Nova Utopia Be or Dynaudio Temptation\Wilson Maxx

This is my first posting, so hi there from Australia.

I'm having a hard time deciding on my next speaker purchase and hopefully I can hear some of your thoughts so I can finally make a decision.

I currently have a pair of Dynaudio C4 and I’m looking at upgrading to JMlab Nova Utopia Be, Dynaudio Evidence Temptation or Wilson Puppy\Maxx. Or if anyone knows anything about the new Focal Utopia range I would be interested.

I have previously owned the Dynaudio Contour s5.4 and C2, B&W 802, Wilson Sophia and other bits and pieces. Amplification is currently Gryphon Antileon. Source is currently Mark Levinson 30.6 DAC and Mark Levinson 31.5 Transport. With MIT Oracle 2.1 speakers cables and MIT Oracle 2.2 interconnects.

I am leading towards Nova Utopia as I liked the sound of the Wilson Sophia and have been told that the Nova sound similar. I don’t know if the Dynaudio Evidence Temptation is better than the Nova Utopia or if I would prefer the Wilson Watt Puppy \ Maxx.

But then I guess it comes down to the usual ‘personal preference’ ‘room size’.

It's not easy to find and listen to this speakers in Australia so if anyone has any information or experiences....
R paton,

Very,very classy setup.

I personally prefer the Nova Utopia.

I must say that I have never been impressed with any of the Wilson's speakers.

The Nova Utopia is less clinical,and less analytical and I think would be a good match with the powerful and fierce Gryphon.Certainly a no brainer if you listen to a lot of female vocals,baroque and chamber musics...

good luck!!!!
If you like the Sophia then my suggestion would be to stick to simpler three ways rather than Appolito designs (which use two midranges to increase output/avoid compression but all suffer from lobing issues). You may prefer the sound of the Sophia's simpler design (even if it may lack the dynamics of a big Appolito, such as the Temptation).

I'd suggest Dynaudio Saphire as an option or if you want more dynamics (less audio compression at higher levels) then go for PMC and ATC three ways. I may be reading more into your preferences than is justified but remember two transducers making the same sound and sitting side by side inevitably produce lobing - it can be a pleasant spacious sound but inevitably the reflected soundfield from floor/ceiling will not match the primary field and you may lose some "naturalness" on the sound...of course you gain spaciousness, better dispersion control and more like everything we are taking trade offs here. Two cents.
If you want Novas you need to move quickly as to my knowledge production on the current Utopia series has ended.
what about Gryphon Atlantis? should be a good match with your Gryphon amp.

not a fan of Wilson or JM Labs because of their tonality which is tilted up to my ears. Shardone also made a good point on the issue with multiple midrange drivers; it's pleasant to listen to but not necessarily accurate like the big MBL.
I moved up from the Dynaudio C4 to the Temptation. No comparison. The C4 needs to be played relatively loud to get into its comfort zone. The Temptation can be played at any level and be very satisfying.

Seems to me if you like your current C4s, then the Temps are the way to go.
Thanks for all the responses. Shadorne I heard the Dynaudio Saphire in Singapore and wasn't too impressed, might have been the associated equipment. I was just reading up on Joseph D'Appolito and yes because of the driver arrangement in the Nova Utopia I think it will be hard to know what they will sound like without doing a home demo, which will probably be impossible in Australia :(

Gryphon Atlantis, good suggestion i'll do some investigation.

Bigbucks, your comments about the C4 being played loud, I've had the same experience with the C2, they sound a lot better a higher volumes.

I wonder when, or if Dynaudio will update their Evidence range, getting old.
If I may add another speaker to the list I would check out the Von Schweikert VR5 Anniversary. Great dynamics and details without the tilted up treble. Most of all a supremely musical presentation. May be worth a look for you.

Blessings, Bob
I also heard Dynaudio Sapphire in Singapore, I lived there for 2 years and just moved back to US. Like you, I was not impressed. Many will not agree (including Bar81), but I believe any good audio components should sound at least good in the dealer show room and better at home. If it can't even sound good there, it is either "bad" or just not your cup of tea.

I also heard Gryphon Atlantis in Adelphi and Taiwan audio show; they sounded much better in Taiwan audio show BTW. In Adelphi, dealer was using Gryphon amp (the new one) and sounded better than the initial setup which was Rogue Zeus. The top end still has a trace of ceramic sound, meaning hard and stiff. but midrange and below are pretty musical. I like paper cones for woofer, though a bit slower than hard cones, they have more soul.

one speaker I can't praise high enough is Usher BE-20. I was ready to trade in my Cremona in my second system for the BE-20, only reason I haven't done so is I am moving soon.
I haven't heard the Usher BE-20 but have read some reviews about them and they seem good value for money.

A friend of mine managed to organise a session to listen to the original JMLab Utopia

Sounded very clean and detailed but was not blown away. He's been trying to get the best out of them but the room wasn't ideal. He said they sounded brilliant in his friend's room.
The Dynaudio Temptation has great transparency, rich tone colors and a very tall soundstage. The Temptetion's top two octaves are a little bright, the presentation is open and airy. The bass is tight, lean and refined.

The Wilson Maxx has great dynamics, would play louder than the Temptation's, goes deeper and delivered a more robust bass. The midrange lack some coherence, upper midrange lack in thr presence region. Top octaves lack the clarity and air of the Temptation's.

The JMLab Nova Utopia will replace next month by an Utopia EM series.

I would check out also the Magico V3 or the Revel Ultima Salon2.
Avalon will have soon a new Eidolon Dimond.
Seems you like Dynaudio drivers, you could try Egglestone Works Savoy
Thanks for the responses. I have just invested in a pair of Nova Utopia Be. So should be interesting....
I don't know your amp, but Levenson stuff is very dark as is your cables. You might think about experimentaion in that area. ..also, check out the Oyaide power cord....just a suggestion.
He'll be fine and I'm sure it will sound excellent. No need to change anything.
Thanks Bar81. I never heard the MIT cables to sound dark and the Gryphon should take the edge of the Be.
The Nova Utopia be arrived last night. I'm glad I paid two guys to take them upstairs.
Let the fun begin.
congrats!! I have alto and may move to nova if the price on agon is good. I love 'em!!!

Thanks, I've just started breaking them in. 10 hours down and counting. They sound amazing, even out of the box.

Can anyone share their experience in breaking in the Nova or Alto?
mine are on with a signal 24/7/365. I set the bypass from the pre/pro to let the TV tuner play through the Mac pre and amps to the Altos. the signal is not loud but moderate during the day, very loud at 2 channel listening time(5 hours at night), and very low overnight. they have been on nonstop since i got them as replacements for my altos that were ruined by Hurricane katrina. They have had an almost constant signal for 3 years. That is 27,000 hours of break in!!!!
I love these loudspeakers--then i heard the Nova Utopias--wow...the low end was incredible.

You may want to run a low signal all day when you are not home or overnight.

You may also place the speakers face to face and play a burn in CD...the signals will sort of cancel each other so the obnoxious noise will not be as loud. Just a suggestion.

Good luck and enjoy your Novas!!!!
Wholly Molly, 27,000 break in time. I'm only up to 20 hours. Good idea having the tuner break them in.

If I had someone else to help me move them I’d place them face to face and burn them in, but they're pretty heavy to move. And I think I’ve found a good position for them but will experiment more with that after break in.

I agree about the low end, the bass is amazing especially at low volumes. I don't have a preamp as I’m using a CD player straight into a DAC with volume control. I'm trying to find a cheap tuner with a digital out so I can connect that to the DAC and leave it on all day.
Did you notice much change after the break in and what sort of changes? Sound stage expansion and a softer treble?

I think my room would turn into a sauna if i left the gryphon on all day.
Hi R_paton,

You bought my dream speaker. I really like the sound of Focals. I have Electra 906 and SW900, probably a smaller room then yours. It was very interesting to read this topic and find out your decision and your experiences about the purchase.

I belive that the Utopias are very transparent, open and natural sounding speakers.

Is it fitting well with the Gryphon?

I planning to buy a pair Nova later I have bigger apartmant. I'm planning to use Accuphase or Mark Levison amps with it.


Hi Thomashungary,
I bought my dream speakers as well. The Nova's are a perfect match for the gryphon or the Gryphon is a perfect match for the Nova’s. I think the Gryphon is a great match for almost any speaker. Enough about the Gryphon.

They Nova’s have had about 30 hours break in and already starting to sound more integrated and the bass is tightening up, was quite loose to start with. I’m using an Accuphase DC801 DAC at the moment.

I think the Accuphase amps are slightly warmer than the Mark Levinson and would be a better match unless you’re talking about a pair of 33h.

Good luck, hope you get a pair one day.
Hi R_paton!

I also belive the same, because I drive my Electras with two TA-N77ES Sony poweramp, which is a "relative" of the Accuphase P500.


thomas, you give me an idea. i have an old Sony TA N55ES power amp--i think i will try it on the Altos this weekend and see what happens.
What is its "relation" to the Accuphase?

Hi Cajunpepe,

It won't be the same effect. TA-N55ES is not on the same level like the 77. 77 is a much higher sound quality. 55 was designed for surrond for the TA-E1000/2000ESD.

I belive TA-N77ES is very close relative of the Accuphase P500.

Try if you can with TA-N77ES. Also note that I use 2 TA-N 77ES in a bridge mode for a pair of Electra 906 wich is a bookself speaker, and two amp in a bridge mode is also a great step comparing to 1 77ES.

I tell you this, because this is an important difference, and I you listen with the 55, you wont have the same effect.