Dynaudio Focus 10 active loudspeaker Page 2

The Focus 10's class-D modules are manufactured by Pascal, whose "robust and bullet-proof" devices are used in many PA applications; Entwistle calls the company "the biggest manufacturer you've never heard of." When Dynaudio first tried Pascal modules in their flagship Pro range, they didn't like the sound. When the company told Pascal's engineers that their modules sounded like they put a compressor on the amplifier, their engineers fessed up that they included a compressor to prevent blow-ups in PA systems. Blow-ups, however, are not an issue in studio and home situations. It took Pascal's engineers all of five minutes to bypass the compressor and deliver the uncompressed, natural sound that Dynaudio wanted.

Tidal Connect
Entwistle prefers Tidal Connect to other phone/pad streaming options because once the phone gives the speaker instructions, the speaker automatically connects directly to the Tidal server and pulls the music straight from the server without having to go through the phone. This ensures that the signal is not buffered and changed by the phone's audio settings. Only Tidal Connect transcends a smartphone's limitations and avoids extra processing and conversion. Open the Tidal app on your phone, go to HiFi or Master in the top right corner, and turn off loudness normalization and optimized playback (which is an option under "quality") and ignore any 360° reality options. Press "speaker" when you get to the playback screen, then choose the Focus 10 and Tidal Connect.

Setup and review strategy
When Monsieur Quick made a brief visit to Port Townsend, we discovered that by using a 2.5m Nordost Odin 2 digital interconnect—a loaner I had recently received—between the speakers, we could position them farther apart than I typically position my Focus 200 XDs. ("OMG," I exclaimed, "I have a real soundstage!") In their final configuration, the centers of the Focus 10's drivers were 53" apart. The speakers were placed on the same Dynaudio stands I used for the Focus 200 XDs, with the center point 8.5' from my ears.

I downloaded the Dynaudio app to my iPhone 12 Pro, followed the easy setup instructions, then used the phone for playback via Tidal Connect. But once Dynaudio received Roon Ready designation—we stalled the review until that happened—I installed a Roon Nucleus+ music server and used a Ghent Audio Canare umbilical cord between it and an HDPlex 300 linear power supply. Then I connected a Wireworld Platinum Starlight Cat8 Ethernet cable between the Nucleus+ and a Linksys MR8300 v.1.1 mesh router I'd set up as a wireless child node.


Next, I used my phone to operate the Dynaudio control app and Roon. When I wanted to listen wired as much as possible, I connected the child router to the Primary (active) speaker via a second run of Wireworld Platinum Starlight Cat8, and the Primary speaker to the Client speaker via the Nordost Odin 2 digital interconnect. When I wanted to listen in wireless mode, I disconnected the cable between the speakers. Sometimes I also disconnected the Ethernet cable between the router and the Primary speaker. An SSD-equipped Sandisk USB stick inserted into the Nucleus+ provided some files; the rest were streamed from Tidal and Qobuz.

Initially, I set the Dynaudio Control app's Room Optimization settings to neutral. But when bass was less than firm, I adjusted those settings. Since the right/Primary speaker was close to the front wall, I set it to "Wall." The left Client speaker was close to the corner, so I set it to "Corner." Now I heard much tighter bass. I'm told one can tune the speakers even better—possibly much better—using the built-in Dirac room correction, but there wasn't enough time to master and perform Dirac setup. Perhaps I can discuss this in a follow-up review (footnote 4).

As much as I was tempted to listen exclusively via wired mode, because that's always best, most people who buy the Focus models will do so to take advantage of their wireless capability. Hence, I devised every test I could think of to discover what sounded best in what (wireless) configuration.

Let there be music
Moments after I began listening to the Focus 10, I breathed a sigh of relief. The sound was natural, balanced from top to bottom, and invitingly warm. I heard none of the artificial coloration and plasticine smoothness I had found disturbing in Munich (footnote 5). Nor did I hear any of the monotone dryness that characterized much early class-D amplification.


Music flowed beautifully on crack hornist Sarah Willis's recent juicy outing for Alpha, Mozart y Mambo (24/96 WAV download and Qobuz stream), on which she's joined by the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. When I scrolled past Mozart's delightful Horn Concerto No.2 and turned instead to Pepe Gavilondo and Yasel Muñoz's Cuban Dances for Solo Horn, Strings, and Percussion No.1, the rhythms, colors, and melodies of this enterprising marriage of Cuban dance rhythms with classical forms were delightful. This music didn't merely flow; it ran through me and urged me to drop my pen, tap my feet, and dance with the dogs. The only thing that kept me in place was the realization that if I danced, their barking would drown out the music.

As seasoned audiophiles might expect, the quality of reproduction was directly related to the mode of connection. When a digital cable ran between the two speakers and the album was automatically upsampled to 24/192, the track's opening bars had palpable weight. Willis's trumpet was at its most dominant, with more substance than in wireless mode, and the soundstage felt open and deep. Colors, while not as saturated as on my many, many times more expensive reference rig, were nicely differentiated and sufficiently compelling to pull me in.

Percussive attacks were naturally bright, but neither maracas nor stick striking metal sounded brittle. Percussion had real body, and bass descended convincingly low. The natural sense of depth and layering the Focus 10s drew from this recording brought a smile to my face. "This feels pretty damn real," I scribbled in my notes just before a major power outage left us resorting to flashlights and propane. I expect the Focus 10s would sound even better if my internet connection were wired all the way to the modem in the second-floor office, but that is impractical with a setup in the far corner of the first floor living room. Besides, how many people buy a "complete" wireless active speaker system with the intention of wiring it all the way to the modem?

Then I disconnected the digital cable that ran between the speakers, relying instead on a WiSA connection to send signal wirelessly from one speaker to the other. I used the app to switch easily between 24/96 and 24/48 playback. 24/48 playback, on this full-range selection, felt more convincingly spacious, with a better sense of depth. That's right: Serinus, acolyte of hi-rez music, found that the lower sample rate sounded better. This is certainly not the case on my reference dCS gear, but the Dynaudios are a very different animal in a very different setup.

I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that when I went as wireless as possible—no Ethernet cable between the router and Primary speaker and no digital cable between Primary and Client—transparency lessened, colors were less saturated, and instruments were surrounded by less air. As enjoyable as the presentation was, it was a bit less of the full audiophile experience.


These observations were confirmed by the next three selections, Grant Green's "Idle Moments" (24/192 FLAC, Qobuz), Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic's take on the Prologue to Bernstein's music for West Side Story (16/44.1 FLAC, Qobuz), and, to give the Focus 10 a run for its money, the start of Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra's recent rendition of Mahler's Symphony No.5 (both as 24/96 WAV on USB stick and 24/96 FLAC from Qobuz). Yes, these little speakers performed more than credibly on music as complex and powerful as the opening of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. I won't pretend that image size and weight approached that of a huge Mahler orchestra; the image was small but precise. Yet the soundstage was intact and credible, and diverse instrumental lines were presented clearly, without congestion. With big-boned orchestral fare, the Focus 10 had plenty to offer and nothing to apologize for.

Other qualities of these speakers stood out tall. The truncation of reverberation often observed with class-D was nowhere in evidence; the heavily reverbed whistling at the start of West Side Story's Prologue died off as naturally as unnatural reverb can die off, and Bychkov's orchestra glowed convincingly as Mahler's tragic alarms and ominous death march cried out then faded, like a fire's final embers ceasing to glow.

What sounds better, grilles on or off? A brief change of color in the speaker's logo, which is usually white, showed that it knew when the grilles were removed or installed and compensated accordingly. The difference wasn't dramatic, but the sound seemed a bit more direct without grilles.

On the Mahler, could I hear differences between WAV file playback from a solid state USB stick and wireless FLAC streaming from Qobuz (footnote 6)? I could. Colors were richest and the sound most direct from USB; wireless streaming seemed a mite veiled. Musicality, though, rated "10" with both options, and streaming provided far more variety than I could fit onto a 256GB USB stick.

Among the USB stick's contents was last September's release, from Deutsche Grammophon, of cellist Gautier Capuçon, oboist Andreas Ottensamer, and pianist Yuja Wang's recording of music by Rachmaninoff and Brahms. This recording didn't draw me in when I auditioned a bit of it on my reference system, but here, the opening phrases of Brahms's heartfelt Cello Sonata No.1 in E minor, Op.38, had me sighing. The rich glories of Capuçon's close-miked cello were there to savor in all their poetic complexity. The music sounded so gorgeous, expressive, and moving on the Focus 10s that after I completed some more listening tests, I turned off reviewer mode, started from track one, closed my eyes, and reveled in the glories of the entire sonata.


But before I closed down reviewer mode on these speakers for good, another test was in order: With the speakers in wired mode, how did Qobuz's 24/192 stream of the Akademie für alte Musik, Berlin's maximally colorful, spacious, air-filled period instrument recording of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, compare with the 16/44.1 stream automatically upsampled by the wired speakers to 24/192? I strained to hear any difference. There was more of a difference—small enough that a casual listener might not notice—between the Brandenburgs stored on USB stick and the wireless stream. That's another way of saying that Dynaudio's implementation of automatic upsampling is, to these ears, mighty convincing.

When I played the 24/192 files of the Brandenburgs wirelessly, which means they were automatically resampled to either 24/96 or 24/48 (footnote 7), I found that the extra resolution of 24/96 delivered more color. There also seemed to be more layered complexity to Bach's music when upsampled—which, of course, there is.

I had hoped to compare the sound of Tidal Connect streamed from the Tidal app to the sound of Roon streaming Tidal wirelessly via the Roon app on the same phone. Alas, Port Townsend's multiday power outage produced by 60mph winds that toppled trees onto powerlines and decimated their supporting poles made it impossible to do so before my deadline (footnote 8).

A final observation: As mentioned previously, the Focus 10's images cannot begin to compare in size to those produced by far more expensive and larger loudspeakers driven by big, expensive, high-performance amplifiers. Nor can the Focus 10 produce the detail, complexity, and color of those ultraexpensive, larger monitors. But where the M1s could not convey the low bass pedal on the start of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra without distorting, the smaller, far less expensive Focus 10's DSP ensured that what bass they produced came through all of one piece. They may not deliver much low bass, especially if you crank them up as any Strauss lover would do, but what they do deliver is convincingly intact and distortion-free.

I can hear Kal Rubinson cheering as JVS extols the benefits of DSP, at least in this context.


Sum it up, Serinus!
Designed as a "complete wireless sound system," the Dynaudio Focus 10 active monitors are the most musically satisfying one-stop playback solution I've had the pleasure of hanging with. Thanks to their wireless options, built-in upsampling DAC, multiple streaming options, DSP, and optional Dirac room correction (which I didn't try), all you need supply is a Wi-Fi signal, a streaming subscription, a smartphone or tablet for control, and a little time to fine-tune everything. If you already have Roon, you're ready to go; you can even skip Roon and stick with Tidal Connect. The Focus 10s are easy to set up and optimize, and they deliver all they promise.

If you want to rock out, or if your room is less than intimate in size, the more expensive Focus 30 and Focus 50 models will likely prove more satisfying. But within its limitations of image size and bass quantity, the Focus 10 is one of the most musically satisfying active loudspeakers I've had the pleasure to audition. Highly recommended.

Footnote 4: John Atkinson is working on a follow-up review, focusing on Dirac correction.

Footnote 5: It was an impressive display, with many speakers in a large room. Impressive, but not ideal for a demo.—Jim Austin

Footnote 6: I do not have a wired connection in the living room. This makes it a good space for evaluating wireless active loudspeakers.

Footnote 7: The choice between 24/48 and 24/96 upsampling is determined by the listener in the Dynaudio app.

Footnote 8: It took 5 days to restore our electricity and 6 to restore our internet. By then, I'd already written and submitted the review using the internet of a neighbor, whose connection survived the windstorm.

Dynaudio A/S
US distributor: Dynaudio North America
500 Lindberg Ln.
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 730-3280

remlab's picture

For that price, I think the Genelec 8331A would be a good comparison.

Electrophone's picture

In fact, after the Xeo 5s were irreparable, I was on the lookout for new speakers. A friend recommended Genelec. I then had the opportunity in my living room to compare the Genelec 8350 and 8351, both calibrated with GLM. In the end I settled on the 8350, which sounded a little better for my taste, a tad less analytical. The best loudspeakers I ever owned, highly recommended!
My loudspeaker vita, starting 1977:
Sony SS-2030 (Terrible loudspeakers, I was young, and on a budget)
JBL L-19 (Huge improvement)
Altec Model 19 (Wow! I should have kept them. I put an ad in the paper, and a Guy drove all the way from Yugoslavia to Frankfurt/Germany to pick them up)
JBL L-112 (Ok..)
Early standmount B&W, can‘t remember the model.
Rauna Leira (Concrete cabinet. Very nice 2-way from Sweden)
Yamaha NS-2000 (Sounded too thin in my system)
Mission Cyrus 782 (Ntwha)
Tannoy D-700 (Brilliant! I loved them!)
JmLab Antea (Almost as dynamic as the Tannoys, but more neutral. Great sound!)
Dynaudio Confidence 3 (Smooth, transparent, lots of bass. But very demanding, amp-wise).
B&W 804 Nautilus (Sounded very nice and balanced in my room)
B&W 804 S
B&W 804 Diamond (Too bright for my taste)
Canton Vento Reference 3 (Bland)
Bang + Olufsen Beolab 9 (Surprisingly good! Weird design)
Dynaudio Excite X14A (ok…)
Dynaudio XEO 5 (Didn‘t last long.)

johnnythunder1's picture

it seems you go through speakers as fast as people go through shoes. Why such chronic speaker change-it-up-itis ? I've had 5 since 1989 - and 3 of the same brand since 2001 (each an upgrade.)

Electrophone's picture

I've always been very curious. Since I've worked in the hi-fi industry for over 40 years, I was able to buy most of the speakers at a discount, and often resell them without a loss.
I am retired now, and believe that with the Genelec 8350A I have arrived at the final destination of my journey through the loudspeaker world.
And I am glad that my wife tolerated my passion, because apart from the speakers I purchased, I took many others home to audition them.

gn77b's picture

as your reply is from almost one year ago but I was wondering which amps have you found to be a good match for them? I own them and have always heard from other owners including the ex owner that they only are at their best with very good amps. I tested them with a few mid-priced ones but haven't found serious changes. Actually, I found the lesser Audience 52s are more demanding on the amp and change for the better by not a small amount with good amplification.

Electrophone's picture

When I bought the Confidence 3 I had a Sansui AUX111 integrated amplifier. It didn't sound like I wanted it to, so I bought a Rotel pre-power amplifier combo, Michi Series RHA-/RHB-10. I was quite happy with that setup.

gn77b's picture

I posted this yesterday...

...but the comment didn't show up for some reason.
When I got the Confidences I used them with a DIY amp (based on class D Hypex UCD180 modules). It was ok but then I switched to an Audio Refinement Complete which I received for a test out of pure luck. I thought the ARC sounded much livelier so I kept it. Interestingly, doing a back to back test after a few years I found the difference wasn't so great as I had intially thought. Then I got an Atoll AM200 (current amp). Not because I thought it'd be better but because it's future proof so to say in case I get misbehaving speakers. The Atoll has serious current capability so at least in theory I should be fine. I also tested them on an older Accuphase (can't remember the model) and a Roksan Caspian. FWIW the Roksan was able to make a pair of Audience 52s change dramatically for the better, compared to the ARC and other amps (I didn't own the Atoll then to make a direct comparison). I keep reading/hearing (the ex owner told me the same) that the Confidences ar at their best with very good amps but TBH I haven't found significant changes with any I tested so far. I recall a discussion on a forum where someone said they could only bring the best in them with a Gryphon which costs a few thousand euros used. So, far from surprinsing, I'm still curious to this day about any unlocked potential. The Rotel seems like a very serious amp.

Electrophone's picture

The review sounds tempting, but I wouldn't buy a Dynaudio speaker again after my bad experience with the Manufacturer’s Customer Service.
I bougt a pair of Xeo 5s in 2016. A few months ago one of the two loudspeakers no longer wanted to connect to the transmitter. My dealer removed the electronic unit and sent it to Dynaudio. From there came the information that a repair or replacement was no longer possible. Very disappointing.

CraigS's picture

I had the same problem a couple of years ago with my 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8, which FWIW was outfitted with an awesome Audison sound system. Models are discontinued, replacement parts run out (even from scrap yards), and at some point you're sh-t out of luck. I have Dynaudio X14A's on my desk (plus a sub) and I love them, but I guess at some point I'll have to "retire" them as well.

kai's picture

Fig. 3 and the related text doesn‘t fit.
I even don‘t see much difference in the curves.

John Atkinson's picture
kai wrote:
Fig. 3 and the related text doesn‘t fit. I even don‘t see much difference in the curves.

Fig.4 repeats the top and bottom traces in fig.3, normalized to the level at 100Hz. You can see how the higher spl (red) results in an earlier rolloff at lower frequencies.

BTW, the flattening of the high-spl trace below 20Hz is due to the measurement being corrupted by distortion. Fortunately, other than pipe-organ recordings music doesn't have high-level content below 20Hz.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

kai's picture

Maybe you have a look again on what‘s really published.
The curves in Fig. 3 are all almost the same (I overlaid with Photoshop) and the colors don’t match the text.

The red curve from Fig. 4 does not appear in Fig. 3.

John Atkinson's picture
kai wrote:
Maybe you have a look again on what‘s really published. The curves in Fig. 3 are all almost the same (I overlaid with Photoshop) and the colors don’t match the text.

You are correct. I uploaded the wrong graph to the website. Fig.3 is now correct.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

David Harper's picture

it ran through me and urged me to drop my pen,tap my feet, and......"
hooooo boy. My Elac Debut B6 speakers have the same effect on me. And for $229 / pair!!!!!

rschryer's picture

I'm sure I speak for all audiophiles when I say we are happy for you. But why do I feel you constantly need to disrespect us on our own soil?

JHL's picture

...that you ask rhetorically. ;o)

rschryer's picture

I'm actually curious as to what compels a person to regularly visit a hobbyist website, forum or FB page, to make fun of the hobbyists, rather than just let them enjoy their hobby, which would be the grownup thing to do.

David Harper's picture

You have convinced me that you're right. I will stop trolling this forum.
My apologies.

johnnythunder1's picture

that I replied angrily to.

JHL's picture

I assume that that compulsion inadvertently expresses the futility of audio by numbers, and that from time to time defectors are cleaved off to go hear great systems and be saved. They're welcomed with open arms.

David Harper's picture

I hear what you're saying. I understand that you all have a vested interest in what you do here at stereophile. I try to resist my compulsion to react to reviews which I read here. But it isn't easy. I understand that audiophiles hearing is mostly influenced by the price of the component in question.

ChrisS's picture

...99cent items that all eventually end up in the landfill.

Your compulsion is misplaced.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Do you have research to back up your assertion, David? (If that is your real name.) Because, if not, it's simply your belief.

Then, let's take it a step farther. Do you feel this to be true of me in particular? After all, I wrote the review.

I am not going to try to defend myself or my opinions, or start declaring, "This doesn't apply to me." As I learned a long time ago from my cursory exposure to A Course in Miracles, there is nothing to defend. What there "is" to do is pay very particular attention to set-up, upgrade my system to make it a fine tool for discerning differences large and small, listen closely, and write with integrity and dedication to what I perceive to be the best interests of readers of Stereophile.


David Harper's picture

No. I do not say this is true of you in particular. I have not made any personal insinuation. I believe you are an honorable man.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Greatly appreciated.

I also might add when I am attacked, I breathe deeply, examine my actions and writing, and see if I can find a basis for the criticism. If I do, I act. If not, I chalk up the attack to whatever is going on in the attacker. Sometimes, many things are at play.

Every challenge is an opportunity for self-examination and growth. Where would we be without our educated critics? I count myself among them.


David Harper's picture

my compliments on the fact that, much to my surprise, you have not banned me here.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

It is Jim Austin who does the banning. Not that in cases of blatant personal attack or homophobia or racism or sexism or violating our guidelines, I haven't joined other readers in blowing the whistle loudly. But your posts are none of the above. If they have a fault, it is that they are, for the most part, so similar in nature as to dilute their effectiveness.

We are all aware of the prices of components, and the fact that so many of them are out of reach of the majority of audiophiles. But I, for one, am also aware that the market for components is world-wide, and that there are plenty of people who can afford the high-price spread. Therefore, my focus—our focus—is on excellence in every price range.

The question of value is something else. I, for one, do not subscribe to the "law of diminishing returns." I find it a tired trope, because it is so subjective. If monoblocks that cost $400,000/pair, allied to a digital front end that, in itself, costs over $80,000, allow me to get closer to the artists and music I love, I find the return of infinite value. So, rather than discuss value per se, I discuss what listening through the component I'm reviewing feels like, and what impression it makes on me. That, in the end, is all I can responsibly do.

Price is also tied to country of manufacture, as in "it's affordable to me because it's manufactured in China." We mention the country of manufacture in our reviews, and then let you do the rest.

And now, my deadline calls. Stay safe, everyone, and enjoy whatever you're listening to and with.


teched58's picture

With respect, Jason, here is why I think there's continued complaints/pushback/trolling (call it whatever you want) from so-called "objective" types like myself and Mr. Harper:

--Engineers are ok with you guys writing whatever you want, but it gets our ire up when you claim engineering knowledge sans experience or credentials, even if tacitly out of years of experience at reviewing. This is analogous to a medical blog being written by laypeople and getting trolled by "real" doctors. Or an aviation blog being trolled by SLFs.(I am sure there are many such examples in the wild.)

--As regards the farrago around high equipment prices, many of us engineering types feel that the "love" that's shown high-priced equipment would have more credibility if it wasn't so easily at hand for you guys. As in, you and your colleagues get to sample the best of the best, one after the other. So "we" think that you lose the perspective of the majority of people for whom there is scarcity (i.e., they will rarely if ever have one such $$$ device in their home, much less a different one every other month.) In tandem with this, we'd attribute more credibility if we knew reviewers were paying full retail, as opposed to accomodation (wholesale) pricing.

These are just a few examples, which I am presenting respectfully so we get beyond the screaming matches and attempt to understand each other's perspectives.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

This is what happens when a reviewer replies to a comment. It's never-ending. Where do you folks find the time?

I'm glad to know that you, the unidentified teched58, have the credentials and permission to speak to for "objective types," engineers, and "engineering types." I won't dare ask what an engineering type is, let alone if all qualified engineers (including recording engineers) are so-called "objectivists." (I say "so-called" because I reject this either/or objective /subjective divide as an artificial categorization that sets up sides in an endless and endlessly polarizing debate that, if nothing else, supplies people with endless reasons to post comments.) Nor will I ask if you think all of us at Stereophile are alike.

As for screaming, was I screaming?

Okay, I'm outa here. Life is too short. As the Church Lady used to say on SNL, discuss amongst yourselves.

funambulistic's picture

Jason - that was "Coffee Talk" with Linda Richman (Mike Myers) not the Church Lady (Dana Carvey). Just sayin' (and definitely not screaming!).

Now back to our regularly scheduled Obj/Subj discourse...

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I realize that I have just lost credibility with millions upon millions of SNL lovers worldwide. Mea maxima culpa. Chalk it up to not owning a TV. Lame excuse. GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY as charged. But wait, was I formally charged? Perhaps I'm being too subjective....

teched58's picture

> JVS wrote "Nor will I ask if you think all of us at Stereophile are alike."

No, I don't think you're all alike. Kal Rubinson, for example, is Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience and Physiology at New York University School of Medicine.

Jim Austin has a doctorate in physics.

John Atkinson has deep experience measuring audio components.

I apologize in advance if I've missed anyone.

JHL's picture

...on that remark, it'd be useful for better sound if at some point you or anyone would articulate specific, meaningful differences between engineer, designer, reviewer (especially at this level) and lay user. They have to be fleshed out or your ostensibly related points are academic.

I say this because a) corollaries among device and sound are naturally nonlinear in a field of this size, and b) one of the more dismal pursuits, one enabled and prompted by purely objectivist outlets, is that where engineers and their public take views on things they haven't used or heard - this being audio - we get minutiae-burrowing and precious little more.

From there it's a short step to ranking on faulty grounds, again without knowing the overall design or its sound, which actually retards the progress of better sounding systems. Objectivism is too subjective.

By non-linear I mean the gulf between truly better-sounding gear and their limited measurements, multiplied by how this vastness filters through tiers of interested parties, multiplied by how it sorts into complex, interconnected systems. I don't think there's a valid complaint from the engineering side, save for obvious nits in the observable technical makeup of a particular thing, until there's a hierarchy connecting phenomena to sound.

As for the economics, they'll flow to some degree from this structure. Fortunately, my concern begins and ends with my pocketbook so I'd not bother remarking on anyone else's because that would be petty.

Speaking of petty, retail reviewing versus wholesale reviewing is a canard. I'd certainly hope a reviewer broadens his field of view based on *access* to gear in it. If a maker sends a piece *free of charge* for review, surely that's about as pure and direct a flow of critical contact and information and hence sound as any, and one in my view significantly more valid than the barrages of marketing-speak and enormous retail overheads that accompany crap audio, of which there is no end.

If you want to level a charge per the credibility of a reviewer or his publication, have at it. Or maybe just stop reading them and spare the onerous overtones. More direct and efficient.

Glotz's picture

Teched58 just went off on readers of the magazine that concur with JVS or any other writer here as 'Groupies", however outdated and utterly extinct that phrase or the behavior in this generation.

Claiming you are this or that, or implying that the engineers here, Jim Austin, aren't real engineers.

I would rather claim that you have never been an audio engineer, and yet you believe that you still have expertise in this area of discussion.

Bloviated trolling, linguistic vaporware is more fitting.

Minutiae-burrowing indeed.

When you give respect, you get. Most here haven't figured out that most basic of tenets of life.

SteveR1's picture

As I said above.

johnnythunder1's picture

and magnified its relevance by at least 10,000,000x, we still wouldn't give 2 sh-ts about it.

Glotz's picture

Respect gets when it gives.

ChrisS's picture

...can't stand anything they can't afford.

supamark's picture

Now add in the cost of 4 channels of amplification, a streaming DAC that includes an analog preamp input (with an ADC), volume control, some sort of room (and individual driver) correction, and a digital crossover with four line outs for the four channels of amplification. Now we're getting closer to an apples to apples comparison. Not there, but much closer.

So, as a troll attempt I give you a 2/10 because it was so lazy and transparently bad. I did give you a point for getting several responses though you really aren't anywhere near as clever as you think.

Mark Phillips,
Contributor, Soundstage! Network

David Harper's picture

The Elac speakers which I mentioned in my post are not my only speakers. I also have Magnepan LRS speakers.

JHL's picture

...you'll never hear sound like this, and if you happen to fall into it by some twist of fate one night you won't know what to do with it.

Except project dysfunction onto those who have heard it and who know it.


Now multiply that sound and its effect by a thousand events. The salient question for your kind is simply, how many others have to be wrong for you to be right?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

When I conducted listening tests, I assumed that because I was receiving signal wirelessly, the power supply to my second mesh router wouldn't make a difference. Hence, I used the its switch-mode wall wart.

Months later, self said to self, "Serinus, you're using an HDPlex 300 to power the Roon Nucleus+. It has another output that will work with your router, and you have an extra Ghent umbilical cord (Canare) to use with it. Why not give it a try?"

I have. Boy, has it made a difference. The sound is even smoother, warmer, and natural. I haven't heard the Genelecs - I'd love to try them in my living room - but I do know the sound of live music. Hey, in the past week, I've been to the Seattle Symphony (in row 8, in the aisle seat of orchestra central), and farther back in Meany Hall for the Takacs String Quartet (where sound is far less vibrant). These active speakers are remarkably good. Their sound is natural and convincing. I love their sound, especially when they're wired to their wireless source and each other. But they sound excellent in all configurations. They have their limitations, especially at higher volumes. But I've never heard them distort.

Moral of the story (if a moral you must have): Pay careful attention to associated components. The better it is, the better these babies will sound. As for attention to positioning, there you can breathe easier because their DSP works.


cognoscente's picture

I have not read the above comments. I've never been impressed by the "Dynaudio" sound myself. That is of course subjective, others swear by it. Anyway, who is this speaker for? I think especially for someone who is not a so-called audiophile, but someone who wants this "just" good sound without too much fuss, in other words as few devices as possible. So only speakers, less is not possible anyway (of course this is not only a speaker but a complete set packed in a speaker, you have to judge the sound as a complete set for this price and not just as only speaker) I have many friends like this. And who, despite not being audiophile, are willing to pay for a better sound however there are cheaper and also good active speakers on the market. A real audiophiles, like me, still swear to have every component, storage (or streaming), conversion, amplification and reproduction, in separate devices and interconnected with (thick) cables. Less is more but sometimes more is better, like with audio equipment.

Glotz's picture

Remind anyone with ears that their company has incredible engineers and designers. I really don't hear how anyone could poo-poo their expertise in that range.

That being said, I could see how many might find their more budget-minded offerings on the other end of the scale would half of listeners might find them analytically-balanced, or pointed towards accuracy vs. musicality.

Their design choices are valid imo. Whether they mesh with my tastes of sound is immaterial. There are those in the market that have enabled this company to flourish for many years.

I still need to read this month's review, though I am sure JVS did a fine job. And I'm sure that these speakers are worth every penny too...

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

you will discover that I have addressed this accuracy vs. musicality characterization head on.

It's amazing how certain critical comments take on a life of their own. "Cables should cost no more than 10% of your other components," "Wilson speakers aren't emotional," and "Dynaudio speakers are accurate but non-engaging." I recall a similar criticism about mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter; people claimed that she had a wonderful voice but was not emotionally expressive. In all these cases, all one has to do is listen to discover that these criticisms don't hold water. They are linguistic vaporware.

Glotz's picture

LOl.. love that phrase.


Lol.. couldn't resist.

JRT's picture

Dynaudio's $1.7k/pair Evoke 10 seems to be a similar size monitor with similar drivers, but with a passive crossover, lacking the amplifiers, lacking the digital inputs, and lacking the beneficial digital signal processing. For example the passive version lacks the protection from over-excursion of the small midwoofer provided by the DSP filtered dynamic pole shifting in the acoustic high pass response (poles and zeros in the S-plane).

I would have liked to have seen Dynaudio provide a pair of the passives to JVS to enable a comparison.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Many of us want many things. My list is equally long. However, I am not equipped to review other speakers in the music room, and I have no spare amplifier to use with passives in the living room. Nor would adding an unknown amplifier to the equation make much sense, in that I wouldn't know what was responsible for what. Finally, given set-up constraints, putting the Evoke 10s in the same position as the Focus 10s would not produce good sound given speaker proximity to the front wall and corner. Best, instead, to focus solely on an active pair in which every component has been chosen to produce the sound Dynaudio wants you to hear.

cognoscente's picture

indeed, a direct comparison with the Dynaudio's Evoke 10 passive, or 20, in combination with Marantz 40n or Hegel H120 or comparable streamer/dac/amplifier would be of use to us as a reader

rduppen's picture

Thanks for this elaborate review. I own the Focus 10s and I am very happy with them. One thing that bugs me though is that I need to choose between using Dirac Live or an external subwoofer. You mention a future firmware update is on its way to address this. To date the latest version is still 1.2.880xb3ed1c3. Hopefully an update is coming soon.