$3499 4 Stars
Dynaudio hits the mark wih the DM3/7 floorstander at a not-too stratospheric price point
THOSE WHO ASSOCIATE Danish speaker supremos Dynaudio with the ultra-high end are not deluded, as the company has created some of the costliest loudspeakers ever made.
A roll call of Dynaudio speaker names such as Consequence, Confidence and Contour evoke lust, longing and pangs of jealousy amongst us wee folk with more modest budgets. Happily, however, the company also produces ranges other than their out of reach (for most of us) esoterica.
Enter the DM3/7’s, a mid-sized floorstanding design with similar drive unit technology to the likes of the much costlier Contours, but at a more wallet-friendly price.
Now I’m no stranger to Dynaudio. A mate of mine owned a pair of Contour 1.8’s that sang beautifully with his Plinius SA250/M14 combo, and today the lucky fellow has his ultimate speaker sitting proudly in the listening room: a pair of Confidence C4’s, massive both in terms of physical size and the scale of the music they produce. In fact I distinctly remember Neil Young (the Turned On Hi-Fi audio guru) looking decidedly watery-eyed when he reluctantly sold his C4’s last year – boo hoo, eh?
And so to the DM3/7’s. At $3499 they represent the entry level of Dynaudio floorstanding loudspeakers – it’s a fair chunk of coin for a budget product to be sure, but once unpacked the Dyns (that’s what I’ll call ‘em from now on) impressed with pretty much bomb-proof build and excellent driver quality. I didn’t expect the ‘Kate Moss’ effect in terms of styling, so it was no surprise at all to find conventional rectangular enclosures. What did dull the senses somewhat was the black ash vinyl wrap that was used instead of a real wood veneer. Sigh.
But to be fair, I had to run my hands all over the Dyns in an almost pornographic fashion to make a final call regarding the use of the man made substrate. In other words it looks like real wood, which is good enough for me, especially if it’s any colour other than black! My unpatented yet scientific ‘rap’ knuckle cabinet test revealed a very well braced and sturdy cabinet with no hollow sound to report – that bode well for a low coloration listen.
Each 3 driver 2-way DM3/7 utilises two 240mm Magnesium Silicate Polymer coned bass-midrange drivers and a single 28mm coated soft dome tweeter; the sturdy cabinet is rear ported (quite a substantial port it is too) and the expected top class binding posts are not of the bi-wiring kind – Dynaudio doesn’t bi-wire any of their speakers. Perhaps they consider that if a crossover is designed correctly then bi-wiring is a an unneccessary feature.
Very well made and chunky carpet-piercing spikes round off the ancillaries, and a pair of full length black grilles use an acoustically transparent material to reduce any unwanted dulling or muffling effects. My advice is to get rid of them during listening sessions, not only for reasons of sound quality but also aesthetics – I find speakers to be much more interesting to look at when naked.
Lowish sensitivity of 86dB and a tough 4 ohm load means they’ll need a pretty grunty partnering amplifier – I suggest at least a good high-current 100wpc to be on the safe side.
Bearing in mind the Dyns’ rear ported design I experimented with placement until reaching the optimum in my 7x5m room – 400mm from the rear wall and well clear of the side walls. Equipment used for the listening test was the stunning new Audiolab 8200CDQ DAC/pre/CD and matching 8200MB 250w monoblocks, and my usual Squeezebox Touch (fed into the CDQ) and Pro-Ject Studie turntable as sources. I’ve had a change of phono stage lately, so back into my system came my new Audio Innovations P1 tube stage (had one, sold it years ago, then bought another in July). Cables were almost exclusively Nordost Blue Heaven interconnect/Solar Wind with the exception of Audioquest Diamondback interconnects for the phono stage (shielded is best here).
After a week or so of run-in time I began the first of many listening tests: alone with eyes closed, hogging the sweet spot in time honoured ritualistic audiophile tradition.
Not wanting to plunge headfirst into the heavy stuff I started with some exquisite jazz in the form of a 24/96 vinyl rip of Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage via the Squeezebox Touch/8200CDQ DAC. It’s a real goodie in terms of sound quality, a close-miked recording with plenty of space and atmosphere.
The Dyns reproduced this album extremely well – performers occupied a specific place along the soundstage, while leading edges of notes (especially percussive) were rendered with excellent timbre and realism. What was most enjoyable was the reproduction of the venue – the Dyns recreated the ‘airiness’ of the performance room quite superbly, while the soulful combination of George Coleman (sax) and Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) came across beautifully. Drum sounds (courtesy of Tony Williams) were accurate and dynamic – there was a real impression of stick on skin throughout the recording.
The DM3/7’s created good height to the soundstage on tracks from Adele’s 21 album: ‘Rolling In The Deep’ had the chubby Brit’s voice nicely centred and prominent. Swinging sixties revivalists would do themselves a favour by checking this album out, as it’s not half bad.
After softening out on Adele, it was time for something a touch rockier. Enter The Cult’s Electric album for the first slice of vinyl during the test.
A typically grungy Rick Rubin mix, it majors on dynamics and swagger at the expense of sublety and detail. Here’s where the Dyns really shone with a tight and punchy performance, and Astbury’s voice emerging triumphantly from the mass of swirling guitars and drums to take centre stage; quite unlike the positively hopeless gig I saw last year in West Auckland’s Trust stadium. No more revivalist gigs for me from now on after that effort!
A change of pace and genre was well and truly on the cards, so onto the turntable went Kraftwerk’s Trans Europa Express ‘digitally’ remastered on beaut 180gm vinyl.
The Dyns made a good fist of a very stripped down recording, chock full of ancient analogue synths and (gulp) voices translated from German into English.
Big and bold, the monolithic Danes were able to convey the atmospheric nature of the record without imposing too much of their own signature on the sound. What that means folks, is they are a low colouration speaker – very well braced and inert in terms of cabinet construction.
With this album it’s as much about the dark spaces in the recording as much as what’s actually heard, and the Dyns were able to reproduce most of what I hear from my own speakers – not quite as broad and expansive as my single driver Vofo DIY efforts, but certainly better in terms of bass grip and extension.
So there it is – do I recommend Dynaudio’s DM3/7’s? Well yes, they are a very well put-together speaker that sound better than their prosaic (in my humble opinion) looks would suggest.
The new DM3/7’s could be just the ticket for those looking to enter the wonderful world of Dynaudio without having to mortgage their property or sell unwanted body parts. Available in Balck Ash and Rosewood. GARY PEARCE