... Our first impression of Dynaudio’s 40th anniversary speaker is more one of mild disappointment than anything else. Sampling several decades of Funk music, the Special Forty’s voicing gives Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister,” and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars a very engaging quality and overall musically-satisfying experience, making it difficult to sit still in the listening seat. They do most of the things audiophiles love..huge soundstage width, decent depth, precise imaging, detail without being etched or bright, smooth tweeter and a rich midrange that excels with the human voice..smooth, clear and spacious and HOLOGRAPHIC with the right amps, cables, stands, etc. The new Special 40’s follow in their tradition of releasing “special” speakers when they hit certain anniversaries. I did manage to have a pair of C1 Signatures in my home for a couple of weeks a few years back and for me, in my room (and my gear at the time which was McIntosh) they did not recreate that magic I remember (I think the McIntosh was too warm and dull, as well… McIntosh is indeed a tad dull in their sound signature). For the money, I do not think you can beat these. I went in looking for a pair of speakers but my budget at the time was pretty small, somewhere around $2500. The sum of these elements certainly puts the “special” in the Special Forty’s namesake. It was many many years ago (maybe 2003) in Phoenix AZ at a HiFi shop that no longer exists. Speakers also … Woofer-wise, trickle-down technology from Dynaudio’s higher-end Evidence and Confidence speakers help lower the Forty’s distortion and increase power handling through their proprietary hybrid magnet system. The sound seems to emit from everywhere around the speakers, independent of the physical speaker bodies. With the 40’s I do hear things the CWIII’s just can’t seem to get out. And happy to award them one of our Exceptional Value Awards for 2018. The Dynaudio Special Forty speakers are an absolute bargain for their beguiling looks, great sound, and the pedigree of the company’s 40-year history building stellar speakers. After many hours of break-in time, the speakers reach their full sonic potential. Using the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC with the latest OS “SNOWMASS” I was so impressed with the sound of these speakers that I thought for sure that I found the elusive pair of under $3k bookshelves that could keep me excited listening to them day after day. Everything comes into play, even my amp (Luxman 590 AXII) to DAC (PS Audio DirectStream w/Snowmass).. But the air was let out of my sails when I asked the price. If you are not reading this content in your news aggregator, RSS reader, or direct, then the site you are looking at may be guilty of copyright infringement. Dynaudio Special 40, Red Birch . At home I had a pair of the original Avantgarde Uno’s and these Dynaudios just sounded so much more pure, so magical and smooth…and I wanted them so bad. So again, how these Dynaudio speakers sound here may differ from how they sound for you. While largely traditional in shape, the cabinets feature a slight taper from the front to the rear of the speaker, rendering the front face about an inch wider than the ported rear panel. I recommend these, as for me they sound better than the 3X as pricey Dynaudio Stand 10’s (which I tested these with). Never thin, harsh or fatiguing in any way. Sadly I used to think that the more you spend the better the sound you will get. Most high quality amps will do. The Hasselblad 907x Continues to Impress. Was only used for display purposes. To some reading this, $2500 so many years ago doesn’t sound too small but the speakers in this store went up to $30 or even $40k. 3 DIMENSIONAL? Except for less ultimate low bass power, they felt like the $100k/pair Evidence models. They were reminding me a little of my old magical Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolutions but they were lighter in the bass, which was good as those EVO’s sometimes overloaded my room with certain tracks. These speakers DO change over the 1st few weeks as they loosen up and break in (yes it’s a real thing). These days HiFi is a tricky thing. Dynaudio Special Forty. The silk dome tweeters offer a high level of detail but do not overly-accentuate sibilance or stridency inherent in some less-stellar recordings. Both have their strengths and both offer a unique sound experience. Bass, guitar, and drums pull no punches. When they do, brace yourself for a wonderful ride. The Special 40’s are indeed very special. Of course if you are in a big huge room you will need more grunt but in my 12X13 room, the sweetest sounds were coaxed from the S40 with the low wattage tubes and low wattage Luxman. They provide China Forbes’ marvelous voice the range and realism it deserves. The e-journal of analog and digital sound, Bowers & Wilkins 702 Signature Loudspeakers, Andover Audio Songbird Hi-Res Music Streamer – First Look, The LSA T-3 turntable from Underwood HiFi. So yea, my $2500 was sort of small ; ), As I walked by a demo room I heard the most amazing and sweet sound and as I walked in a salesman was there just listening for his own enjoyment. The combination of drivers creates a convincing soundstage with immense breadth, height, and depth. Tweeter covers were never removed. I try many pieces of HiFi and listen to way more than I write about. Given this benchmark of performance, I cannot wait to hear what Dynaudio has up its sleeve to celebrate their golden anniversary a decade from now! The salesman was excited to see I was into them, and quickly threw on a CD, which was Patricia Barbers Cafe Blue. Going up to $8k or so will get you something comparable (Focal Sopra 1 for example) but that’s quite a jump from the $2600 that I paid for these truly special speakers. If you locate this anywhere, please contact [email protected] so we can take action immediately. Do these speakers beat my Klipsch Cornwall III speakers that retail for over $5500 new? Bass is deep and low when called upon but never loose and flabby, in fact it is tight as can be. What lies underneath is breathtaking. If you seek a new set of speakers in this price range, be sure to put the Dynaudio Special Forty on your audition list. To my ears, various Dynaudio speakers always do a great job with voice reproduction, putting it up front and center. The gloss-coated grey birch – or the vibrant red birch finish of our review sample – demonstrate just how beautiful speakers can be. The best sound I had from these has been with low wattage tube Amos between 20-40 watts. That said the special 40 is kind of a weird animal, it uses prototype Esotar3 drivers, even more advanced than what's available with the Confidence C1 or Contour C20, but has a noisy, poorly braced enclosure, whereas I would expect the Focus 160 to have better build quality. One reviewer found them to sound slightly "glassy" at times, but with my NAD M32 and the right cabling, I don't have that problem. I wanted to relive that memory from 2003 and thought maybe, just maybe these could do it for me. Grills are still sealed in the box & never used. Yes, speakers like Dynaudio’s flagships take the sound experience to another level by offering an increased prowess reproducing musical nuance, refinement, detail, depth of soundstage, and deep bass recreation. Dynaudio Special Forty. Percussive elements dance around the room contrasting the solidly-imaged saxophone. Detail, spaciousness, and a much more 3 dimensional soundstage emerge from the Special 40’s. The sound was big, open, clear and had snap, dynamics and weight. Back when I had those C1’s here I did not have the best amp or cables for them, which is why they did not win me over like they did in 2003. The high end seemed a tad recessed if anything for the 1st 2 weeks but in this room these were beating the C1 Signatures without question which made me realize that for what I paid for these, it may be the best deal of the last few years for me in HiFi. They were Dynaudio C1’s, the very 1st original models and boy did they sound special. With some tracks I FEEL the bass in my chest as I sit eight feet away. Mirrorless Central – My reviews of all Mirrorless Cameras. However, the small Dynaudios do pack a surprising punch. Dynaudio Special Forty deals. Not a good match with Dynaudio IMO. Be sure to fill them 3/4 with sand! They sound better than the Focal Sopra 2 I had in here, and beat the pants off of any $1-$3k speakers I have had in here. I was in awe. After trying a few small speakers here just recently in the same price range as the 40’s (Falcon LS3, RAM, Focal 1008) these are my faves without question. I have the RED and they are striking in the flesh (or the wood). I have also tested the Stand 6 with these for my 2nd pair and prefer these to the newer Stand 10’s as well. Comes with original front grills. I get them home set them up and away we go. Wow, 40 years. One review I read of these speakers proclaimed them as the best bookshelf speaker Dynaudio has made. I cue up Patricia Barbers Cafe Blue, “Ode To Billy Joe” and before I press play I say to myself “C’mon Special 40’s show me just how special you are”. The motor system has also been tweaked. The Dynaudio Special Forty’s set a new standard for me in the $3,000 price point. While photos of these speakers showcase the beauty of the speaker finish, they have trouble doing it true justice. The new Special Forty anniversary speaker draws on 40 years of cutting-edge research – and brings it totally up to date with Dynaudio’s most celebrated techniques and technologies. Forget about “watts’ but go for current. Especially since a local dealer, Dedicated Audio, had a brand new red pair in stock. The most powerful, the sprout, did the worst of all. I have been wanting to add a pair of small speakers to my large Klipsch Cornwall III’s when I wanted that more magical experience only a small speaker can give you but the only problem is, every one I try sounds so bad compared to my Cornwall III’s I just never can stand to listen to them! Beyond their attractive facades, a lot of new technology lies within these two-way speakers. With my Luxman 590 AXII warmed up, I press play and WOWZERS. Nicely finished in the piano black, so that goes some way … It’s not that there is a lot wrong with the Special Forty - it's just the design seem a little too familiar. I tested everything and with these speakers about 2 feet from my back wall AND using the foam plugs I get the most 3D sound I have had in this room and still have amazing bass. With stellar reviews pouring in for these special 40’s I was intrigued. Dynaudio's Special Forty wins this year's award for the best speaker. They are easy to drive with a quality amp that has HIGH CURRENT. One can get them new for under retail if you search around. My room is 12X13, carpeted, couch, pillows, and very NON reflective and damped. Clean, full Beautiful Midrange. The Special Forty can fit in with any decor, with a sound that's similarly low-key, but that's why they'll wear well over time. To me, these sound better in my room than the C1’s sounded (they were way more laid back and too smooth) and they sound equally as good as my old $20k Sonus Faber’s. But back to high cost speakers vs lower cost…. I fact, I like the S40 better than the Focal Sopra 1, though I prefer the style and looks of the Sopra. BTW, You can get a great deal on a red pair HERE. If you can, I have yet to find it. He said “sit down and have a listen, these are my favorite speakers in the store”. From the Special Forty’s technical info sheet: “The Esotar Forty’s 28mm diaphragm is a classic Dynaudio soft-dome design, complete with our DSR (Dynaudio Secret Recipe) precision coating. The best was the Luxman, Octave and Raven, by far. This was the experience I had when visiting the Dynaudio factory in Skanderborg, Denmark last fall. (Since writing this I bought a second pair in Grey and went through the same EXACT burn in process, and yes, it’s VERY REAL so be prepared if you buy a pair of these. Bass is there when in the recording but never artificial. I offer sincere kudos to Dynaudio for putting this level of sonic performance, build quality, and beauty within the financial reach of so many who prioritize music in their lives. Thought I’d share my thoughts on the Kef R3’s that I have demoed at home today, providing some comparisons to the other top-contender at the moment, the Dynaudio Special 40s. It’s interesting as these may be some of the most well balanced speakers I have heard in my life, no matter the size, or cost. I believe it was called “The sound of Music” if my memory serves me correctly. If they retain the Dynaudio house sound and my Luxman 590 AXII, Nordost Cables and DirectStream DAC have synergy with them I knew I would be in for a treat. These made the cut and inspired me to spend a little time writing this for anyone who has interest in these speakers. Great group there with some great brands like Focal, Dynaudio, Monitor Audio and VPI. Dynaudio just unveiled its brand-new 40th anniversary loudspeaker – the Special Forty – at the 2017 High End Show in Munich. These pump out more quality bass then the Focal Sopra 2 I had in here, and those were some big speakers! Fortunately for budget-conscious audiophiles worldwide, Dynaudio chose to pursue the latter. Update 10/19 – As stated I also tested these with 20-100 watt amps. Only what I truly love and would recommend. To me, the Dynaudio Special 40 seems very clearly to be less than the sum of its parts. As I listen to song after song that memory from 2003 was creeping back in but I was saying “THIS IS EVEN BETTER”, and it was. Rendering of Zach de la Rocha’s voice demands attention commensurate with its edged emotion. The Special Forty is classic Dynaudio: all the craftsmanship, attention to detail and total love of authentic sound you’ve come to expect. The Focal Sopra 1 will have a lighter sound though, and a more recessed thinner midrange. Dynavector 17D3 and Denon DL-103R cartridges, Digital Sources Mac Mini, Roon Music Service, Simaudio MOON 780D DAC, Oppo BDP-103, Amplification Conrad-Johnson ART150, Power Torus AVR 15 Plus, RSA Mongoose, and Cardas Clear power cords, Accessories ASC tube traps, Mapleshade Samson audio racks, Coffman Labs Equipment Footers, AudioQuest Jitterbug, Atomic Audio Labs Mac Mini stand. Superb imaging and soundstage width with decent depth. They do sound cleaner, and crisper than the Cornwalls but they do this without being thin or light sounding. The engineers worked on improving airflow and damping behind the 28mm tweeter dome - the idea is to reduce back-pressure as the diaphragm moves, increasing detail and lowering distortion. Dynaudio is … THAT has never happened. I could live with either as my only speaker but will keep both around as the Special 40’s give me what the Cornwall III’s can not (update 10/19 – SOLD the Corns as the S40’s beat them for me in nearly all ways after much more listening). Compared to my old faves, the Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolutions, these are lighter and smaller sounding, not as full in the mid bass, have more detail and do not exaggerate any frequency..BUT THIS IS A GOOD THING IN THIS ROOM. No. Highly recommend these 40’s but make sure you have quality stands. These are the 2020 model. No matter the music I threw at these, they played it well. This is why I seem to love everything I review, because I DO! But it’s also a quality bass as Dynaudio is using their most advanced drivers here in the S40. A newly-developed silk dome tweeter dubbed the “Esotar Forty” offers low resonance and increased airflow. The Special Forty was created to celebrate Dynaudio’s 40th anniversary, in 2017, and is surprisingly affordable at $2999 USD per pair (about which more below). The Q Acoustics Concept 300 Speakers are very special. These speakers do so much so well at their price point I am hard-pressed to offer major criticisms. Combine that with a level of delicacy, tonal accuracy and resolution that you’d expect to pay $10k/pair for and you can see why I’m so excited. (Scratching my head) Now I will say my Cornwalls put out a much bigger wall of sound that is more flowing but the Dynaudios shine in the MIDRANGE where there is gobs of magic pouring through the speakers and they made the mighty corns sound…a bit muffled or veiled. I owned special 40’s, and they are a great all around speaker that do every genre quite well. BTW, You can get a great deal on a red pair HERE. The Octave V40SE powered these to deafening levels while remaining composed and sounding amazing. Volume was not an issue. Way out of my league at the time. Hardware Review. Sweet? Saxophone retains all the woodiness one expects to hear. For those with a tight budget though, a more modest and less attractive pair of aftermarket stands can solve the immediate need. Hence a local sale is much preferred NJ, 08648 Lots of great reviews on these speakers, here's one for you :-) Woah, they’re big. The drivers of the Special 40 do exhibit better control in certain respects; the Buchardts tend to slightly soften detail. At the bottom sit two brand-new 23cm MSP woofers (bigger, redesigned brothers of the 18cm drivers we’ve used in the Contour 20 and 30). No. The Special Fourty features a unique ve Welcome thoughts on those or any others that I need to know about? Huh? Dynaudio considers high performance monitors to be an area of particular strength and says the Special Forty is offered as homage to classic Dynaudio monitors from the past, such as the Special One, the Special Twenty-Five, the Crafft, and the Contour 1.3SE. The Luxman all class A design brings a special magic to the sound in the form of an ease, a detailed yet warm leaning layering of sound that is breathtaking. So I email Dan the owner and tell him I will head out and buy a set of these from him. No issues at all powering the S40’s as they are NOT hard to drive, and no, they do not do better with 200 WPC of solid state. For their 40th anniversary, Dynaudio endeavored to make something very special. In all my years into HiFi I have never seen a deal such as what you can get with these speakers. But unlike many commemorative models, the Special Forty is not being produced in a limited edition, nor is it a member of one of Dynaudio’s many series of models. YES. Those who say you need massive watts for these to come alive are wrong. Think huge organic sounding wall of sound. Unlike any other speaker drivers outside the Dynaudio factory, an in-house developed Magnesium Silicate Polymer material offers the tenuous balance of rigidity and dampening which result in a more organic sound. That’s what I got when I switched in an Octave V40 SE tube amp that delivers only 40 watts per channel. I love these Cornwall III’s and they are one of the most satisfying speakers I have ever owned in life. In fact the 20 WPC Raven Nighthawk delivered a sweet romantic sound, the Octave V40 SE delivered dynamics and a huge wall of sound with more transparency and the Luxman was just magic with these speakers, in my room. It’s the connoisseur’s choice – a simple pair of passive hi-fi speakers. Condition is Used 9.5/10 great condition! I was still listening, never a hint of fatigue… just sweet room filling music that seemed to have more weight than what my Cornwalls deliver.