pl | en



Manufacturer: DYNAUDIO A/S
Price (in Poland): 12 900 PLN/pair

8660 Skanderborg, Denmark


Provided for test by: NAUTILUS

ounded in 1977 in Skandenborg, Denmark, DYNAUDIO decided to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a non-specific speaker, at least for those who do not know this manufacturer's specific approach. Instead of exploring the high-end regions of their lineup, they have prepared a product that is not cheap, but has nothing to do with the price stratosphere that more and more manufacturers decided to explore recently. The Special Forty loudspeakers presented at the High End 2017 show in Munich was one of the best birthday gifts that so accomplished company could offer to us and themselves.

Although these are small, two-way stand-mount loudspeakers the guys responsible for their development in Dynaudio invested so much time and effort in them as if these were to be the very last speakers they would ever create. Continuing the legend of the special edition speakers of this company, such as: Special One, Craft, Contour 1.3 SE, Audience 52 SE, Special Twenty Five and Special Twenty Five Signature Edition, these also feature components designed and manufactured exclusively for them, which will not be used for any other loudspeaker of this manufacturer.


First: a new tweeter based on the famous Esotar design, called Esotar Forty. It's a 28mm soft-dome covered with an ultra-fine coating that the company calls the DSR, which is short for Dynaudio Secret Recipe. Its power handling is improved, allowing it to process frequencies from 1000 Hz up. The crossover frequency is set at 2000 Hz, which is lower than for the larger Contour 20. It seems that it was done in order to accommodate another idea, this time taken over from the Confidence series, i.e. the first-order crossover. Since the slope of this type filters is mild, the driver must reproduce a much wider bandwidth than the crossover frequency suggests.

If we agree that the second feature of these speakers is the crossover using high-end components - the new low- midrange woofer, the latest incarnation of the 17W75 which is the most famous model in Dynaudio history, would be the third. It features an improved, though still 17 cm in diameter, MSP membrane and a specially designed AirFlow basket plus a very powerful hybrid magnetic system. The company declares that it is their best driver of its kind so far, and due to all the improvements its bandwidth goes up to 4000 Hz. And again - it is another element that allows designers to utilize the 1st order crossover for such small loudspeakers.

The basket called 'AirFlow Basket' has sophisticated, newly shaped ribs (arms). Air travels between them in an easier way, causing less turbulence. Also vibration damping has been improved. The hybrid magnetic system is designed so that the main. Large diameter magnet sits inside the coil and not outside. This helps to focus the magnetic field in the coil winded with aluminum wire, translating to higher system efficiency. In addition to this one, there is also an auxiliary ferrite magnet, less powerful, that controls the dispersion of the field outside the coil. And there is this unique finish. These loudspeakers are available only in two types of natural veneers - "gray" and "red". The first is called Gray Birch and the other is Red Birch. In the pictures you can see them both – the "Red" on company's own photos and the "Gray" made by me of the pair delivered for testing. The speaker features a special, aluminum plaque with an anniversary logo on it. The Special Forty were made in house in the Dynaudio factory in Skandenborg. Every element was carefully thought through and perfected until required result was achieved.

Mr Otto Jørgnsen, Dynaudio Product Manager said:

We still surprise ourselves. Some people might be content to sit back and be complacent about their successes after 40 years of constant innovation. We aren’t. In fact, we only get hungrier for new techniques and technologies. That’s why we developed the Special Forty for our anniversary: we wanted to revisit those innovations and see what we’d do differently this time in our new factory.

source: company's materials

The Dynaudio Special Forty literally replaced my reference speakers, the mighty Harbeth M40.1, it means they were placed 110 cm from the back wall - counting from the rear of the box, 230 cm from each other and 220 cm from the listening position - in both cases with respect to the tweeter. It was not my intention, but after checking the manual I confirmed that I had fulfilled the recommendations contained therein.

The authors write in there: "The distance between speakers should be the same, and even slightly larger than their distance from the listening position," and "To get the best sound, we recommend placing the speakers as far away from the walls as possible. In order to reduce the possible impact of the presence of the side walls and the rear one, the distance from them should be at least 0.5 m." The manual also contains tips on how to toe-in the speakers. One should match the toe-in to the room and one's preferences, starting with them pointing exactly at listener's ears. Then one should increase toe-in in small steps, by 2-3 cm until optimal position is found. In my case they delivered the best performance with their axes crossed about 10 cm in front of me.

Together with the speakers, one gets foamed bass reflex plugs, consisting of two components - a ring and a cylinder. I did the tests in both versions - with only the ring and with ring and cylinder. Let me assure you already, that Special Forty's deliver a nicely extended, full, powerful, excellent bass. Using one or both parts of the bass-reflex plugs will change not only amount of bass, but also its character. Without the plugs the bass is extremely lively and with them it is slightly “damped”. You can try them out, but only if you really can not place the speakers far enough from the walls and if as result you get too much bass. In any other case I would leave them in a box.

I used the Dynaudio Stand 4 stands, originally created for Confidence speakers, and those on Acoustic Revive SPU8 and then on RST-38H platforms. I connected them with Soulution 710 power amplifier using Acoustic Revive SPC-3.0 Triple-C speakers cable. My reference speakers were the above mentioned Harbeths.

DYNAUDIO in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONTOUR 20 – loudspeakers
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2016: Dynaudio EXCITE X44 – loudspeakers
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONFIDENCE C1 PLATINUM - loudspeakers
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONFIDENCE C1 – loudspeakers
  • TEST: Dynaudio EXCITE – loudspeakers
  • TEST: Dynaudio EMIT M30 – loudspeakers, see HERE
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2015: Dynaudio CONTOUR S 3.4 LE – loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONTOUR S 3.4 LE – loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONTOUR S 1.4 LE – loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio NEW EXCITE X38 – loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio CONFIDENCE C1 SIGNATURE + Stand4 – loudspeakers + stands, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio FOCUS 340 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • BEST SOUND HIGH END 2011: Dynaudio FOCUS 140 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2011: Dynaudio FOCUS 260 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio FOCUS 110A – active loudspeakers (as part of a system), see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio FOCUS 260 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio DM 2/6 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio AUDIENCE 52 SE - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio EXCITE X16 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio FOCUS 140 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2006: Dynaudio FOCUS 140 - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio FOCUS 140 – loudspeakers (in a system), see HERE
  • AWARD | BEST PRODUCT 2005: Dynaudio SPECIAL TWENTY FIVE - loudspeakers, see HERE
  • TEST: Dynaudio SPECIAL TWENTY FIVE - loudspeakers, see HERE

  • Recordings used for the test (a sele- ction)

    • Suicide Squad. The Album, soundtrack, Atlantic/Warner Music Japan WPCR-17449, CD (2016)
    • The Old Hall Manuscript, wyk. The Hilliard Ensemble, Erato/Warner Classics 5825072, CD (1991/2017) w: The Hilliard Ensemble, Renaissance & Baroque Music, Erato/Warner Classics 5825072, 7 x CD (2017)
    • Alice Coltrane, Eternity, Warner Bros./Warner Bros. Japan 8122-79598-0, „Jazz Best Collection 1000, No. 9”, CD (1976/2013);
    • Dawid Podsiadło, Annoyance and Disappointment 2.0, Sony Music 88985363412, „2.0 Edition”, 2 x CD (2016)
    • Queens Of The Stone Age, Villains, Matador Records OLE-1125-2, CD (2017)
    • Röyksopp, The Inevitable End, Dog Triumph DOG013CDW, „Promo | No. 25”, CD-R (2014)
    • Takeshi Inomata, The Dialogue, Audio Lab. Record/Octavia Records OVXA-00008, SACD/CD (1977/2001)

    Japanese issues available at

    The tracks prepared by the Dynaudio guys for the Munich premiere of the Dynaudio Special Forty were meant to show the full extend of their abilities. Choosing music for the shows and presentations is not easy and surprisingly big number of those are rather unsuccessful only because of the wrong choice of music. One of the masters in this field is Mr Johan Coorg from KEF. He has perfect taste, and he really "feels" what is right for him to achieve his goal. Many times I used titles suggested by him. Equally interesting are usually presentation in Ayon Audio's room - Gerhard Hirt usually holds a few aces in his sleeve and when he plays them nobody wants to leave the room.

    From my point of view the premiere of the Special Forty was equally successful. It was prepared by Rolland Hoffman, Dynaudio Academy's Senior Manager, and it highlighted perfectly the character and abilities of these speakers.

    I was particularly impressed with their rendition of Here She Comes Again from the The Inevitable End album by the Swedish duo Röyksopp. Although the album was released in 2014, in 2016 was Russian DJ Antonio (DJ Antonio Remix) gave it a new life.

    The original version of the album is much quieter, almost contemplative. But with the pulse, groove and low bass. When they played this track during presentation I felt as if the Dynaudio speakers sounded as much bigger, more powerful ones. We listened to the music in a large, probably at least 100 sqm room and for me the sound was full, rich, it did not impress me as the performance of small, stand-mount boxes. So when I set up these speakers in my reference system, naturally the first thing I played was Here She Comes Again.

    I listened to it from a special CD-R disc that was originally sent to the press (No. 25), which sounds a little better than the regular CD pressing. Not better enough to improve the mediocre sound quality on this album. The Dynaudio clearly presented those differences and built a big, strong performance for me. These are small stand-mount boxes – it is clear when one listens to them, the designers did not use any tricks to full listeners. Despite the lack of the lowest bass, everything is so set up, there is so much information in the lower part of the range that we get an impression of listening to much larger speakers though. Somewhat exaggerating, but not by much, I dare to say that these are the Dynaudio stand-mount speakers delivering the highest volume sound that I had a chance to listen to so far.

    I mentioned the comparison - and not by chance. It is possible to agree, at least for a moment, that the Special Forty's tonal balance is set lower than in other Dynaudio's stand-mount speakers and even in some of their floorstanders (!). This could suggest that they deliver a warmed up sound. But if you have ever listened to Dynaudio speakers, you must know that this is not what they do. Yes, large models, especially the older ones, may sometimes sound not as fast as competitors featuring drivers with paper or metal diaphragms, indicating a rounding of the attack edge, which in newer models is largely gone. Still, this is not a warm sound.

    With the Dynaudio's anniversary loudspeakers it is about something else - a combination of a high volume of sound, a low bass and fantastic resolution. I have done a number of comparisons for the article on the reissue of the Niemen Group album ( Niemen vol. 1 + vol. 2 ) from 1972. Recently released by Warner Music Poland sounds much richer, denser, much more coherent than, the very good, version prepared by Czesław Niemen himself from 2003. I do not know the person responsible for the new remastering, it is neither Jacek Gawłowski nor Mrs. Atalay, but whoever is behind it, did a really good job.

    Dynaudio speakers presented the majority of these differences in a phenomenally engaging manner. I mean, they played music, I listened to music, but when I changed the discs, I immediately knew that something changed and after a while I knew what did. The amount of information that Special Forts convey is incredible. This applies in particular to the midrange and treble. The bass follows in their footsteps without complexes, but rather using scale and power, than the ultra-precise attack and the sound. Therefore, the lower part of the band is no so precise as the upper part. The bass-reflex play an important part here but without adding any significant coloration.

    The treble sounds very natural, precisely because it delivers a lot of information in logical sequences. Tweeter does not attack listener with the sound. The Esotar Forty is clearly better than the SEAS used in Harbeth M40.1, and only the unbelievable consistency of the latter makes me not see that as their weakness every day. However, when I hear how it could sound like with such a special driver as the one used in the Special Forty, I'm re-visiting the issue again wondering what if...

    I really enjoyed both jazz and classic with them, but unintentionally I returned to the albums with guitars, strong rhythm, large, most often created in the studio, space. These loudspeakers do not condemn the poorly recorded albums. Yet, they do differentiate them nicely, which allows listener to better understand the artistic choices of the sound engineer. For example, some new songs on "version 2.0" of David Podsiadło's album titled Annoyance and Disappointment 2.0 was recorded in Custom34 Studio, known from its collection of analogue playing and recording equipment, where T.Love recorded their album on the analog multi-track tape recorder. They sound in a soft way, not as resolving as others, but also without unnecessarily emphasized attack, they simply sound more natural. Which with the reviewed loudspeakers should be clear right away.


    The Dynaudio Special Forty deliver an expansive, accurate, highly precise performance. They render large phantom images and nicely present them in the space. They also present changes in dynamics very well. I particularly liked listening to rock, electronics and dance music with them. Apparently they can build a musical drama based on its rhythm. Which was confirmed when I first listened to Eminem, and then to the Twenty One Pilots from the Suicide Squad soundtrack. The disc came from Japan, but I was delighted not because of some audiophile qualities, but the music pulsating, sounding very lively.

    But they do not sound like BBC monitors. They deliver more precise sound, often giving in-depth details and subtleties. If you do not want to have a very analytical sound don't make Dynaudio play in a very emphatic system! I'd pair them with amplifiers with no treble issues. Tube amps? - Cool! D-Class ones? - good idea! Generally speaking, you should look for a well-balanced system, but with a slight inclination toward warmer side of the power.

    You could listen to Special Forty with Octave, Leben, Jadis, Soul Note, or NAD – they were presented with NAD components in Munich – and the results should be highly satisfying. These are small speakers that guaranty high quality sound of a scale and “passion” comparable to those of much larger floorstanders, even though they do not try to copy “floorstander” sound. This is simply Dynaudio Special Forty style.

    The Dynaudio Special Forty are two-way, bass-reflex, stand-mount design. They feature Dynaudio's own transducers - a 28mm soft Esotar Forty dome tweeter, a special version of the Esotar model, and a 170mm low- midrange woofer, a refined version of the famous 17W75. The dome's diaphragm is coated with a vibration damping material originally developed for the Confidence series.

    The larger driver's cone is made of a material that the Danish company is known for, i.e. Magnesium Silicate Polymer (MSP), a polymer with magnesium. Another characteristic features are the make of the diaphragm and the dust cap from one element without dividing them. And one more distinguishing feature - the coil has a large diameter. The magnetic drive is divided between a strong neodymium magnet placed inside the coil and weaker, ferrite one, placed outside the coil - the latter is said to focus the magnetic field of the neodymium magnet on the coil.

    The basket has curved ribs, which reduces air resistance and improves vibration damping. The solution was called the 'AirFlow Basket'. Great attention was paid to the suspension of the membrane and the coil – made of Nomex - specifically to make their movement as symmetrical as possible. As we read in the manual - very nice and interesting one indeed - "Finally, the Third Violin can see the light of the day."

    The frequency response of the transducers is divided at 2000Hz using the first order crossover (6dB / octave). Manufacturer used only high-end components throughout. Although this type of crossover can be very simple, this Special Forty feature additionally a phase compensation, so called Phase Alignment, and impedance one called Impedance Alignment. The nominal impedance is 6Ω. The signal is fed to a single pair of gold-plated connectors located in a rigid, aluminum plate with the anniversary logo on it. Although those connectors look solid, but I would have liked even more refined elements, from WBT or Mundorf.

    Special Forty are available in one of two special finishes: Grey Birch i Reed Birch. Both are natural veneers with layers of high-gloss lacquer on them. The manufacturer declares they were both develop specially for this model.

    Technical specification (according to manufacturer):

    Sensitivity: 86dB (2.83V/1m)
    Nominal impedance (IEC): 6Ω
    IEC power handling: 200W
    Frequency response (+/- 3dB): 41Hz - 23kHz
    Crossover typology: 1st order
    Crossover frequency: 2000Hz
    Weight: 8.1kg/pc.
    Dimensions (W x H x D): 198x360x307mm



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One