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Loudspeakers | stand-mounted


Manufacturer: DYNAUDIO A/S
Price (in Poland): 39 950 PLN/pair

8660 Skanderborg, DANIA


Provided for test by: NAUTILUS Dystrybucja

DYNAUDIO is a Danish company established in 1977 in Skandenborg, specializing in development and production of loudspeakers. In 1978 they presented the Model 100, featuring company’s own drivers and a number of proprietary technical solutions that it uses still today. This time we received for the review the CONFIDENCE 20 bookshelf speakers.

he process of Asian - primarily Chinese and Korean, but more and more often Indian - companies purchasing prestigious audio brands from the US and Europe has recently accelerated significantly. One of the largest transactions of this type was the acquisition of Harman International Industries by Samsung Electronics in 2011. Two years earlier another takeover took place - for 41.5 million dollars, the Chinese company GoerTek, based in eastern Shandong, bought a Danish company DYNAUDIO.

Let me say something politically incorrect. In my experience usually when an Asian company bought a well-known audio brand from - generally understood - the West it did so in order to profit from it as quickly as possible. Therefore, they often moved production lines, reduced costs, dismissed management and design team to reduce costs even further, introduced products that benefited from the brand's reputation, but did not have much in common with its true "spirit". I think that in many industries this is still the case today.

Something has changed in the audio industry, though, or at least I would like to believe in it. Looking at how Dynaudio has been doing for the last five years, I would say that this time the reverse process took place, that is, the recapitalization of the purchased company, which suddenly accelerated the research and development of new projects. These actions accumulated - at least for me - with the presentation of the Special Forty stand mounts in 2017 and the new Contour series, and in 2018 the premiere of the new top CONFIDENCE line.


History | The premiere of this series took place during the High End Show 2018 in Munich. The stand-mount speakers '20' and three floor-standing models - '30', '50' and '60' were presented; the '40' model is not foreseen due to the bad connotations of the number '4' in Asia (describing the number four, the sign 'shi' is also used to denote the word 'death'). The speakers were to be available in the second half of the year. However, their construction was so advanced and additionally new to the factory itself that they did not come into production until mid-2019 - their presentation at the High End 2019 was in fact the second premiere, the premiere of production units.

Confidence is a line with a long history. It was introduced in 1991 featuring the legendary Esotar tweeter and included two models - the stand-mounted C3 and the floor-standing C5. This series was special for several reasons - I have already mentioned the Esotar - but also because of the cabinets. It had a small resonance chamber with parallel walls, but the front was a wider, modeled plate on which the drivers were mounted.

In the mid-1990s, work began on the Confidence C1 stand-mount speaker. The special value of this project was that the C1 became the favorite speakers of Mr. Wilfried Ehrenholz, the owner of Dynaudio. Having them at home every day, listening to them several times a week had time to come up with ways to improve them.

His input resulted in development of the Confidence C1 II and its limited version the Confidence C1 Signature. The world premiere took place at the Salon Son & Image exhibition in Paris, in March 2011, but it was shown to a wider audience in May during the High End Show 2011 in Munich. In 2014, another special version was introduced - the Confidence C1 Platinum.

In C1 II and C1 Signature, the method of coating the silk dome tweeter Esotar2 has been improved using a much more sophisticated process ("Precision Coating"). The coil of the bass- midrange driver was also redesigned, and it was wound even more precisely with the aluminum wire on the Kapton carcass. Also the crossover frequencies were changed in the first-order crossover (-6 dB / oct.). Although apparently a simpler one, to fully benefit from it, it requires the best possible passive elements. Capacitors were replaced and very expensive Caddock resistors were used. And finally - the internal wiring has been replaced.

Technics | The Confidence C20 columns are the successor to the C1 II, C1 Signature and C1 Platinum versions, hence the fourth version of the C1 columns. These are stand-mount speakers, two-way with bass-reflex cabinets. They need to be used with custom stands designed for them - I’ll get back to that later. The new Confidence line features most of the solutions known from the Signature version, only improved and even more refined. The cabinet is slightly different, more like the new Contour series, but it retains the division between the resonance chamber and the driver mounting plate. The latter is now made not from MDF, but from a composite called Compex.

The tweeter is the Esotar 3, with a soft, 28 mm silk membrane and a technique of reducing resonances inside the chamber, behind the dome, called "airflow-optimization", first introduced in the Special Forty model The resonance chamber is larger and the felt rings which were placed in the Esoteric 2 behind the membrane, used to reduce resonances, were replaced. Now there is an inner dome there called Hexis. There are several dozen changes in the driver. One of the visible innovations is the new shape of the aluminum front.

Also the 180mm low- midrange driver has been changed - now it's a driver called NeoTec. Its membrane is made of one piece of material based on plastic (polymer) with magnesium silicate admixtures. This is Dynaudio's proprietary solution, called MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer), used from the very first model of this company, called Model 100, from 1978.

Over the years, the make, the exact composition of the admixtures, the structure of the magnet and the MSP drivers’ were subject to change. For the latest version, a special system was developed to allow the air outlet from the rear side of the dust cover, the carcass was changed as instead of Kapton it is now made of fiberglass. But the coil is still made of aluminum wire - this solution has been used by Dynaudio from the very beginning.

The crossover was placed on a base screwed from the bottom to the speakers. It also features a pair of nice WBT connectors from the NextGen series. In the crossover one finds high quality elements, including high-class resistors and polypropylene capacitors. It is more important, however, to change of the type of filter that divides frequencies among drivers. When the C II and C1 Signature models were introduced to the market, one of the advantages often pointed out was the use of first order crossovers, ie with a 6 dB / octave filters. It turned out, however, that it was that good of an idea - the new Confidence series features second order crossovers (12 dB / oct).

Stands | The Stands 20 designed for C20 belong to the best and most beautiful Dynaudio speaker stands I have ever seen. They are necessary element for the C20 loudspeakers to work properly, because the bass-reflex port in this model is placed in the bottom! The company stands have a suitably shaped upper wall, covered with a soft material. Each speaker is fixed with the stand using three screws.

The whole design stands on widely spaced fee, with high screws. They are finished with large, knurled nuts, therefore their use is very convenient. The screws feature flat bottoms and can be inserted into special, rather tall pads with a rubber bottom. But in the box one finds also great-looking cones, that can be screwed on these screws. And now - it seems to me that the pads in question can also serve as bases under the spikes. At their bottom side in a rubber elastic element there is a tiny hole through which you can see the metal on which the cone rests. The whole looks simply professional.


The Dynaudio Confidence C20 speakers are relatively easy to drive - easier than all previous versions of this model I know. Their nominal impedance is 6 Ω, and a minimum of 5 Ω happens quite high, at 155 Hz. Tube amplifiers are therefore welcome. During the test, however, I listened to them with the Soulution 710 transistor amplifier. They were spaced 2200 mm apart and 2000 mm from the listening position, counting from the center of the front baffle. The source of the signal was the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player (№ 1/50), but also the inexpensive Music Hall mmf-3.3 turntable tested at the same time and the sophisticated PrimaLuna EVO100 digital-analog converter.

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 selec- tion)

    • Bill Evans, Bill Evans At The Montreux Jazz Festival, Verve /Universal Music LLC, SHM-SACD (1968/2014)
    • Bottleneck John, All Around Man, Opus3 CD 23001, SACD/CD (2013)
    • Brubeck & Desmond, 1975: The Duets, A&M/Verve 394 915-2, CD (1975/2002)
    • Clan of Xymox, Subsequent Pleasures, Metropolis, Met 204, CD (1983/2001)

    • Depeche Mode, See You. Extended Version, Mute Records CDMUTE 18, SP CD (1982/1991)
    • Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs For Swingers, Verve 0602498604175, CD (1959/2003)
    • Pat Metheny Group, Offramp, ECM/Tower Records PROZ-1095, „ECM SA-CD Hybrid Selection”, SACD/CD (1982/2017)
    • Perfect, Live, Savitor/Damian Lipiński Pro-Audio Mastering (niepublikowana wersja remasteru), Master CD-R (1983/2017)
    • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Analogue Productions CVRJ 8633 SA, SACD/CD (1965/2013)

    I have no doubts - these are the best monitors that Dynaudio has produced so far. What's more, in my opinion - one of the best loudspeakers with this logo that ever made it to the market. And I've heard most of the Dynaudio’s stand-mounted models from the last - say - twenty years, including a lot active models intended for professional use.

    Who cares that these are „only” monitors, that is, by design, with some limitations in terms of lowest bass reproduction, and hence limited sound volume and moderate scale. While listening to them I simply did not care about it at all!

    The speakers charmed me and conquered my heart with a simple feature, with how naturally they sound. They appealed to my sensitivity as an acoustics specialist in that they are extremely resolving, and therefore every, even trivial, change in sound is immediately clear. And I was also surprised, as a reviewer, by how a small step in the right direction, taken by the manufacturer in the new Confidence series, translated into a huge leap in the high-end world, where every improvement is worth its weight in gold. If Dynaudio's success were to be measured in this way, one would have to pay as much gold for C20 as they weigh.

    So what's so good about them? First of all their resolution - everything starts with it and ends with it. There is a whole ocean of small elements between beginning and end outlined in such way, I hope that’s clear. They all have a common denominator here, they never appear separately, they do not demand our attention. They interact „in the background”, and music always comes first. It is a truism used probably too often, but it is true in this case. What can you do when you end up with these speakers listening to more and more albums, even those that you have not listened to for a long time. Simply because they allow us to discover a new dimension of recordings we listen to. Maybe not even details, but the dimension.

    The C20 sound low, even lower than my Harbeth M40.1, which are unique in this respect. The sound I'm talking about is a feature of the top high-end components. It is not about treble roll off or withdrawing it. This is done in cheaper products and if done well it can provide great results. But it's always manipulation on the signal. In the tested speakers, the dark sound results from how much information is given about the background, reverb, about bodies, about what is there "behind" sounds.

    In live music, all these elements are present. During recording, however, and then during playback, this element is reduced, because the recording and reproducing systems, even those absolutely top ones, are limited in this respect, they are not able to convey everything. Therefore, they accentuate the detail, attack, subtleties, aura, to convincingly re-create the given event. If they are really good, they do it so that we are under an impression that this is really happening in front of us, they are able to convince us about it.

    The Dynaudio speakers have it all, but there is still something else that happens very, very rarely - they are incredibly dark, but they are able to present incredibly much. When the cymbals come in, let it be at the Bill Evans' concert at The Montreux Jazz Festival, they are resonant, strong and dense. However, they are surrounded by air, even thicker - I know that it doesn’t make much sense, but I have caught myself several times hearing it so. The noise of the analog tape, on which the older recordings were recorded, can be clearly heard but only as a background, and not something that would be imposed on us.

    More importantly, the sound is created in our room along with the aura and air recorded on the disc. A window to another world opens before us, which seems more real (!) than what actually surrounds us. It is obviously the result of the fact that the sound has to be more real because we turn off some 80% of perceived information that during a concert come through our eyes. But in the case of the C20 it really makes sense, even though it rarely does. It is a sound that is truer than the real one. It means more exciting.

    Partly because the bass of these speakers is amazing. Looking at them, we see monitors, and what we seem to hear are much larger, well tuned, low sounding floor-standing speakers. When we start looking, we will of course find a moment when these small boxes lose the ability to support the woofer and a bass or double bass, or even more so synthetic sounds are not as low and as effortless as with speakers that are actually large, even my Harbeths. The impression of the scale I am talking about is so strong that without a direct comparison to other speakers it would never have occurred to us.

    The other band’s extreme was equally impressive. I think that the Esotar3 is one of the best tweeters that are currently produced, regardless of technology. It's resolving, but never too bright. Which, combined with saturation and full bass, gives you incredible joy of playing music and not only the best recorded one. To check it out I listened to the maxi-single CD with See You by Depeche Mode, and then to a few tracks from the Subsequent Pleasures by Clan of Xymox.

    Both albums document the beginnings of both bands, and the latter comes from the prehistoric times of the CoX group. These are not the best quality recordings, they are rather tonally light and very resolved. But with Dynaudio they sounded as if someone poured more life in them. There was a rhythm, there was a great timbre and there was an aura that makes these tracks so special. Clan Of Xymox demo songs made a particularly strong impression on me - listening to them I remembered all the time that in mid-July, in Gorlice, at the Ambient Festival, < / a>, Peter Nooten will perform, the pillar of this formation.

    In any case - these albums sounded great, I did not really feel how all they were, but only a specific, proper stylistics. It was amazing how well the Esotar3 worked reproducing higher frequencies - these were never bright, never sharp, and always incredibly "tangible". That is why Ella Fitzgerald's album Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs For Swingers sounded so smooth, rich, though clearly and "forward" - the loudspeakers present foreground just in front of the line connecting the speakers. Despite the fact that the vocal was recorded - most likely - with ribbon microphones, in which you can hear a strong peak in the upper midrange and top.


    The Dynaudio Confidence C20 direct our attention to music, completely disappearing from the field of view as a mechanical interface between the performer and us. Did I find something that could be defined as a weakness? To be honest - no, I did not. Given their price and the range of the limitation, mainly in terms of the low bass reproduction, they were negligible. Everything else was great. But it can also happen that those who are looking for details, or a particularly open sound, will not be convinced of them. And that’s a good thing - everyone has to find components that fit their needs best.

    For all the others, it may be an ultimate monitor. Certainly in the future some other speakers will be introduced that will be able to present some element in a better or simply a different way, but the sum of all the features that we get from the C20 is so good that I would not worry about it. They are versatile, beautiful and beautifully made speakers, that belong to a true high-end class, meaning one that plays music in a saturated, dense and dark way. ■

    Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer):

    Sensitivity: 87 dB (2.83 V/1 m)
    Nominal impedance (IEC): 6 Ω
    Minimum impedance: 5 Ω (155 Hz)
    Nominal power: 250 W
    Frequency range (+/- 3 dB): 42 Hz - 22 kHz
    Crossover: 2nd order
    Crossover frequency: 2325 Hz
    Weight: 15.2 kg/pc
    Dimensions (W x H x D): 223 x 520 x 414 mm


    Reference system 2018

    1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
    2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
    3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
    4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
    5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
    6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
    7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


    Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
    Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
    Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

    AC Power

    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
    Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
    Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
    Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
    Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
    Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
    Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
    Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
    Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


    Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
    Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
    Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

    • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


    Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

    Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

    Record mats:


    Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

    Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC