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Dynaudio Audience 40 Bookshelf Speakers Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 April 2000
ImageDynaudio, normally known for high-end hand crafted loudspeakers, has moved into the neighborhood where more of us live. The Audience 40s are a bookshelf size system priced at a fairly comfortable $699.00.

For more than 20 years Dynaudio has been manufacturing some of the highest quality loudspeakers in the world. Each and every loudspeaker is custom built with Danish craftsmanship and care. All units must pass 86 quality control tests, including a final examination by computer supported measurements, which are stored along with the speaker's serial number.

Dynaudio has always been synonymous with high performance and quality, the Audience 40 is no exception. The physical dimensions of each enclosure is: 170 x 282 x246mm (W x H x L). The interior includes a 15cm polypropylene woofer which employs the patented Dynacoil 75mm pure aluminum wire voice coil. The Dynacoil technique produces a stable voice coil that is resistant to warping and other problems associated with voice coils. The enclosure contents also includes a 28mm soft dome tweeter which is uniquely design to optimize linear excursions essential to maintaining high output levels without opposing phase interference. In addition, these two-way loudspeakers feature a sensitivity of 86 dB, IEC long-term power handling of 150-Watts and a frequency response of 53 Hz to 28 kHz.

Like most 2-channel systems, setting up the Audience 40s was a no-brainer. Gold plated binding post terminals are used for all connections. My listening environment is fairly tight. I set the speakers on stands approximately 6-feet apart, 2-feet from the rear wall with a listening position of approximately 10-feet.

Alright already, enough with the blood and guts. Lets move on to the performance. The Audience 40s sound a little tight right out of the box. A "burn-in" period is needed to wake these units up. I drove the speakers for a few hours at low volumes before scrutinizing their performance.

I put these tough little guys through a battery of tests using all kinds of software, and differing physical applications. I hooked them up as 2-channel mains, ran them as front effects and surrounds. The result; these loudspeakers moved and grooved, with any information that I could throw their way. From Alanis Morissette to Zoot Sims, Armageddon to Zelig.
The sensitivity of the Audience 40 system is wonderful. In fact I heard details that I wish weren't true, such as poor production value on some of my older CDs.

The high frequencies and subtle nuances of slide guitar can reproduce thin and tin-like characteristics. Not here. The Dobro and slide work on Eric Clapton's From The Cradle (Reprise Records) was natural, laid back and uninhibited.

Because of its assorted frequency range, one of my favorite pieces of reference software is Joan Osborne's Relish (PolyGram Records). I really ramped up the volume on this one. The consequence; clean with very little distortion. I didn't notice any dips or bumps throughout the entire frequency range.

The Audience 40 enclosures are beautifully crafted. Rear ports are included allowing the enclosure to breath for greater power handling and low frequency extension. One attention to detail that caught my eye was that the wood grain on the enclosure is matched around the entire speaker. Perfect.

Realizing that these are bookshelf style speakers and may indeed be placed within bookshelves, Dynaudio includes rear port foam plugs to reduce acoustic coupling that occurs when the backside of ported speakers are positioned in close proximity to reflective surfaces.

The Downside
Just a few. The binding post terminal's post is pretty thick. Now this wouldn't have been a downside if I were using stripped wire terminations. However, I use superior Camelot cables terminated with spade lugs that would not fit around the post. I completed the connection by using a banana plug adapter.

Next, I wish there were a little more bottom-end to these speakers, which tends to be a nagging issue with smaller enclosures. To resolve this problem, I simply notched-up the bass a bit. The resolution held-up just fine.

Last, I wish the documentation for the system was more extensive. The owner's manual is generic and has very little product specific information. However, at the time of this review, a spokes person from Dynaudio North America told me that a 16-page manual was going to press for the Audience line. Good news. In the meantime you can various technical data on the Dynaudio web site.

This system is a solid value that allows you to enter into that high-end market, that at one time, most of us could barely afford to dream about. There has been no degradation in quality, which is sometimes apparent when more economic-friendly products are released from high-end manufactures.

The craftsmanship and attention to detail coupled with the solid sonic performance makes the Audience 40 system a winner. Dynaudio, welcome to the neighborhood.

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