Dynaudio Contour 20 impressions


I'm in the market for a new pair of speakers.  My current speakers are Gemme Audio Tanto mk1s, and basically I'm just looking for something different and for a significant upgrade.  They are very good speakers but it's time to move up to something different.

Few speakers I plan to audition are:
Paradigm Persona 3F
Elac FS 507 (if I find it anywhere)
Proac D40R
Totem Earth
Monitor Audio PL 200 mk1 or mk2
Focal Sopra 1
PMC Fact 8 or 12
Endeavor E3

Of course most these speakers are nowhere to be found around the NYC/NJ area.  So I called up a few of the stores to see what they had, specifically Bright Audio Video to audition the Totem Earths.  They didn't have those set up, but they did have Dynaudio Contour 20s.  Since the new Contour 30s are in line with what I'm looking for, I figured I should check these out.  I should say that my first pair of high quality speakers were Dynaudio Focus 140s, and while very high res, I was never a big fan of them.  They were dark and compressed sounding and never quite opened up.  I remember hearing the Totem Model 1 Signatures and somehow ended up with the Dynaudios, and never quite got over the sound staging capabilities of the Totems, which I could never get out of the Dynaudios.

With that said, I took my list of songs and went into the store to check out the redesigned Contours.

They are a beautifully designed, finished, largish monitors.  Very well finished and engineered.  I listened to Muddy Waters, BB King and Eric Clapton, Tracy Chapman, Air France (electronic), Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dire Straits, few of the audiophile vocal tracks like Spanish Harlem etc.

Whatever I threw at them, the speakers handled extremely well.  I'm pretty familiar with the tracks I was listening to.  The soundstage for Muddy Waters' 'Folk Singer' was spacious, clarity was phenomenal, imaging was fantastic.  Bela Fleck's 'Flight of the Cosmic Hippo' has a very interesting bass intro which goes down very deep and can be torterous for speakers, and an extremely busy structure overall, they handled this track with authority. The bass went down deep and low, well controlled, all the instruments were well separated and melodious.

I'd say overall resolution and imaging were these speakers' strengths, everything sounded clear and well separated, and deep. The sound was dynamic and sounded good at low volumes, and extremely good as volume was turned up (one of my issues with the old Focus 140s, didn't sound good at low volumes). And of course depending on the track they sounded warm and musical as well as rocking.  I was very impressed and certainly now the Contour 30s are on my list of speakers.

Just as a comparison point, we also checked out Totem Skys, and these little speakers held their own quite well. They weren't as high res or had the body of the Dyns, didn't go down as deep.  But once you got over the initial A/B difference, and settled into listening to them, they were very impressive as well.

Accompanying gear: Mytek Brooklyn Dac playing MQA and flac files into Primaluna tube integrated. No idea about cables (I am not a believer on that front).

As a side note, anyone pointing me to where in the NYC/NJ area I oculd check out some of the speakers on my list would be great, as well as if there are other similar smallish floor standers I should be looking at.  I'm primarily looking for small 3 ways, preferably with ribbon tweeters.
nitewulf
Of course it's always good to audition as many as you can, but I wouldn't buy any of those without listening to a set of Legacy Audio Classic HD.  Ribbon tweeter, along with great mids and actual 30Hz bass extension.

If you can go up to the  $7K price range, the Legacy Signature SE is extremely hard to beat, as it gets you the Air Motion ribbon tweeter and mid tweeter.
I highly recommend you go and see Johnny at Audio Connection in Verona NJ. In my opinion Johnny is the best audio dealer in New Jersey or New York. He knows good sound.  I've been to all the shops in NYC (Lyric, In Living Stereo, Sound by Singer, Innovative Audio) and was not impressed.  Johnny carries Proacs but I'm not sure if he has the D40R for demo.  While your there, give the Vandersteen Treo CTs a listen.  I also considered most of the brands you noted but at the end, I ended up purchasing the Vandersteen Treo CT.   Although these speakers don't use a ribbon tweeter they do use a carbon tweeter, the same tweeter used in the Vandersteen 7s. Just a great speaker for its price.  Good luck!
I have heard the Endeavor E-3 at the Axpona last year. I loved them. I recommend Axpona as a great way to audition tons of gear.

mtrot, right on...I auditioned the Legacy Signature SEs and they are brilliant! They were not even on my radar! They are certainly in the short list now.  

nycjlee, I'll need to make a trip to Audio Connection to audition the ProAcs and Vandersteens.  
Not like you need more speakers added to your list but add ATC to it anyway
Intensemojo, are you referring to any particular model? I'm mostly looking at small floorstanders.