AXPONA: Dutch & Dutch 8c loudspeakers

Here's a list of the complete Dutch & Dutch product lineup:

1. Dutch & Dutch model 8c speakers.

And here's a list of all the audio electronics in the Dutchies' 11th-floor room at AXPONA:

1. Dutch & Dutch model 8c speakers.

That's it. Other than the brutalist-looking Sound Anchor ADJ speaker stands, there was no associated gear. That's because the 8cs, reviewed in Stereophile by Kalman Rubinson here and by John Atkinson here, are DSP-equipped active speakers that are meant to be used with a networked source like a laptop or tablet.

As for the company's product line, 37-year-old co-founder and designer Martijn Mensink (who is, what else, Dutch) has been working on several new models. It's an endeavor he'll have to remain tight-lipped about for now, although he allowed that his focus is on a larger speaker. My money's on a floorstander, not least because Mensink let on in a 2020 conversation with JA that he'd been thinking about a product that would go (even) louder and deeper, with bass extension that still puts out some slammin' SPLs down to 20Hz.

The 8c ($14,950/pair) has been around for a good five years now, with only minor tweaks. Why mess with a good thing? It's the first time, though, that Mensink and his crew exhibit at a US audio show, so for curious audiophiles like myself, this is still an exciting debut of sorts.

Having never heard the speakers (though I certainly picked up various plaudits about them over the years), I didn't quite know what to expect. The Dutch & Dutch room was different, to say the least—in part because of the absence of other gear, and in part because both 8cs were placed deep into the corners of the space: the left channel some 6" from the front wall, the right channel almost 18" from the window behind it. This would normally be a giant no-no due to wall reflections and expected unevenness and boominess, but we're in an era where DSP can show a speaker who's boss. D&D's use of Room EQ Wizard (REW) meant that the 8cs were customized to the particular AXPONA room's acoustic peculiarities. Of course, digital room correction only goes so far. You can't expect to get stellar (or even decent) results by REWing a pair of ratty old Sears speakers, any more than you can prepare a first-rate chateaubriand from a cut of shank. To get amazing sound, the engineering and build has to be there.

When I sat just 6' from the speakers, they acted almost as nearfield monitors, and when I moved back into the room, surprisingly, their presentation didn't seem to change much. With every track—Natalie Cole, the Jacques Loussier Trio, Paquito d'Rivera, and more—the 8cs sounded composed, revealing, and right, in ways that not many speakers in this price category can get close to. "Goed gedaan man" ("well done you") I told Mensink, and I wasn't just being polite.

Gregory68's picture

Great article. I love hearing about Dutch & Dutch. I hope to hear them in person some day. The link conversation with JA is broken.

John Atkinson's picture
Gregory68 wrote:
The link conversation with JA is broken.


John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile