Review: DCM TF-350 Speaker

Category: Speakers

DCM Time Frame 350

The Time Frame speakers from DCM were produced in the mid 80s as an addition to the already famed Time Windows. Unlike the Time Windows,several models made up the Time Frame series of speakers. They were the TF 250,TF 350,TF 400,TF 600,TF700,TF1000 and the TF 2000. Prices ranged from $350.00 to $2,000.00 for the flagship model.

This review will deal with the DCM Time Frame 350 Model. Which has a 6 1/2" woofer and .75 inch tweeter.

The Time Frame speakers are mirror imaged speakers. Meaning there is a left and right to them. By placing the DCM Logo to the inside edges of the pair, this accompished the mirror image effect. Like the Time Windows they have a foam covering that encircles the entire speaker, with wood trim at the top and bottom of the speaker. The rear connections are spring loaded levers to insert the speaker wire.

The DCM TF 350 can be either a large book shelf speaker or a small floor standing speaker. Making it ideal for apartment dwellers or small rooms. Weigh about 40 pounds each and measure 15 inches across the base, stand 38 inches tall and have a depth of about 6 inches. Construction is first rate and these are quite sturdy speakers. The base has a fold out pedstal for additional support, nice touch there.

At present these are powered by an Acurus DIA 100 Integrated Amplifier,with a venerable Denon DCD 1560 CD Player handling the playback. A very basic system.

The listening test was quite pleasurable and the DCM TF 350 have that distinctive Time Window sonic signature. DCM did not stray far from the Time Window success. The mirror image was a delight to hear and at times the musical presentation was near holographic.

These speakers excel at Jazz and Classical music as well as vocals. The DCM TF 350 can rock make no mistake about that, but for the over the edge rocker, it won't be their cup of tea.

First disc listen to was the jazz group Fourplay album is Elixir. What was startling was the TF 350 ability to play piano music so very well. One of the hardest test for a speaker to do. The piano has so many octaves and tonal qualities. The other was the guitar work,just uncanny at delivering each note with clarity and definition. You could sit back and listen to this four piece group and hear and visualize where they were in the recording,most impressive.

The next disc was the group Dotsero album is West of Westchester. This is a 3 piece jazz group.Saxophone,Guitar,and bass guitar. I have found that the saxophone is another instrument that is hard for speakers to reproduce without sounding grainy and causing listener fatique. However the TF 350 reproduced one of the most musical renderings of saxophone I have heard in a long time. The grain and glare of the saxophone was absent,truly remarkable. Opening track Westchester Lady was like being in the studio when it was recorded. Dotsero is a Denver,Colorado based jazz group and one gets to hear them live frequently. Listening to the TF 350 was as close to listening to them in their club as speakers can get.

The third disc was Pink Floyd album is Momentary Lapse of Reason.First track I listen to was Sorrow. Yes the TF 350 can indeed dig deep into the lower registers,with convincing authority. The opening minutes of Sorrow proved that very well.David Gilmours voice came through with enough verve that you thought he was in the room. Nick Masons drumming was crisp and tightly defined and dead center between the speakers. The mirror image effect excelled with this disc.

The DCM TF 350 speakers are not the last word in micro dynamics. New these sold for $500.00,while the Time Windows were $800.00. Like anything else in high end audio there is better. Used the TF 350 go for about $175 to $275.00. At that price I know of no other speaker that can deliver the sonics of the TF 350. I am sure there is,but I have not heard it.

So if you are on a budget or need excellent speakers for another system,here is your answer. Make no mistake the DCM TF 350 is a speaker you do not have to make an excuse for,it can stand on it's own merits quite nicely.

Perhaps Audiogon Members can post their views of the other DCM Time Frame Models in this review.

Associated gear
Acurus DIA 100 Integrated Amp,Denon DCD 1560 CD Player,Monster Cable Speaker Wire,Musical Concepts Interconnect,DCM Time Windows.

Similar products
DCM Time Windows,Alon Point V,Polk SDA,Vandersteen,Acoustat,Large Advent,etc

I began restoring a pair of DCM TF-700 because of some worn drivers, could not find the exact replacements and ended doing a total overhaul, using nice Audax 8" polycone woofers, 4 1/2" mids and Morel MDT29 tweeters, with a custom crossover made by Madisound and Nordost internal cabling. Now I use the "new" DCM's for HT duties, and they sound really good, obviously with a different sonic character from the originals, perhaps more neutral and precise, but keeping the excellent imaging which was a trademark of the Time Frame series.

I liked so much these speakers that I bought a pair of DCM Time Frame Premieres for my "main" system, which are big, amplified, transmission line towers (2x10" woofers, 1x6.5" mid, one horn loaded front and two rear ambience tweeters). If you listen to jazz or rock (or salsa), and if you like deep bass and dynamics, the TF Premieres are extraordinary performers, with an expansive ambient reproduction in the DCM tradition. A great speaker, and -as I understand- maybe the last of the Steve Eberbach designs before the original DCM brand was sold and began producing mass market units. Curiously, I could not find a single review of the TF Premieres over the net.
TF 350's were my 1st speakers. I bought them from a small hi-fi dealer in Duluth, MN while I was in college in 1993. I have fond memories of those speakers and loved them dearly while they were in my possession. I know DCM had a cult following-so to speak-of their beloved TW series. I unfortunately never heard the TW as they were phased out by the time I was purchasing the TF 350's. howeverm I can imagine they were fantastic speakers based on my experience with these babies. Ah, good speakers in forgotten times.

I remember the guy I sold them to being unimpressed with the TF 350's cabinetry...that is until I put in a CD. He bought them immediately!

Glad to see folks out there still using these great speakers!
These were my first decent speakers, purchased on sale back around early '86 (used Soundesign shelf speakers before them); rest of the gear were Luxman tuner & amp, and Linn tt.

The main thing was that these speakers delivered the basics very well, and didn't add that much to the sound. Bass was amazing for a speaker of that price (as evidenced by Peter Gabriel at pretty good levels), and they handled complex rhythms with no problem. I still have them on permanent loan to my in-laws; my memory of them are so good that I can't let go of them. I see them used on Craigslist for $75-$100 and that's a very good value for what they deliver.

Also, DCM's support was solid when I called on it. I sent in one speaker in 1995 due to a failing woofer; for $75 they also replaced the crossover and IIRC, the tweeter. I was so impressed that I sent in the other speaker to match. I found the company great to work with.

Give'm a listen. They're simply a fun speaker.
The TF-350 is my favorite of the TF line. They are very musical with little listner fatigue. I sell used audio and see and hear many speakers but the little TF-350's are special. Imaging and smooth sound are their strong points.
What is the best replacement for the tweeters in the TF 350
The TF 350's use a Vifa D19 tweeter.  This tweeter is one reason they sound so good.