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Dynaudio Xeo 20 Review: The hi-fi solution

Dynaudio Xeo 20 Review: The hi-fi solution

With sensible units offering each­factor you want for music besides audio system, why not simply add audio system?

SUMMARY – Dynaudio Xeo 20

PROS:

  • Nice sound and may play loud
  • Startling potential system simplicity, but additionally straightforward to increase the system
  • Compact design

CONS:

  • Greatest sound stability once you flip them up a bit

Your sensible system — telephone, pill — is excellent at enjoying music. It streams, it may use a web-based music service to entry all of the world’s music. You possibly can pay attention on head­telephones, you possibly can attempt to pay attention by means of the telephone’s personal tiny speaker/s. However in fact the easiest way is to pair it with a wi-fi speaker. And naturally hundreds of thousands of such wi-fi audio system have been bought.

However they’re all so bloomin’ small. They will sound musical, and gratifying, maybe, however not massive, not unrestrained, not actual. That’s what’s hi-fi is for. So are you able to get a hi-fi wi-fi speaker? In fact you’ll be able to. Dynaudio is a number of generations into its wireless- succesful audio system, which have amplifiers inside them, in order that these Dynaudio Xeo 20 audio system, for instance, might be your sole piece of hi-fi, in case you have been completely satisfied merely to ship all of your music to them by way of Bluetooth out of your telephone. No different connections can be required — what neater answer might be potential?

However they don’t seem to be restricted to such simplicity of operation. There are bodily inputs additionally on the Xeo 20s, and additional enlargement attainable by way of a wi-fi hub (see overleaf). Dynaudio’s Xeo 20s may even be grouped to transmit to further audio system and audio techniques in as much as three zones round a house — so these audio system supply versatility and expandability, in addition to simplicity.

Gear

When putting in the Xeo 20s we had thought, from reminiscence, that they have been slimmer than the corporate’s older Xeo 2 or Xeo four designs, however checking the size we discover they’re in reality just a bit wider, at 18cm throughout. Nevertheless, being considerably greater (32cm) and deeper (26cm) the impression is of a comparatively slimline design, although clearly they may now profit from the allowance of far larger inner quantity.

They’re additionally prettier, extra curvily-edged and with out the IR receiver that sat atop the Xeo four. The metallic speaker surrounds at the moment are black somewhat than silver, in order that visually they distinction with the luxurious white end round the entire speaker (besides the connections bay). We reckon there ought to be no complaints about leaving the grilles off these audio system, however grilles are provided do you have to need them. There’s additionally a black end obtainable, and Dynaudio has devoted elective stands for Xeo 20s.

The drivers are a 14cm Esotec MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) woofer and 28mm Esotec soft-dome tweeter, each utilizing aluminium voice coils, and every powered by a separate 65W digital amplifier tuned for the precise driver to which it’s related.

Extra wi-fi than most

It’s typically complained that wi-fi audio system aren’t, in truth, wi-fi, since they’ve mains cables, and lots of (most) even have a connecting cable between the 2 audio system, since then just one speaker wants the wi-fi circuits inside. The Dynaudios haven’t any hyperlink cable, as an alternative generously doubling down on the wi-fi, in order that whereas there’s a Grasp and a Slave, the 2 do talk wirelessly from Grasp to Slave, and so require no connecting cable between the 2.

That is clearly a boon for positioning, particularly in case your audio system are going to be additional aside than the standard three metres of cable you’d get with these which require it.

Beam me up

Dynaudio incurs not solely value in making each audio system wi-fi, but in addition complexity. The enter sign, if analogue, have to be digitised, transformed into samples and thrown by means of the ether to be recomposed into a bit of music on the different finish, a lot as a Star Trek transporter beam reconstitutes the atoms of Captain Kirk (although in bodily phrases he’s a replica, the unique killed every time he travels). Any slip of timing, any error of knowledge throughout transmission, will start to erode particularly the stereo capabilities of the speaker pair.

However then again you get the constructive benefits inherent within the very idea of an lively speaker, wi-fi or in any other case. The DAC conversion and amplification is completed proper there within the speaker, with very brief sign paths — in a standard system there can be non-identical amplifier channels and speaker cables that may be having different deleterious results.

Apart from, many customers are more likely to discover the digital inputs dominating their use of the Xeo audio system, whether or not the TV or an Apple TV or Chromecast plugged into the optical enter, or Bluetooth beamed throughout from a related smartphone or pill. It makes loads of sense to ship these digital alerts digitally throughout the ether to be acquired on the different finish by an equivalent processor which may recheck and reclock earlier than a last supply, synchronised with its suitably delayed Grasp, to these brief pathways to the amplifiers and drivers.

Efficiency

In any case, the proof is within the pudding.

There isn’t a audible challenge with the Xeos’ soundstaging, or a lot anything in sonic phrases. The worst we heard was an occasional little click on from the left (slave) speaker, which we couldn’t determine definitively, however which had the traits of a knowledge glitch comparable to a buffer under-run. A couple of occasions they’d begin enjoying by means of solely the grasp speaker, however a press of the quantity on the distant would instantly deliver the opposite speaker into life.

We began with their optical enter related to a somewhat good 65-inch Panasonic OLED TV, and loaded some music Blu-rays right into a related UHD participant. The Beatles ‘Love’ mash of Tomorrow Nevers Is aware of with Inside You With out You had its very trippy video (‘One+’ Blu-ray) supported by the Dynaudio’s advantageous rendering of the droney composite music. One other delight from that Blu-ray was Actual Love, the Jeff Lynne-produced jangly guitars making a lush halo across the rescued Lennon vocal which popped up for every insertion with its remedy clear, its muffled masked piano background clearly revealed within the Dynaudios’ three-dimensional detailing.

From the TV connection we have been capable of realise their dynamic velocity and potential when given a correct film work-out, the place their efficiency makes a mockery of soundbar-level presentation. Those that search subwoofer-augmented depths and scale may need extra, however those that discover subwoofers intrusive will discover dialogue clear and crisp, impacts capable of slam, and music, in fact, deftly interwoven.

They leap to life notably at a sure level of their quantity vary, above informal however properly in need of oppressive, and such is their readability that it’s completely rewarding to recalibrate your expectations on this approach and luxuriate in extra of your listening at such larger ranges. (They could be suitably sloganised with ‘Flip it up mate, you’ll like it’.)

They’re a bit thinner in tone when used casually quiet — the crossover between drivers is remarkably excessive at four.7kHz and we discovered voices on TV/film soundtracks to lose some intelligibility when performed at decrease ranges. And typically we needed finer quantity incre­ments than these offered by the in any other case strong distant management.

THE THREE SWITCHES

Three switches within the inset panel behind every speaker assist make the Xeo audio system usefully versatile.

First up is a change which lets you invoke a frequency response adjustment for various positioning, with a ‘impartial’ setting plus changes for wall-mounted Xeo 20s, or these caught in a nook the place their response may in any other case be overly strengthened.

Second is a change which merely designates whether or not the speaker is to play left or proper channels… thus when you’ve got sources that are over to the left of your system, you possibly can have the grasp Xeo overthere, somewhat than trailing cables all the best way to the correct. (Sounds apparent you’d assume, however many grasp/slave audio system have fastened positions.)

The third change selects certainly one of three zones — labelled Purple, Inexperienced and Blue. For a easy stereo pair like these Xeo 20 audio system, you simply set each to the identical color zone, select your left and proper, and get on with the music.

However you might use these switches to create a bigger system that performs music all through a house. You may have three totally different Grasp audio system broadcasting to 3 zones of Slave audio system (limitless audio system if utilizing a Join, see overleaf). And naturally by flipping the Zone switches you can shortly reallocate audio system between zones, or have any Grasp speaker modified to deal with a unique Zone.

With this grander plan in thoughts, the thought of placing bodily cables between speaker pairs appears not solely final century however unthinkably messy! The rule of thumb has lengthy been ‘cable when you’ll be able to, wi-fi when you possibly can’t’ — the Dynaudio system is clearly one which has surpassed this rule of hi-fi.


▲ MORE SOURCES: add additional inputs using Dynaudio’s Connect hub, which can be situated remotely and streams to the Xeo 20s (and other Dynaudio speakers) at 24/96.▲ MORE SOURCES: add additional inputs using Dynaudio’s Connect hub, which can be situated remotely and streams to the Xeo 20s (and other Dynaudio speakers) at 24/96.

▲ MORE SOURCES: add further inputs utilizing Dynaudio’s Join hub, which could be located remotely and streams to the Xeo 20s (and different Dynaudio audio system) at 24/96.

Did the sound sink underneath the lesser high quality connection of Bluetooth? Impressively, not a lot — rather less airiness and atmosphere to the acoustic across the backing singers on Lou Reed’s Stroll On the Stroll Aspect, rather less unfold of the viewers acoustic on Leonard Cohen’s ‘Stay In London’, rather less rasp to his vocals. We wouldn’t make this our main listening mode, and enjoying loud is much less profitable than by way of a direct (or, we’d guess, a high-res wi-fi) enter, nevertheless it’s solely pleasurable.

Extra ins, extra outs

We solely briefly talked about above the thought of increasing the enter choice of the Xeo 20s — with so many different choices we held again on this extra bonus to keep away from confusion.

However simply because the Xeo outputs are extendable to colored Zones, the inputs are expandable by way of a selection of two totally different wi-fi hubs, one referred to as The Hub (which we collect is now end-of-line), the opposite the Dynaudio Join (pictured under left). The Hub provides three digital inputs (optical, coaxial, USB), and two analogue (RCA pair and minijack). The Join has much more, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 24/192 compatibility on the optical and coaxial digital audio inputs. Your Xeo distant can choose any of these inputs to be performed wirelessly by way of the audio system (24/192 is dropped to 24/96 throughout this transmission). We didn’t have both unit for assessment with the Xeo 20s, however we’ve used them earlier than they usually work successfully when you get the hold of the zone settings.

And there’s extra in the best way of extending the system as properly. You will get a ‘Xeo Extender’ to increase the reception vary, and there’s a Xeo Hyperlink, which receives wi-fi alerts from a Dynaudio Join and has analogue and digital outputs which may plug into any system, lively subwoofers, lively audio system, and so forth., to deliver them into your Xeo ecosystem.

Conclusion

The Xeo 20s not solely look trendy and sound fabulous (particularly if you flip them up), they provide the simplicity of an lively speaker answer, with Bluetooth comfort once you want it, whereas offering highest quality from the versatile and high-quality inputs, each on the audio system themselves or by including the Dynaudio Join field, and with the additional capacity of forming a part of a community of Xeos by way of the house. Since no amps are required and all you want is a telephone (and extra sources as desired), their worth additionally begins to look fairly the discount as properly. Jez Ford

SPECS

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Final replace was in: 2019-03-11 7:50 am

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Final replace was in: 2019-03-11 7:50 am

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