second pair and even with the tweeter at ‘high’ the ‘speaker barely makes 10kHz – see our graph. Moreover, this was the best it could do over a narrow forward angle, so there is little treble energy going into the room and it will sound dull, exactly as you say. The speaker must be pointed at listeners for strongest treble. As you note though, the loudspeaker still offers fabulous results, quite different from cone loudspeakers and much better. I wondered whether the originals were the best loudspeaker I had ever heard at the price. NK


Our second sample measured flat to 10kHz and is deadly accurate - but where's the high treble?



I am so glad that you agree with my ears. I did not realise that much treble was missing, but cymbals and high hats, etc., do sound recessed. Despite this they are solid and lifelike. I have lived with Monitor Audio GS 100 for some months and a speaker based on the Loki dual concentric drive unit, both of which are more brightly lit and forward, but neither have the presence or realism of the LFT-16. Darren had told me the speakers were delayed because a crossover component was not available. Could a wrong value item in the crossover be the problem? Or perhaps it is different tweeter unit? I do think the bass is very tuneful and well integrated. At ear level and pointed at me, the speakers now seem well balanced but a little dull, I shall try the high treble setting again. Presumably we shall get some feedback from the manufacturer; he seems an approachable man. I do hope that a solution to the treble fall off is available as these are great speakers that are getting better each listen. Once again many thanks for replying. I may see you at Whittlebury Hall if you are there, Darren promised me a couple of tickets! 


I have been following with interest, your review of the Eminent LFT-16. I see that the review did not make it to the August magazine, and all is explained on your new website. I first heard these speakers about a year ago and was very impressed, and was almost ready to buy, but I did have a couple of concerns. In the UK a got the impression that these were being distributed by a one man team, so I was concerned about continuing support, although there is a three year warranty. Styling and look were quite basic. However, given the sound of these speakers, I think that is not so important, as any other type of electrostatic/ribbon type speaker will either be too big for the room, or could never be placed in an optimum position. I also noticed that on the Eminent website there is a very good user guide for the LFT-16s which details the design theory, measured performance and component values. I also notice that there is another downloadable document, which describes how to adjust the film tension, using the adjustment cams. Although the LFT16s are not specifically mentioned, I wonder if you could enquire when you revisit the review if any adjustments are required during the life of the product. We know that companies like Quad and other independent traders can offer rebuilds, repair and upgrades and I wonder where we stand with Eminence. If these support issues could be addressed in the review, I could well be their next customer.

Alan Ralph 

Hi Alan. You are a brave man methinks, but the LFT-16 is arguably one of the best £1k loudspeakers going and out runs others sonically by a big margin I feel. As we are finding though, U.S. production seems a little – erm – variable. We await more news of the fix for depressed tweeter level.  In the meantime, another manufacturer tells me they are to revive their ‘Isodynamic’ treble unit from the 1980s and we might hopefully see a midrange unit too. Magnetic planar drive units have potential, the LFT-16s show. NK

Comments (3)
3Thursday, 17 May 2012 22:22
What these speakers offer is a precise sound stage along with reflected sounds (more natural) too. (Many much more expensive spkrs are sadly devoid of those.) Even more so than it's big brother. The 8's lose the precision of the 16's. The bass to me is not an issue.
I couldn't care less what a speaker looks like. if you don't like them hide them in linen. Form follows function for me.
These things are phenoms!
LFT-08b etc
2Tuesday, 12 July 2011 17:10
Noel Keywood, publisher
Hi John,

The LFT-08b I reviewed in our January 2010 issue was better finished than the LFT-16, due to absence of floorboard! It's somewhat agricultural construction was obvious in the pictures I felt, but perhaps I should have been specific. In the final analysis though I forgive designer Bruce Thigpen just about everything for producing a truly innovative and better loudspeaker at a - relatively speaking - bargain price. Thanks for letting us know your view of them.
The red pen is being sharpened for Alvin!

best regards
Noel Keywood, publisher
Eminent LFT-16
1Tuesday, 12 July 2011 16:35
John Oakman
Hi Noel,
Floorboards indeed. Of course you're right, however the LFT 8B's (which incidentally encouraged me to buy a pair) are no better in terms of fit & finish & can only be intended for the 'enthusiast'.Maybe you were just being kind when you reviewed them (no mention at all of the f & f but then of course there is none) !

But what a loudspeaker.Totally rewired with your chosen brand of cable (Nordost here) (the stuff Bruce uses is - er - well wire. Bruce's capacitors I suppose have a use somewhere in the world of electronics(Mundorfs work wondrously), decent terminals rather than the throw away Chinese specials,etc etc & you have a loudspeaker to take on the world.Not to mention most important of all a design genius who is a joy to email & responds accordingly. The rotary sub up next for review ?????

Enjoy the magazine hugely & pleased to see Alvin on the team, but 'please' not too much composer pomposity. I'm sorry if Tchaikovsky has too much heart for him to handle. Perhaps he needs a pair of LFT 8B's in his life.

Best Wishes
John Oakman

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