My Line Arrays and Dynaudio monitor - where to go

I’m close to pulling the trigger on a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C1’s but I’m hesitant.

I was at the CES show in Vegas to listen to a variety of speakers. We (wife and I) came away with the feeling that we weren’t getting what we wished for in our current line array speakers. There seems to be an emotional bond to the music that just doesn’t get communicated in some types of music. Some speakers we heard at the CES show had a 3D holographic image that was just mesmerizing. In particular the Dynaudio monitor line and the Opera monitor. Vocals as well were realistic and the image was simply “you are there” quality and this was the line under the Confidence series. Also great were the Silverline Boleros.

The line arrays I have are great and an unbelievable bargain but sometimes feel that the sound staging which is rather flat, vocals which are less than human and overall high frequency energy which is a bit unbalanced IMHO.
A few days before the show I dropped my Oppo BDP83 SE player off with Rick Schultz of Tweakaudio for some additional mods. He offered a solution to the excessive HF energy by felting around all of the tweeter drivers, there are 12 of them. I allowed a few days of break in for the player (caps were involved in the mod) then felted around the drivers. Between the mods which were spellbinding by themselves and the felting (done afterwards), we have some amazing sound coming from the line arrays. These may be the most dynamic speakers I’ve ever heard and I’ve heard a lot of them. Now I seemed to have tamed the HF problem as well. Imaging had greatly improved though not nearly the level of the Dyns or other fine speakers we’ve listened too. Vocal too still aren’t to what I’d wish they be. As well these line arrays are giants, 28 drivers in all and reaching at least 6’ high. But these speakers swing dynamically with bass way down low and highs into the Netherlands.

Reading the reviews on the C1’s they appear to be a world class speaker with amazing bass capabilities given the right amplification. I use Nuforce 9 SEV2 monoblocks (soon to be V3’s) and a Cary SLP05 tube preamp. My amps will register 160 watts with a damping factor of 4000. The perform amazing bass duties on the line arrays, stunning in fact. The Dyn’s from what I’ve read need current. I’m unsure how current equates with the Nuforce’s. I’m unsure in fact in I won’t miss the dynamic capabilities of the line arrays. I thought if I missed the low bass on the C1’s and go locate a HQ sub which, doing double duty as a HT system, wouldn’t be a bad idea anyway.

Just curios what the knowledgeable folks in this forum thought about a speaker change and in particular the Dynaudio C1’s.
If you feel you need to change, you are on a good track.

Dynaudios are hard to beat and C1s are very good Dyns.

From the specs you provide on the Nuforce, I think your amp should do just fine as well.

I use a fairly juicy 120w/ch Musical Fidelity A3CR these days on my Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkiis and that is a very good pairing.
I have C1s and, when I first got them, also had Nuforce 9SE v2. I thought the two were not a good match and I sold the Nuforce. You may feel differently, and perhaps v3 will do the trick. I don't remember the specifics, but it just didn't sound right. Sorry to be the bearer of this news.
As a C1 owner all I can say is they are fantastic. The mids and the high end is the best I have ever heard. As far as the bass I do like having a sub. For what it's worth I have a Rel B3 and at first thought the Rel sounded 'slow' compared to the bass the C1s put out. I upgraded the sub cable to a nordost baseline and WOW what a difference. You may want to consider the C2s if you are worried about the bass. Also with the C2s you really need to be at least 9ft away from the speaker to sound good. Farther away is even better

As far as power I have a Bryston B100 integrated. My Dyn dealer would love for me to get more power but what I have noticed is the Dyns really sound the best at maximum loudness. That being said I rarely want the volume that loud. But you can't always look at watts. What I mean is the Naim xs (at 60w) will play the C1s louder than my 100w Bryston. The Dyns like current which isn't seen in most amp specs.

If at all possible see if you can get an in-home demo. Then you will know for sure.
Dynaudio are one of the very few companies that make their own drivers - you can't go far wrong with good quality Dyn's.
Drubin - Question?? How long did you have the C1s paired with the NuForce before you let it go?? I ask because I got my C1s new and they did sound great out of the box but after 100 to 150 hrs they sounded just horrible. My dealer told me they needed 300 - 400hr break in and he was right on the money. I had 2 pair of new C1s (long story) but the first pair took 350 hrs and the 2nd took 400 hrs got get broken in. It was well worth it. I will admit at the 100 - 150 hr mark I asked myself why did I get the Dyns.

Desalvo55 - If you do get new C1s be forewarned at some point you will be disappointed in them - You HAVE to give them TIME to break in properly. In the end you won't be sorry.
The Dyns C1 I'm looking at are used. I fully expect breakin periods - some are laughable and memorable. It's all good.

This is a crazy hobby as there are so many great speakers to choose from (if you have the budget;-)

Funny, I've been doing audio, serious audio for 44 years. Since I was fucking 10 when my audio nut Dad bought me a bi-directional Sony reel to reel. Coolest piece of equipment you've ever seen. Point is, I think my view has changed. My system "sounds" great, maybe better than that, to us, but.
Sometimes you can feel an emotional contact with the music you're playing. Something touches you in a different sense not so much analytical but a deeper sub-conscious feeling that stirs your inner self or soul or brain cells depending upon your interpretation. I think we're at the point where we would like to experience this level of soulfulness if you will, with a transducer that could get us there. I'm not sure if a line array will. The Sceana (doubt I spelled that right) has some serious competition with these line arrays I've screwed with. They sound great. I can't help but think something is missing. I'm growing tired of wondering what else I can do to make them image like what I've experienced.

Thanks to all who've replied to my posting! I pay a lot of attention to those who take the time to reply to my silly questions.
Line arrays simply cannot image like a point source type speaker, however, they are good at filling a space as the sound falls off less rapidly. They are the ideal design for stadiums.
Well I'm throwing caution to the wind and buying the C1's. They will stand next to the line arrays and do battle. I believe that a sub will be needed as we've been spoiled by the low base quality of the arrays.

I thought about the C2's but it didn't make sense for this reason. The C1's are doing double duty as a HT speaker. It might be better to have a separate sub to have at least a 2.1 system. I have a 5 channel amp (Halcro MC50) that sits silent wondering if will be called for duty one day. It's an amazing amp, different than the Nuforce's, smooth and silent, easy to listen to, where the Nuforce's hit the bass lines like no other I've heard in this watt category and have the airy extended highs, seemingly a wider dynamic range than the halcro. I just haven't wanted to give up the Halcro.
It should be a most interesting comparison! Please keep us posted!
Xti16 -- to answer your question, I bought my C1s used, so I don't think it a break in issue.
Congrats on the C1s - they are amazing. The worst problem I have with them is listening seriously during the week after work. That's because I don't want to stop listening and stay up too late.
What could I expect as far as discount from retial for a new pair? I honestly need to audition before plunking down $7K for monitors and no Dynaudio dealer in Houston has any to audition.
I do not see Dynaudios discounted much at all when I encounter them at dealers. They are a gold standard in the high end audio world it seems.

I had to go used and bought a pair off Ebay in order to gain admission into even the Contour series which is mid-line. Confidence line will not come cheap new but in this economy, who knows what kind of discount is possible.

I would hope most dealers provide some means of eliminating financial risk to potential customers who are willing to shell out the bucks IF they like them in their own listening room, which is the only place that matters, but I'm sure policies will vary.
I took ownership on the Dyn's last week and have been tweaking the setup in our room which now seems larger than smaller.

What an interesting contrast between David (C1) and Goliath (LS6).

As one would expect the dynamic swings we've grown very found of are no longer. Did get me wrong as the C1's deliver an amazing amount of drive for their size, it's simply at a smaller scale. Trying to play Depeche Mode was a failure. It almost seemed as if my Nu force's couldn't handle the power needed for a clean low bass note. I heard some for lack of better descriptor, bottoming out of the low end. I couldn't tell if it's an amp issue of simply "smaller speaker desalvo, get over it". The Nu force's have 190WPC and soon to be 160WPC if I go the upgrade V3 version.

On the flip side listening to old Elton John was a mind bending experience. It was beautiful. Even the tunes i didn't like were beautiful. Vocals - amazing. Backing symphony - stunning. I moved to an SACD of Elton and was even more enthralled. My wife is total in love with the sound as is my dad.

On a cut last night, part of the Elton audition, low bass came from seemingly nowhere. It would come then go rather strangely. Yes it was part of the song but seemed somewhat disconnected, not what I'm used to hearing. I though room interaction but our room is heavily damped so more playing is needed.

I'll try to perform a writeup of the 2 very different speakers in our room along with pics.

Like to get some feedback on amplification for the beauties.
When I got my C1s, I had Nuforce mono blocks along with some other amps. I did not care for the Nuforce with the Dyns, though I don't recall the specifics. Just seemed "not right." I used GamuT for quite a while and am now using Ayre, but the search continues. I think lots of power and solid state is the way to go, but there are a lot of choices.

Thanks for posting this follow up.
I'm taking a hard look at the Plinius line, specifically the 301B (I think). Pass labs wouldn't be out the question and for a lot less money the Odyssey Stratos Mono Extreme's look good. I actually auditioned someone's Stratos in my home and was very suprised how close it sounded to my Nuforce. I had other amps on hand as it was a audio get-to-together, so many were rotated around my line arrays.

I really enjoy my Nuforce's and the company behind them. I don't know how to convince myself that more power is needed other than an audition with a more powerful, equally refined amplifier.
" I think lots of power and solid state is the way to go, but there are a lot of choices. "

No doubt. SS power (and current) is the ticket.
Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has listened to Dynaudio (especially the Confidence line) with Bryston, Spectron or any of the ICE amps, such as those from Bel Canto or Wyred4Sound.
We've been back and forth between the LS6's and the C1's.

With the C1's, half of my music collection which consists of everything from Mozart and Bach, to Porcupine Tree and Radiohead, to Neil Young and Robert Johnson, to Joan Osborne and Jeff Beck, half my music is disappointing in a way. Take B-Tribe. Now I know the C1's will not play B-Tribe. The low bass notes and soaring highs and the space and ambiance just doesn't come through IN COMPARISON with the LS6's. Anything with huge dynamic contrasts strain the little guys. The LS6's simply destroy just about any other speaker I've listened too in this regard and I've listened to a lot. Not just that but they get so deep into the recording and resolve the full spectrum whether you like it or not. The downside is the midrange. The C1's have the edge in vocals and midrange purity. The highs as well won't hurt you like the LS6's can at times. Anyone who owns a pair of LS6's has to felt around the tweeters, all 12 of them. Soundstage goes the C1's in our room, but we had to move the couch forward in order to get depth into the recordings.

It would be nice to keep both sets of speakers, but we simply can't.

Friends outside the audiophile world (casual listeners) prefer, just barely, the C1's but add "you need a subwoofer". A Fathom F113 is on order. They are generally stunned at how music flows from the line arrays. They keep looking for a sub!

So we are spoiled by what these line arrays can do. The Nuforces drive them effortlessly into stadium levels where my wife likes the volume at, and at these levels, they never lose control over the lower registers.

With the C1's there seems be a discontinuity between the bass and the rest of the music. It's as if there simply not enough power. I've read the reviews and this was not a complaint, but it is in my system.

On my radar now is a McCormick DNA 500. I believe this amplifier will drive the C1's just fine. I was worried a bit about the output impedance of my Cary SLP 05 but at 400 Ohms, seems like a good match.

Thanks for your thoughts.
You seriously need to consider the Pass X250.5 as a minimum, but the X350.5 will do better. A friend had the X250.5 with Contour S3.4's and then later the S5.4's. It was truely magical. Good luck with your journey. L
I thought about the Pass X350.5. Wasn't sure if it was a good match for my C1's although it certainly has the power and then some.

Trying to pick up a pair of Cary CAD MB500's. There has to be something magical matching a Cary with a Cary right?

The JC1 is also on my radar.

Seems like every time I find a used amplifier that I'd like to purchase, it gets sold. I thought we have a bad economy.

I'll check out the Pass amps too.

I'm starting to miss the sound of our LS6 line arrays. That bottom end was just addicting and on most recordings (usually older ones), the top end was magical.

The C1's have a 1 note bass. It comes and goes as it pleases for no particular reason. It's like "oh, did you hear that - a bass note". I know it's NOT supposed to be like this.

I'm playing with cables, both RCA and balanced and although I get a warmer sound with my balanced cables, it still plods around the bass. I'm starting to develop a nice pair of biceps as I move the LS6's and Dynaudio C1's on their lead shot filled stands. I might imagine I would reinforce the mid bass on the C1's by closing them in on the back wall, but I seem to lose that magic in the soundstage. Not to mention that live human being standing between the speakers singing oh so soulfully.

The Nuforces are highly regarded in the bass region (well hell, every region), and have this high damping factor, 4000 I believe so even though they're shy on watts I wonder if it is in fact that they simply need more raw power to unconstrain the bass.

As I've written before we really like these amps. I'm in the queue for the version 3 upgrade which does what? It lowers the wattage to 160wpc! The amp I'm looking for has to have the strengths of the Nuforce's and the power to drive the C1's with no effort.

(I know this is a can of worms as there are many who simply dislike the Nuforce sound)

Maybe I should keep those LS6's..

I do not have line arrays but I have a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkii monitors and other larger full range designs. The Dyns have fantastic, almost unbelievable bass for such a small box, however, small monitor designs are inherently disadvantaged in comparison to larger designs when it comes to impact and overall dynamics in the low end. They are just not able to shake the rafters the same as a equally good larger design in general. The difference may only be noticeable to many when the two are heard side by side. The solution, if it is an issue to the listener is typically to add a good sub. That usually brings the best of both worlds to the table in regards to imaging, detail and finesse from amonitor coupled with a fully capable bottom end.

Subwoofer aside, I think more power and current in general will always benefit the Dynaudios regardless as well.
I've been wondering if the Wyred4Sound amps would work with my C1s. So much power, so little money -- too good to be true?

The MB500's are still available new if you have money burning a hole in your pocket.

I'm surprised about the one-note bass comment, but I do believe you. I love the bass on the C1, though I've never owned a "serious" bass speaker apart from the Thiel 2.4, so I admit that I don't have any credibility on the subject.

I have used C1’s for the past three years in a 2.2 configuration with a Simaudio W-3 power amp in a 15’x13’ room. I decided to use a monitor/sub configuration as this allowed to purchase speakers with the best sonic characteristics for the room volume.

Using the C1 monitors either full range or high passed, I am able to produce output levels to satisfy any desired listening level. Using them full range does not produce the lower octaves of course, but I still have no complaint with the overall output level.

After reviewing this thread again, I do not see any mention of the size of the acoustical environment. Forgive me if I missed this, but what is the size of the room? This will be very important as a previous post mentions that household system users listening habits include “stadium levels” output. You may be expecting monitors to fill too big of a room at a high level where maybe floor standing models (S3.4, S5.4, C2, C4) would be more appropriate for the application.

When scaled to the appropriate room size, these monitors are very dynamic. Just last evening when I had the house to myself, I was once again quite surprised of the dynamic contrasts produced by these monitors.

You may also want to look at a Simaudio W-5 amp as well. This will drive the monitors without question.
Well I took a deep plunge and bought a Pass Labs X350.5. The amp market is hot as my bid for others was always too late. Then came the 350 and out went my Nuforces and a lot of cash. At least I can take the "too short of power" equation of the mystery of why the C1's bass is so um, uneventful. Are we spoiled by the line arrays?

What's even funnier to me, having the line arrays for sale is, nobody is interested. Maybe it's a size issue? They kill just about anything I've heard.

What will be interesting is how the Pass performs not just on the C1's, but on the LS6's!