Dynaudio vs. Focal - Bookshelfs - Help me Decide!


Hi - first post here and trying to decide between the twice as expensive Dynaudio Special 40 and the Focal 906 bookshelf speakers. I've heard both (in different systems, different dealers) but since a month went by in between visits, I cannot say for sure that the Dyn S40s sounded twice as good and warrant paying $3,000 vs. $1,500 price tag.  These are my top 2 contenders. 

Anyone else compare these 2?  My room is 12 wide by 20 long, using 250 wpc hafler modded DH500 and Vincent tube preamp. I do have a PSB sub I can use as well. 

If I do spend $3,000 range, then perhaps the choice is between the Floorstander Focal 926 vs. the Dyn S40 bookshelf. I'd appreciate any advice, anyone who has owned these, or compared these at the same dealer side by side. Thanks very much !!
kansas400
I agree with your assessment that the 906 competes very favorably against the Special 40 (which I also like). 

In this case, I'd go 926 allllll day over the Special 40.  The 926 is also the perfect speaker to get a really nice "full range" sound in your room size.
Ok thank you and yes the full range sound and sound stage from floor stander would be best. So next decision point may be - are the 926 Focal Arias $2,000 better than the 726 chorus floorstanders? I really liked the 706, so the 726 would be the floorstander model at about $1,300 new. Some have also commented that the 7 series had a nice (not bright) tweeter which I would favor.  Anyone heard the 926 side by side against the 726 chorus?

Thank you! 
Why would you not want to purchase the finest tweeter (Esotar Forty) and a mid range driver with the largest voice coil on the planet, that is inside the Special Forty is puzzling? Do not be fooled by the price difference, there is a reason the Dyns are twice as much. I would buy the better book shelf speakers and give them proper stands and a MUSICAL amplifier with power. Of course that will add to the cost of ownership. Adding a Sub (JL Audio, REL) would catapult this set up several levels higher than those focals as well. Over the long run the Dyns will be much more enjoyable to own and they are a special speaker indeed.

Matt M
@mattmiller  -- you haven't even heard the Focal 906 or 926 have you?  Don't lie....

@kansas400 The 726 are nice, but honestly the Arias are considerably better.
Contuzzi you havent heard the Dynaudio Special Forty, the facts speak for them selves. Focal’s lower end speakers vs Dynaudio Special Forty OK. Not to mention resale value is way higher with the Dyns later if you want to sell them.
Good points made, and just a comment that I tried my PSB towers in this smallish room and the bass tended to overwhelm the room, so the bookshelf idea like the S40s have good bass, but not overwhelming and can be paired with a sub to control bass vs. a floorstander. 

So the decision point could be S40s paired with a good sub vs. floorstander Aria like the 926 or 936. That would be an interesting audition but I don't have dealers around where I could actually pull this off! 
Just a bit more on my setup and I appreciate the advice; it's 100% music 2 channel system, 80% rock/jazz, 20% classical. I don't have enough room to place the speakers on the long wall - it's 12x20 so the speakers will have to go against the shorter 12ft wall. But I can bring them out from the back wall between 2-3 feet. I'm a little concerned that I can only bring them out from the side walls about 2 feet. The room is carpeted. 

I don't want just a 'studio monitor' pair, too analytical, bright, etc. I'd rather have some 'fun' factor in the speakers, very musical, non-fatiguing highs where I can listen for long periods.  Thank you! 


If you're in the $3k range there is a pair of Contour 20 w/stands listed here, not mine. He has them listed else where for $3500. I would get those over the 2 models you listed. 
Nice choices here, so nice problem to have.
I am always a big proponent of in home demos if you can swing it.

I agree with Matt M the Dynaudios have a lot "under the hood".
As a matter of fact I was convinced this was the right speaker for me too,

However the in home demo of the S40s wasn’t as special (For Me) as I expected.
Lots of factors could be playing into this so I’m not suggesting the S40s are not a great speaker.

Long story short - I bought the Kef LS50s and they hit the bulls eye for me.
My room is similar to yours 10 x 20 ish. I do have a subwoofer (Infinity) on slightly as the Kefs don’t have the big bass** I heard with the Dynaudios. So for me the Kefs were not on my radar initially but let me tell you they are excellent.

Doug

** I like tight bass but not too much. The Dyns I bet would sound better in a bigger room.

Interesting on the in-home trial of the S40 - what was your main issue with them when you got them home? Too much bass for a small room?  Finicky if near a wall, etc?  

I did compare the Kef 50s in store vs. Focal 706 and preferred the Focals; seemed easier to listen to vs. analytical so I guess my preference is in the Focal camp at this point unless others have similar suggestions.  Thanks  
If you want to spend less $$ the Dynaudio Emit M20s are a great bang for the buck. I still have a pair, it is what I’ve been using before the purchase of the Kefs. So far I don’t have the heart to sell them.
Just for curiousity if your dealer will allow it take the Kefs home you, you may have a different experience. I listened to the LS50s years ago (at a dealer) and at the time I was did not pursue them.

As far as the S40s they sounded more like floor standers in my room (i.e. too much). 3k is a lot of money for me so they had to be without questions and hesitations for me to pluck down the dough.
YMMV of course.

I've heard the 726 side by side to the 926. The 926's are vastly better. Tighter bass, far more resolved mid-range, more precisely extended highs. 
@kansas400 

A bit more not that I've got more time...

I bought my 936's sight unseen based on the strength of hearing the 948, 926, and 726. 

If you're a whore for stellar imaging depth and detail, good luck beating the 900 series. Few speakers touch them in that regard, especially at that price. For the price of my 936's I could have landed some 1008Be's. They would have suited some of my tastes, but I wanted the bottom end grunt the 936's provided. I have no regrets. Compared to the 726's? Yeah, they're that much better. The F cone is a major improvement over polyglass. Every aspect of the sounds is better. Better definition. Better imaging. Better tone. More neutral and revealing. Plus they are built vastly better. And no, they're not bright. Not even close, unless you decide to pair them with an amp that is bright to begin with. The 936's aren't bright with my F5 unless I run low bias through the output stage.