Dynaudio Contour 20 loudspeaker John Atkinson May 2017

Wed, 04/12/2017

COMMENTS
dcolak's picture

"Fanatics of "accuracy to the source" fail to realize that an audio system's truthfulness is not something that exists on a scale of less to more—it is always more an opinion than a fact. Accuracy is whatever you think accuracy is. And what is more subjective than that?"

W H A T I N T H E W O R L D ? !

It is really simple, signal goes in, sound goes out. How accurately sound represents the signal? There is nothing "subjective" in it.

Jesus!!!

And no, your amp does not have 400 WPC, it's 400WPC into 4 ohm with 1% THD!

At best it has as much power as a well built 120 WPC amp.

HansRamon's picture

You like the danes?

HansRamon's picture

Why not an 8 inch woofer?

HansRamon's picture

Would have been nice with a review (comparison) of The Dynaudio Consequence instead....(take a look)

low2midhifi's picture

I was heartened to see the Contour perform well with a low-powered tube integrated amp. How would such a pairing hold up over time?

I have always enjoyed the sound of Dynaudios. The lower sensitivity and impedance have always concerned me as a potential purchaser, as has the extent to which one has to turn up the volume compared to a B&W, for example.

This review demonstrated that the new Contours, like the old s1.4, still require an aggravating amount of fiddling around to get the right in-room placement. At least your review shows that the optimal placement is attainable. An older review of the s1.4--issued by a publication north-of-the-border--left the reviewer, by my interpretation, unable to find a satisfactory placement for the older model.

I had another question about Dynaudio in general, and other soft-dome tweeter speakers. What's the long-term durability of soft-dome tweeters (and non-metallic woofers for that matter) compared to the aluminum that is found in other brands? Perhaps it's comparable; perhaps it's better. Given the expense of good speakers, some commentary--in a general, non-product-specific write-up--would be welcome at some point in Stereophile.

I have not heard the Contours, only the Confidence and Excite models. If you can find the appropriate amplification for these Dynaudio products, they are fine transducers indeed. Some reassurance that they can accommodate a broader array of amplification would also be welcome news to those who sell, and might buy, this brand of speaker.

tonykaz's picture

Better Amplification?, good luck finding that.

I first read this report when my Print Issue of Stereophile arrived two weeks ago. You pinned me back in my chair as I read.

I've had the same experience of mix & match hunting to discover & release the magic that I knew was lurking there. As a Retail Dealer, I ordered every Amplification Sample I could negotiate. Finally, Karen Sumner sent me some Electrocompaniet and viola, the Music bloomed, and addiction set in. I carried the Full-Line of Electrocompaniet, all of which were Superb.

Those Norther European Drivers are special, nearly everything that has em can sound wonderful. Great Tube gear releases it just like the Electrocompaniet stuff. I had only two Tube Amps that were consistently outstanding : Audible Illusions Modulus Pre and Conrad-Johnson's MV-45a but the Audible Illusions didn't do Moving Coils so I only had the PreAmpliwire which was all I needed ( I was a Koetsu man ).

Your Review prompted me to have a look at PrimaLuna. Geez, these people are Tube hunters ( like Art Ferris of Audible Illusions ) which explains your findings. You fell into Dyn drivers & musical tubes, I doubt that any Solid State electronics will equal what you're reporting ( I still own and enjoy a good SS Class A Headphone Amp ).

Headphone wise, the Tube rollers are reporting magic from the Polish Feliks amp. There's quite a group of them on HeadFi.

I hope that Mr.Kevin Deal will allow you to review his Big Integrated Dialogue Premium HP !!! I can't think of another person that could put it thru it's full performance envelope or be able to report as clearly and understandably as you've seemed able to do ( I've just read all your stuff from 2014 onward ).

I'd even suggest that Tyll would welcome a Headphone contribution to Innerfidelty, about this Amp. Phew, that would be an exciting "Must-Read" bit of Journalism!

I congratulate and applaud J.A. for discovering you and releasing your talents.

This report on the Contour is one of the best Audio journalisms I've read in some time.

Tony in Michigan

Kal Rubinson's picture

The REF 500S is not "the stereo version of the Ref.600M monoblock." It is an earlier design that dates from about 2009-10 and, unlike the nCore-based REF 600M, it is based on B&O ICEpower modules. Nice little amp, nonetheless.

allhifi's picture

Herbert, Herbert, Herbert ... Octoberfest is not upon us, and yet you decide to 'Eine Prosit' a bit early !

What a mess of a review. On so many levels:

1) That's why we should have "Reference" equipment --so we don't waste 4-days of our lives attempting to 'figure out' the problem(s).

2) But I'm getting head of myself, your comments about validating measured performance with subjective impressions is a far more nuanced dance than your stark and wild interpretations.

3) And then you finally "discovered" amplifier problems / incompatibility issues ? What a (sad) start.

Spending what felt to be half of the article explaining your stupidity (and disturbing lack of professionalism), you then go on to describe the sound with 'words of expression' you just shunned in the opening paragraph !

You, Stereophile and the editor should apologize to readers and DynAudio for this immature piece of drek and at least offer the manufacturer another "review" lead by a professional. Or a few of extra 'rounds' on the (Stereophile) House come this Oktoberfest !

"ziggy-zaggy, ziggy-zaggy hoi, hoi hoi" lol

peter jasz
P.S. Herbert, lean off the brown pops until then !)

Pages

TDL Studio 1 loudspeaker Specifications

Tue, 04/11/2017

COMMENTS
PAR's picture

John, I appreciate that it's historic text but " TDL is part of ELAC, one of the most successful OEM drive-unit manufacturers in the UK".

I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Their official history makes no mention of a UK offshoot.

http://ftp.elac.com/en/elac/history.php

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Two different ELAC companies. I am not sure if there was any business connection between the English and German ELACs.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

PAR's picture

Thanks John, that answer stirs up a distant memory of the two. It probably explains why I happened to use an ELAC drive unit in the first loudspeaker that I built aged 15 at school in London back in the 60s. Considering that the idea of tweeters and crossovers was beyond me , using imported drivers would have been inconceivable.

hollowman's picture

JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?). If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

John Atkinson's picture
hollowman wrote:
JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?).

Not really. The IMF TLS 80 impressed the heck out of me when I first heard it in the 1970s - the combination of the Celestion HF1300 soft-dome tweeter and Coles 4001 supertweeter produced some of the best high frequencies I had experienced at that time. John Wright struck me back then as a very talented designer who continued that pedigree with TDL.

hollowman wrote:
If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

It wasn't so much a negative experience with TDL but the fact that over the years I became dissatisfied with so-called "transmission-line" speakers that didn't load the woofer with a true line. Such designs almost always had a line resonance in the upper bass that colored the sound too much for my taste. This small TDL had such a problem, as revealed by the impedance trace and my auditioning comments.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Kal Rubinson's picture

Indeed. There were a number of smaller TLs but the concept doesn't scale down very well. The volume of the chamber behind the LF driver and the entry port from that chamber into the upper part of the line are critical for decoupling the line from the driver. Those dimensions are frequency-dependent while the smaller TLs, unfortunately, scaled them down in relation to the driver size. The opening at the other end of the line, conversely, was uncritical

John Wright was gracious to send me his notes on the TLS80 design penciled in on a copy of his HFN article. I built a larger version of it and the KEF B139 performance was remarkably flat (although I admit to using a lower crossover than in the original).

Pages

TDL Studio 1 loudspeaker Review context

Tue, 04/11/2017

COMMENTS
PAR's picture

John, I appreciate that it's historic text but " TDL is part of ELAC, one of the most successful OEM drive-unit manufacturers in the UK".

I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Their official history makes no mention of a UK offshoot.

http://ftp.elac.com/en/elac/history.php

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Two different ELAC companies. I am not sure if there was any business connection between the English and German ELACs.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

PAR's picture

Thanks John, that answer stirs up a distant memory of the two. It probably explains why I happened to use an ELAC drive unit in the first loudspeaker that I built aged 15 at school in London back in the 60s. Considering that the idea of tweeters and crossovers was beyond me , using imported drivers would have been inconceivable.

hollowman's picture

JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?). If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

John Atkinson's picture
hollowman wrote:
JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?).

Not really. The IMF TLS 80 impressed the heck out of me when I first heard it in the 1970s - the combination of the Celestion HF1300 soft-dome tweeter and Coles 4001 supertweeter produced some of the best high frequencies I had experienced at that time. John Wright struck me back then as a very talented designer who continued that pedigree with TDL.

hollowman wrote:
If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

It wasn't so much a negative experience with TDL but the fact that over the years I became dissatisfied with so-called "transmission-line" speakers that didn't load the woofer with a true line. Such designs almost always had a line resonance in the upper bass that colored the sound too much for my taste. This small TDL had such a problem, as revealed by the impedance trace and my auditioning comments.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Kal Rubinson's picture

Indeed. There were a number of smaller TLs but the concept doesn't scale down very well. The volume of the chamber behind the LF driver and the entry port from that chamber into the upper part of the line are critical for decoupling the line from the driver. Those dimensions are frequency-dependent while the smaller TLs, unfortunately, scaled them down in relation to the driver size. The opening at the other end of the line, conversely, was uncritical

John Wright was gracious to send me his notes on the TLS80 design penciled in on a copy of his HFN article. I built a larger version of it and the KEF B139 performance was remarkably flat (although I admit to using a lower crossover than in the original).

Pages

TDL Studio 1 loudspeaker

TDL is part of ELAC, one of the most successful OEM drive-unit manufacturers in the UK, particularly renowned for the 1" aluminum-dome tweeter that they make for Monitor Audio, Acoustic Energy, and British Fidelity. Perhaps of even more interest to readers of Stereophile is that the TDL system designer is one John Wright, who designed the classic series of IMF loudspeakers and who also was one of the leading equipment reviewers in the UK back in the 1960s. (For a while John was also a contributor to this magazine, his comprehensive reviews of tonearms appearing in Vol.2 Nos.10 & 12.)
Thu, 02/01/1990

TDL Studio 1 loudspeaker Measurements

Tue, 04/11/2017

COMMENTS
PAR's picture

John, I appreciate that it's historic text but " TDL is part of ELAC, one of the most successful OEM drive-unit manufacturers in the UK".

I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Their official history makes no mention of a UK offshoot.

http://ftp.elac.com/en/elac/history.php

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
I have always thought of ELAC as strictly German so what did you mean back then by saying ELAC was an OEM manufacturer in the UK?

Two different ELAC companies. I am not sure if there was any business connection between the English and German ELACs.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

PAR's picture

Thanks John, that answer stirs up a distant memory of the two. It probably explains why I happened to use an ELAC drive unit in the first loudspeaker that I built aged 15 at school in London back in the 60s. Considering that the idea of tweeters and crossovers was beyond me , using imported drivers would have been inconceivable.

hollowman's picture

JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?). If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

John Atkinson's picture
hollowman wrote:
JA, IIRC you generally disfavored TDL designs (correct?).

Not really. The IMF TLS 80 impressed the heck out of me when I first heard it in the 1970s - the combination of the Celestion HF1300 soft-dome tweeter and Coles 4001 supertweeter produced some of the best high frequencies I had experienced at that time. John Wright struck me back then as a very talented designer who continued that pedigree with TDL.

hollowman wrote:
If so, what was your first negative experience with TDL?

It wasn't so much a negative experience with TDL but the fact that over the years I became dissatisfied with so-called "transmission-line" speakers that didn't load the woofer with a true line. Such designs almost always had a line resonance in the upper bass that colored the sound too much for my taste. This small TDL had such a problem, as revealed by the impedance trace and my auditioning comments.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Kal Rubinson's picture

Indeed. There were a number of smaller TLs but the concept doesn't scale down very well. The volume of the chamber behind the LF driver and the entry port from that chamber into the upper part of the line are critical for decoupling the line from the driver. Those dimensions are frequency-dependent while the smaller TLs, unfortunately, scaled them down in relation to the driver size. The opening at the other end of the line, conversely, was uncritical

John Wright was gracious to send me his notes on the TLS80 design penciled in on a copy of his HFN article. I built a larger version of it and the KEF B139 performance was remarkably flat (although I admit to using a lower crossover than in the original).

Pages

Jana's Personal Escape

In this 1 Minute Audiophile Escape we visit my personal system.
Mon, 04/10/2017

Suzuki's Sacred and Sunny Mozart on SACD

Ah, Carolyn Sampson. Ah, Mozart. Put both of you, along with the Great Mass in c and the marvelously tuneful early motet, Exsultate, jubilate, in the hands of Masaaki Suzuki and the period-instrument Bach Collegium Japan. Then, record it all in 24/96 for a BIS SACD, which you can download in its original format from multiple sites, and the results are pure pleasure.
Sat, 04/08/2017

Lightnin' Hopkins on an Analogue Productions LP

Is there such a thing as a bad Lightnin' Sam Hopkins record? No, but there are a lot of badly recorded Hopkins records. Happily, Goin' Away originally released in 1963 on the Bluesville label (an imprint of Prestige Records) isn't one of them. And the already good sonics have even been improved in yet another superb 180gram Analogue Productions LP reissue.
Fri, 04/07/2017

Classé Sigma 2200i integrated amplifier Measurements

Thu, 04/06/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

"I used Audio Precision's high-order AES17 high-pass filter when measuring distortion, as otherwise the reading would be obscured by the noise."

Hi JA, was this filter also used when measuring/presenting the (fig 9) 1kHz and (fig 10) 10kHz square wave screen shots?

Cheers George

John Atkinson's picture
georgehifi wrote:
was this filter also used when measuring/presenting the (fig 9) 1kHz and (fig 10) 10kHz square wave screen shots?

No, the squarewave images were taken with just the external AP0025 filter as the AES17 brickwall filter would have affected the amplifier's reproduction of squarewaves. The AP0025's rolloff is sufficiently high in frequency not to have an effect other than eliminating RF noise.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

Ok it's a different AP in line filter, this 20 Hz to 20 kHz passband filter you used
https://www.ap.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AUX-0025.jpg
Has a -50db rolloff rate, I take it doesn't handle much power hence the "small-signal" square wave testing you can only do with it in line.

Myself, I would still prefer to see in tests with and without this filter in line, to see what's being sent to the speakers.

Cheers George

caphill's picture

Hello Thomas,
Thanks for the review of the Classe Sigma 2200i integrated. It was interesting to read your comments about the Classe Sigma 2200i being warm sounding tonally. I personally haven't heard the Sigma 2200i but have demoed the Sigma SSP + Sigma Amp5 combo paired with B&W speakers and Wilson Sabrina multiple times and they were very neutral tonally and very transparent imo. The Sigma combo were spectacular sonically. I demoed in both stereo for music in analog / digital bypass mode as well as for home theater (surrounds).

I would assume that the Sigma 2200i would perform very similar.
Did you get to listen to the Sigma separates by any chance?

Richard D. George's picture

I own the Sigma SSP and Sigma Amp 5. They sound spectacular for both home theater and two-channel audio. I have a Bluesound Vault2 connected to the Sigma SSP and high-resolution two-channel audio files sound terrific.

Richard D. George's picture

I also heard the Sigma 2200i demonstrated with Bowers & Wilkins 804 d3 speakers at a 2016 Music Matters event at my local dealer. Sounded fantastic. Heard four or five cuts (all Redbook format, interestingly, no high res) over the course of 40 minutes.

I don't hear the "not neutral" part. Must be my faulty ears.

caphill's picture

Hi Richard,
How did the Sigma 2200i sound compared to your Sigma SSP + Sigma Amp5 separates? What speakers do you have at home?

Richard D. George's picture

Too many variables to directly compare. I thought both sounded good, with no obvious flaws.

In that particular system my speakers are Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 and Venere Center with two REL S/5 subs connected speaker level with Longbow. I may eventually upgrade to Sonus Faber Olympica for L/R/C speakers, or perhaps Bowers & Wilkins 804 d3. Surround speakers are high-end Bowers & Wilkins two-way in-ceiling speakers (don't recall the model number)

caphill's picture

I think both the B&W 804 D3 and the SONUS Faber Olympica are great speakers imo but I think the B&W 804 D3 will have better synergy with your Classe Sigma Amp5.

I myself am using the Classe SSP 800 pre pro with the Classe CA-M 300 monoblock amps (3×) for L/R/C speakers. Using the Classe CA-2300 stereo amp for my surround speakers. My front speakers are the B&W 802 D3 with the matching HTML1 center speaker. My surround speakers are the 804 D3.

Pages

Classé Sigma 2200i integrated amplifier Associated Equipment

Thu, 04/06/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

"I used Audio Precision's high-order AES17 high-pass filter when measuring distortion, as otherwise the reading would be obscured by the noise."

Hi JA, was this filter also used when measuring/presenting the (fig 9) 1kHz and (fig 10) 10kHz square wave screen shots?

Cheers George

John Atkinson's picture
georgehifi wrote:
was this filter also used when measuring/presenting the (fig 9) 1kHz and (fig 10) 10kHz square wave screen shots?

No, the squarewave images were taken with just the external AP0025 filter as the AES17 brickwall filter would have affected the amplifier's reproduction of squarewaves. The AP0025's rolloff is sufficiently high in frequency not to have an effect other than eliminating RF noise.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

Ok it's a different AP in line filter, this 20 Hz to 20 kHz passband filter you used
https://www.ap.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/AUX-0025.jpg
Has a -50db rolloff rate, I take it doesn't handle much power hence the "small-signal" square wave testing you can only do with it in line.

Myself, I would still prefer to see in tests with and without this filter in line, to see what's being sent to the speakers.

Cheers George

caphill's picture

Hello Thomas,
Thanks for the review of the Classe Sigma 2200i integrated. It was interesting to read your comments about the Classe Sigma 2200i being warm sounding tonally. I personally haven't heard the Sigma 2200i but have demoed the Sigma SSP + Sigma Amp5 combo paired with B&W speakers and Wilson Sabrina multiple times and they were very neutral tonally and very transparent imo. The Sigma combo were spectacular sonically. I demoed in both stereo for music in analog / digital bypass mode as well as for home theater (surrounds).

I would assume that the Sigma 2200i would perform very similar.
Did you get to listen to the Sigma separates by any chance?

Richard D. George's picture

I own the Sigma SSP and Sigma Amp 5. They sound spectacular for both home theater and two-channel audio. I have a Bluesound Vault2 connected to the Sigma SSP and high-resolution two-channel audio files sound terrific.

Richard D. George's picture

I also heard the Sigma 2200i demonstrated with Bowers & Wilkins 804 d3 speakers at a 2016 Music Matters event at my local dealer. Sounded fantastic. Heard four or five cuts (all Redbook format, interestingly, no high res) over the course of 40 minutes.

I don't hear the "not neutral" part. Must be my faulty ears.

caphill's picture

Hi Richard,
How did the Sigma 2200i sound compared to your Sigma SSP + Sigma Amp5 separates? What speakers do you have at home?

Richard D. George's picture

Too many variables to directly compare. I thought both sounded good, with no obvious flaws.

In that particular system my speakers are Sonus Faber Venere 3.0 and Venere Center with two REL S/5 subs connected speaker level with Longbow. I may eventually upgrade to Sonus Faber Olympica for L/R/C speakers, or perhaps Bowers & Wilkins 804 d3. Surround speakers are high-end Bowers & Wilkins two-way in-ceiling speakers (don't recall the model number)

caphill's picture

I think both the B&W 804 D3 and the SONUS Faber Olympica are great speakers imo but I think the B&W 804 D3 will have better synergy with your Classe Sigma Amp5.

I myself am using the Classe SSP 800 pre pro with the Classe CA-M 300 monoblock amps (3×) for L/R/C speakers. Using the Classe CA-2300 stereo amp for my surround speakers. My front speakers are the B&W 802 D3 with the matching HTML1 center speaker. My surround speakers are the 804 D3.

Pages

Pages