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Dynaudio Special 40 Upgrade: Big brand low quality ripoff or DIY Quackery?


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Yeah he was a bit vague on how it was tested. Pretty sure Dynaudio can test better than he can  

This is the part of HiFi I completely ignore. For two reasons:   1/ I don't understand it, it's far too scientific for me to even begin to try and understand it.   2/ The world of

Thanks for posting this - for nearly 12 months I have foolishly been loving the sound these speakers make in my system, but have now seen the error of my ways. In the bin they go!

Have seen a few vids with him and New Record Day. He did upgrades for the Klipsch bookshelves and some who ordered them said it sounded worse afterwards

 

Makes some good points though and seems crazy bigger companies use such cheap parts. I understand doesn't always make a sonic difference and expensive isn't always better

 

Have seen a few posts on FB too showing pretty poor QA on newer Dyns like the Evoke series. A shame for one of my favourite brands

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A classic case of expectation bias from a trusted brand who end up being as dodgy as a fox in a chook house. Top it off with a Special Forty Anniversary tag and the deception is complete.

Just imagine spending $4,500 and then finding out the design is essentially faulty and the components are ordinary to say the least.

 

"Dane's Don't Lie"    Pfffft!:angry:

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The Poor measurement of the mid-bass driver is a little disappointing that's for sure, but they do sound very nice and have been very popular, they can't actually keep up with the demand. Hat's off to them I say!

 

As dodgy as a fox in a chook house? that's a bit harsh.

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I’ll say that if it sounds good to you, don’t lose too much sleep over this video 

I own this and I’m listening to the Heritage right now and with my unprofessional ears they sound fine. 

I’ve been to their large Jupiter test room in Aarhus and did listening tests there and my personal non objective opinion is that they sound fine. 

So if you own a pair, keep calm and carry on ? 

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4 minutes ago, petetherock said:

I’ll say that if it sounds good to you, don’t lose too much sleep over this video 

I own this and I’m listening to the Heritage right now and with my unprofessional ears they sound fine. 

I’ve been to their large Jupiter test room in Aarhus and did listening tests there and my personal non objective opinion is that they sound fine. 

So if you own a pair, keep calm and carry on ? 

Heritage!! very nice indeed, enjoy!

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Yeah I saw this, and as an owner of a B-stock pair I'm conflicted. 

 

On the one hand, I'm disappointed in the woofer measurements, and they might actually explain a couple of things that I'd attributed to an amp I was using at the time (as the issue was somewhat lessened with a tube amp, for reasons I can't begin to explain). 

 

On the other hand, there is a fair bit these speakers do right. Massive, fast bass, and a tone that I like that's missing from my better measuring KEFs. They also don't dip to stupidly low impedance so they don't need mega amps to drive them. 

 

I'm not going to bin them because I've seen a graph, but I'd be open to upgrading them if I heard them side by side and liked the sound of the modifications.

 

Definitely wouldn't commit to the mods unheard, though. 

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18 hours ago, Tony B said:

Heritage!! very nice indeed, enjoy!

 

I won’t diss his findings but if everything is fine, then you don’t need mods and there won’t be any upgrade videos ;)

 

57DA8F09-3AE8-4B20-9BB0-31D7D8D761A7.jpeg

 

image.thumb.png.e2d68307143f0567829b11b4d9c8321b.png

Edited by petetherock
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Have watched a few videos and do enjoy the content. Rather than rambling on about the measurements I would like him to listen to the speaker first and discuss what he heard. I would be truely interested to see if he could pick out all these short comings without the measurements.

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13 hours ago, kelossus said:

Have watched a few videos and do enjoy the content. Rather than rambling on about the measurements I would like him to listen to the speaker first and discuss what he heard. I would be truely interested to see if he could pick out all these short comings without the measurements.

Ok I own Special 40s and love them - so I am totally biased but

I agree 100% he talks a good talk but seems totally focused on "his measurements" and how he can improve those rather than listening to the end result. No matter how cynical you may be, no way Dynaudio releases speakers without total understanding of all those measurements and many many more, as well as lots of listening to the product. Their decisions  are deliberate to get what they believe is the best sound. For example the simple first order cross over Dynaudio is used to prioritise the time domain ( something he does not measure or refer to).  As for the "measurement" of the bass/midrange driver on its own, well without details on how that was done ( free space ?) it seems to me irrelevant as the driver is designed specifically for cabinet loading.  In the end its almost imposable to find a negative review, by people that listen to the speakers, even the Sterophile review referred to comments they "sound better than they measure" while admittedly noting a cabernet resonance at 512hz on the side walls that seems dependant to some extent on on the speaker / stand interface.  

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10 minutes ago, Chill3 said:

Ok I own Special 40s and love them - so I am totally biased but

I agree 100% he talks a good talk but seems totally focused on "his measurements" and how he can improve those rather than listening to the end result. No matter how cynical you may be, no way Dynaudio releases speakers without total understanding of all those measurements and many many more, as well as lots of listening to the product. Their decisions  are deliberate to get what they believe is the best sound. For example the simple first order cross over Dynaudio is used to prioritise the time domain ( something he does not measure or refer to).  As for the "measurement" of the bass/midrange driver on its own, well without details on how that was done ( free space ?) it seems to me irrelevant as the driver is designed specifically for cabinet loading.  In the end its almost imposable to find a negative review, by people that listen to the speakers, even the Sterophile review referred to comments they "sound better than they measure" while admittedly noting a cabernet resonance at 512hz on the side walls that seems dependant to some extent on on the speaker / stand interface.  

Yeah he was a bit vague on how it was tested.

Pretty sure Dynaudio can test better than he can

 

dynaudio-room-xl.jpg

Edited by Bunno77
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It may be of interest to note and recall that he referred to JA's measurements of this speaker in Stereophile, which were/are almost exactly the same.

 

Perhaps they are both wrong?

 

Let me be clear, I am not about slandering these speakers and have heard them at length on several occasions.

They made no particular impression on me, either good or bad, just ordinary, but equally, I am not completely surprised about both sets of measurements.

 

***Please note, I have no particular axe to grind, just looking at the evidence***

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33 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

It may be of interest to note and recall that he referred to JA's measurements of this speaker in Stereophile, which were/are almost exactly the same.

 

Perhaps they are both wrong?

 

Let me be clear, I am not about slandering these speakers and have heard them at length on several occasions.

They made no particular impression on me, either good or bad, just ordinary, but equally, I am not completely surprised about both sets of measurements.

 

***Please note, I have no particular axe to grind, just looking at the evidence***

Good point

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42 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

It may be of interest to note and recall that he referred to JA's measurements of this speaker in Stereophile, which were/are almost exactly the same.

 

Perhaps they are both wrong?

 

Let me be clear, I am not about slandering these speakers and have heard them at length on several occasions.

They made no particular impression on me, either good or bad, just ordinary, but equally, I am not completely surprised about both sets of measurements.

 

***Please note, I have no particular axe to grind, just looking at the evidence***

No one is questioning the accuracy of the measurements.  His whole critique is similar to what goes on at the Audio Science Review forum. They give you a million measurements to show a product is rubbish but never provide listening impressions before hand. That's what rubs me the wrong way.

 

 

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Here is another review this time from ASR.  He slams this product for it's measurements but I'm sure it was intended by the manufacturer.

 

 

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agree this is very ASR....

 

have no doubt dynaudio anything cant be improved upon... anything can... but id no 1 expect a modder to dis something and say the mod he sells improves upon it... but no 2 not sure id hand over any cash to likes of him just on his say so... :D 

 

if i wasnt happy with the dyn here ...  id just buy something else.. there are a lot of folks very happy with the dyn... and chances are there is much wrong with most folks rooms that woudl create far more anomalies than speakers here have ! 

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Note he also bags out the internal wiring as "cheap run of the mill" - its actually Van den Hull ????

 

I am sure better caps and so on in the cross over will make a difference, certainly so do Dynaudio given 

that one fo the additions to the Heritage Special. Every thing is a cost v benefit and unfortunately in the world of

manufacturing additional component costs usually work out to be 4x in the final RP.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bunno77 said:

Yeah he was a bit vague on how it was tested.

Pretty sure Dynaudio can test better than he can

 

dynaudio-room-xl.jpg

I've been there, and listened to their setups.

https://peteswrite.blogspot.com/2018/05/dynaudio-factory-visit.html 

Very scientific, but I think you have to give it some subjective personal opinions too..

Edited by petetherock
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Just now, petetherock said:

I've been there, and listened to their setups.

Very scientific, but I think you have to give it some subjective personal opinions too..

Wow that would be great.

 

Yeah definitely, I was lucky enough to meet and talk for a while with Roland formerly of Dynaudio and they do value the subjective and objective as do I

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It's funny that this guy actually has a YouTube beef with Amir about whether speaker wire matters.

 

41 minutes ago, kelossus said:

His whole critique is similar to what goes on at the Audio Science Review forum. They give you a million measurements to show a product is rubbish but never provide listening impressions before hand. That's what rubs me the wrong way.

 

I think the problem is that Amir honestly doesn't believe he's susceptible to bias, and so he doesn't feel the need to control for it. He sees any argument against his methods as an argument against the raw data. It's a very old problem of ego and science, and I say that as someone with a fair bit of respect for his efforts. 

 

 

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does amir even have any formal qualifications in speakers/acoustics ? or what speaking about ?. best i know is he has an electrical engineering and computer science degree from 1980s ! and worked in video and software in some top rolls but all this  here is hardly his field of technical expertise I would think ?....

 

am tending to put all this including the modder above in same category of another man and his opinion... dont have to look hard on the web for those :) 

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6 hours ago, twofires said:

 

I think the problem is that Amir honestly doesn't believe he's susceptible to bias, and so he doesn't feel the need to control for it

I’ve seen many accusations raised against him, some more reasonable than others but this one really surprises me. 
I’m quite sure he would say he is as prone to bias as the rest of us (ie a lot). That’s one of the main reasons why he puts so much store in measurements. 

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32 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I’ve seen many accusations raised against him, some more reasonable than others but this one really surprises me. 
I’m quite sure he would say he is as prone to bias as the rest of us (ie a lot). That’s one of the main reasons why he puts so much store in measurements. 

 

What I mean is that he doesn't seem to see his order of testing (measurements then subjective impressions) as an issue (and so he tends to hear exactly what he measured, which means the reader can't be certain it's an audible thing or a bias thing), and he has, on occasion, given more time to speakers whose background he respects vs those he does not. He tested Andrew Jones' Adante speakers multiple times before ultimately admitting they measured poorly, whereas a brand like Klipsch gets one measurement and that's that, because he expected them to be bad. That's inconsistent methodology. Admittedly I've only conducted research at honours level, but I know a flawed study when I see it. 

 

Now, I am definitely not saying this as some way to handwave results on ASR I don't like. I see a lot of people accusing Amir of poor methodology in a way that suggests the right methodology for them is the one that agrees with their subjective preferences. This is not that. It's simply frustrating that he gets 90% of the way to being beyond reproach and then just kind of shrugs the rest off. 

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4 minutes ago, twofires said:

 

What I mean is that he doesn't seem to see his order of testing (measurements then subjective impressions) as an issue (and so he tends to hear exactly what he measured, which means the reader can't be certain it's an audible thing or a bias thing), and he has, on occasion, given more time to speakers whose background he respects vs those he does not. He tested Andrew Jones' Adante speakers multiple times before ultimately admitting they measured poorly, whereas a brand like Klipsch gets one measurement and that's that, because he expected them to be bad. That's inconsistent methodology. Admittedly I've only conducted research at honours level, but I know a flawed study when I see it. 

 

Now, I am definitely not saying this as some way to handwave results on ASR I don't like. I see a lot of people accusing Amir of poor methodology in a way that suggests the right methodology for them is the one that agrees with their subjective preferences. This is not that. It's simply frustrating that he gets 90% of the way to being beyond reproach and then just kind of shrugs the rest off. 

Understand now. 
 

I agree it would probably be preferable if he listened first. But then I guess a whole lot of other biases might be present (I’m sure he’s no more immune to “look and feel” bias or reputation bias than the rest of us). 
At least the stuff he hears (or thinks he hears) often correlates with measurements as opposed to being “explained” by some of the dubious stuff you see out there. 

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On 07/04/2021 at 7:20 PM, petetherock said:

 

I won’t diss his findings but if everything is fine, then you don’t need mods and there won’t be any upgrade videos ;)

 

57DA8F09-3AE8-4B20-9BB0-31D7D8D761A7.jpeg

 

image.thumb.png.e2d68307143f0567829b11b4d9c8321b.png

How do you find the Heritage Specials, seriously considering them for my system 

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8 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Understand now. 
 

I agree it would probably be preferable if he listened first. But then I guess a whole lot of other biases might be present (I’m sure he’s no more immune to “look and feel” bias or reputation bias than the rest of us). 
At least the stuff he hears (or thinks he hears) often correlates with measurements as opposed to being “explained” by some of the dubious stuff you see out there. 

 

I agree. He balances out a lot of the more fanciful claims you hear made in hifi, for sure.

 

Ultimately, you'd need a research team to do what he does really well, and I appreciate that's a lot to ask of a guy doing it all out of his garage on his own time and dollar.

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1 hour ago, Chill3 said:

How do you find the Heritage Specials, seriously considering them for my system 

 

Here my review of the Heritage Special:

https://peteswrite.blogspot.com/2021/04/dynaudio-heritage-special-speaker-review.html 

 

You'll need to cut off a finger to afford them, and then another one to get the Hegel H390, but the synergy is sweet..

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Re the Special 40s John Atkinson finishes the Measurements section with-

 

“Dynaudio's Special Forty offers generally excellent measured performance, but I was bothered by the woofer's behavior just above 1kHz, and even more so by that very strong vibrational resonance on the sidewalls.”—John Atkinson

 

so he has concerns, but they would seem to be limited. All speakers are a compromise. The Dyns are ‘good’ look great (again in the eye of the beholder) and if you like their sound (and have the money) that’s great, enjoy them, but they are not going to be for everyone. I have only heard them being demoed to another person at a dealer and don’t have an informed opinion on their sound. 
 

Danny Richie has a great reputation in the DIY speaker community and has been active for many years. He has made some very well regarded kits at modest price points and has designed speakers for small manufacturers. He is an accomplished designer running his own business. I believe his upgrading business really took off when he did a revised crossover for one of Usher’s well regarded stand-mounts. The revised xo was well reviewed and achieved flavour of the month status on some of the forums at the time. But we must remember that he too is running a business and needs to make a profit 
 

I am in a distinct minority who dislike the original LS50. I have listened to them at length in a friend’s system. He LOVES them I find them lacking in body in the upper midrange and the highs too etched, but that’s me, thousands will disagree. I’m okay with that provided I’m not told that I have to like them or that I have heard them with the wrong amps.

 

Fear of missing out is at work... would I modify a pair of Special 40s with a crossover I cannot compare to an unmodified speaker... I don’t think so. If I wasn’t happy with my (hypothetical) Special 40s I would start thinking about new speakers, ok maybe some simple damping on the internal walls. I wouldn’t modify my Proac D2s if Danny came out with an new xo for them. I like them as they are. I purchased them because I liked the way they made music, my Ls50 owning friend prefers his speakers. I think he’s mad. We tease each other, each to their own.

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5 minutes ago, Jack said:

so he has concerns, but they would seem to be limited.

I’m not sure if they are limited. JA is always very measured ( ?) in his comments. I don’t think he ever openly says anything bad, you need to read between the lines 

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33 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I’m not sure if they are limited. JA is always very measured ( ?) in his comments. I don’t think he ever openly says anything bad, you need to read between the lines 

What do you expect JA to say in a commercial sponsored site... 

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17 hours ago, betty boop said:

does amir even have any formal qualifications in speakers/acoustics ? or what speaking about ?. best i know is he has an electrical engineering and computer science degree from 1980s ! and worked in video and software in some top rolls but all this  here is hardly his field of technical expertise I would think ?....

 

am tending to put all this including the modder above in same category of another man and his opinion... dont have to look hard on the web for those :) 


With his background it’s not hard to drive any set of measurement rig. When you purchased a $30k kit such as the AP555 I’m sure AP will be holding some sort of training to ensure you make the best of that product. 
 

How many sites can give you objective measurements and comments on what they hear, especially some of the measurement Equipment he has(AP555)  at his disposal, it  isn’t available to most including a lot of small manufacturers, in fact I’ve seen some manufacturers send there products to him to be tested; the better as you have no idea what condition when other members on that site sent in.   Also Amir isn’t commercially sponsored like Stereophile, so he’s not “gagged”   He just reports it measured, if you have an issue with what he’s measured, get on that site and discuss it with him.

He  invites manufacturers to participate in the discussion and helps to improve there products, there are many manufacturers and designers on that site that uses him to get a reference set of measurement  to see if it corresponds to the limitations they have.   If the product measures badly you can send another sample or learn from it and improve on the next version.
Amir is unlike this this guy trying to flog his DIY improvement kits, Amir just measures and listens and reports,  no selling! 

 

 Being in this hobby all my life it’s the only site I’ve seen that’s open and it’s not gagged and uses reference measurement equipment 

Edited by Addicted to music
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6 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I’m not sure if they are limited. JA is always very measured ( ?) in his comments. I don’t think he ever openly says anything bad, you need to read between the lines 

 

My favourite is his summary on the Harbeth Monitor 30.2:

 

Its measured performance confirms that the Monitor 30.2 is as well-engineered a design as I have come to expect from Alan Shaw and his respect for the BBC tradition.

 

What's even better is that Herb opens his subjective review of the speaker with the line "everything sounds like what it's made of" which, to me, reads like an open declaration of expectation bias.

 

The whole thing feels like hifi in a nutshell.

 

On the Special 40s though, JA wrote both halves, and concluded the subjective half with this:

 

Perhaps, then, not too much should be made of this potential Achilles' heel. As I write these words, I'm again listening to the Rachmaninoff, and yes, in critical listening mode, I can hear the congestion in the piano's midrange. But in listening-to-music mode, that congestion is outweighed by everything else the Dynaudio Special Forty does right—which seems to be just about everything.

 

To me, that doesn't feel 100% like face-saving double talk - but then I would say that owning the speakers, wouldn't I? ?

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Just now, Addicted to music said:

@twofires

 

I look and take note of JA measurements,  I rarely read his comments 

 

That's fair, I guess what I'm saying is that even someone who understands measurements can find things of worth in a speaker that is somewhat lacking if they sit with it a while. Is that just habituation, or are there other important measurements we're not focusing on? Are some people more bothered by time domain issues than others, for example, to the point it overrides what are conventionally seen as bigger issues? I find that stuff fascinating. 

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This is the part of HiFi I completely ignore. For two reasons:

 

1/ I don't understand it, it's far too scientific for me to even begin to try and understand it.

 

2/ The world of HiFi is highly subjective. One man's treasure is another man's trash. None of us have invested what we have in our equipment so that we can get the best scientific readings possible, we do so because we want the best possible reproduction for OUR ears to OUR tastes. Our ears cannot even hear so many frequencies that are measured by these instruments. It is scientifically proven that the younger you are the higher the frequency you can hear. So arguing over certain readings can be futile based on your hearing ability.

 

On top of this, a MASSIVE factor in the sound of all HiFi is the room. The "best" system can sound sh!thouse in the wrong room, just like a cheapo system with little to no credentials can sound surprisingly good in the right room.

 

I remember listening to a system when I was about 18 at friend of my dad's place. He had these huge Quad electrostatic speakers, cannot for the life of me remember what the rest of his system was, but he had a system worth approx $150k. Now his tastes in music were completely different to mine, very classical and what I heard was good. I had brought my own music with me to try on it (very different to his, more blues and modern music requiring more punch, less warmth) and I found it completely lacking in the midrange, where my own system at the time worth a paltry $3k far outperformed his on that material. Again, my preference, my ears. I'd love to listen to that same system today and see if my opinion has changed.

 

In summary, scientific theory is all well and good but in a hobby that is a different experience for every listener, it means s0d all.

Edited by Colourofspring
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