Dy­nau­dio Spe­cial Forty £2500

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

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

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