Dynaudio 1.3SE question

I'm looking for a pair of speakers, and was considering the Dynaudio 1.8Mk2 (great speaker), but have heard that the 1.3SE is much better (despite being a monitor). If I go with the 1.3SE, I will go used, so I don't want to bother my local dealer to listen to them. So, I have two questions:

1. Is the 1.3SE really that much better than the 1.8Mk2?

2. How does the 1.3SE compare with the Merlin TSM-M? I've never heard a Merlin, but have heard many good things, and am curious.

My music preferences include jazz, folk, rock, heavy metal, electronic... you name it. I actually live in an apartment, so the speakers have to fit into my living room. I'd eventually like to add a sub to the system, for the extra low end. I don't have electronics yet, because I'm waiting to decide on a pair of speakers. When I decide, I will try to build around the speakers. By the way, I also like "fast" speakers (at least I think that's the term)... in other words, I like a speaker that can articulate fast transients in the music, particularly quick percussion beats. I also like nice separation and "air" (it is difficult to describe sounds, isn't it?) and detail. I'd appreciate any input... by the way, this is a great resource for audio enthusiasts!

Dyna 1.3SE wins over 1.8MKII. I have ever owned 1.8 and audited 1.3SE. 1.3 can give amazing bass especially when pairing with the original silver colour stand.

1.8MKII sounds a bit doub comparing to 1.3SE, also need to mind the listening space. 1.3SE can handle smaller place.

Merlin is good in mid and high, but lose in bass delivery. For amp, I strongly recommend Jeff Rowland Concentra II, a very very good match with Dyna speakers. Last time audit was 1.3SE with Concentra II.

Anyway, I can get 1.3SE demo Bird Eye at my end. Let me know if you are interested.
I own the 1.8mkII. I agree that the 1.3se does have amazing bass for a monitor, but the 1.8mkII has amazing bass for a small floorstander. No matter how you look at it, if you want that last octive, you will have to add a sub to the 1.3se. I did not want to add a sub and found the 1.8 was a reasonable compromise. The 1.8 will not give you that deep deep lower half of the last octive, but it is noticeably heavier than the 1.3se. I found that no sub, even the excellent REL's can keep up with the speed of the contour line, thus there is always that un-natural disconnect that can be annoying with some types of music especially rock. The sub works great however, if all you listen to is classical. This choice between these 2 speakers is a personal one. Most people who opt for the 1.3se do so because they can live without that last octive, or don't mind the Sub combo. I found that the 1.3se only bettered the 1.8 when listening to music that was mainly vocal. I listen to mostly Jazz instrumental, some rock and some classical, so my choice was to get a little bit heavier bass and the rounder fuller sound I find in the 1.8.
I had the 1.3SE with a Concentra II, and didn't find it a great combo. Another guy on audioasylum had one with Ann 25s, and wasnt impressed.

I would look toward plinius or bat instead on integrateds...
Lafish, if I'm going with a monitor, I'm not sure how important deep bass is... as long as it's tight and quick.

Dmichael, which REL sub did you try? I've always heard that they were fast enough to keep up with most speakers... I've even heard they integrate well with electrostats and planars. Most of the music I listen to is similar to what you listen to, so in that sense I might be better off with the 1.8 (or another floorstander). However, I live in an apartment, and have very limited placement options (although the actual living room is pretty large). Aren't most monitors easier to place than floorstanders?

Keith, I was actually leaning toward the Plinius integrated. Is the BAT (which model?) in the same price range (preferably used)? In your opinion, which one would fit my styles of music better? For that matter, what's your opinion on the 1.3SE (since you owned one)?

Thanks to everyone for the advice.
I like the Dynaudio line a lot - I own the 3.0's and have listened reasonably extensively to several other models. The 1.3SE is a wonderful monitor, and an excellent deal at the used prices they're available for. However, they do like power, the do need breathing room and they do open up a lot at louder volumes. I would not assume that they will be easier to place than the 1.8's - they'll want to be a ways out into the room.

The 1.8 is the easiest of the Contour line to drive. I have a friend who owns a pair and he uses 100 w/ch, tho originally he had only 50 w/ch, and he gets excellent sound. I saw a quote once from a Dynaudio rep saying the 1.8 was the one to go with if you wanted to use tubes. Anyway, you quite likely would find the 1.8 just as easy to place, easier to drive and to sound better at lower volume levels.

One thing I really like about the Dynaudio line is that they're very versatile speakers - I like a broad range of genres and mine sound good on the wide variety.
Kthomas, I agree with you. The Dynaudio is a very versatile speaker! That's one of the things that draws me to them... plus the fact that they sound very open and detailed. The bass is also pretty tight and fast on Dyns (when fed enough power!). I'm just curious about all the other speakers I've never heard!

I do not remember which model REL I listened to. It was probably the strata, but I can't say for sure. It was combined with the 1.3(non-se). Again, I did not like the combination. I have read here in another recent thread that the B&W805N integrates very well with the strata and storm. I would further investigate this match if you're intent on getting a sub/monitor system. Also, the 805 is front ported which may provide more flexible placement than either of the Dyn's. I agree with Kthomas that the 1.3 may not be any easier than the 1.8's to place. Depending on the room/furniture, pay attention to the port height, with the 1.8 it will be very close to the floor, 1.3 will be much higher(close to 3 feet). I think you may like the 805/REL best. Let us know if you get a chance to hear these paired.
Dmichael, do you have the 1.8's in a large area? How do you have them placed?


I haven't heard the BAT 300xSE which is the new integrated (priced from 4k-6k new depending on options--I would go for remote and SE pre so 5500). However, speaking to BAT, they think it is an excellent match for the S25s (what i was going to purchase) and were quite high on Dynaudio (and he was pretty brutally honest about stuff he liked/disliked). It has 150 watts of power, and apparently had no strain driving Thiel 7.2s. The BAT sound might take a bit of bite off the top end, as Dyns are truly know to be very detailed speakers (but definitely not bright). I used a Cary SLP98 as a pre for my 1.3SEs, and it worked very well I thought.

As far as the 1.8 vs the 1.3SE, it's not even close. The 1.3SE is the superior speaker. The 1.3SE is 88 into 6ohms, which isn't terribly tough on an amplifier, although 100watts is what I would pair them with.

BTW, I encourage you to scout out the new Avantgarde Solos---would be perfect for your musical tastes. Feell free to email me offline if you have other questions btw.

The 1.3SE is probably one of their better speakers. It does not necessarily need a sub unless you want floor shaking bass or if your room is large, say more than 15 x 25 feet. At that point I suggest a REL and make sure you set it up correctly. Its bass response is accurate and quite good as is. Good stands will be important.
Thanks for all the responses. I ended up going with Green Mountain Audio Continuum 1.5's.

Dennis - when you've had a chance to really experience your purchase, please post your impressions. Congrats on your purchase. -Kirk
Thanks Dennis! I hope you enjoy them.
Call me if any questions arise. Also, yours may or may not have the upgraded crossover- need s/n's to know.

Best regards,
Roy Johnson
Green Mountain Audio
(719) 636-2500
Hope all is going well!

Tod Burros