Pride and Service from Emotiva

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with Dan Laufman, founder of Emotiva, and his daughter, Jessica, Emotiva’s new marketing director. So, what I’m about to say has nothing to do with business, but, then again, maybe it does: Sitting there at our dinner table, across from Dan and next to Jessica, I was soon struck by the genuine warmth, care, and admiration the two held for one another. It was sweet. And, over the course of our meal, I bought into Dan Laufman’s discussion of his company’s core values: pride, reliability, customer service, building strong relationships with clients, offering high-quality products at affordable prices, sharing a passion for music.

Emotiva’s products have often struck me as cold and unwelcoming—odd, because the people behind the products are the complete opposite—but I must confess that my opinion has been based more on nomenclature and appearance than anything else. So I was anxious to visit the Emotiva room and listen again, with my revised perspective in place and my skepticism in check.

The system was built entirely of Emotiva products: XDA-1 preamplifier/DAC ($349), XPA-1 power amplifier ($999), ERT-8.3 loudspeakers ($999/pair), SUB 10 subwoofers ($399 each), and assorted cables and interconnects.

This was another difficult room—large and with a massive pillar spanning ceiling to floor at its center—but the sound was marked by delicacy, speed, and a certain effortlessness. The components’ high build-quality was obvious; even the remote controls were weighty and satisfyingly solid.

I met with Emotiva’s VP, Lonnie Vaughn, who again spoke of pride and reliability. While Emotiva’s products are manufactured in China, all repairs are done at home in Nashville, where the company works hard to provide outstanding customer service. “We feel that an audio component should provide at least two or three decades of good service,” Vaughn said. “If something is returned to a shop, and it can’t be fixed in 24 hours, it should be replaced.”

I think I’ll be receiving an Emotiva CD player for discussion in a future episode of “The Entry Level.” Stay tuned.

smittyman's picture

I have an Emotiva CD player and love it. On top of the quality of the product, I got great customer service from them. My wife bought me the player for Christmas but, unfortunately, it was dead in the box. After a couple quick emails they said I should return it as soon as possible and send them the bill for the shipping. But they shipped a new one right away; they didn't even wait to see the defective unit. I got the new one in a couple of days and it works great. The return got hung up at the border - some nonsense about it containing a laser and homeland security etc. Anyway, not my problem - the good folks at Emotiva took over and I never heard another word about. I don't know if they ever did get the broken one back but they sure took care of me. Customer service isn't about how a company does when things go right, it is about how they do when things go wrong. Emotiva did a great job of making things right and made me a very satisfied customer.

soulful.terrain's picture

Great to hear that Emotiva made it right.

LOL! Homeland security. I wish big sis Janet Napolitiano and the rest of the homeland security morons cared more about the illegals crossing the border than a piece of audio equipment. idiots!

lionelag's picture

I'm curious to know what their stuff sounds like-- one of the online sites did a fairly intensive (which is to say, more than Hi-Fi News and less than JA) test of one of their preamps and amp, and they *measured* astonishingly well given how cheap they were. Internet rumor has had it that one of their power amps was based on an old Krell topology (the XPA-1 monoblock).