Interesting developments are taking place in the loudspeaker area. Active speakers seem to be setting the tone. In this market segment, Dutch audio manufacturers appear to be at the top of the Champions League. Dutch & Dutch is one of them. With their Dutch & Dutch 8c Active Speakers they set a new standard.
Dutch & Dutch 8c
I think the great thing about the Netherlands is that we have such a broad view of the world. We keep an eye on everything. We are also on top of everything in the audio world when it comes to developing new products from Europe, America or even China. The sky’s the limit. Our wide gaze may occasionally blind us to our view of what is happening nearby in our own country. At least that is my explanation for why I actually knew so little about the product to be reviewed now: the active speakers of the completely Dutch company Dutch & Dutch, the 8c (‘s). By coincidence, halfway through last year, when visiting a music lover who had a nice pair of speakers for sale from a brand well known to me, I came across a new audio brand. The host in question had meanwhile provided himself with new loudspeakers from the brand that is now the focus here. Listening to the speakers was not possible there at that time, because nothing was connected yet. But that gentleman assured me that we were dealing with something special here. My interest was aroused.
Not much later (coincidence doesn’t exist, right?) a bit of a buzz started on a number of hi-fi forums around and a number of Dutch manufacturers of active loudspeakers. Let’s name names and numbers. Grimm Audio, Kii Three and… Dutch & Dutch. The first two I knew, impressive sound reproducers yes, the third not. Anyway, what was the buzz about? First of all, about the fact that ‘just’ three Dutch audio companies with three top products played in the premier league of active speakers. And two: who is actually the best of the three? And point three was actually why the third party was so little in the limelight. Well, I thought that last comment was correct. Do something about it! And start with yourself…
How we make the room disappear
After some searching on the internet I soon came across one of the makers and co-owners of the company. Martijn Mensink is his name and an appointment was quickly made for a review. In fact, he came to bring and install the speakers himself. See, that’s how I like it. And that in itself is astonishing. Because yes, the intrinsic qualities of a sound reproducer is one thing, but the playing field in which the product has to operate is another facet. And that is precisely the operating field where Dutch & Dutch wants to make the – different – difference. Or as the marketing department of D&D previously proclaimed: ‘How we make the room disappear’. Now I am very satisfied with my own living room, so I hope that that living space will not be gone forever after the installation of the D&D speakers. But seriously: the theory behind this was and is the removal of all disturbing factors in the relevant listening room. Of course that sounds fantastic and yes, as I have now learned, if something sounds fantastic on paper, it must be disappointing in practice, right? That may be a bit too strong a word, but the adage ‘First hear and then believe’ is highly regarded here. But to be honest, I am very curious how my listening room will come out acoustically and whether a lot of correction from the speaker system will be necessary. then it must be disappointing in practice, right? That may be a bit too strong a word, but the adage ‘First hear and then believe’ is highly regarded here. But to be honest, I am very curious how my listening room will come out acoustically and whether a lot of correction from the speaker system will be necessary. then it must be disappointing in practice, right? That may be a bit too strong a word, but the adage ‘First hear and then believe’ is highly regarded here. But to be honest, I am very curious how my listening room will come out acoustically and whether a lot of correction from the speaker system will be necessary.
Somewhere in mid-December Martijn will drop by the speakers. We are now in quite a lockdown. ‘A maximum of one person on the floor’ has come into effect and we must therefore keep sufficient distance as a precaution. I help with unloading and at a certain point Martijn asks me to take the loudspeakers out of the ‘sealed’ packaging boxes. Why? There is a QR code on the boxes and Martijn is curious if I would see it. Not so. As usual I do as much as possible on ‘routine’ and forget to follow the directions on the box. The QR code leads you to a video that shows you the unpacking perfectly. ‘Point to take with you’, Martijn notes. The heavy speakers – 26 kilograms each – are packed incredibly carefully. I will now leave the rest of the work to my guest. Because the placement and adjustment of the speakers, that is what Martijn mainly came for. First of all, I am asked what my favorite listening position in the listening room is. From there, the two active speakers are then put in place. That is not much different from the place where I normally have my own speakers. Maybe (even) a little closer to the wall behind it. There’s definitely a reason, which I’m going to call that.
In the end, there was one artist with one song that made everything clear. Bob Dylan was allowed to show up again. With a 24 bit 88 Khz recording of the song Man in the long black coat from hard disk via my own DAC, the two 8c speakers from Dutch & Dutch were allowed to show what they really had. This session took place on a late February evening. While I looked outside at a crystal-clear starry sky and the temperature had already dropped far below zero, the sound of crickets slowly but clearly rose inside my living room. In my head, the setting went to a rocking chair on a porch somewhere in the deep south of America. The soothing sound of the crickets is disturbed by the echoing sound of the Dobro played by Daniel Lanois. The tension is further heightened when suddenly the shrill sound of a harmonica flies through it. Silence follows, after which Dylan sings almost staccato, rapping. “There was dust on the man in the long black coat”. You can see it in front of you, but I seem to hear it too. Dylan just sings a song. But these speakers in my living room prove how unusually beautiful something like this can sound.
Conclusion – Dutch & Dutch 8c
With the 8c, Dutch & Dutch has launched a great active speaker on the market. Due to the possibility of sound adjustment, this speaker knows how to get the optimal sound from your listening room. You can make that adjustment yourself, but Dutch & Dutch recommends having the dealer do it. That should be enough for many people who have less technology, but everything with the best music experience at home, to seriously consider these speakers, despite the also serious price tag of almost twelve thousand euros. They are worth it.
Price of Dutch & Dutch 8c:
Dutch & Dutch 8c € 11.950 per pair