The esotar tweeter is much better than the esotec tweeter. Only the floorstander of the Focus line uses the esotar IIRC.
That said the special 40 is kind of a weird animal, it uses prototype Esotar3 drivers, even more advanced than what's available with the Confidence C1 or Contour C20, but has a noisy, poorly braced enclosure, whereas I would expect the Focus 160 to have better build quality.
That said with proper room correction the Special 40 should sound better. But of course price is a concern too, I'm not sure you can get the Special 40 at the same price as the Focus 160.
@jeffersondavis There is a 1k difference where Special 40 a little bit expensive, I would love to have a wood veneer finish instead of glossy though, to add into the list, half the price of Special 40, it is ProAc Tablette 10 Signature another consideration.
I have not heard the Focus 160 but I bought a pair of the Focus 140s when they first came out. They were very good speakers at their price point, driven by Musical Fidelity A308 series integrated amp and cd player. I have recently listened to the Special 40s at a dealer. They are indeed special. If the Focus 160 is similar to the 140 but more of it, I would really lean to the Special 40s. I heard the Special 40s at Glenn Poor Audio in Champaign, Illinois with Technics amplifier, music server, and turntable. Very impressive sound for the size of speaker.
I have the special 40. Best monitor i ever owned. Magic with Gamut amplification.
I've owned both. The Special 40s do sound better but you really can't go wrong with either model. I still use the Special 40s and I'm convinced that I'd have to spend twice as much to find a monitor to best them. They play just about any type of music exceptionally well.
@simon oh, there are still better monitor than Special 40? I wonder...
I have heard the Special 40 at a dealer in Chicago who was driving them with some Simaudio electronics. They sounded fabulous. I cam imagine the bliss that @mountainsong must be experiencing with the Gamuts! These are really special monitors.
@wim1983 I would probably give up the Special 40s for a pair of Joseph Audio Pulsars.
I have owned Dynaudios from the Audience 52,52SE,Focus 110,Excite X14 & have demo’d the Special 40’s with my little Quad Tube amp....
The Excite series is MUCH better than the Focus...They are more natural with NO bass hump & easier to drive...The S40’s are IMO World Class Monitors and when driven by tubes absolutely sublime BUT IMO the Excite X18 is the ABSOLUTE value king of the line,especially if you find a gently used pair...
@simon The price of Joseph Audio Pulsar is double that of Dynaudio Special 40
@freediver What happen if I drive the speakers with solid state power amp?
I honestly have not heard a SS amp in many many years and I am NOT a fan of Class D anything...
IMO these speakers will be wasted without superb electronics..
I went to a local dealer event 2 weeks and the owner told me to keep an eye out for the special forty's.
We heard JBLs, Klipsch big horns and heresy and many others that night.
The last listening room was dynaudio. They had the special forty's and contour 60. Amps were Primare 60 series and a Dr feikert (spelling?) TT.
They introduced the speakers and started playing music and we all were just blown away. The low end was breath taking. We all assumed it was the towers. No. The special forty's.
These monitors are staggering.
I purchased the same pair the next day.
The red finish is beautiful.
I now have Primare Pre32 & A34.2 with the MM30 installed.
This is a great combo.
I can't recommend them highly enough.
Do you guys still feel strongly about the Special 40? Found a dealer offering a good price on existing inventory.
@stevenz,Have you got a chance to listen to the Special 40? It does not matter what people say here, cause it is "their" opinion. It is "your" money and hence it should solely be your decision. But I still stand by my opinion - these are really nice loudspeakers.
I haven't actually but I have heard the Focus 160 and some Excite models and quite liked them. I was hoping to see if you guys who have them are still satisfied in the long term.
Interesting that Stereophile mentioned cabinet resonance issues as nobody else has.
My intention with these are for music duties in my office. It's between the Special 40 and Harbeth P3ESR. Two different animals so a tough choice.
Two very good choices. I listened to both extensively.
My preference was for the Dynaudio. The bass response was superior. On large scale symphony and 60's classic rock the bass was missing on the Harbeth P3. Plus the amp worked a lot harder to get the sound to the same volume in my room.
Listen to both with the same music and you make the call. If your dealer(s) will allow in home demo, even better.
Would anyone consider the Special 40’s a potential endgame speaker?
Aside for increased bass response how did you find the mid-range between the two. Was the Dynaudio on par with the Harbeth? How about the imaging? Plan on pulling the trigger within a few days so hope to hear back. Thanks
I found the overall presentation was better on the dyn 40's, and of course that is my gear, my room and my music.
I liked the Harbeth, but I am now very glad I did not get them. On the times I want to listen to classic rock a big chunk of it was missing in action on the harbeths.
^^^And I completely disagree!I have lived with the Harbeth Monitor 30.1 driven by KT88/12AX7/12AU7 tubes long enough now to know they can ROCK out with the best!UFO,Thin Lizzy,Zepp you name it,NOTHING is lacking to my hearing.I don’t understand how anyone,in the right room,can want more from a speaker.I also clearly hear the difference between the Dynaudio & Harbeth which,to my ears is a plasticky veil on Dynaudio S40’s & below(haven’t heard higher models)that the Harbeth doesn’t have.Clearly the sound has an Electrostatic clarity the Dynaudio doesn’t have & they sound so much like my Planar Magnetic headphones it’s sometime scary.
I have been reading professional reviews of both speakers & some have eluded to midbass muddiness from cabinet resonance that Dynaudio tried & failed to voice out.Harbeth however,with the BBC voicing makes use of these resonances & I suspect that is the difference I hear.
End Game Speaker:Harbeth Monitor 30.1/30.2 in a smallish/medium treated room YES..
Dynaudio S40 in same room,MAYBE,if you never hear anything like Planar Magnetic headphones or speakers then no you will hear the difference.Also look at the gently used pricing,S40’s going for as low as $1750.00 so a big $ hit if you buy new & don’t like them.You will pay from about $3250.00-$3500.00 for a mint pair of 30.1's or about $4750.00 for mint 30.2’s & not lose a single $ on resale if you don’t like them.