Dutch & Dutch 8c active loudspeaker system John Atkinson April 2020

John Atkinson wrote about the Dutch & Dutch 8C in April 2020 (Vol.43 No.4):

Kalman Rubinson very favorably reviewed the three-way, active Dutch & Dutch 8c ($12,500/pair) in the August 2019 issue of Stereophile. "The D&D 8c demonstrates that active, DSP-empowered speakers are the future," he concluded, adding, "the Dutch & Dutch 8c might be the sweet spot in the new category of active speakers. It's a truly full-range system with enough dynamic range and power for almost any domestic situation."

I was impressed by what I found when measuring the Dutch & Dutch 8c. A flat on-axis response and superbly well-controlled dispersion in both horizontal and vertical planes were combined with time-coincident output and one of the cleanest waterfall plots I have encountered. "In summing up the Dutch & Dutch 8c's measured performance, all I can say is 'Wow!'" I wrote.

As Kal's review samples were promptly returned to the Dutch & Dutch US distributor, and as I wanted to spend more time with this intriguing design, I asked for a second pair of 8cs. I received these early in the New Year—Kal's samples were serial numbers 515 and 516; mine were 947 and 948—and D&D's Martijn Mensink visited to set them up.

Ideally, these speakers should be positioned between 100mm (4") and 1.5m (59") from the wall behind them, which allows the output of the twin rear-firing subwoofers to be reinforced with the in-phase reflection from the wall. However, this wasn't possible in my room; I had placed the speakers farther out, sitting on 24" stands in the positions where the Magico M2s I reviewed in February and the Vimberg Minos I review elsewhere in this issue worked best. I connected the 8c's to my network and, using the control app at the Dutch & Dutch site lanspeaker.com, set each speaker to "free space" regarding both the rear wall and sidewalls. (This app also allows one to control volume, set each speaker to Left or Right, choose the input type—analog at –10dBV or +4dBU or digital AES/ EBU—and access the Room Matching and parametric equalizer settings.) (footnote 1)

Mensink felt my placement would be okay, then set to work optimizing the speakers' performance. A new feature added to the loudspeaker since Kal's review (the new samples were running v.1.4.38 firmware) is the ability to use John Mulcahy's Room Equalization Wizard app (REW) to correct for the room's acoustic problems (footnote 2). The 8c uses digital signal processing (DSP) to implement the crossover, drive-unit time alignment, and equalization; with REW, DSP can now also be used to apply digital correction filters created with REW. Mensink got out his laptop, plugged its analog output into the speakers' analog inputs (set to –10dBV), logged into my Wi-Fi network, and ran REW.

REW located the loudspeakers on the network; Mensink had already combined them into a group. With the aid of a USB microphone, he used the app to measure the response of each at several points centered on the listening position. REW overlaid the responses with a target curve, then, with that approved, calculated the appropriate filters and uploaded them to the speakers' DSP. Mensink remeasured the listening-position response and decided that, while it was close to the target, it was appropriate to manually add a couple of low-Q, low-amplitude parametric equalizer settings, one in the midrange and one in the bass, to the filters employed by REW. That done, we listened to several kinds of music—rock, classical orchestral, choral, EDM, and piano—and Mensink declared himself satisfied with the setup.

The next day, I started my critical listening using the same ancillaries: a Roon Nucleus+ server sending data to a PS Audio DirectStream D/A processor via either Ethernet or USB to the Chord Hugo M Scaler I reviewed in March, and then on to the PS Audio via S/PDIF. The PS Audio's own volume control was effectively bypassed by setting it to "100," and the DAC's balanced analog outputs were connected to the D&Ds with AudioQuest Wild Blue Yonder cables. The D&Ds got their AC from an AudioQuest Niagara 5000.

Without the REW correction filters active, the 8c's sounded more neutral in the low treble than the KEF LS50s I purchased following my review in 2012, but with more top-octave energy. Listening to the 1/3-octave warble tones on my Editor's Choice CD (Stereophile STPH016-2), the low bass sounded exaggerated. My placement was not sympathetic to the tuning of the 8c's subwoofers, as the lowest-frequency mode in my room was being maximally excited.

Using the lanspeaker.com app, I activated the REW correction filters for each loudspeaker and continued listening. The midrange still sounded neutral, with excellent transparency. Joni Mitchell's husky contralto on the title track to her 2000 orchestral album Both Sides, Now (26/96 ALAC file, ripped from DVD-A, Reprise) raised goose bumps, so well-formed was its presentation on the 8c's. One-third–octave warble tones were reproduced in full measure down to the 40Hz band, with the 80Hz band slightly lower in level. The 32Hz tone was still boosted by the lowest-frequency mode in my room, though not nearly as much as it had been without the REW correction. The 25Hz warble was readily audible, and I could just hear the 20Hz tone at my normal listening level. The lower-frequency tones sounded very clean, meaning that distortion must have been very low. When I played my 2014 recording of Jonas Nordwall's performance of Widor's Organ Symphony No.5 (24/88.2 AIFF file), even with the REW filters active it sounded as if the wall of my listening room were shuddering in sympathy with the lowest-frequency organ pipes. The same thing happened with the dropped bass line in the second half of Trentemoller's "Night Walker" from The Last Resort (16/44.1k ALAC rip from CD, Poker Flat 827170113022). The D&Ds can output serious low frequencies!

Played on the 8c's, the Widor recording transported me back to Portland, Oregon's First United Methodist Church, with the image of the organ's ranks of pipes spread unambiguously across the stage. The D&D speakers did indeed excel when it came to stereo imaging. Images were tightly focused and impressively stable at all frequencies. This could have been because the responses of the two speakers were very closely matched but also because their lateral radiation pattern is narrower than usual. The reflections from the sidewalls, which might smear the stereo image, would therefore be lower in level than with a conventional design (footnote 3).

Kal had remarked in his review that the Dutch & Dutch speakers' soundstage "began at the plane described by the speakers' front baffles and extended deep behind them." I also noted the excellent soundstage depth. Acoustic objects that were balanced forward in the mix remained to the front of the soundstage, but more depth was apparent with objects that had some reverberation associated with them. When, for example, Jonas Nordwall selects a rank of higher-frequency pipes that are farther away for the ostinato arpeggios in the quiet passage halfway through the Widor, "farther away" is what I heard.

Fig.1 Dutch & Dutch 8c, unequalized nearfield responses of woofer and subwoofers (black) and equalized with REW, S/N 947 (blue and green) and S/N 948 (red and magenta).

Having got a handle on the Dutch & Dutch 8c's sound quality, I got out my test gear to examine the effect of the filters calculated by REW on their nearfield responses (fig.1). The black traces in this complicated-looking graph show the original responses of the woofers and subwoofers; the blue and green traces respectively show the equalized outputs of the woofer and subwoofers of S/N 947; the red and magenta traces show the equalized woofer and subwoofer outputs of S/N 948. You can see that, with the exception of the filter just below 30Hz, which applied a 12dB cut, the correction filters generated by REW are relatively mild in their action, with boosts around 3dB and cuts between 3dB and 5dB. The sloped-down responses above 400Hz in this graph are an artifact of the nearfield measurement technique.

Fig.2 Dutch & Dutch 8c, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room with Martijn Mensink's REW correction filters (red) and without (green).

Fig.2 shows the spatially averaged response (footnote 4) in my room without any room correction (green trace) and with the REW-generated filters active (red trace). The first thing to be seen in this graph is that the D&Ds' output rolls off sharply above 20kHz, confirming my conjecture in the original review that the 8c's internal digital signal processing operates with a sample rate of 48kHz. I asked Martijn Mensink about this when he visited. He confirmed that this was the case and explained that this was because the speaker's DSP could operate with greater precision at this sample rate. An additional benefit would be that there would be no energy present to excite the fundamental dome resonance of the 8c's 1" aluminum-magnesium–alloy tweeter, which lies around 28kHz.

The second thing to note in fig.2 is that the huge peak between 15Hz and 50Hz in the uncorrected response has been largely eliminated by the correction filter. Nevertheless, the in-room response still extends to 20Hz, though there is also now a slight lack of energy in the 50–100Hz octave.

Third, the corrected D&Ds' spatially averaged output (red trace) is extremely flat. The response falls within ±1dB limits between 740Hz and 10.3kHz, and while there is a raised plateau in the midrange, this remains at or less than +2.1dB. (Mensink had originally chosen a reduction of level of 3.5dB with the low-Q, 720Hz filter rather than 2dB, and it appears from my measurements that –3.5dB would have been a better choice.)

Fig.3 Dutch & Dutch 8c with Martijn Mensink's REW correction filters, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room (red) and of the KEF LS50 (blue).

The red trace in fig.3 repeats the REW-corrected D&Ds' spatially averaged response in my room. For reference, the blue trace shows the spatially averaged response of my KEF LS50s, measured in an identical manner. To plot the KEF LS50s' in-room response, I normalized it to the D&Ds' response in the midrange. With speakers that are not perfectly flat, choosing which frequency to use as the reference will depend on the music played. A speaker with a peak in the midrange will sound as if it has insufficient treble with music whose midrange is perceived as being correctly balanced. On the other hand, if the treble balance sounds correct in level with some music, the midrange will sound exaggerated.

My choice of making the two pairs of speakers equal in the midrange makes it appear that the KEFs have more low-treble energy than the D&Ds but slightly less energy in the top two octaves. This is pretty much what I heard as the difference between the two speakers. And as the KEF is a minimonitor with limited low-frequency extension, it steps out of the way of the lowest-frequency resonance in my room, while even with the REW-generated correction filters, this mode still makes its presence known with the D&Ds.

Fig.4 Dutch & Dutch 8c with Martijn Mensink's REW correction filters, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room (red), and of the Magico M2 (green), and of the Vimberg Mino (blue).

Fig.4 compares the D&Ds' spatially averaged response (again the red trace) with the two conventional and considerably more expensive high-performance loudspeakers that spent time in my listening room before and after them: the Magico M2s (green trace) and Vimberg Minos (blue trace). (Both passive loudspeakers were driven by Lamm M1.2 monoblocks for these measurements.) I have expanded the vertical scale in this somewhat busy graph compared with figs.1 and 2 to make the differences more apparent. (Each horizontal division is 5dB.)

The in-room response of all three pairs of speakers slopes down in the top two audio octaves; this is due both to the increasing absorption of the room furnishings at high frequencies and to the increasing directivity of their tweeters in this region. The Magicos start to roll off a little earlier than the other two speakers, and the D&Ds have more energy in-room above 8kHz than either. Because the 8c's Treble control tilts the high-frequency response up or down, I could experiment with using this control to reduce the speaker's top-octave output (not shown).

The Vimberg's in-room response is as flat on average throughout the midrange and mid-treble as the 8c's, but the peaks and dips are greater, requiring ±3dB limits. All three loudspeakers excite the lowest-frequency mode in my room, though the sealed-box M2 does so to a lesser extent than the REW-corrected 8c, the reflex-loaded Mino to a greater degree.

I was impressed both by the sound quality and the quality of engineering exhibited by the Dutch & Dutch 8c. Even without REW, the 8c's response extends at full level to 20Hz. But with the REW integration and the ability for a pair of these speakers to act as a Roon endpoint, which will be available by the time you read these words (footnote 5), I echo Kal's conclusion that the D&D 8c demonstrates that active, DSP-empowered speakers are the future. And I also echo what I wrote in our original review: "Wow!"—John Atkinson

Footnote 1: The network connection is only necessary for setting the controls; the 8c is fully operational without it.

Footnote 2: REW is freeware but donations are welcome: www.roomeqwizard.com/.

Footnote 3: See fig.3 in the original review.

Footnote 4: I create these response traces by averaging 20 1/6-octave–smoothed spectra, taken for the left and right speakers individually using an EarthWorks QTC-40 microphone and a Metric Halo MIO2882 interface operating at a 96kHz sample rate, in a vertical rectangular grid 36" wide 18" high and centered on the positions of my ears. This grid is larger than that used by Martijn Mensink for his measurements with REW.

Footnote 5: I experimented with the Roon integration at the end of the review period. Roon identified the Group rather than the individual loudspeakers, running RAAT v.1.1.31 and labeled "Uncertified."

Dutch & Dutch
US distributor: Dutch & Dutch USA
PO Box 294, Cape Canaveral
FL 32920
(877) 388-2465

BillBrown's picture

Clearly "wow." Oh my.

I followed this speaker as it was developed and have been hoping for a review with JA's measurements, so I am now very thankful. Quite an achievement for the developers.

EverymanAudio's picture

So is this just about as good as it gets as far as measurements? If so, I'd like to see pretty much everyone review this, especially Herb and Art to see what the reaction is to a virtually perfect speaker.

medtner's picture

The short answer is no. There is measurements of 8c's THD and the harmonic distortion of its bass is much higher then a truly hiend speaker (Magico S5 or Vivid g2) or other passives at its price-range. Having listened to 8c, I would say that measurement difference is clearly audible.
That being said, the sacrifice in THD or some other untested area seems to be vastly rewarded in other area.

je26's picture

Yet other listeners who have heard both the 8Cs and big audiophile speakers (including Magicos, Vivids, JBL M2s, Revel Salon 2s, Beolab 90s, Wilsons, assorted ATCs, MBLs, Goldmunds, and FM Acoustics' giant pyramids) do not hear these distortion components in the 8Cs, at least at reasonable listening levels. I am among those listeners.

The measurements taken for Soundstage in the NRC chamber were methodologically flawed, but they have conveniently provided a basis for contending that traditional audiophile speakers are better than these loudspeakers, which of course are not perfect but seem to represent a significant step forward.

medtner's picture

I agree that speakers like 8c or kiii would never sound "very distorted" yet their bass and midrange does comes "bigger" and "thicker" ( also to my ears less "transparent") than the more expensive active Grimm Audios, or the less expensive passive Contour20s. This is very evident on small listening levels (60db), but how each listener interprets sound of course is different. I still think 8c and kiii are excellent values and all-around players if you listens 70-90db, just perhaps not as perfect as some measurements show.

ms142's picture

Very curious about this comment:
> The measurements taken for Soundstage in the NRC chamber were methodologically flawed

Would you mind explaining some more?

je26's picture

On another forum, no less an authority than Floyd Toole, who developed the NRC's measurement facilities, pointed out that measurement of a non-monopole speaker (which the 8C is at lower frequencies) would require recalibration for accurate readings at low frequencies. Soundstage did not do that, nor did they buy from the NRC the measurements that Dr. Toole felt would provide the most compelling indication of how the 8Cs would perform in a real listening room.

Kal Rubinson's picture

There is measurements of 8c's THD and the harmonic distortion of its bass is much higher then a truly hiend speaker (Magico S5 or Vivid g2) or other passives at its price-range.

I have emphasized the last phrase because neither of the mentioned passive speakers is anywhere near the price of the 8c. In fact, they are 3x-5x more expensive and that's even without power amps!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The red trace in the bass frequency response measurements are taken with the parametric EQ engaged, used by KR ......... JA1 mentions that in the measurements section ........ For some reason measurements after dis-engaging the EQ, were not shown :-) ........

music-phile's picture

8c's are only nominally considered to be in the same price range as those speakers you have mentioned! Simply because D&D 8C's are speakers+dsp+amps: all in one and represent an incredible value. Strangely, you do not see it this way. People need to purchase additional, very costly geat to drive speakers you mentioned while D&D's are playing out-of-their-boxes.

JHL's picture

This probably is about as good as measurements go, measurements related to amplitude (and in this case, time). However such data cannot automatically conflate to "the perfect loudspeaker". One is an assortment of eye-pleasing metrics that describe specific behaviors and engineering aims, while the other offers a rhetorical presumption.

That's not intended to be pedantic: We simply have to detach the presumption from the suite of available data visuals and then go right back to considered and considerable hearing. If hearing the thing induces a strong sense of being in the presence of the original recorded event, then the metrics will be proved out.

Given the enormous importance of the excellent sounds coming from wildly disparate speakers than these, the notion of "the perfect speaker" remains challenged. I'm sure the field will benefit from this particular approach, but whether that approach serves the music over the long haul remains to be seen.

Kal Rubinson's picture

Since word "perfect' does not appear in this review,* your comment is a bit of a red herring. Just go and listen to it as you are advised in all cases.

*Yes, JA does say "an almost perfectly time-coincident shape," in a precisely limited statement.

JHL's picture

My remark was a reply to verymanAudio, Kal.

Kal Rubinson's picture

That was not apparent to me. OTOH, I would curious to hear what Herb and Art would say about this.

JHL's picture

A large, von Langa-class speaker can and does have a distinctive, undeniable relationship to the recording that I suspect technophile speakers cannot match. There must be good reason for the following such things accumulate ... including when it appears in these pages.

Kal Rubinson's picture

If you say so. Not my cuppa.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Art and Herb may say that, that kind of a review is outside their 'purview' ........... Just kidding :-) .........

medtner's picture

I also read somewhere that an amp designer said that the performance of an amp at 0.001w is crucial in replaying the micro details of music and he has a unique way testing showing many solid-state that measures well on 1w and 100w measures badly on 0.001w comparing to tubes. I would guess that for speaker it's quite the same that a speaker performs so well on 80db can be said to be "quite accurate" but not "accurate" unless it can reproduce 40 db signal faithfully. That could be also why some dac that test the same sound so different.
However I still wonder if the previous statement have a scientific base on that : )

MZKM's picture

Most residential rooms are like 35dB-50dB, 40dB is super quiet, almost inaudible, especially if louder sounds are being played at the same time. There is also no meaningful information that is being recorded into the music that low (roughly -65dBFS), maybe you’ll hear a fly buzzing in the recording studio.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

According to Google search, flies buzzing can be loud ........ However ultrasonic pest control generators may repel flies :-) .........

rt66indierock's picture

My office is currently about 40 dB now during the day. I can certainly hear things in the background when I play music.

At night the background drops to under 27 dB and I can still hear things.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wow .... You must be capable of hearing 'Johnson Noise' in the electrical circuits ......... Just kidding :-) ........

MZKM's picture

Are you using a measurement mic with slow C-weight? A phone app won’t do. It is highly unheard of for an office space to be 40dB, most are 70dB.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

One thing for sure ....... He probably doesn't work on the trading floors of NYSE or CME :-) .........

Jason P Jackson's picture

Yeah. "Low level detail" and what a system is doing at .001w is a major one. On a similar note, there exists a couple European made ribbon tweeters that are held in high regard and have found their way into some revered multi-ways. Yet they measure pretty average when subjected to high level steady-state sweeps. However, it's with the quieter sweeps these tweeters surpass most domes. Their spectral decay (or at least the variants that have come my way) is up their too.

TJ's picture

Thank you Kal and John for such an informative review. Fascinating. Eager to see your review of the B&W Formation Duo, as a long-time B&W 800 series listener.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If D&D could come up with a floor standing model with a couple of larger diameter subwoofers, say 10" or 12", priced around $25k/pair, with similar type of DSP control and web access, they will have another world class loudspeaker :-) ........

JRT's picture

I think that you are in the right ballpark, though maybe a little low for the parts cost to MSRP multiple that Dutch and Dutch is charging on these.

The well developed performance may be worth the extra money, at retail.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Check out Eikon Audio Image-1 ........ Somewhat similar concept ........... Around $25k :-) ..........

AJ's picture

Go figure ;-)
Now someone please get Kal a heftier pair of stands, he must not have kids!

Kal Rubinson's picture

I don't really have or need any stands. And while I do have kids and grandkids, they are all adults. (I wish I could see better what is in your tiny picture.)

AJ's picture

I confused the article photo with glass windows behind speaker (and bicycle) with your room described "with glass windows". The stands in that pic looked a bit small given the heft of the speaker. Maybe you don't have a bicycle either ;-).

Larger photo (where I got it from)

Kal Rubinson's picture

Ah. Those are fantasy photos and not from my room but I used to have a bicycle. Consequently, the stand is one I have never seen or used. This is a poor picture of what I used for the D&Ds. http://soundanchors.com/uploads/6764906e5780fb15c75269479f3bc9be4bc74c93.JPG

symphony1010's picture

Having returned to Stereophile in the last few months I was interested to find any active loudspeaker reviews. I have been seeking quality and simplicity in music reproduction because this ultimately ensures that I can focus on the music. A few years ago I purchased some actives from a UK manufacturer and these have replaced the mix of boxes, wires and dust(!) from before.
I can see that it is in the interest of manufacturers to sell more boxes but sometimes it does seem as if they prioritise profit over the best result for the serious listener. Magazines play their part here also I fear.
It's therefore good to see these actives positively reviewed here. I agree that they are the future, although for me they are the present.

Kal Rubinson's picture
  • I can see that it is in the interest of manufacturers to sell more boxes but sometimes it does seem as if they prioritise profit over the best result for the serious listener.
  • Isn't this an issue for any manufacturer? The best result for the serious listener is not always coincident with the product that will garner the most sales and profit. A business must make money to survive.

  • Magazines play their part here also I fear.
  • Sure but there is a parallel. What do our readers want to read about? It should be apparent that Stereophile readers have strong opinions about what they want.

    P.S.: Welcome back.

    ednazarko's picture

    I've used studio monitors for years from various manufacturers, for providing music at photo shoots in rented locations, in guest bedrooms, and in a gallery I partly owned. Had a Y connector to plug into the jack on my portable music player or phone, and they were great for that purpose. But - I listened to one of the nicer sets I had for almost a month, M-Audio 8 inch, while my main system speakers were out for repair, and I can tell you I was very, very happy to get my regular speakers back. The M-Audio weren't bad... but they weren't as good as my other passive speakers.

    Recently got a set of KEF LSX - needed something small for a small room - and I'm floored by how good they sound. Yeah, they're small, probably miss the bottom two or three keys on a piano keyboard, but they're precise, musical, decent enough bass, and actually image when used in a pretty sub-optimal setting. When I'm listening to them, I find myself looking at them and thinking... I could swap 5 boxes out (DAC, pre, amp, two speakers) and replace them with two powered speakers. Not LSX, which are great in a small room, but something bigger.

    With these, or the Kii, I could also ditch the subwoofer. Now I'm surfing the second hand market trying to figure out how much I'd get from dumping those six components in my studio/print shop to pick up a powered setup.

    symphony1010's picture

    This is my experience also. As a busy professional musician and educator I simply haven't got time to evaluate whether cable 'Y' makes a difference with amplifier 'X'. However, recently, I took some time out to read, explore and, above all, listen.
    If the high-end audio industry is to find a wider customer base then it surely has to find straightforward in-roads to the best quality without complexity.
    Active speakers seem to be part of that answer but I would suggest that wireless playback was also, until recently.
    Instead of continuing to improve Chromecast Audio and Airplay both Apple and Google have discontinued the simple, straightforward (and cheap) products that are essential to follow the simple route. As things stand, Airport Express and Chromecast Audio are only supported in 3rd party devices and many of these include unnecessary features or poor remote control.
    To cut to the chase I suggest that the best high-end system could be produced with a streaming service from Tidal/Qobuz feeding an improved Airplay type system connected to active speakers. Job done and no need for cables, DACS, pre-amps or any other add-ons.
    What is more important? Access to well-reproduced music? Or a complex route that may still fail to satisfy and induce yet another bout of upgraditis?
    We have a lot of this with instruments. 3rd-party manufacturers develop all kinds of add-ons to 'improve' clarinets but, watch most professional players and you see simplicity with few frills. Like
    wise in pianos, a Steinway Model 'D' from Hamburg or even New York(!) just needs a good tuner/technician and the job is done. Why are audiophiles still messing around with so much kit in the 21st century?

    jeffhenning's picture

    Sorry for all of you fans of passive speakers and those that are digi-phobes in general, but this has been where speakers have been heading for a while. This is just another example of how you can use DSP to make a great speaker.

    The only thing I can see as a "design flaw" is that they are attempting to cram too much into one box. Not having your tweeter and mid shaken about by subs in the same box is preferable. For a one box solution, though, this is pretty impressive.

    If this thing is profitable, I imagine they will have a version where they have separate subs and, maybe, a MTM mains cab.

    When you consider all of the things this speaker offers, it's a great deal.

    Ortofan's picture

    ... already good sounding/measuring passive speakers - such as the Revel Performa3 F208 - when driven by an amp with a built-in DSP room acoustics correction function - such as the Yamaha R-N803 - compare to the D&D speakers reviewed here?

    Would the D&D speakers be worth twice the price?



    Bogolu Haranath's picture

    Another passive speaker, Vandersteen Model 3A Signature ($5,500/pair), are also in the price range of Revel Performa3 F208 ........ Vandersteen speakers can also do time-coincident wave launch ........ KR could probably review the Vandersteen 3A Signature :-) ............

    Lorton's picture

    JA wrote: "DSP operates at a fixed 48kHz sample rate, and that digital data with a higher sample rate are downsampled"
    Is that true? Do you want your input to always be down/upsampled to 48K? I certainly don't. What am I missing?

    Kal Rubinson's picture

    First hand experience, perhaps.

    jmsent's picture

    ...simply means that the upper frequency cutoff of the system is 24kHz. Given that the aluminum/magnesium (mostly aluminum) tweeter's "oilcan resonance" is at around 25kHz, what point is there in going higher than that? Frequencies fed to the tweeter at or above its resonance run the risk of creating IM products in the audible band. The specs also state the SN ratio as 118dB. Though not verified, this suggests that the built in DAC's are probably 24bit. So, I can't see where this setup would be a limiting factor.

    Lorton's picture

    but that will be like arguing that lossy digital audio signal is good enough (and all cables/amps sounds the same, etc.).
    Kal, the pro-audio world has been using 48K sampling rate back in the DAT days (they don’t do that anymore for a good reason). It is a problematic rate as far as 44/88/176 sample rates are concerned (uneven multiplier = lossy conversion), you are basically arguing against all hi-res formats, and compromising Red Book, the majority of the media. Not an ideal, anachronistic, way to run a DSP.

    Bogolu Haranath's picture

    Most of the Hi-Res PCM digital recordings made these days are 24/96 and 24/192 ....... They can be down-sampled to 24/48 :-) ..........

    Kal Rubinson's picture

    I am not arguing it one way or the other. I am advocating that you try to listen to it with an open mind despite your knowledge and experience.

    JRT's picture

    I do not doubt that these Dutch and Dutch 8C sound very good while also solving many problems in system design and application setup. The reduced resolution in the electrical signals is not a major limiting characteristic in the design solution.

    Most conventional tweeters, midrange, woofers use steel top plates with the center bore, the pole piece providing the gap, the focused magnetic field in which the voice coil operates. There are nonlinearities associated with that steel material, (exacerbated by use of ferrite magnets) called the "Barkhausen Effect", discovered by German physicist Heinrich Barkhausen in 1919. It is doubtful that most drivers can provide anything near the resolution available in the electrical signal in some high resolution audio.


    The use of Alnico and rare earth magnets does not solve this problem.

    Electrostatics, plasma tweeters, or field coil electromagnets can provide some improvements in this problem area, but at the cost of bringing other bigger problems in need of better solutions.

    As you heard with the Dutch and Dutch 8C, and with your own Revel Ultima Studio2, two very different designs, but both properly focused on solving the more audible problems in the design trade-offs at the expense of less audible problems. I can see that if someone is going to review separate components and has need to swap those in and out of the reference system, then your choice is the better one, but in other applications the D&D_8C ability to make use of close proximity room boundaries rather than needing to avoid close proximity to room boundaries could be advantageous.

    JRT's picture

    I would like to see D&D offer a matching active bass bin to go under the 8C in lieu of a stand. The stand uses similar floor space but provides no additional volume-velocity. The bass bin could be useful in further spreading reflection off of the floor boundary, mitigating that interference, ameliorating the associated Allison Effect.

    A D&D bass bin could be connected to the D&D_8C analog XLR output chassis connector marked with the "SUB" reference designation. Perhaps DSP within the 8C could provide the needed forcing functions.

    That brings up another comment directed at Dutch & Dutch. The 8 inch woofers on the back of the 8C are "woofers", not "subwoofers". You have an analog signal balanced XLR output chassis connector that has a suitable ref des marking, "SUB", and it will confuse some of your customers if you continue to also refer to the integrated woofers as subwoofers. The midrange driver on the front is a "midrange", or perhaps a "midwoofer", but in that 8C 3way it is not used a woofer.

    And D&D, I read your manual for the 8C and found that rather deficient in explaining details of the functionality. I would suggest that you read some of RME's manuals to get a better idea of useful detail and structure. Putting a better effort into the manual might save you much bother in post-sale customer support.

    Lastly... Good job. Nicely engineered. My negative comments are only at the margins, not in the core product.

    garmtz's picture

    Normally, speakers are to be measured at tweeter height, but this design is meant to be listened to midway between the tweeter and woofer. The reason is simple: it eliminates any path length differences, regardless how far you are sitting from the speakers. This might have slightly influenced the vertical and lateral responses as well as frequency response and especially the step response.

    Bogolu Haranath's picture

    These D&D speakers are DSP controlled 'time-coincident' ....... JA1 mentions that in the measurements section ....... Most of the conventional dynamic speakers are 'time-coherent' :-) .........

    nadeauu's picture


    nadeauu's picture

    Selling 2 months used dutch and dutch 8c with Sound Anchor stands and Aurender N10 streamer.

    JRT's picture

    There are other websites aligned to sales of used audio gear, decidedly not the focus of this website.

    m_ms's picture

    Older thread, but thought I'd chime in nonetheless.

    In regards to active vs. passive speakers I'd like to point to the core distinction of active speakers, namely that the filtering is done prior to amplification. That is to say: active doesn't mean being solely dependable on whole package deals where both the amps, DSP and DAC's are physically housed in the speakers - even though the individual segments in an all-in-one solution can be tailor-made to the specific task at hand (which mayn't say much, btw) and are put together for easy plug-and-play use - but there's the option of separates with active configuration as well, and this opens up possibilities that are otherwise hampered with the all-in-a-box product; that of the freedom of choice of components in the entire audio chain typically associated with a passive set-up as well, a freedom that many audiophiles find essential in their hobby.

    Obviously there's the likely element of DIY with the separate approach of an active set-up, not least concerning that of the filtering itself (unless the filter settings are pre-configured by the manufacturer, like Sanders Sound), but with the dedicated audiophile who knows how to trust his or her ears and are slightly tech savvy it's a potentially liberating process.

    Think about sitting in your listening spot and making filter corrections on the fly, if that's your thing and/or it's necessitated, and that you're rid of the sonic bottleneck of passive filters (with all that entails in regards to the load on the amps(s) and the compromised signal that's sent to the drivers), because that's what they are compared to a quality digital cross-over - even with A/D to D/A conversion applied in the process.

    What could the critique aimed at the "active a la separates" solution be - why isn't this approach implemented and revered more readily when its sonic merits are so obvious, not only to me but also a range of audio friends of mine, all of us by all accounts never going back to passive again? Active is more than just a bundled, pre-assembled package with size constrictions (not to speak negatively of the presumable qualities of the reviewed D&D C8's), but can be an all-out separates solution that would potentially take aim at any passive ditto while outdoing it, and cheaper at that. Just my $0.02..