Each of these speakers is highly competent and in fact highly rated by many. What you're going to get, in large part, is a sequence of posts from people who favor one over the other two; few of them will have had the opportunity to hear all three, and those that have, have arrived at their own preference based on their own set of ears. That's the problem with this kind of thread. You could run a simple poll, but different forums have members with different preferences. Based on my observation of the 'gon, you'll receive most votes for Vandersteen, followed closely by Magico, with Dynaudio trailing somewhat. From what you say, I assume you're arrived at this shortlist based on reviews, etc., rather than direct listening. The problem is of course that there are probably makes and models out there that you would prefer over all three if you had the opportunity to hear them.
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but to be fair to OP, i love my Vandersteen Treo CT in Ambrosia Maple.....sweet, detailed but not hyper etched fatigue....same tweeter and midrange as the $14 k Quattro in a cabinet you can get closer to back wall with. Suprised with the low end performance with just a 40 wpc NAIM amplifier - although I have heard them with > 100 wpc Rogue tube power....
two dealers on East Coast I can recommend without reservation are John R at Audio Connection in NJ and Alan Jones at HiFi Buys in Atlanta..
enjoy the music!,,,,,
Dynaudio introduced new drivers for the Contour line (I think it was this one) in the 2018 Munich show. These speakers may not be available yet but if I were in the market for Dynaudio I would want to check out those new drivers, since people were posting good things about them from the show.
I am going to check out the Magico A3 (2-3 hours) tomorrow and then also go to another store a few miles away where Richard Vandersteen will demo some gear. This is all in Southern California.
I auditioned the Contour 60s a few weeks ago. It's an imposing speaker (height). It's also highly competent, in a mainstream modern-speaker-design sort of a way, but it didn't do anything for me. My litmus test is whether I want to stuff them in the back in the station wagon and drive away that very afternoon...
I have heard all three. I owned the Treo's and LOVED them. I sold them to an AG member who also loves them. I upgraded to the Quatro as I wanted the bass control and more powerful bass for my room. The steen's are just so clear. Micro and macro detail in spades as they have no smearing. They are one of the best I've ever heard in regards to tonality. I listen to a lot of live music and feel the Steen's are as close in their price ranges as you can get. The other speakers are very nice and I can see how you came to look at these three. I agree with Tomic IRT Johny Rutan or Alan Jones. Also the Vandersteen Treo CT's can be set within 12" of the back wall if needed.
@yyzsantabarbara I did not get to Sunny's in time to hear Vandersteen give his talk or Audience give theirs. I was at another dealer, Brooks Berdan, engrossed with the Magico A3. I spent 4 hours there instead of the planned 2 hours.
I did manage to arrive in time to Sunny's to hear a few songs from the Vivid Kaya 90 speaker, about $26K. It sounded very much like the Giya Spirit speaker I heard demoed by Philip O'Hanlon at the previous LA SHOW I went to. The Kaya was a very nice speaker and sounds a bit like the KEF Blade. I was not in a good seating position to write anymore about it but you can tell it was a great sound speaker. It was driven by NAD amps worth about $10K.
I had a better position to hear the Vandersteen Treo CT driven by an all Bryston system. This was a Bryston demo, by Gary Dayton. The amp was the 4B3 and pre was the BP26. There was also an Vandersteen sub-woofer added to the mix, occasionally turned off. This was also a very good sounding system. A lot cheaper than the Vivid speaker I heard a few minutes earlier. It had a lot of bass without the sub but adding the sub really added more body to the music. I have had Bryston gear in the past and the 4B3 sounded to me like an improvement on my 7B-SST amps. I also heard the Bryston 7B3 driving some Eggelston speakers and it sounded similar in character to the 4B3 (this was after the Treo).
I was not able to able to do the listening tests with the Treo that I was able to do with the A3. I was alone with the dealer for the A3 and the Treo was demoed in an area packed with people. One test that is important to me is listening at low volumes without a loss in resolution. The A3 passed this test in spades while the Treo was not tested this way. The Treo seemed like a speaker that would fit into my smallish office. The A3 also works in the smallish space I will have, 150 - 200 sq feet. The Treo was demoed in a smaller space than the A3.
The other characteristics I wanted to hear were evident in the A3 after some gear switching and music selections to identify them. I did not have the music choice or one-on-one time to dive deep into the Treo. So I really do not know exactly what the Treo was capable of. I do not want to get into more details on what I was looking for because someone may think the Treo was not good at these things. I just was not able to test for them in the manner I did with the A3. The music played was not good for me to hear the things I was looking for. I was also not familiar with a lot of this music.
Saying all of this. I do not have time to do more audio searching and I already spend too much time on Audiogon researching what I should get for the office. The Magico A3 is not the best speaker I have heard that I thought I could be happy with, the KEF Blade and Thiel CS 3.7 were higher up on my like scale. However, given my situation, with room, the way I listen to music and the amount of hours I listen. I have decided to buy the Magico A3. It will likely take about 6 months before I get them into my home. They are backordered and I am moving in 3 months. So I will place an order in early 2019. I am listing my existing office system for sale today to fund the A3.
Not sure what electronics I will use but I have a few analog pieces that need to come out of storage, so I am thinking of an integrated amp. I have been doing all digital for the past few years.
Magico A3s sounded wonderful with several electronics at the last Axpona.Magico sold out of these speakers at $9800.00 a pair they sold over 750 pairs world wide this should tell you something.I think they are a great buy at this price level however its your system and your money so its up to you.Enjoy!!
Thanks everyone for the posts. Very interesting perspectives and I think it probably makes sense to bite the bullet and take a day to travel to listen to the Magicos and Vandersteens. Not sure it will help since it won't be an A/B test (probably will be impressed with both) but at least I will have listened prior to plunking down the dough.