Dynaudio Contour 3.3 loudspeaker
"Your point being?"
"Dynaudio speakers are a lot like the people who make them. They don't look all that fancy, but they tell the truth and they get the job done. To a lot of audiophiles, that's boring. But there are a lot of people who have been looking for those qualities in a loudspeaker, and for them, boring can be cause for excitement."
Al had a point. When I first saw the Dynaudio Contour 3.3 loudspeaker, I felt a slight sense of letdown. Unlike a lot of high-end gear, the 3.3 seemed a tad, shall we say, unprepossessing. A narrow tower-style loudspeaker system in a plain if beautifully veneered cabinet, the Contour 3.3 has a straightforward driver array consisting of two 8" woofers, a single 5.25" midrange unit, and a 1.1" soft-dome tweeter. Somehow, I expected more pizzazz from a $7000/pair loudspeaker.
Some people are fancy on the outside, some people are fancy on the inside.—Mr. Rogers
Don't let the glasses fool you: That seemingly drab mein is wrapped around a very thoroughly designed loudspeaker. To begin with, the Contour 3.3's heart is Dynaudio's 5.25" midrange driver, which is run from 350Hz to 2.8kHz. The unit's cone is made from magnesium silicate polymer (MSP), a proprietary material developed by Dynaudio to combine lightness and rigidity. It is supported by a die-cast basket and is driven by a 38mm pure-aluminum-wire voice-coil and a dual-magnet system.
The tweeter is a refined member of Dynaudio's renowned D-28 Esotec family. It has a treated fabric soft-dome, is Magnaflux-cooled and -damped, and is driven by an extremely large dual-magnet system. The surface to the rear of the diaphragm is specially treated to reduce internal reflections, and the rear chamber of the tweeter is sealed and acoustically damped to reduce backwave reflections.
The 8" woofers, also constructed of MSP, are controlled by a large 4" aluminum-wire voice-coil in conjunction with dual magnets, in keeping with Dynaudio's overall design brief.
Dynaudio's "Hexacoil" aluminum voice-coils are unusual in that the lightweight aluminum wire is coated with a thermoplastic material, wound, and then treated to become a "solid mass of hexagonal wire," to quote their product literature. "By this method, an extremely durable and stable coil is created, one not subject to warping and other problems commonly associated with loudspeaker voice coils." Additionally, the density of the winding within the magnetic gap is increased, as is the efficiency of the driver.
The use of a dual-magnet motor allows the use of a very large voice-coil. This in turn permits more control over the entire surface of the driver. These magnet systems are said to be extremely efficient, focusing as much as 90% of the energy into the magnetic gap. This, Dynaudio claims, enables the driver to immediately convert power from the amplifier "into controlled sound reproduction, efficiently and dynamically, with significant decreases in intermodular and group delay distortions."
The 3.3 uses a 6dB/octave first-order crossover that features metal-foil polypropylene capacitors and low-tolerance custom multicore air coils. It is impedance-corrected.
Each driver is mounted in its own damped, asymmetrical, internal enclosure—basically, "boxes-within-a-box" construction. These internal boxes are partially decoupled from the outer sheath to further control resonance. The cabinets are of 1"-thick MDF, further damped with a Bitumen-based material, heavy cross-bracing, and trim bracing.