Dynaudio Evidence Temptation loudspeaker Page 3
The Temptations followed the all-aluminum Krell LAT-1 loudspeakers into my listening room. Heavier and more expensive than the Temptation, the LAT-1 performed with superb midrange clarity and bass speed, and at first, the Temptation did not seem quite as prominent in the midrange. On the other hand, the Dynaudio was more transparent and reached down further into the lowest bass octaves, offering plenty of satisfying, nonmechanical, well-damped, deep bass, with good heft and pitch definition. This was partially the result of the Temptations' positions, which were closer to the room corners and back wall than the LAT-1s'.
Once I realized that the Temptation was capable of exceptional bass definition, I went directly to my deep-bass reference CDs, among them Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy (Circa WBRX2); "Assault on Ryan's House," from James Horner's Patriot Games soundtrack (RCA 66051-2); David Hudson's raspy, pulsing bass didgeridoo, from Didgeridoo Spirit (Indigenous Australia IA2003 D); the title track of John Horner's Casper soundtrack (MCA MCAD-11240); the tight, controlled synthesizer rumbling that opens Emmylou Harris' "Deeper Wells" (Spyboy, Eminent EM-25001-2); the stand-up acoustic bass from the title track of Natalie Merchant's One Fine Day (Columbia CK 53146); and the bass-drum strokes that open "Prelude and Aztec Dance," from H. Owen Reed's La Fiesta Mexicana (Reference RR-38CD). The resulting bass notes were rich, tight, tuneful, and defined, with speed and impact. The speaker reproduced what JA calls "the sharply defined edge to the onset of the bass sound, with then a literally visceral impact" (Stereophile, August 2001, p.95), as shown by the tom-tom strokes that open "I'm So Afraid," from Fleetwood Mac's The Dance (Reprise 46702-2). Held synthesizer notes also generated a heavy, oppressive, sinister quality, although less intense than heard over the Revel Salons.
The Temptation brought a solidity, power, and grandeur to organ-pedal notes. Its deep-bass pitch definition helped me follow the deepest notes on César Franck's Pièce Héroïque, from the CD reissue of Marcel Dupré's Recital (Mercury Living Presence 434 311-2); from "Gnomus," from Jean Guillou's organ transcription of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (Dorian DOR-90117); and from Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (Stereophile Test CD 2).
The Temptation also excelled in the midrange. Voice, piano, and solo instrumentals were reproduced with good pitch distinction. Its two tweeters and midrange drivers had the speed, frequency extension, and timbral accuracy heard from the MartinLogan Prodigy electrostatic loudspeaker. From the midbass through the treble, there was a seamless, even quality that enhanced instrumental detail. Etta Baker's acoustic guitar, playing the title track from Railroad Bill (Cello Music Maker 91006-2), conveyed the metallic sheen and blurred buzz of the treble strings, as well as the soundboard's resonances.
The Temptation was free from treble grain, rendering a superbly clean-sounding upper register with plenty of air and transparency. Billy Drummond's Zildjian ride cymbals, which open "The Mooche" on Jerome Harris's Rendezvous (Stereophile STPH013-2), sizzled like the real thing rather than sounding like static. This clarity permitted the Temptation to reproduce complex orchestral works without getting in the way. The dynamic opening of Dvorák's Carnival (from Nature's Realm, Water Lily Acoustics WLA-WS-66-CD) is a lively, raucous Slavic dance rhythm. Played over the Temptations, the strings, tambourine, castanets, and cymbals maintained their individuality and separate characters, even when the tempo was most frenzied.
The Temptation also did a great job with macrodynamics. At high peak sound levels of 106dB, the speaker was fast, clean, and effortless. Dynamic compression did not occur often, although I did note an occasional flattening of macrodynamics when the Krell FPB 600c was driven hard. However, this was understandable—the Krell clipped at 1200Wpc into the Temptation's 4 ohm load.
Stereo imaging was precise, particularly in the nearfield, resolving musical textures in new and provocative ways. Although a large speaker, the Temptation produced a deep, wide, layered, airy soundstage that gave a vivid sense of the recorded space. On "Lord, Make me an Instrument of Thy Peace" (Requiem, Reference RR-57CD), the layered-in-space voices of the Turtle Creek Men's Chorus and the deep organ accompaniment gave me a sense of being in a huge performance hall—in contrast to the intimate acoustic of Patricia Barber singing "Use Me" in the Green Mill night club in Chicago, from her Companion (Premonition/Blue Note S 22963 2). The speaker also rendered one of the most natural, spacious presentations of Robert Silverman's Beethoven sonata cycle (Orpheum Masters KSP-830) I have ever heard.