Dynaudio Special Forty £2500
Let’s face it: the Dynaudio Special Forty standmounters aren’t that special to look at. Yes, the high-gloss Birch finish is lovely – whether in grey or red – but there seems little to differentiate the Fortys from a stack of cheaper products the company has made in the past.
Things start to look brighter once we delve into the details. Launched to celebrate Dynaudio’s 40th anniversary, they use drivers based on those found in the company’s high-end Confidence C1 model at 10 times this price.
Its engineers have then worked on improving airflow and damping behind the 28mm tweeter dome to reduce back-pressure as the diaphragm moves, increasing detail and lowering distortion, and also tweaked the motor system. The results show a marked improvement in sound quality.
Positioning is simple – we end up with them placed on solid stands, a metre or so from the rear wall with just a hint of angle towards the listening position. Most price-compatible amplifiers will be happy driving these speakers.
When it comes to sound quality, we keep coming back to three words in our notes: confident, muscular and subtle. We start with Holst’s Mars and the Special Fortys respond with glee. They sound far bigger and more authoritative than a speaker that stands 36cm high has any right to.
A balance of weight and agility
Part of this is down to powerful, well extended bass that balances weight and agility superbly. The rest is a combination of composure and dynamic reach that allows these boxes to take everything the Roman God of War, as depicted by Holst, throws at them.
They image well too, the orchestra being organised with precision and stability. There’s a good sense of depth as well, and we like the tonality. These are even, cohesive and nicely balanced.
They’re also magnificently detailed. We love, for example, the way they reveal the texture and attitude in Jill Scott’s voice on Gettin’ In The Way. There’s a natural fluidity to the midrange dynamics, and we admire the ability to tie a multitude of instrumental strands in a convincing, well-timed yet musical way. They’re surefooted when it comes to timing and rhythms too, as happy charging along with gusto as they are applying any neccessary sensitivity.
So, don’t let the common-place looks fool you. You’ll soon be having too much fun listening to think about visuals.
Dynaudio has improved airflow and damping behind the Special Fortys’ tweeter