Need Opinions on Dynaudio Contour Series...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EricHaas, May 11, 2002.

  1. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    A friend of mine is offering me a pair of Dynaudio Countour 1.3 SE (bookshelf speakers) used for $1900. He is also offering a pair of 1.8's (towers) for the same price, $1900. He uses the 1.8's as mains in an HT system and the 1.3's as surrounds. Sounds like kind of a waste, but he does a lot of multi-channel music listening. Anyway, the speakers are 1 year old and he says pristine. Both speakers retail at $3500 for the pair. I cannot demo them because he is down in So. Cal. I did go to a local Dynaudio dealer (San Francisco Stereo in Mountain View), to check out the Contour series. They didn't have the 1.8's, so I listened to the 3.0, which retail at $5500. They were fantastic. Then I listened to the 1.3SE. Oddly enough, I actually liked the 1.3 SE's a touch moreb than the 3.0. They were the best bookshelf speakers I have ever heard, and perhaps the best speakers I have ever heard period. But that was 10 minutes of listening on my lunch hour. I am interested in the opinion of anyone who has lived with any of the above mentioned speakers, or any other speakers in the Contour series, or at least demoed them extensively.
    One thing that bugs me about the ideo of getting the Dyns is that their center channel is like $1100, and I can't find it used anywhere (my friend doesn't use a center). Any opinions on that center would be great as well. Right now I am thinking about getting the 1.3SE's and passing on the 1.8's.
    I have Paradigm Ref. speakers at the moment and have already read this: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...light=dynaudio
    I am just curious to get any other opinions. I am very much on the fense. Part of me feels that I just got the Paradigms and enjoy them very much. OTOH, I almost cried when I heard the 1.3SE's. And you all know about that upgrade *sickness*. Any opinions are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Gil D

    Gil D Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 1999
    Messages:
    577
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  3. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, it is definitely the 1.3SE. My buddy is very specific about that, and he spends lots of doh on audio stuff. The 1.8 retails for the same as the SE, and goes for about $2100 used in good condition (see Audiogon), so the $1900 price on the SE's is a good one but not a ridiculous steal. I take it you are suggesting I get the 1.3 SE's?
     
  4. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
    Since Gil mentioned me (thanks!), I will chime in.

    Dynaudio themselves feel the 1.3SE is the best Contour speaker. I do as well...in fact I was originally looking at 3.0s. However, the midrange is superior on the SEs, the tweeter is miles better, and the integration of drivers (ie crossover design) is clearly better. Also, I found the 3.0s to have a bit overloaded bass (probably room problem).

    The 1.8s unless you really need the slightly better low end extension, are inferior to the SEs imho. The three dealers I talked to about Danes all agreed.

    BTW, typical 1.3SEs go for 2300 on a'gon, not 2100 (that guy is in Spain, and why he is cheaper). The pair I picked up from a dealers customer had 3 offers for 2400 on an a'gon ad...that was in January.

    Therefore, 1900 is a steal imho, for what are the best speakers I have heard under 6k.

    If you have any more Dyn questions, you are more than welcome to email me offline!

    Gil--going to hear the Signums finally (practically the only speaker i haven't heard). OldGuy on aa is local, and has a Cary 306 feeding a CJ Premier 11. Should sound nice.
     
  5. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    "Dynaudio themselves feel the 1.3SE is the best Contour speaker. I do as well...in fact I was originally looking at 3.0s. However, the midrange is superior on the SEs, the tweeter is miles better, and the integration of drivers (ie crossover design) is clearly better. Also, I found the 3.0s to have a bit overloaded bass (probably room problem)."

    Yep, that is almost word for word what the dealer told me. And was corroborated by my own ears. I couldn't believe how sweet those speakers sounded.

    "Therefore, 1900 is a steal imho, for what are the best speakers I have heard under 6k."

    Argh, you guys are making this really tough for me. Must...resist...temptation...to...upgrade.

    Edit: I just noticed the guy from Spain is selling them for $2100 "obo" brand NEW. WTF? If true, that's pretty amazing.
     
  6. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 1999
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have an all Dynaudio Contour HT speaker setup, except for the M&K sub.

    Mains: Contour 2.8 towers (uses the Confidence series Esotar tweeter)

    Center: Contour center

    Surrounds: Contour 1.1 monitors

    I searched a long time for speakers that would take my breath away, and these really do. I've lived with this set-up for the last 4 years in total bliss.

    When I was looking, the 1.3SE wasn't out yet, just the 1.3MkII. If I hadn't heard about the 2.8 towers I probably would have bought the 1.3MkII for mains.

    Today I'd probably pick the 1.3SE mains, contour center and 1.1 for surrounds.
     
  7. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eric,

    I have heard the 1.3SE's a number of times at the dealer and can attest to its wonderful sound. Its weird, but in the US, brands like Sonus Faber, Dynaudio, Vienna Acoustics etc are *much* more expensive than over here in Australia. The 1.3SE's retail here for around US$2500-2600, which is almost 1K cheaper than in the states. At that price, competition stiffens, but at your mates rates ($1.9K), I think its safe to say its a good deal.

    However, please make sure your equipment (especially the amp- no receivers!!!) is up to scratch to drive them. They can sound pretty awful with the wrong gear.

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  8. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2000
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
  9. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mal,

    Those kits look interesting... They look to use the same drivers as VAF's Signature speakers. Do you know if the drivers are available here in Oz, and at what price? This adds yet more options for new speakers *groan*!

    I should add that the 1.3SE uses the Esotar tweeter which is superior to the 1.3MkII Esotec, and most likely the SEAS's too.

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  10. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2000
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    G'day Mike,
    The VAF Signature I-66/I-93 use the second-from-the-top tweeter of the SEAS Excel range, called the "T25-001". The kits on the URL I provided use the absolute top-of-the-line "Millenium" tweeter. I'd have a shoot-out with the Millenium against the Esotar anytime, anywhere (I've heard their Confidence speaker... a dealer friend here in Canberra brought a pair in from overseas himself - I've also heard the 1.3MkIIs [was considering buying them], the Esotar is superior, but you'd be surprised at how subtle the difference can be... ). Not to say that the Millenium is better or poorer, but that the sound will be in the same class, and that the perceived differences in sonic character will be based on preference, not inferiority.
    There is an Aussie distributor, known as NQLD www.nqld.com.au however, after numerous emails and phone calls, no response from them. Hence, the best option is to order direct from SEAS Norway. For the drivers (and drivers only) used in the Odin kit, it'll be less than $AU1200 depending on exchange rate. These drivers are expensive. I would reccommend ordering them in pairs (you need six drivers all up - two tweeters and four woofers) in order to avoid import duty, so spread the purchase over three months or so to beat customs. You would have to build the cabinet and cross-over yourself (well, the latter you can order one from Madisound), but the specs seem pretty straightforward to a handy man, so you could perhaps hire someone to do it properly, as I was initially going to do? That would cost you an extra $1000 or so I reckon.
    I asked in rec.audio.opinion comparisons with the Odin vs. the Contour 1.3MkIIs by me, and a poster I respect, Richard Yoon, found the Odin to be superior. Considering I've heard the VAF Signatures vs. the Contours, I would agree with his sentiments. Post is here: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=se...ink.net&rnum=1
    Auditioned any speakers you like Mike?
    To the original poster, my apologies for taking the thread off-topic.
    Cheers,
    Mal
     
  11. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd just like to chime in that the Dynaudio Contour series speakers are just magnificent! The sound quality that comes out of these boxes is just so good, but unfortunately they're beyond my budget. $1900 for a pair is definitely a steal, even used(unless there's some physical damage to it). The Contour series is way better than their Audience series, and also quite a bit better than the Paradigm Reference and PSB Stratus series.
     
  12. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    "I asked in rec.audio.opinion comparisons with the Odin vs. the Contour 1.3MkIIs by me, and a poster I respect, Richard Yoon, found the Odin to be superior. Considering I've heard the VAF Signatures vs. the Contours, I would agree with his sentiments. Post is here: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=s...link.net&rnum=1"
    Mal,
    I am certainly intrigued by DIY and may do it someday. Martice's posts in particular had me thinking about GR Research AV1+'s. I would love to do a shootout between AV1+'s and some Contours.
    These speakers which I can get for $1900 are 1.3SE's, which are by reputation substantially superior to 1.3MKII's.
    I am leaning toward jumping on them now.
     
  13. Jon Best

    Jon Best Extra

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2002
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dynaudio no doubt makes great speakers but they are way over priced. You could get speakers from VMPS or ACI which would give superior performance for much less money. The name Dynaudio instantly adds about 30-50% onto the price of speakers.
     
  14. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    I might agree with that statement with respect to US prices. AFAIK, if you buy them in Europe the pricing is quite fair. I wouldn't pay full US prices for any audiophile grade European speakers. They pretty much all tend to be overpriced in the US.
     
  15. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jon,

    As someone who owned Sapphire III LEs, I can confidently say the 1.3SEs are superior. I have also heard RM40s, and think my Danes hang in except for low end extension. They are also easier to place, and have much wider sweet spot.

    Since 1900 eliminates dealer markup, this imho is a superior value to ACIs or VMPS. They also will have much better resale value if you desire to upgrade further.

    Eric,

    I owned Wilson Cubs which retail for 10k including stands....the danes + osiris stands are superior for 1/4 the price. BTW, the speakers from Spain are not covered under warranty i believe, and hence there low price. Just the tweeters alone probably would cost 1200 to replace from Dynaudio.

    Go for them...you will love them! BTW, i run them off a 50 watt tube amp, so just make sure you have 50 or so quality watts. They don't need 300 watts/channel as some say...
     
  16. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Keith:

    I will most likely get a 2 or 3 channel solid state amp. They will be mains in an HT system. I will use my Denon 3801 to power the surrounds and possibly the center.

    The Contours all have soft dome tweeters and IMO have detailed highs but no trace whatsoever of brightness. Do you feel that tubs amps give superior performance with the contours? Which solid state amp would you recommend if I go that route?
     
  17. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eric,
    I agree with you, that the tricked-out D260 tweeter in the SE is extremely detailed, but not fatiguing. My buddy Sergio (who bought them after hearing mine) agrees.
    I like tubes in a stereo system. That said, before my Cary V12 arrived, I had great success with the Odyssey Stratos line. I just don't think there is a great difference between ss amps from 1k-4k. I would also look at the Aragons people are blowing out, and maybe a Plinius 8200P. You just want a natural amp to let the Danes shine. A tube preamp could be ordered later to complete your system for 2ch if necessary. Integrating tube amps into ht is difficult and kind of pointless imho. The Cary 98 preamp/Stratos combo was very, very good...in fact, with my impending move, I may have to sell my V12/2002 combo and revert back, as a Porsche Boxster has my name on it [​IMG]
    KeithR
     
  18. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    Will check into some of the Aragon deals. I am not yet a true believer in the difference of amps yet, but I cannot rationalize buying speakers of this quality without at least buying a decent 2-channel amp just in case it *does* matter.
    "The Cary 98 preamp/Stratos combo was very, very good...in fact, with my impending move, I may have to sell my V12/2002 combo and revert back, as a Porsche Boxster has my name on it"
    You and me both. Cobalt blue. Probably late model used. That's my next car, after the house purchase. Not that I can truly afford any of it, but somehow I'll manage. [​IMG]
     
  19. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eric,
    I'm not sure that tubes would do the trick (unless you get one of the big high-power tube amps from Audio Research, Cary or similar brands)- the Dyns have very low sensitivity, and need many watts to come alive. The low impedance means an amp with adequate current is also needed, and it is probably this factor which will show you the differences between amp sound.
    Mal,
    I still haven't heard any speakers that can justify the 1000's of $ that I need to spend to improve the sound of my current Tannoys- the Dyn's included. Of course, I haven't yet heard the VAF's, but I am now leaning towards upgrading the electronics (new SACD player and ME preamp) and getting a SUBWOOFER (yes, I don't have one :b) such as the Hsu VTF-3. The $2.4K the aussie distributor is charging for it is way overpriced IMO. Speakers and an "audiophile" power amp can come later, as budget permits [​IMG]
    Cheers,
    Mike
    Btw, Mal do you still have the DC-X's? Did the ME550II do much to tame the upper mid harshness?
     
  20. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    I hate you all for even talking about the 1.3SE's. This is my next line of speakers even if I have to start saving now for a purchase many years down the road. Until then, I will make due with my Paradigm Ref system and dream a better dream.
     

Share This Page