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Not happy with Dynaudio Contour 1.8 mkIIs...please help!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaViD Boulet, Jul 31, 2001.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I've got a pair of Dyn 1.8 mkIIs (and their matching center) being driving by a B&K AVR202 (which sounded as good or better than the comparable B&K separates at the time) and am not happy. The Dyns, even when I heard them on the most esoteric of gear, never quite "open up" to my hears. Also, the relatively laid-back sound of the B&K amp probably compounds this.
    Consequently I always feel like I'm straining for that last degree of detail that seems held back. The sense of depth and width to the soundstage that I used to love from my $400 pr Signet 260 bookshelf speakers is also absent.
    Any suggestions for what to do? The only time I heard the dyns really sing the way I wanted was when a friend of mine and I (he has the same 1.8s) stacked our speakers tweeter-to-tweeter and drove them in paralell from his plineus amp! (that was some AMAZING sound). But even driving by high-end gear, althogh they do sound better than with the B&K (more liquid and flowing), they still never "open up" like I want to hear. I remember the incredible sense of air, and depth with my old Signets...and how the sounstage extended 3-4 feet past the outside edge of each speaker. This just doesn't happen with the dyns. They sound more "accurate" in some way, but they're not as emotionally involving for me.
    Any suggestions? I want my soundstage and detail back!!!!!
    I'm really looking for some guidance. I'm probably going to unload my dyns in the next 6 months and would like to know what to audition. I live in the Washington DC metro area if it makes a difference or if anyone has something they'd like me to hear or knows of something I should listen to in driving distance.
    thanks!
    -dave
    [email protected]
     
  2. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Sure sounds as though something is wrong. The Dynaudio's should be superior to the Signets in every respect, especially detail and soundstage.
    1. How old are they? Are they broken in?
    2. I assume you've done all you can with positioning/placement?
    3. Could the speakers have been wired out phase relative to each other? Try reversing the polarity at ONE of the speakers and see if anything improves.
     
  3. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    See my review of the Dyn 52 at AR. I say the exact same thing, even though I listened to several models all the way up through the Evidence ($85K/pair), all driven with Krell Electronincs. While some may love Dyn...I take a pass.
    B&W Nautilus/Paradigm Studio series should be more detailed...as well as a thousaned other makes....
    ------------------
    http://www.sdiver.org
     
  4. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

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    Also, I'm hesitant to mention (donning flame-proof suit) that you should be using something a lot more powerful to drive a speaker with an 85 db/watt sensitivity. On the other hand, I've always preferred Proacs.
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You're absolutely right that something more powerful would do the speakers more justice...I know that.
    But still!
    I also preferred the proacs (I worked at Soundex in WillowGrove PA when I got the speakers). I went with the dyns cuz I thought they'd be better for the dynamics of HT, but I was foiled. I should have gotten the proacs. WOW...those speakers threw one of the most lush, detailed, grain-free and non-bright soundstages I ever heard [​IMG]
    Oh, just so everybody knows...I've had the dyns for over 2 years. I've given them plenty of time to break-in. They just don't emotionally involve me. Somehow they always sound like the treble has a slight nasal quality that just doesn't open up.
    BTW, their reference system costing over $300,000 that we hosted at Soundex also sounded that way...so I know what I'm hearing is just the signature Dyn sound. But I want something different!
    What do I do? What should I audition? What else is out there that I can afford if I sold my Dyn configuration (with contour center)???
    Steve...what review? where can I read it?
    -dave
    [Edited last by DaViD Boulet on July 31, 2001 at 03:32 PM]
     
  6. Will Gibbons

    Will Gibbons Agent

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    Paradigm Active 40's are worth auditioning. I also highly recommend VMPS new 626R Neo ribbon monitor--contact VMPS for info package with pictures and specs, because this model is not yet on the website. This is very smooth, detailed, and warm right out of the box. VMPS does have a return policy, so you could home audition--highly recommended. It has made me curious regarding the larger ribbon monitors that now are also using this Neo mid panel and spiral tweeters.
    Good luck,
    Will
     
  7. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Yep, the Dynaudios are lousy speakers. How about I take them off your hands for $100? Just kidding.
    Well something is wrong, because the 1.8Mk.IIs are superb mini monitors. Your problem is probably because of your room, speaker placement, listening position, and your equipment. First, the Dyns have to be well out into the room (5 feet is good) and away from the sidewalls (3 feet minimum). Do you, by chance, have a big RPTV in the middle? Are you using near-field or far-field listening? I've found that the Dyns work best with near-field. Also, make sure they're toed-in, but not too much (about 15 degrees). As far as gear goes, I've always heard the 1.8Mk.II and the SE version paired with top flight integrated amps like Classe, Plinius, and Mark Levinson. Your B&K is definately mid-fi, but it's not that bad, and you should be getting better sound. Before you get rid of the speakers or the receiver, work with placement.
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    "Home is where the theater is!"
     
  8. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    In May I went to take a listen to the Dynaudio line and had a listen to the 1.8s. Here is a post I made on HTTF. http://www.hometheatertalk.com/ubb/F...ML/000312.html
    I found the midrange to be less than I would expect from a $3,400 pair of speakers. I then posted a new topic on the speakers I did find worth the money. http://www.hometheatertalk.com/ubb/F...ML/003520.html
    Here's a link to Revels web site on the F-30 http://www.revelspeakers.com/revelf30b.html
    For the money these are just a great investment. Your mileage may vary.
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  9. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    This just goes to prove that what is one person's "junk" is another's "treasure"!
    I auditioned several different speakers setups (mainly monitors) with my equipment before I choose the Dyn 1.3SE's.
    CD: Arcam Alpha 9
    Preamp: Arcam Alpha 8R
    Amp: Bryston 3B-ST
    Interconnects: CD/Preamp - AQ Turquoise; Preamp/Amp - home RCA plug terminated all copper RG-6 (Canare)
    Speaker connection: Kimber 8TC
    The other speakers I tried (all were broken-in dealer demo's):
    Proac Signature 2000's - lacked dynamics
    Revel (I believe Performa) - just did not like the sound
    B&W N805's - Harsh - GREAT detail, but fatiguing
    B&W 1NT's - Different class than others (lower)
    Paradigm Reference 40's - See 1NT's
    Various others that did not make the grade.
    I found the 1.3SE's to be detailed AND smooth. I was initially surprised when the new set arrived by the harshness, but now after 3-months they have broken in and are great! I have them placed a good 2 to 3 feet from any walls pointed straight out and am usually in a "far-field" listening position.
    I also like the 1.8 speakers you are referring to, but found them to be lacking in dynamics, unless powered by an extremly bright AND powerful amplifier.
    Some like it hot and some like it cold.
    Good luck in your search for replacements.
    Mike
     
  10. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    I drive my Dynaudio Contour 2.8 towers with Parasound amps 200wpc. Mains are 8 feet apart and the listening position is 7 feet from the speakers and 18" from the back wall. I listen to 80/20 music/HT. My speaker setup is like the audio physic method ( width is the long dimension and the listening chair is close to the back wall ) and the 3D soundstage is huge.
    These are a little larger in size than Contour 1.8, but both REQUIRE the higher amp power (CURRENT CAPABILITY => 40amps) to open up like you want.
    What SPL are you listening at when saying they don't open up?
    I enjoy 75-85dB at my listening position. I listen mostly to Jazz and female vocals - Dianna Krall is simply breathtaking, and I can't stop my feet moving to the emotional beet of many of my favorites. Listening to the James Taylor Live at Beacon theater DVD (in PCM), the whole soundstage of instruments and vocalists is accuratly portrayed in my living room.
    It just might be your preferences are for something else, but Dynaudios really shine on detail, imaging, and soundstage.
    BruceD
     
  11. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    "I found the midrange to be less than I would expect from a $3,400 pair of speakers. "
    Wow!! Dynaudio not only makes their own drivers but in the industry Dynaudio drivers are (literally) considered to be among the best available and incredibly accurate and neutral. That's quite a statement.
    David,
    Have you experimented with angle? I've found that the 1.8's and the 2.5's have a focal point that is a bit low. This can result in the problem you've encountered. I do not agree with the assessment about toe-in. Toe-in is room and speaker dependant and a blanket statement about toe-in cannot be made. Every room and speaker is different when it comes to toe-in.
    Dynaudio spealers are made to put out exactly what they receive. No coloring of the sound that other high-end speakers exhibit and a speaker that you can listen to for hours on end without fatigue. Good luck.
     
  12. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    I wonder if Dynaudio Evidence ideally placed in an acoustically balanced room driven by dual Krell Monoblocs (each fed with its own dedicated circuit) is "reference" enough for you?
    I heard this exact combo and easily prefer something from the B&W 800 series on far less expensive electronics, to say nothing of some less expensive speakers. Dynaudio speakers, though their quality and reputation are excellent, have a definite sound that some (like me) do not prefer, and I wouldn't characterize it as "detailed". I would think to get "detailed" out of them would require some fairly bright electronics.
    Also, I wonder those of you with many very high current amps (like me), your AC feed is only delivering 15 or maybe 20 amps, so do you have multiple lines off the main box running to your amps? Yes, I know amps store energy for brief use and replenish their reserves, but during prolonged dynamic passages those reserves have to run out and be replenished.
    ------------------
    http://www.sdiver.org
     
  13. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Steve,
    Good enough for who? Me? [​IMG]
    I am no fan of Krell, so no, that wouldn't do it for me. LOL!! Detailed is a word that is bandied about by audiophiles and I've found that "detailed" can mean the search for something that may not have been present on the original recording. I'll take accurate, thank you. We all have our personal preferences and I'll take the speakers with the accurate neutral sound that I can listen to for hours on end over the fatiguing "detailed" speaker. BTW, if those are an older 800 series B&W series speaker you have an excellent loudspeaker. The newer stuff, IMHO, doesn't hold up as well.
     
  14. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Steve,
    While you may prefer something else, with the high end slightly emphasized for detail, Dynaudios simply play what was given to them accurately without fatiguing distortion of the signal.
    Everyone has their own preferences, and it's obvious you don't like Dyns. Myself, I didn't like the mid-bass emphasis and metallic ringing I heard from many of the B&W speakers. To each their own.
    BruceD
     
  15. Steve Morgan

    Steve Morgan Second Unit

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    When I was upgrading from Paradigm Studio 100's I auditioned the Dynaudio Contour 2.5 HT system.I really liked the 2.5's driven by a California Labs amp.I thought these were the speakers for me but I had one stop to make. I went over to a house where the individual had a new set of speakers running in his HT room. Once I heard these I was sold!This is right after listening to the Dynaudios.The speakers are the new Von Schweikert HT speakers, the VR3.5's and the LCR35 center.Imaging and clarity are amazing at this price point and IMO beat the Dyns for soundstage and midbass control not to mention the top end. I could not find speakers at twice the price that compare to these and believe me I looked for 9 months.Von Schweikert is in Beta testing for their rears which will be switchable between dipole and direct and extend down to 40hz.I have a pair already on order and am getting very excited. Try to listen to the Von Schweikerts at the $2900 price point you can't go wrong!
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  16. Rick Sorken

    Rick Sorken Auditioning

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    Dave,
    I built 3 kit speakers(Gemini's) using the Dynaudio Esotec drivers. When I first tried them out I found them a little lacking in mid bass but, after about 50-75 hrs of break in they opened up and sound great. I agree with the others here on power requirements, they are not that efficient. I'm driving them with a Cinepro 3k6 amp in bridged mono which provides 1200 Watts per channel and a 125 amps current to the front three Dynaudio's. Very accurate and detailed without the harshness of many other speakers I've listened to. Also, I have them about 4 ft out from the front wall.
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    Thanks Rick
    Rick & Carey's Home Theater
    [Edited last by Rick Sorken on August 01, 2001 at 01:28 PM]
     
  17. DonM

    DonM Agent

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    I cannot vouch for your speakers but I can vouch for Dynaudio. I personally own 4 Audience72's and the center. I drive them with a Denon 5800. I can only describe the sound that comes out as "magical". These are truly audiophile speakers and need powerful quality amplifiers to really sing. Your problem is you have a very neutral speaker with a very neutral receiver. IMHO that is not a good match.
    Secondly the Danes take an exceptionally LONG time to break-in. More than most speakers out there. I was told by Dynaudio that 100 or more hours was not unusual. My speakers just keep getting better and better. They are awesome for movies. Bass is second to none. They are sweet and critical on music. The highs are airy and clean. All I can say is don't blame the speakers. Anybody that thinks Dynaudios are "crap" just doesn't know what they are talking about or has a "tin" ear.
    Do you work in a loud environment. Perhaps your upper level hearing is impaired. This is common for people who work in a loud environment. Just a thought my friend.
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    The MATRIX is all around us!
     
  18. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Before you dump those speakers i'd recomend you look at trying some different interconnects and or speaker cables. Try something made from silver like the ones on the http://www.catcables.com
     
  19. Darrel McBane

    Darrel McBane Second Unit

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    From Bill Lasker.
    "I found the midrange to be less than I would expect from a $3,400 pair of speakers. "
    "Wow!! Dynaudio not only makes their own drivers but in the industry Dynaudio drivers are (literally) considered to be among the best available and incredibly accurate and neutral. That's quite a statement".
    It really isn't quite a statement, It's just what I heard. I was very unimpressed with these speakers. Just because Dynaudio makes there own drivers that doesn't make these a better sounding speaker. I've heard speaker at 1/3 the price that sounded better to me.
    Going from the 1.8 mkIIs to the Revel F-30 using the same amps and cd player and preamp. The Revels were far superior in soundstage, clarity and yes...detail.
    I'm not knocking the Dynaudio line, just wasn't impressed with the only model of speakers I heard.
    BTY, I checked on the Mark Levinson web site as to which amps were used and they were the No. 33 MB. At 300 w/ch continuous rms power @8 ohms. I'd say that was enough power to get the most out of the speakers.
    DaVid Boulet, If you don't like the speakers after having them. Then you just don't like the speakers. Don't let anyone tell you that your hearing is faulty. Trust your own ears and judgement.
    Good Luck!
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  20. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Darrel,
    Considering the fact that Wilson, Totem and other high-end speaker manufactueres have, in the past, sourced their drivers from Dynaudio and the Dynaudio drivers are sought after by DIY speaker makers AND my own experience with Dynaudio speakers (no, I don't own them) I will go with the experts and my own experiences. Sorry for the longish sentence. [​IMG] I get to work with Meridian, Revel (the F30 is nice but it ain't no Dynaudio 3.3), Sonus Faber, Thiel and Dynaudio on a regular basis on equipment that most anyone would consider high-end (Meridian, Bryston, Classe, Jeff Rowland, Mark Levinson, etc.). The Dynaudios win every contest. We each have our personal preferences and you have admitted that your only experience is with the 1.8 which I previously stated have a problem that is not driver related but rather focal point related. The focal point on the 2.5 and 1.8 is simply too low and it can create the sensation that David has described. Regards.
     

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