Dynaudio Contour 20 loudspeaker Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Two-way, rear-ported, stand-mounted loudspeaker. Drive-units: 1.1" (28mm) cloth-dome tweeter, 7.1" (180mm) MSP-cone woofer. Crossover frequency: 2.2kHz. Frequency response: 39Hz–23kHz, –3dB. Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83V/m. Nominal impedance: 4 ohms. IEC power handling: 180W.
Dimensions: 17.3" (440mm) by 8.5" (215mm) by 14.2" (360mm). Weight 34.2 lbs (15.5kg).
Finishes: White Oak Satin, Walnut Light Satin, Grey Oak High Gloss, Rosewood Dark High Gloss, White or Black Lacquer.
Serial number of units reviewed: 391113 & '4.
Price: $5000/pair for black gloss, white gloss, walnut, white oak; $5750/pair for Rosewood Gloss, Grey Oak Gloss; optional stand 6s cost $500/pair. Approximate number of dealers: 36. Warranty: 5 years.
Manufacturer: Dynaudio A/S, Sverigesvej 15, 8660 Skanderborg, Denmark. Web: www.dynaudio.com. US distributor: Dynaudio North America, 1852 Elmdale Avenue, Glenview, IL 60026. Tel: (847) 730-3280. Web: www.dynaudio.com

Dynaudio A/S
US distributor: Dynaudio North America
1852 Elmdale Avenue
Glenview, IL 60026
(847) 730-3280

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.


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.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

You're not the only who finds that comment a bit ridiculous.
The rest of that segment doesn't help his case either. He seems to be one of those people who has a certain sound that he likes, and that's of course fine (I probably do as well), but instead of saying "I like this particular sound" he turns it into "this is accuracy for me".
Then all that babble about how ruler-flat frequency response removes all enjoyment of the music, which again only says that he likes a certain sound, but he portrays as "my sense of accuracy". Horseshit!

JHL's picture

Except he's absolutely correct.

The only thing more discouraging about the current objectivist abyss than its fealty to *seeing* a speaker (in its simple response curve) while shrieking that sighted bias is satanic, is its apparent fear of hearing at all...

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)

Anon2'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.

jbreezy5's picture


Thought I would respond since I didn't see anyone else do it.

I own Dynaudio Audience 82 floorstanding speakers (13+ years), am familiar with Excite, Contour, Confidence and Temptations in the line since I have a local dealer who has, or has had, all on display.

My set-up is as follows:


Jolida FX Tube DAC III (absolutely killer DAC regardless of price; I own 2 of them!)


Arcam A75+ integrated as preamplifier
B&K ST 125.2 power amplifier


Blue Jeans Cable speaker wires with locking bananas
Blue Jeans Cable RCA interconnects

If you want to get into Dyn's my recommendation is to have a 4-ohm rated, moderately high solid-state power amplifier (100-150 wpc), with tube or solid-state preamplification. If you opt for tube preamplification, you want high input impedance (33 kohms or higher) and low output impedance (200 ohms or lower) to avoid frequency extreme roll-offs. This is less of a concern with solid-state preamps, because most meet this criteria.

You may be able to go with tube power amplification, but I would recommend a powerful one, AT LEAST 50 wpc. The best thing to do in this case is to go listen before buying to be sure.

The above system matching recommendations come from my experiences as follows:

The only thing that I find "tricky" with Dyn's, if you will, is the way they handle power. They can sound very good with relatively low power (for example, my Arcam A75+ solid-state integrated amp at 50 wpc); this is due to the first-order crossovers being easy to drive, even though they are 4-ohm rated speakers. However, you really will get the most satisfying sound from them by giving them solid amounts of 4-ohm rated current. In this regard, I would suggest against low-powered tube amplification to drive them, as this will likely sound too dark, laid back, and anemic.

On the flip side, I had a Pass Labs X250.5 for a few years which was waaay more power than they needed; the effect of too much power on tap was that I had to turn the volume dial up more to get the speakers to come alive. Why? Because the amp had way more juice on tap than the speaker load demanded. The net result was a somewhat flat-footed sound until I significantly raised the volume pot. This is the importance of system matching; a more moderately powered amp, whether Pass Labs or some other competitor's is what I needed. Indeed, my very humble B&K ST 125.2 actually mates with my Dyn's better than the X250.5, even though the Pass amp is otherwise in every way superior (circumstances forced me to downgrade).

Continuing the discussion of system matching, if you opt to stay with a low-powered tube amp, you are thinking correctly to stay with higher sensitivity/higher impedance speakers.

Regarding your remarks about room placement for the Contours, JA's measurements suggest that should not be very difficult at all. That is my experience, as well. The Contours exhibit little vertical dispersion limitations and, as a result, JA concluded that stand height is not a major concern. The horizontal dispersion characteristics are typical Dynaudio, which is to say, it is not as wide as some of the competition. Therefore, these are NOT sound-staging champions, though they do fine. The Contour S1.4 you mentioned had an unconventional front baffle/driver arrangement which did affect the soundstaging/room placement, but that appears to no longer be a part of the Contour design. This may explain the different measurement results on this review.

Lastly, I have never experienced durability issues when comparing soft-dome and metal-dome tweeters from quality makers; YMMV. Dynaudio makes world-renowned tweeters.



allhifi's picture

breezy tony: I suspect (beyond that Dynaudio should have remained a drive-unit manufacturer only)both breezy and tony's comments may be shared by a flock of abundant brand faithful.

Suggesting that a loudspeaker requires 'specific' driving amplification is both impractical and misleading;obsessive really.

Let's call this thinking it for what it is; a desperate attempt to validate Dynaudio loudspeakers -when much superior alternatives exist.

To suggest that: "...my very humble B&K ST 125.2 actually mates with my Dyn's better than the (Pass) X250.5" tells more of the author and the reality of Dynaudio loudspeakers than any possible, meaningful insight/discovery.

The dyn faithful appear willing to go to ends of the (flat, of course) earth as opposed to admitting/realizing their Dyn loudspeakers may indeed be the "problem". Put another way, their unconditional (brand) love affair is so convoluted that it simply does not occur to them that the shitty sound quality experienced could be anything but their choice of loudspeaker.

I can't imagine a legitimate (hi-fi) dealer seeking brands of hi-fi from around the globe with the single-minded pursuit of finding suitable amplification to (desperately) validate their flawed loudspeaker choice(s)?

And because dealers like tony's imaginary hifi would represent an entire line of one brand to heap upon their customers because "it sounds OK with my Dynaudio product" speaks volumes; so loud in fact that it should be turned down/off entirely.

I see another love affair in the making should this tag-team of breeze, tony and Herbert ever get together in person -a celebratory event if there ever was one.

For all others out there; run from the Dyn(amite)-grip that would otherwise have you spell bound -for eternity! (lol)

peter jasz

jbreezy5's picture


Since you referenced my username and had a tone of disrespect, I will respond once.

First you mention that I am a "brand faithful". I certainly am a brand faithful of Dynaudio; however, I am not a "Dynaudio only" listener; nor did I ever expressly state or suggest that Dynaudio is the best brand of all or most speakers out there, both of which concepts are implicit when taken within the context of your entire post ("unconditional (brand) love affair" and "desperate attempt to validate Dynaudio loudspeakers -when much superior alternatives exist" - Allhifi).

I currently own, and have owned, MANY various brands/models of speakers since I first got into the audio hobby in 1997; not to mention, DACs, preamps, and amps.

Your claim that it "is both impractical and misleading" for a person to say that a speaker may perform better with a certain amplifier driving it versus another is, quite frankly, an uninformed conclusion.

Lessons learned from the practical wisdom of actual experts indicate that you are incorrect. Nelson Pass and John Atkinson are two I can think of immediately.

Need proof? Read Nelson Pass' write-up on his B1 Buffer preamp and learn from him WHY added gain in a preamp is redundant and was the basis for sharing this project preamp with the DIY community. This line of reasoning also seems to reflect in his current line of preamps which also have no added gain, leaving the amplifier alone to do its job, rather than having more amplification stages in the audio chain.

For another example, read John Atkinson's measurements write-up of the Monitor Audio GS10s, first paragraph, you will find the following quote:

"The electrical phase angle varies considerably, but as always the most extreme angles occur when the magnitude is high, diminishing the difficulty of the loading. The shape of the magnitude trace suggests that THE SPEAKER WILL SOUND A BIT FORWARD, PERHAPS EVEN BRIGHT, WHEN USED WITH TUBE AMPLIFIERS HAVING A HIGH SOURCE IMPEDANCE (all caps emphasis added by jbreezy)."
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/monitor-audio-gold-signature-gs10-loudspeaker-measurements#dDdiPT7wwJDIhmlG.99

Srajan Ebaen's (6Moons) purely subjective review of the Butler Audio TDB-2250, when he switched the amplifier from powering horn loudspeakers (higher sensitivity) to Gallo Ref 3s (lower sensitivity), is in line with the above-mentioned objective references, saying:

"Feeling confident that my hornspeaker interlude had revealed the essential sonic nature of our review subject when barely moved out of 'park', I now inserted the Gallo Reference 3s as examples of passive full-range speakers in the 88dB sensitivity range that would run the amp deeper into its power band and higher up its torque curve."

As can be seen with all 3 references, there are electrical factors in the amplifier-to-speaker interface that CAN-AND-DO directly impact the perceived sonic output for the listener.

I also never claimed that a "specific" amplifier must be used to get good sound from Dyns, but rather, that a recommended current/power rating from ANY manufacturer is desirable to obtain the best sound from them. I indeed would expect better sound from a similarly powered Pass Labs over the B&K.

Below is a direct quote from my original post:

"...This is the importance of system matching; A MORE MODERATELY POWERED AMP, WHETHER PASS LABS OR ANOTHER COMPETITOR'S (all caps emphasis added here by jbreezy) is what I needed. Indeed, my very humble B&K ST 125.2 actually mates with my Dyn's better than the X250.5, even though the Pass amp is otherwise in every way superior (circumstances forced me to downgrade)."

Additionally, it should be noted that you have a glaring logical contradiction in your post when speaking of Dynaudio as a brand in terms of sound quality saying that they have a "shitty sound quality" after stating in the first sentence that "Dynaudio should have remained a drive-unit manufacturer only".

This begs the following questions:
*Are you claiming that Dyns sound so terrible because of
their cabinets/crossovers?
**If so, are there magical caps/resistors they should be
using to improve the sound?
*On the other hand, if they sound so terrible b/c of their
speaker drivers, then why did you state that they should
only manufacture speaker drivers?

Hint: The correct answer is a non-response to all 3 questions.

I still contend that Dynaudio speakers sound superb, but it's ok if they are not your cup of tea. There are many other speaker manufacturers out there to enjoy, which I enjoy also.

Regarding your flat earth comment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Earth

That's right! Even Christians have been misconstrued as being flat-earthers! (See 3rd paragraph, last sentence).

I'm sorry to have to point out your eisegesis of my post so clearly, however, it was necessary since your post was quite rude.

Perhaps asking more questions, and making fewer assertions may result in more constructive dialogue. That would certainly be my preference.

- JBreezy -

allhifi's picture

Hey breeze: Indeed, amplifier choice is crucial to obtaining high performance.

Yet, for some (including you and tony ) that must search the world over for a "suitable" amp for your Dyn's is rather self explanatory; it's a barely passable design that requires amplification with specific colorations to sound acceptable. That's bad.

There are many fine sounding amplifiers today, and if the Dyn's can't sound good with most of these, I'd suggest the issue/ problem/weak sound lies with the transducer.

It's bizarre that an audiophile would have spend such an inordinate amount of time seeking a suitable amplifier; I'd say find a better loudspeaker.

That Dyn made/makes? solid drive-units has nothing to do with the company's inability to manufacture consistently top performering loudspeakers.

You references to impedance/phase angle plots (if one should exist to potentially cause issues for the amp) is yet again another indication of poor loudspeaker design decisions -do NOT force the amplifier into a uncomfortable zone. It's not Rocket Science breezy.

Finally "eisegesis" (woah, never heard that one before), flat-earth, Christians ... we're definitely on to something here ...


jbreezy5's picture


Thanks for respectful communication. The "shouts" in my last post were meant as highlights to key phrases, but I don't know of a good way to do that here.

I'm not an audiophile, and I'm not searching the world over for a suitable amp for the speakers.

The Dyns sounded good with low power, they sounded good with way more power than they needed. But they sound most alive with moderate-high power.

This kind of variability occurs with any type of speaker out there; it's not limited to Dyns. It's the reason most people with very high sensitivity speakers run flea-watt tube amps on them; people with low impedance/current demanding electrostats and planars pair them up with massive monoblocks. That's how to get the best sound from them.

Hope this is a more clear explanation.


- Jbreezy -

allhifi's picture

Hi breezy: It's always wise to determine who it is one is communicating; a novice, few years experience, or a lifetime of hi-fi experience. One that includes thousands of people, hi-fi systems, spanning decades.

Also one who took each and every moment and opportunity to experiment with varying combinations of world-class electronics, cabling and AC power "systems". Why ? Because he loved it.
The thought (belief-desire) that he could assist/share this wealth of legitimate (lifetime of) knowledge for all who care about music and hi-fi.

Anyway, moving on; it must have been the other poster (tony) that searched the world over for an amplifier to meet his requirements.
As I read that, I thought that makes no sense, a loudspeaker should sound good-to-excellent at any volume level (with any respected design/make -of amp) when/if careful consideration is given to cabling considerations.

When you say:
" ...The Dyns sounded good with low power, they sounded good with way more power than they needed. But they sound most alive with moderate-high power."

That's confusing; are you saying that your loudspeakers sound better with, say a 100 W/C vs a 50W/C or 300 W/C amplifier ?

The loudspeaker should sound great at any volume level with an amplifier regardless of what is its power output states -when/if excellent amplification (including pre-amp) is present.

Continuing: " This kind of variability occurs with any type of speaker out there; it's not limited to Dyns."

That simply has not been my experience with conventional dynamic-driver transducers. Great loudspeakers/amps sound great at any volume level the pairing/system is capable of comfortably generating.
Yet, I'm lead to think the preamps gain attenuation sophistication (or lack thereof) may be largely responsible for the distinctive variations in sound quality over the range of its operation (i.e.lower volume levels, mid-level and so forth).
It's widely known that a typical volume potentiometer is anything but linear over its range of operation -yet performs best (linearity, ch. balance noise) when i its "middle" position.

The art of hi-fi, the result of picking up where science drops off. Without doubt, special, synergistic pairings abound, but if one cannot find a suitable "match" to their beloved product one must surely wonder if its time to find another loudspeaker to fill the role.

The entire purpose of my reply was to say that, if/when a reasonable attempt at/of combinations of amps/cabling does not yield impressive sound, it's time to find a new loudspeaker.

Sometimes, the longest held beliefs are the hardest to relinquish ...


R.Dobson's picture

Forget that Dynaudio should have remained a drive-unit manufacturer only ... I bought a pair of Contour 20s last year and was transfixed by the sound of these babies pushed with the McIntosh 402 and Bat VK500. But then about three months after I purchased them they suddenly when crackle, zap and dead. When the Dynaudio warranty came into play, it turned out that document was not worth the paper it was printed on. So regardless of what they manufacture, the warranties that back up their products are rubbish!

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 !)

Freako's picture

Sadly, I have to back up to some degree allhifi's comments on the review of this speaker. A product in this league deserves to be tested and reviewed by someone with lots of knowledge and understanding of Dynaudio's products and philosophies. As an example, it shouldn't really be a surprise that Contour 20 (although being a completely newly developed model in every aspect, aside from the tweeter) would surely benefit from amps with an ability to provide lots of solid current to it. This is not entirely new with Dynaudio speakers. Another thing that bothered me all through the review, is that it seemed like this was Herb's first entry as a reviewer, looking like a blind man in a wheelchair crossing a busy highway during rush hour.

Sorry Herb - better luck next time

smileday's picture

It is interesting that JA did not hear 25Hz from the speakers. We often hear something from 25Hz test tone: the harmonic distortion components, 50Hz, 75Hz, ...

Freako's picture

I am fully aware that this thread is dead by now, but still I'd like to contribute with my new findings.

When I purchased the Contour 20s a little over a year ago, my amplifiers were a 20 year old "set" of Parasounds, the PHP-850 and HCA-1000. First, the Parasound power amp (2x 230 W / 4 Ohms) was a very good match with the Dyns. Second, of course these otherwise very respected elderlys lacked in other areas. Amplification technology, along with much else, has surely come a long way since the millenia.

Recently, my long "lost love" of amps came into my living room: The Accuphase E-370. A product of a more modern time and technology, and with a much firmer grip on things altogether, which is clearly audible in every aspect of the music reproduction. The amp loves the Contours, and vice versa. The funny thing is, it IS in fact a moderate powered amp, but with a rather oversized power stage compared to many other amps in the ~1oo Watts per channel range.

Regarding the difficulty of positioning the Contours correctly (which I absolutely experienced with the Parasounds), the next funny thing is that all anomalies in the resulting stereo image, had disappeared like a popsickle in Nevada on a hot summers day when I connected the Accuphase. The stereo image was out of this world depthwise, and clearly better than decent hight- and widthwise.

The amps crisp detals, speed, the very convincing level of fidelity and coherence, and the iron grip on my woofers, made this combo stand out as one of the best I have ever heard in a private home. And the "true to the source" claim we have so often seen quoted regarding Dyns, becomes much easier to believe when you tie an Accuphase horse in front of your Dyn waggon. Only people with access to the source could ever get a chance to vertify it, but who cares, if a certain combo makes us believe it?

Freako's picture

Geez, Herb... why do you have to be such a gigantic klutz with everything you do?
"Serious reviewer"? More like a serious idiot IMO. Sorry to have to be the one breaking the news to you...