Dynaudio, tubes, and other competitors

June 25, 2010


I read your review of the Dynaudio Focus 360 with great interest. It looks like you drove it with the Boulder 2060 amp. Did you try driving it with other amps, specifically lower-power tube amps? The speakers are rated as 88dB sensitivity and a 4-ohm nominal design, but it is unclear if there are any material impedance dips or a combination of impedance and phase-angle dips at various points in the frequency spectrum that make the Dynaudio a difficult load for a partnering amp. Dynaudios generally require high-quality, high-powered solid-stage amplification, but I was not sure if this was a bit more tube friendly than other speakers in the Dynaudio line.

Finally, I know you did a direct comparison with the Paradigm Reference Signature S2 v.3s, and generally placed the Focus 360 in the company of the PSB Synchrony One and the Paradigm Reference Signature S8 v.3s, but I was wondering if you could think back to your audition of the Thiel CS2.4SE and even earlier to the Rockport Technologies Mira (not a fair comparison from a price point) and reflect on how it compares to these two speakers which I am very familiar with.

Thanks very much. I always enjoy reading your reviews, features, and editorials.



I don’t have a tube amp in my system and so I can’t answer your question in regards to how the Dynaudio Focus 360 would work with one. I have always preferred neutral, quiet, powerful solid-state designs in my reviewing duties, as they let the character of the speaker come through clearly. I can, however, elaborate on how the Focus 360 stacks up against the other speakers you mention. First, it has a completely different sound than the Thiels, primarily due to the high frequencies and the soundstage reproduction. The CS2.4SE is the more open-sounding speaker, able to reproduce more of the dimension and presence in recorded music. The Focus 360 counters with a warmer, fuller, meatier sound. Both speakers were solid in the bass, with powerful output down to the mid-30Hz region. Both speakers were also quite neutral overall, with very clear, revealing midranges. You could sum it up by saying that the Thiel was better reproducing the performing space and the physical dimension of a venue, while the Dynaudio was better at jam-packed density within the soundstage. The Rockport Technologies Mira, on the other hand, has much deeper bass output than the Dynaudio. I was able to get full output to well below 30Hz in my room with the Mira, with better bass articulation and overall “room-driving” ability too. The Mira is also, ultimately, the more transparent loudspeaker, simply letting through more musical information. Where the Dynaudio shines is in its neutrality, particularly in the midrange. The Focus 360 is one of those products that just doesn’t do anything wrong. You might want more of some particular sonic trait, but I can’t imagine anyone not liking what they do. . . . Jeff Fritz

". . . still all that?"

June 17, 2010

Do you think the Revel Salon2s are still all that? Or are there other speakers you like better?

Keren Walters

I do still think that the Salon2s are great speakers, but I've also found something since that I like as much: Vivid Audio's B1, which retails for $15,000 per pair. My review of the B1 won't be out for a couple of months, but I will say that anyone shopping for speakers in this price range would be crazy if they bought something before auditioning these. . . . Doug Schneider

Dynaudio Focus versus Contour

June 11, 2010


Nice review of the [Dynaudio] Focus 360. I'm a big Dynaudio fan myself. I've not heard the Focus 360, but I'm surprised at your comments about how prior to the 360 Dynaudio had little to compete with the Paradigm and PSB models you mention. I'm curious if you've ever heard the Contour S 3.4? While I'm sure the Focus 360 is fabulous (all the Dynaudio speakers are fabulous), the latest Contour line offers incredible performance that, in my opinion, exceeds the PSB Synchrony Ones. I suspect that the Focus 360 benefits from trickle-down technology as it looks suspiciously like the way more expensive Sapphire speaker in regards to driver configuration and size. However, the Contours beat the Focus line hands down. 


Well, you’ve got me interested. Although I have not heard the S 3.4, I see by looking at the Dynaudio website that it is a two-way design. One point I tried to make clear in my Focus 360 review was that Dynaudio was offering a full three-way design with their best drivers at a price point that was really aggressive. It’s not to say that the Contours aren’t better, but to me the natural competitor to the 360, at least in terms of driver configuration, is the Contour S 5.4. Of course, at $10,000 per pair it is significantly more expensive. Anyway, we’ll see about getting a Contour-series speaker in now that you’ve brought it up. . . . Jeff Fritz  

On downloads and other things

June 2, 2010

To Doug Schneider,

I found your June editorial very thought-provoking. I had never considered the difference between the LP, where the music is an inextricable part of the disc, and the CD, which is just a carrier for the files it contains. Those files be transferred, transformed, or whatever. Thanks for that insight. I look forward to reading about “The Backup Plan.”

Have you really found music files with a higher sampling rate than 192kHz? I know some of the pros use higher resolutions in mastering, but I've never seen them commercially available, nor will most DACs play them back. I've only found a few files available at rates higher than 96kHz. They take forever to download, and I'm not sure they really sound significantly better than 96kHz files. Of course, my digital playback system is far from the state of the art, so maybe it's keeping me from hearing the difference.

Vade Forrester
SoundStage! Network

There’s not much at 192kHz or higher, and you could certainly debate whether high sampling rates like those are needed or not. Regardless, I think we’ll see more and more high-resolution music available and what will become increasingly important for audiophiles who want to get the best out of their recordings is to have equipment that can play back all of these formats at the sample rate and with the bit depth that they were originally recorded at. . . . Doug Schneider

Cardas, from one reviewer to another

June 1, 2010

To Peter Roth,

I've just read your review of Cardas Audio’s Clear interconnects and Clear Beyond speaker cables.

Thank you very much for your detailed, thoughtful, meticulous discussion of George Cardas's company and philosophy, the development of these cables, their theory of manufacture, and the audible results of using them in your system. I found your comparisons to AQ's Sky very informative and in concert with my own experiences with this speaker cable -- and with the Clear interconnect as well. What's more, I enjoyed reading how the Clear interacted with your Vandersteen 5As and the review pair of Sevens, as I've thought those speakers among the most transparent, detailed, and yet musical speakers I've heard. Your review was extraordinarily generous in explanation and information, "clear" itself in your opinion of the cables.

A helpful and wonderful read!


Garrett Hongo
SoundStage! Network