Not only do reviewers meet with manufacturers at shows but they meet with each other. That’s invaluable for the writer plying his trade in an Antipodean bubble – aka yours truly.
During this year’s Munich High-End Show I spent large chunks of time swapping intel and stories with Michael Lavorgna of AudioStream/Stereophile. Learning of my active loudspeaker lens he suggested I visit the Dynaudio room to check out the Danish company’s Excite X14A monitors. A is for active. €1500 nets a loudspeaker from their professional series: 5” mid/bass driver and 1” silk dome tweeter. Analogue inputs only: XLR and RCA.
Each box load in a pair of amplifiers for which deluxe power cord owners should note the figure-8 power socket. Re-enforcing the gulf between pro and home hi-fi worlds, the domestic-focussed Dynaudio rep wasn’t equipped with necessary divisional info to expand on amplifier topology and implementation.
Like the Canton AM5, rear-paneled, three-position EQ switches permit user-tweaked lows, mids, highs and bass roll-off (high pass filter). Ditto 3 x input sensitivity positions.
Turning right to face the main demo space brought fresh surprises. Yet more active loudspeakers but this time offering digital inputs.
When partnered with the Connect box (€350), the XD range – 200 standmount (€5000, pictured above), 400 floorstander(€TBC) and 600 floostander (€10000, pictured in article header) – address the 16bit/44.1kHz limitation of the XEO range. Wireless streaming up to 24bit/96kHz PCM is now possible with the Connect box splitting the signal to stream left and right channels independently.
Twin S/PDIF coax sockets expand sample rate compatibility to 24bit/192kHz and extend digital connectivity permutations: hard wire from source to one speaker and then hard-wire bridge to the other. If 192kHz isn’t required, hard wire from source to one speaker and then wirelessly bridge to the other.
Again, input sensitivity switcheroo is located on the back plate. So too is +-1db treble attenuation. Recalling the Manger S1, a rotary attenuates bass via DSP to accommodate loudspeaker landing in free space or in close proximity to front and side walls.
My ears pricked up with news that the Dynaudio XD range circumvents traditional D/A conversion – no need to BYO. The arriving PCM is converted to PWM for direct driving of the amplifier output stage. Here the XD recalls the direct digital approach of the Wadia 151PowerDAC Mini or the NAD C390DD. Analogue signals arriving via any XD model’s single-ended RCA socketry is swiftly returned to the digital domain via an ADC.
The upshot for the minimalist is the obviation of a digital pre-amplifier. At the M.O.C. the XD 600 could be heard sourced from a NAD M50 music player. One can only deduce that the device supplying ones and zeroes requires in-built digital volume attenuation.
Further information: Dynaudio
Munich High-End 2015 coverage sponsored by LH Labs: