Introduction: Dynaudio’s Trailblazing Approach
In a world increasingly dominated by music streaming, Dynaudio emerges as a pioneer within the realm of high-end audio technology. Among the first to venture into the audiophile-grade smart speaker market, Dynaudio’s Focus 30 streaming speakers serve as a testament to their unwavering commitment to innovation. While the convenience of smartphone music streaming with quality headphones is undeniable, the true sonic magic unfurls when these melodies breathe life into living room speakers. With a simple tap within popular apps like Tidal, Spotify, or Roon, the kaleidoscope of music opens up within seconds. This paradigm shift has ushered in an era where dedicated speakers redefine how we savor our favorite tunes in the comfort of our homes, and Dynaudio’s Focus 30 stands at the forefront of this evolution.
|Dynaudio Focus 30|
|Concept:||DSP equalized, 2.5-way streaming active box|
|Equipment:||HT = 1 x 29 mm (Cerotar), TMT = 2 x 14 cm (MSP membrane)|
|Power of the 2 amplifier:||2 x 180 watts (bass), 1 x 110 watts (treble)|
|rec. max. room size:||25 square meters|
|Inputs (primary speakers)||1 x RCA (analog), 1 x Coax (digital), Ethernet, Bluetooth|
|Connection between the boxes:||wireless or wired (RCA)|
|Color variants:||Black High Gloss, White High Gloss, Blonde Wood and Walnut Wood|
|Dimensions (W x H x D):||26.8 × 94.7 × 34.2 cm (including foot)|
|Weight:||16.2 kilos (piece)|
Embracing the Era of Music Streaming
In an age where the heartbeats of music streaming resonate with contemporary culture, Dynaudio’s foray into this auditory frontier is nothing short of visionary. As smartphones and headphones revolutionize personal listening experiences, the true essence of music unfolds when these audio landscapes are channeled through speakers gracing our living spaces. A simple touch within apps like Tidal, Spotify, or Roon transports us into a vibrant realm of music, and dedicated speakers emerge as the gateways to this auditory wonderland. With the Focus 30, Dynaudio not only embraces the streaming revolution but also elevates it to an audiophile level, offering a gateway to a realm where musical fidelity and convenience harmoniously coexist.
Dynaudio’s Rich Legacy and Expertise
Dynaudio boasts a rich history in loudspeaker manufacturing, with decades of experience in crafting high-quality audio solutions. Founded in 1977 in Skanderborg, Denmark, the company initially offered individual chassis components for DIY speaker builders. Over time, they transitioned into producing complete speaker systems and established themselves as leaders in the professional recording studio, home audio, and automotive sound system sectors.
Elegance Meets Performance: The Focus Series: The Dynaudio Focus series, including the Focus 30, exemplifies a perfect blend of aesthetics and performance. With its clean, straight-line design, it seamlessly fits into various living spaces. The speakers are available in four attractive finish options: “Black High Gloss,” “White High Gloss,” “Blonde Wood,” and “Walnut Wood.”
Exploring the Dynaudio Focus 30
The Dynaudio Focus 30 is the middle model in the series, offering a compact floor-standing design that’s just 90 centimeters tall and weighs approximately 15 kilograms. It features two 14-centimeter woofers and a 28-millimeter fabric dome tweeter on the narrow front panel. While it appears as a 3-way speaker, it operates as a 2.5-way system, leveraging both 14-centimeter drivers for low frequencies up to 220 Hertz and utilizing the tweeter above 2,500 Hertz.
The speaker’s Esotec+ woofers/midrange drivers, a product of decades of refinement, use a magnesium silicate polymer with low weight and excellent dimensional stability. The lightweight aluminum voice coils and advanced suspension components contribute to their impressive performance. The tweeter, inspired by the top-tier Esotar 3, features a Hexis mechanism to eliminate unwanted resonances.
The Focus 30 employs a closed housing for its bass-midrange drivers, each powered by a 280-watt amplifier with DSP-based equalization. Special high-pass filters protect the drivers at high volumes, with 110 watts dedicated to the tweeter. In addition to its active electronics, the main speaker houses various connectivity options, including Toslink and coaxial digital inputs, RCA analog inputs, and provisions for an external subwoofer.
Design and Build Quality: Exemplifying Elegance and Precision
Dynaudio’s Focus 30 streaming speakers are a true embodiment of understated elegance and meticulous craftsmanship. These compact floor-standing speakers stand at a height of 90 centimeters and boast a slender width of just 18 centimeters at the front, making them a tasteful addition to any living space. Available in four distinct surface finishes – “Black High Gloss,” “White High Gloss,” “Blonde Wood,” and “Walnut Wood” – the Focus 30 effortlessly integrates into diverse interior aesthetics while adding a touch of sophistication.
The attention to detail in the construction of these speakers is remarkable. Dynaudio’s legacy in speaker design and construction, dating back to its founding in 1977, shines through in the Focus 30. The cabinet, designed for optimal sound performance, features a meticulously crafted loudspeaker basket made of die-cast aluminum. This material not only imparts impressive torsional rigidity but also ensures minimal resonance, allowing the speaker to produce clean, distortion-free sound. The high-quality materials extend to the driver components as well. The Esotec+ woofers/midrange drivers, exclusive to Dynaudio, are constructed from a magnesium silicate polymer known for its lightweight nature, high dimensional stability, and minimal resonance. These drivers are a testament to Dynaudio’s four decades of refinement in driver technology, resulting in precise and clear midrange and bass reproduction.
Tradition meets innovation in the tweeter design, as Dynaudio continues to employ silk fabric – renowned for its lightness and internal damping qualities – in the Cerotar fabric tweeter. This tweeter, inspired by the top-tier Esotar 3 model, incorporates a Hexis mechanism that effectively suppresses unwanted resonances, ensuring a pristine high-frequency performance.
The Focus 30 doesn’t just excel in aesthetics and driver technology; it’s also a marvel of engineering. It employs a 2.5-way speaker design, featuring two 14-centimeter woofers and a 28-millimeter fabric dome tweeter. This configuration provides an impressive frequency response, with both woofers operating in parallel to deliver ample membrane surface area for the low frequencies up to 220 Hertz. Above 200 Hertz, only the upper woofer operates, ensuring a broad midrange dispersion. Finally, at 2,500 Hertz, the dome tweeter takes over to deliver crisp and detailed high frequencies.
The build quality extends beyond the visible components to the internal electronics. Each bass-midrange driver is equipped with a dedicated 280-watt power amplifier with digital signal processing (DSP) for precise equalization. To protect the drivers from damage at high volumes, a specialized “sliding” high-pass filter reduces woofer deflection in the limit range. For the tweeter, a substantial 110 watts of power ensure clear and dynamic high-frequency reproduction. These internal components reflect Dynaudio’s commitment to delivering not only remarkable sound quality but also durability and longevity.
In essence, the Dynaudio Focus 30 is a harmonious blend of aesthetic finesse and precision engineering, showcasing the brand’s unwavering dedication to producing speakers that not only sound exceptional but also stand as pieces of functional art within your living space.
Setting Up the Dynaudio Focus 30
Integrating the Focus 30 into your wireless network is a straightforward process. The speakers enter connection mode upon power-up, allowing easy recognition and activation through Dynaudio’s “Set-Up and Control App.” The app offers advanced settings, including subwoofer integration, analog input sensitivity adjustments, volume control, and an option to deactivate the LED display for nighttime use.
For those who appreciate a minimalist aesthetic, the included front covers can be omitted. Interestingly, the Dynaudio app detects the absence of these covers and automatically applies appropriate equalization to compensate for any loss of treble caused by their absence, demonstrating an attention to detail.
The speakers were placed at standard listening positions, typically around 2.50 meters from the listening area. Thanks to Roon Ready certification, the Dynaudio Focus 30 can seamlessly integrate with Roon, simplifying control and playback. Alternatively, users can utilize the Roon app, a Roon Nucleus, or a Tidal account as a streaming source, with sound data delivered via a Mutec MC3+USB acting as a control center and jitter suppressor.
Optimizing Sound with Dirac Live
A notable feature for audiophiles and sound enthusiasts is the option to fine-tune the speakers to suit your specific listening room using Dirac Live. The Focus 30 is one of the few active loudspeakers designated as “Dirac Live Ready,” enabling precise adjustments to optimize sound quality based on room acoustics. Investing in a Dirac Live license (available for 150 euros, covering the 20-500 Hz range) unlocks the potential for significant improvements.
With setup complete, it was time for the crucial listening test. The Dynaudio Focus 30, positioned slightly angled toward the listening area, underwent a comprehensive evaluation. Voice reproduction served as the initial benchmark for assessing the speaker’s character and tonality. Tracks like Patricia Barber’s “Touch Of Trash” and Diana Krall’s “The Girl In The Other Room” were selected for their tonal balance and vocal clarity.
Upon listening, the Focus 30 displayed a strikingly neutral tonal character. Compared to some speakers that tend to emphasize certain frequencies, the Focus 30 offered a beautifully clear and uncolored rendition of vocals. Without Dirac Live equalization, the speaker maintained clarity but occasionally exhibited some droning and imprecise bass notes.
Activating Dirac Live brought forth noticeable improvements, particularly in the bass. Individual bass notes became well-defined and distinct, transforming the listening experience. Furthermore, the soundstage appeared more organized, with instruments and vocals precisely positioned. While this enhanced clarity rendered a slightly two-dimensional quality, it contributed to a heightened sense of authenticity during playback.
A similar transformation occurred with Diana Krall’s tracks. Without equalization, the Focus 30 provided good sound, but the addition of Dirac Live yielded even greater benefits. Piano notes and vocals gained newfound clarity and precision, resulting in a more relaxed and engaging listening experience. “Authenticity” best described this perceptible improvement, making it easier to immerse oneself in the music without the distraction of recorded artifacts.
Notably, Dirac Live proved most effective in refining the bass response. A noteworthy example was Peter Weniger’s “Half Live,” featuring a heavily recorded electric bass. While the uncorrected sound exhibited some booming and heaviness at the listening position, Dirac Live corrected these issues, resulting in a clean, crisp bass and the impression of extended bass depth.
Sound Test: A Sonic Masterpiece
When it comes to evaluating the sonic performance of the Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers, one is immediately greeted with an auditory experience that reflects the pinnacle of audio engineering. These speakers demonstrate their prowess across various musical genres, delivering sound that is nothing short of spectacular.
The most striking characteristic of the Focus 30 is its captivating neutrality. These speakers possess the rare quality of being nearly “characterless” in their sound reproduction, meaning they faithfully convey the nuances and intricacies of the recording without adding any discernible coloration. This purity in sound is a testament to the meticulous engineering behind them. Whether you’re listening to Patricia Barber’s “Touch Of Trash” or Diana Krall’s “The Girl In The Other Room,” you’ll notice a finely balanced tonality with clear and open midrange frequencies. Even challenging high-frequency elements like sibilant “S” sounds are reproduced with exceptional clarity and without harshness. This transparency is especially apparent when using Dirac Live room correction, which further refines the bass response and enhances the overall clarity of the audio.
One standout feature of the Focus 30 is its ability to handle bass frequencies with incredible precision. Without equalization, these speakers provide a solid bass foundation, but Dirac Live optimization takes the bass performance to another level. Individual bass notes become well-defined and meticulously articulated, eliminating any sense of muddiness or overpowering resonance. This is particularly evident in recordings with pronounced bass elements, such as Peter Weniger’s “Half Live.” With Dirac’s correction, the bass becomes tight and controlled, allowing for an even deeper and more detailed presentation.
The soundstage created by the Focus 30 is expansive and immersive. The stage is well-defined, and the imaging is remarkably accurate. Vocalists and instruments are precisely placed within the soundstage, allowing the listener to discern every subtle detail of the recording. Whether you’re enjoying jazz, classical, or rock music, these speakers excel in faithfully reproducing the spatial aspects of the recordings, enveloping you in a captivating sonic landscape.
In comparison to other speakers in its price range, such as the KEF LS60 Wireless and the Genelec 8351B, the Focus 30 holds its ground admirably. It strikes a balance between the agility and clarity of the KEF and the detailed precision of the Genelec. This unique position makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a versatile speaker that can handle a wide range of musical genres while maintaining a level of authenticity that makes you feel like you’re attending a live performance.
In conclusion, the Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers are a sonic masterpiece. Their ability to deliver transparent and neutral sound, coupled with the transformative impact of Dirac Live room correction, ensures an unparalleled listening experience. Whether you’re a discerning audiophile or someone who simply appreciates high-quality audio, the Focus 30 sets a new standard for what streaming speakers can achieve, offering a rich and immersive soundstage that draws you deeper into the heart of your music.
Comparing the Dynaudio Focus 30 to other speakers in its price range, such as the KEF LS60 Wireless and the Genelec 8351B, unveiled distinctive qualities. The Focus 30 demonstrated a slightly more nimble and clear midrange, akin to the KEF, with a similarly expansive soundstage. In contrast, the Genelec positioned the musical elements closer to the listener, emphasizing intricate details in recordings.
All three speakers performed well in terms of bass depth, with the KEF potentially generating a few additional decibels. However, none of them necessitated the addition of a subwoofer.
Final Thoughts on the Dynaudio Focus 30
In conclusion, the Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers left a lasting impression. Their compact floor-standing design is perfectly suited for various living spaces, delivering impressive sound down to 30 Hertz and accommodating high listening volumes in typical room sizes.
What truly sets the Focus 30 apart is its almost “characterless” sound quality—an accolade in the world of audio. It faithfully reproduces music without imparting any noticeable coloration, allowing listeners to experience their favorite tracks as intended by the artists.
As a crowning touch, Dynaudio incorporates Dirac Live Ready functionality into the Focus 30 (and other Focus series models), further enhancing the overall package. While some may hesitate at the additional 250-euro cost for the room correction license and the need for a measuring microphone, this investment is well worth it. Dirac Live provides a powerful toolset to address bass-related room acoustic challenges, significantly elevating the Focus 30’s performance. With a bit of patience in fine-tuning your “home curve,” you’ll uncover the true potential of these speakers—where the focus remains firmly on the superb audio quality, rather than on room acoustics.
- Outstanding Sound Quality: The Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers offer impeccable sound quality with a neutral and transparent audio reproduction, allowing you to hear the subtlest nuances in your music.
- Dirac Live Room Correction: The inclusion of Dirac Live room correction technology is a significant advantage. It allows you to optimize the speakers for your specific listening environment, eliminating bass resonances and improving overall clarity.
- Compact and Elegant Design: These speakers are designed to seamlessly blend into your living space. Their compact size and sleek design in various finish options make them aesthetically pleasing additions to any room.
- Wide Soundstage: The Focus 30 creates an expansive and immersive soundstage, ensuring that music fills the room and provides a captivating listening experience.
- Versatile Connectivity: With multiple digital and analog inputs, as well as wireless capabilities through WiSa, the Focus 30 offers flexibility in connecting to various audio sources, including streaming services, digital sources, and analog components.
- High Cost: The Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers are relatively expensive, making them a significant investment for most users.
- Room Correction Complexity: While Dirac Live offers significant benefits, its setup and calibration process may be complex for some users, requiring additional hardware and software.
- Limited Color Options: While the available finish options are stylish, the selection is somewhat limited compared to other speakers in this price range.
- Requires Quality Source Material: To fully appreciate the capabilities of these speakers, high-quality audio source material is essential. Low-bitrate or compressed audio files may not showcase their full potential.
- Size and Placement: The Focus 30’s compact size may limit its ability to reproduce extremely deep bass frequencies, potentially necessitating the addition of a subwoofer for those seeking extended low-end performance in larger rooms. Additionally, achieving optimal placement for the best sound quality may be challenging in some room configurations.
In summary, the Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming speakers offer exceptional sound quality and versatility but come with a premium price tag and some considerations related to room correction complexity and room size limitations. Careful consideration of your audio needs and budget is advisable when contemplating these speakers.