Replacements for Dynaudio Floorstanders

Hi there.

My current system is made up of the following: Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk IIs, Krell 300il, Benchmark USB DAC, and a laptop with lossless music.

I'm looking to introduce a little warmth in my system, seeing as the Dyn/Krell/DAC combo has miles of resolution, but doesn't offer much in the way of engagement. I'm considering selling my Dynaudios for a warmer pair of speakers that I hope to find on Audiogon. $4k is my limit. My thinking is a used pair of B&W Nautilus 802s or 803s. What other suggestions would folks have, in terms of speakers that have similar resolution to Dynaudio's stuff, but offers more warmth and darkness? One outside consideration of mine is a pair of Mirage OMD-28s. Any help would be much appreciated.

I'd keep the dyns and replace the Krell with an ARC tube preamp and Wyred4Sound Class D amp or even better if budget permits Bel Canto ref1000m monoblocks.

That gives you a similar configuration to my system which has just the right degree of warmth IMHO but with bigger, more full range and hence better Dynaudio's than my monitors, which are no slouches.

Also use a pair of MIT networked or similar ICs or maybe balanced ICs between pre and amp if supported perhaps.

Nothing wrong with Krell, but warmth is not something I associate with that line based on my experience.

Nothing wrong with Dynaudio in that regard, in fact, unless you are looking to go overboard with the warmth, I cannot think of a better option there!

HAven't heard the Mirages but have heard only good things about them. I'm not confident though that they would move you towards your stated goal or not though. Maybe others know better....
I concur with Mapman on replacing the Krell.

I auditioned Naim Integrateds with my Dynaudio 220 Floorstanders and found that quite warm, almost too much so. Simaudio was somewhere in the middle.
Yeah. Looking to keep the Krell integrated and the DAC. I don't like the tube sound...period. Listened to a bunch of them and just don't find it appealing. Warmer speakers is what I'm looking for. I'd even be willing to sacrifice a little bit of the Dyns resolution for a full range box, hence the 802s or Mirages.

Since I've heard the Nautilus line, I'm basically looking for other suggestions, or if anyone can give me a clue on whether OMD-28s would be a downgrade in terms of resolution and soundstage. Thanks for the suggestions!
"I don't like the tube sound...period. Listened to a bunch of them and just don't find it appealing. "

Wondering which ones?

I am with you. Tube sound does not appeal to me. However, the sp16 ARC I use does not sound "tubey". More like what you say you seek with the Dynaudios. I think pretty neutral.

There are probably similar sounding SS pre-amps out there as well if tubes are a total no no.

My Dynaudios also have a nice warmth with excellent detail even off the vintage 20 wat/ch Yamaha receiver in my second system (used with a sub to offload the low end).

The Yamaha is not a warm sounding unit by nature. I attribute the proper warmth aspect mostly to the Dyns.

When I use my Triangle monitors there in place of the Dyns the sound is similar except with no real noticeable warmth. Very neutral, detailed, and pleasing still. just not warm sounding.
You haven't given any information about your room setup. Warmth can be strongly influenced by speaker/listener distance to walls, speaker toe-in and the amount of "soft" furnishings in the room. Also, don't know about your cables or electric filtering.

If playing with the above does not make it better, then my advice before changing any equipment is to experiment with your playback software. Not sure what computer platform you're using, but get playback software that has a reasonable quality equalizer plug-in and experiment with different settings of tonal sculpting. This will allow you to really ascertain exactly what areas need to be tamed or enhanced.

BTW, of the components you've listed it's the Benchmark that has consistently been labeled as not having warmth.
Well, to be honest, I pretty much agree with the others that you should consider swapping out the Krell for something a little less, well, Krellish. (Krell is very resolving, and sounds very much like solid state. Very well done solid state, but solid state nonetheless.) If you really don't want tubes, and really want to stick with solid state, I recommend trying the Ayre integrated amp. Ayre's house sound while not tubey, is less solid state sounding than the Krell is. (However, to get Ayre to sound its best, you'll need to run balanced cables.)

And if you insist on merely upgrading your speakers, I recommend the Sonus Faber Cremona. It is pretty much full range, and definitely is very musical, although it does give up a bit of resolution when compared to the Dynaudio line of speakers. You'll need to stretch your budget a bit, but not much more. (I found a pair here on Audiogon that is close to your budget, and maybe you can bargain them down a bit.)

Sonus Faber Cremonas for sale here on Audiogon

Good Luck in your search.
Swap out the Krell with a Rowland integrated (Concerto 2), then sit back and enjoy!
I owned the dynaudio 1.3 mkII and listened a lot to the 1.8 mkII. They have a similar sound, and I wouldn't call it cool. I agree with the other, the amp may be more the issue. Another amp to check out is the Musical Fidelity nuvista M3 integrated. That is what I used with the dynaudios, plenty of warmth.
I recently listened to the new Aerial 7ts and think you should check into them if you ultimately want to upgrade your speakers. They were hooked up to Mark Levinson separates and had a balanced, coherent sound with plenty of clean bass and detail without being "in your face" aggressive. Also, their imaging was outstanding for large full-range towers. I think they will retail in the mid 9K range which is around what you'd spend for used 802 diamonds.
I have owned and can wholeheartedly recommend McCormack DNA 125 or 225 for your Dyns. if you thought the Krell was worth keeping wait until you hear the dyns with the McCormack. I would be surprised if you did not have an A HA! moment. Read some reviews. Best of luck.
I forgot to mention, keep the Dynaudio speakers. IMO better than the B&W. I am not a fan of Krell and agree with the opinions of the above members who say that is the weak link. I apologize, as I can tell that you want to keep the Krell. Trust us:>)
I agree you are fighting an uphill battle trying to warm up a Krell. But you could try Avalon speakers. They have better tonality and a deeper soundstage than Dynaudio. The Ascendant is the model I'd look for but it will be a bit over your price point.
Replace the Krell, or at least try a different amp on the Dyna's first.
Yes, if you must change speakers Avalon is one that might offer up something different, though not necessarily warmer than the Dyns. Definitely audition them first and make sure you will want to live with them before buying in that they have a distinctive tonality and are not inexpensive.

I'm not sure that running those of the Krell though still will get you what you are after.
Not the response I was expecting, but considering everyone is saying the same thing...

Fact is, I originally wanted a Levinson 383 to run my Dyns. Hard to find one on here anymore. And most of you seem to recommend keeping the Dyns. I have to say it's a lot of speaker for the money, and of all the components I have I don't want to give them up. I guess I just chalked up the coolness more to the Dyns than to the Krell. Crap.

For what it's worth, I'm using balanced AQ King Cobra cables, stock power cables, and a Ridge Street Audio USB. Thanks again for all the advice.

Anyone have anything positive to say about the Mirage OMD-28? They can be had for $2700 new, and even though they're a very different direction from the Dyns, I'm entertaining the thought of giving them a go. Full range is very appealing.
Dyns are not bright speakers you must have a problem elsewhere in the chain.
Carbon 7 Speakers and NAD Combo C275/C165, if You are looking for the warm sound.
I have to agree with most of the responses here. The Krell should be replaced. Naim has great synergy with Dyn's. But since you are asking what speaker would give you more warmth I would second the Sonus Faber followed by Vienna Acoustics.

If you can't get an in home demo see if you can take the Krell to some dealers. Mind you the room and setup will greatly influence the sound.
Sonus Faber Cremonas as mentioned above work very well with the Krell gear. Tube sound is subjective as most have not heard what tubes can offer in direct heated tube preamps or transformer coupled tube preamps.

Happy Listening.
You're getting a lot of bad advice. It's well meaning, but it's bad. Ask all those people who are bashing the Krell whether they have actually heard that model?

If you still have the iMac, download Channel D's Pure Music, the trail version is free, and use it with a software EQ program. Also, did you try the mods to the Benchmark that were previously recommended?
the krell is your issue my friend
Hm.....interesting...I want change dynaudio,just because I want get cleaner tonality,cleaner bass .I think combination of Krell and Dynaudio sounds too warm for me.High frequencies sounds very good,but while the bass is tunefull and strong,but somewhat muddy or dark a little bit.
Krell and AQ possibly not the combination for your ears. Try borrowing some Kimber or other cables..... after the downloads and mods.
I've got to go against the grain here. No amplifier change I've ever experienced comes close to effecting the degree of sonic differences that a change in speakers can make. Obviously, this is not a popular position, but I firmly believe that after the recording and the room, the speakers make the biggest difference. And any change in amplification will produce, at best, a modest difference (unless, of course the amp and speakers are mismatched).
"Dyns are not bright speakers you must have a problem elsewhere in the chain. "

My experience is they can be a touch bright in comparison to other designs that also tend to be classified as fairly neutral and balanced in general, in some cases with some amps.

But they are not inherently especially when matched well to amp. YMMV.

Yes, speakers do make the biggest difference, but Dynaudio is an excellent choice for one who wants some warmth without sacrificing the rest, so changing for that reason alone does not make sense.

Maybe there is something else other than or in addition to what the OP mentions as "warmth" that he is looking for that other speakers might do better.

But that's not what I'm reading here to date.

I have not heard that specific model of Krell amp. If it is a significant departure from the typical Krell house sound and in fact somewhat "warm" sounding, then I would retract my recommendation to necessarily change it.
He is getting a lot of bad advice? I don't think Pure Music Program is going to be the magic fix all for sure LOL. It seem to be common knowledge that Krell can tend to be bright sounding gear. I've owned Krell and Dynaudio and if either one is brighter sounding it's the Krell, not that either is bad but maybe just a bad combo. I've owned 3 sets of Dyns and never have I thought them bright, maybe even a little on the relaxed side. I've never owned B&W but when I've heard them they have seemed a little dull and lifeless but then Krell and B&W is supposed to be a good combo so who knows maybe it will be the magic you are looking for but if it were me I'd stick with the Dyns and at least try a different amp first since it's so much easier to pack and ship an amp than speakers
I posted on your other post.. There's a couple of ways to go. If you want to go the speaker route I'd heartily recommend Harbeths, natural, warm'ish but not lacking in detail, work well with Krell. If you want to stick with the Dynaudio's I'd definitely look at warmer cables.. Cardas would be a good choice try a set of Golden Cross, speaker and interconnect. As far as AC power, that can have a Huge affect. I'd replace all of your stock cords with something like the very good and very inexpensive Shunyata Venom 3, these are a bit warm'ish and only $99.00 each.. Lastly a Shunyata Hydra would make a nice improvement, you get away with a Hydra 4 since you're only hooking up Dac and Int Amp.. maybe even a Hydra 2, they come up here for sale pre
" I've owned Krell and Dynaudio and if either one is brighter sounding it's the Krell, not that either is bad but maybe just a bad combo."


And if either line is inherently warmer sounding in general it is Dynaudio.

On paper, having never heard the two together actually, I'd say Krell and Dynaudio would be a synergistic combo for good detail with a touch of warmth.

Maybe a touch more is what the OP wants though.

Changing the Dyns alone is not likely to accomplish that.

The Krell or the source (Benchmark DAC I believe?) maybe.

I would only consider changing the BEnchmark if that were perhaps my only source and I like my amp better for whatever reason.

If I also have phono say and want more warmth overall with all sources,then I would say you have to change the amp and not just one source. I suppose I am assuming this scenario in saying change the Krell and not the Benchmark DAC. If Benchmark is and will continue to be the only source, then changing that might accomplish the goal.

Definitely not the Dynaudios though.
Sorry I was going to say, the Hydra's come up for sale pretty often here on the 'gon.

Also if you are using the iMac for a source playing I assume ALAC, or Aiff files? Then using Amarra or Pure Music may also help with musicality..
Not sure what you will end up doing. But as a general rule, choose the speaker you love first, then find the right amp to make them sing. I think the Dynaudio 1.8 is a very fine, first-rate speaker, act accordingly. The Krell is a fine piece of gear too, but if you want a warm sound with it, I think you would need a speaker that is essentially inaccurate to the source and I'm not sure that is the way to go down the road as you build further upon what you have.
Pubul57 I'd have to sort of disagree with your last statement, all speakers are essentially inaccurate to some degree or another. It's a matter of finding the speakers who's inaccuracies most closely agree with ones tastes.
You're right on both points, they are all inaccurate and one
must seek the sound they prefer, but some are more accurate
then others and those that are will not be warm with Krell
because the more accurate the speaker the more it resolves
the characteristics of what proceeds them in the chain. If a
speaker can manage to make Krell sound warm, I would say the
inaccuracy is significant.

Have you ever heard your speakers sound great, in another
system or with another amp where you really liked the sound,
and with the warmth you are looking for? For example, they
would sound quite different (better in my view) with a Pass
XA series amp, or their integrated, just examples of SS amps
with some degree of "warmth". The Dynaudio brand in general
will tend to sound like what proceeds them as they tend to
be more accurate than most and a clearer window to what is
on the "other side" (I think they are very desirable

There is also the issue of warmth versus bloom where we use
the same words to mean different things or different things
to say one thing we have in mind. For example, a tube amp
like the Music Reference RM200 (or an older RM9) would
certainly give you bloom, but little of the type of warmth
that I think might be what you did not like about your
testing of tube amps - they do differ quite a bit, tube amps
that is, but what they do provide is the addictive bloom
that tube lovers love - they don't all love warmth (which
can be pejorative depending what one has in mind when using
the word).
Since this is a free-for-all, I will throw my hat in the ring: I think the OP's warmth problem has nothing to do with his speakers. I think it's 50% the Krell and 50% the Benchmark. Changing either or both might solve the problem. Changing the speakers, I fear, will be a frustrating lesson in misdiagnosis.

Of course, I am guessing, like everyone else.

I second the vote for a NAD C165/C275 setup to replace the NAD and it's dirt cheap compared to the alternatives. Sam Tellig reviewed the integrated version and said it punched way way out of it's class and I agree. I used to own this NAD combo with Dyn Contours and most people would think it was a high end tube system, no lie. Extremely full bodied sound wiht bags of rich harmonics. Highly recommend you try it with your Dyns.
I agree. Revealing speakers, Krell amp and a Benchmark Dac, with AQ cables and stock power cords.. sounds bright just sitting there...If it was me, well not the geared I'd have put together, but if it was me I'd replace the Dac with a W4S, or Lavry, replace the AQ wires with Cardas, and replace the stock power cords with the Shunyata Venom 3..
What seems clear through the thread is that few think changing the from the Dynaudio is the right first step,
I used to have Dynaudio 1.8's going through a Krell amp and a Audio research pre-amp. The sound was tight, smooth and never harsh. The difference is I was running a full blown analog set-up. When I ran digital it was another story. I'm currently running all ARC gear through Dynaudio 3.4's. and the sound is very full and a bit on the warm side but not overly warm. I'm running all Audience cables and power cords.
Overall it's a very nice relaxed sound.
Thank you all so much for the advice. I never expected to get such a response from folks on here.

I appreciate each opinion, but the overall message seems clear: my issue is not with my speakers. As to the previous poster, my brother has an all Audio Research setup, and when we used his amp and the pre part of my integrated, we got pretty close to my ideal sound. As I said previously, my ideal piece of gear to go behind the Dynaudios is a Levinson 383 Integrated. I LOVE the sound of that thing. I could probably find one used on here if I wait long enough. My only concern 100 wpc, and a bit more into 4 ohms, which the Dyns that enough power to push my 86db speakers to loud volumes?

For the person who mentioned tube stuff, and the distinction between bloom and warmth, that's a fair point. I've listened to some good tube stuff...Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, Musical Fidelity and California Audio Labs. Right off the bat, none of the them appealed to me. Label it whatever you'd like, but I just prefer the solid state sound. I've just come to the realization that, while I love the huge amount of resolution I'm getting out of my system, its presentation is just a bit dry, a little thin, and a little bright. I'm not looking to transform the sound in my system, just to push it more towards a Levinson/Audio Research type of sound.

As for my Benchmark DAC, I'm going to stick with it for the immediate future because it's my newest component at less than two years old. It DRAMATICALLY improved the resolution in my system, though I'll admit it left my sound a bit thin and definitely trending on the bright side. Once I get into a position where I have disposable income, I'll be refining my system one component at a time.

As for my speakers, if or when I replace my Dynaudios, it's going to be with something (more) full-range. I might be willing to sacrifice a little in the way of resolution in order to get that.

Thanks again for everything!
Good luck! You'll get there:)
Well you ended up answering your own question didn't you.

"As for my Benchmark DAC, I'm going to stick with it for the immediate future because it's my newest component at less than two years old. It DRAMATICALLY improved the resolution in my system, though I'll admit it left my sound a bit thin and definitely trending on the bright side"

I'm curious, why would you "stick with it" if you've now come to the realization that the Benchmark is bright, and don't like the way it sounds, and it's causing the issues that you have with your system? Keep it cause it's 2 years old?? Not to be rude but your logic doesn't really seem to make any sense. Just sell the thing and move on. You can probably get $700-$800 for it. pick up a new W4S Dac1 for $999.00 that will crush it, across the board.

As for the Levinson 383 I'd think hard on that. The 383 is long discontinued, no warranty, and Harmon is known to have terrible support for older Levinson products, just poke around in the discussion forums about Levinson customer service issues.

A great choice in an amp that would match up well with your Dynaudio's would be a Plinius 9200 plenty of power great sound, excellent match.. They typically sell for $2500.00 -$3000.00, less than a 383 and pretty much bullet proof build quality.
my 2 cents(considering your room acosutic is OK and you like your speakers)-
change your dac to soemething more warm and liquid.

audioqest cables is on the hot side, kimber 12tc would do the job making sound fuller.

pass labs class a amps could be a ticket. most Ayre would not go hand in hand with krell bass- when you are used to it you will miss it.
Erikminer: my logic is that I'm in grad school and don't want to spend too much money. However, I'd like to pin down what exactly I should get in the future, so I can keep an eye on Audiogon. Also, my intention was never to replace the Benchmark, nor the Krell, but the speakers. Even if I've pinned down that the speakers are not really the issue, I'd much rather invest in a full(er)-range speaker (ideally one that is a little warmer) that will serve as the anchor of my system for the future and deal with the Benchmark and Krell at a later time.

Might not make the most sense, I'll grant you, but this is a work in progress, and I haven't laid down a dollar to change anything as of yet. I just wanted some feedback! Thanks once again.
A fuller-range, warmer speaker would be a Vandersteen 2 or 3, and good values.
It might be due to setup or the room. How big is your listening room and how are the Dynaudios set up in the room? Are they close to wall boundaries? Are your equipment on a proper rack? Move your speakers around and try treating the room for a free fix. If all else fails then replace the DAC and/or the amp assuming you like the Dynaudios.
Good recommendations and it can help, but I think the essential character of the Benchmark combined with Krell and Dynaudio trio is never going to be warm. OP also wants to keep the electronics and change the speaker anyway. I do think Vandersteen might be a good option with the electronics, and certainly more full range, especially the 3A Signatures.
Good luck young Padawan.. Lots of speakers out there that are warmer and that are higher performance than your 1.8's but the Benchmark is always going to be bright and dry sounding, choosing speakers to compensate for that seems a bit ass backwards you might find that replacing the Benchmark with a Dac that isn't bright dry and sterile sounding will have you loving what you have and costing you less $$. But hey half the fun of this hobby is the learning curve, why should anyone spoil it for you :-)
Like I really dont want to hate on Krell. I owned a krell a few years ago and it was overall a very nice sounding amplifier. But I do believe synergy is key here. Krell and Dynaudio (in my case it was Totems that had dynaudio drivers in them) tend to sound slightly on the cool/detailed side. Dynaudios are amazing speakers and I really think just making an amp change would make you happy. Plinius SA100 mkIII or a SA102 are amazing amplifiers with liquid midrange and approching krell bass. Hope you get it figured out!!
Not sure where you are right now or if you've made a decision, but I had my Krell 400xi running with a Benchmark DAC and Dynaudio Contour S3.4's a couple years ago. In my case, I found the lack of warmth to be the Benchmark DAC - I found it to be harsh and "in your face." I replaced it with the Electrocompaniet DAC and it's been a fantastic setup since. I also upgraded to the Dynaudio C1's and love the sound even more.

So, for warmth, my vote would go to re-evaluating your DAC situation, but I don't think that's what you want to hear :-)
To add, I think if you replaced your Dyn's with B&W Nautilus speakers, paired with that Krell and Benchmark DAC, you would not experience any more warmth. In fact, I think your problem would get worse.
goog point Rhmmmm,recently discovered how important is the source for dynaudio and krell combination.I just tried play some old recordings on chrome cassettes,wov!!! how good they sounded playing trough Technics Rs-az6 cassete deck )