Review: Dynaudio Contour 1.3se Monitor

Category: Speakers

A bunch of folks would think that one should have their head examined for considering a small monitor with an MSRP of $3.5K. Quality stand Extra! Well, I used to think so until I heard the 1.3SE. I actually don't think of them a speakers which is a first for me, but rather musical instruments.

The vocal presentation offered by these speakers is simply superb. Spin Elvis, Nat King Cole (DCC gold discs) or Diana Krall and you would swear these artists were performing in your room. You want dynamics, there it is in spades. Take Elton's Rocket Man (DCC recording) and the dynamics of this track just explode in the room and I mean explode.

The SEs are also a very versatile monitor. They don't care if one is into jazz, acoustical, classical, pop or rock as they handle all musical preferences with equal talent and emotion. This is not the case with many a high end speaker which seem to prefer jazz, vocals or classical but perform less than ideally with fast acoustical or rock/pop music.

The SEs will extract all the detail from recordings that the upstream components will allow plus always sound smooth and emotional in the process. None of this "rolled off" in the highs business here. The kicker is that with all their detail, there is just no hardness, harshness or listener fatigue whatsoever. The detail communicated by these speakers is amongst the best I've heard.

I somtimes sit a good five or so feet outside the right speaker and the musical image is still there to be fully enjoyed. I no longer feel that a person must sit in the so called sweet spot to enjoy music. With the SEs, the sweet pot is on major league steroids!

Build quality. Dynaudio truly did a superb job assembling and finishing these speakers. The birds-eye maple is a stunner with the sides of both speakers perfectly grain matched. It becomes obvious real fast that no corners were cut putting these little guys together.

One more thing, the Dyns have a very high WAF.

1) Loads of detail without any harshness or listener fatigue. 2) Liquid and natural midrange presentation. 3) Seamless mid/high integration. 4)Amazing quantity of tight & fast bass for such a small monitor. 5)Build quality. 6)The SEs do wonderfull things with a quality recording.

These little guys have totally destroyed my CD budget. I hate turning them off. They do prefer high current amplfiers to perform their best.

Associated gear
Source: Pioneer Elite PD65
Preamp. Citation 7.0
Amplifier: Citation 7.1
Stands: Osiris 24.5"
ICs: Homegrown Audio Silver Lace
Speaker Cables: Audioquesr Slates

Similar products
Auditioned with:
Amps:Cary V-12i, Stratos & CJ Tube.
Preamps: Cary SLP-98, Cary SLP-2002, FT-Audio LW-1 & CJ Tube.
Source: Sony XA-777ES & Metronome.
What were your impressions of the Cary Audio SLP-2002 Preamp? I am considering buying one.
My current gear is as follows:
HT Reciever/Preamp: Rotel RSX-1065 receiver
DVD/CD Player: Denon DVD-3300
Speakers: JM Lab Cobalt 826
Subwoofer: M&K
Speaker Wire: Taralabs Prime bi-wire
IC's: Homegrown audio Silver lace
Hi, coromac:

Perfromance is typical Cary which IMO, is to say not overly soft in presentation (unlike onther tube gear I've played with) with excellent layering of vocals. The highs maintain the detail of a recording but with a smoothness that I rather enjoy.

The bad news in my view is that whenever two sources were connected to the SLP-2002, there was x-talk between the inputs. This is something that was never apparent with the SLP-98. BTW, the folks at Cary did not seem to believe this represented a problem that required the pre to be sent in for inspection. My preference would be the SLP-98 for this reason plus the unit is just gorgeous.

Hope this helps you.