Review: Dynaudio Contour 3.4 LE Speaker
This is my first time writing a review like this however I've listened to many speakers and systems. I've Installed and heard many systems in my past 30 years as an audiophile and installer.
My review today is my very own dynaudio contour 3.4le in which I'm very lucky and fortunate to have with the special help of my local store Codell Audio ( Issie whom is the owner and who helped me select these beauties).
Like I said I'm very lucky as of this writing I think I'm the first customer in Canada to have a pair of these beauties in my home as these are a limited edition and very sough after.
How I went about these is like everyone else who has the upgrade itch looking for better, clear more detailed sound.
The first set of speakers I ever had were Koss little bookshelves and from there the audio bug got the best of me like everyone else I imagine in this musical haven.
I won't go into my past as this would be a very long review however I will start with my first pair of dynes the audience 122 in a cherry color.
The 122's were my very first time hearing this brand of speaker and I heard of many other brands before but never dynaudio.
When Issie ( Codell audio ) and I were chatting I mentioned that I wanted to have a good decent home theatre and that I would listen to music occasionally he nodded his head , didn't answer as he was preoccupied with another customer order. Then about 5 minutes later he said come with me. I followed him into this room and he said this is what you need.
He put on a movie and I don't recall what the movie was but after about 60 seconds I was sold.
These tiny little towers were about 38" tall and 8" wide and the sound was whooa amazing, where was the sub ? Issie said oh wait I have to plug it in, I said no no that's fine I'm sold . He asked if I was sure and I said no I want them and I want them now. He said your in luck I have a brand new pair with the center channel in cherry. Sold! . This is how I got into the dynaudio sound and from there was musical heaven. These puppies lasted me about 4.5 years and them the upgrade bug got the best of me. It was time to upgrade to a higher level.
I listed to other speakers like monitor audio, paradigm, revel, klipsh, and maybe a few more. There was something missing with those brands,such as not enough bottom end , too bright , the voicing was muffled not clear. Some would even hurt my ears after 30 seconds of listening and what I've noticed is that most if not all of the speakers I mentioned have a metal tweeter and I'm not sure if it's because I see them or my imagination but most sounded too bright or not right. The dynaudio uses a silk coated tweeter and is more natural sounding and easy on the ears for continuous listening and it's not fatiguing like some of the metal tweeters.
Then without even listening I was content with my first dynaudio 122 that I gave the boss ( Issie ) the go ahead to order me up a pair of focus 260's. This was the first time I purchased a pair of speakers without listening to them.
2 weeks later I had these speakers ( dynaudio focus 260 ) in my home.
When I first played them they were a little harsh at first not a lot of bass and the voicing seemed muted. I knew that they needed some break-in before I could do some true listening therfore I did like everyone else and ran them for a couple of days. After about the 20 hr mark I had a quick listen to a few of my favorite tracks Aretha Franklin , frampton, I'm embaresed to say Michael Jackson but some of his recordings can show many faults and positives and I'm glad to say that I was very surprised by the clarity and details that the 260 showed.We also watched This it from Michael Jackson on blue ray and it's got a mix of guitars , kick drums , vocals , and many other pleasantries to listen to and these were much better than the 122's.
The 260's were pretty good, more base better voicing and after the 220-230 mark they were very clear and fully broken in.
I do home theatre and 2 channel music with my system that's why I have the anthem d2 as its does the best of both worlds without breaking the bank. Sure I could of gone with 2 separate systems but I believe a speaker should do everything let it be HT or audio pretty well. Sure you can get systems that do one thing better than the other but I needed and wanted the best of both worlds. That's kind of why I've liked/loved dynaudio so much, it's has the ability to do everything very well.
Why the upgrade to the contours 3.4le because I wanted a little more bass clarity and resolution this was after hearing the dynaudio focus 340 , a pair of linn speakers ( I don't know what model ), kef Ls 50 and a beautiful pair of harbeth's ( don't know the model however ask me what I think about them if your ever interested ). I decided I needed to get that extra dimension , depth and presence.
So here was another debute of speaker searching and comparing and being a dynaudio junkie I went to their website and behold they had these beautiful black piano with stainless finish ( 3.4le )appear on the startup page.
What ? I started to do some research and looked at the specs of these beauties and they improved a little of this a little of that add sugar and spice here and there.
Like every other audio connoisseur I did some research price 3.4 regular 7800.00 vs the 3.4le 9800.00. What's with the big price increase I asked myself and did extensive research and could not find many reviews of the 3.4le. I asked the store owner and he heard about these le editions but couldn't confirm why the price increase and changes and would contact dynaudio to get more info. I then found a reviews of older 3.4 and everyone who'd review them or had them was very content and very positive reviews.
Knowing dynaudio having some special editions in the past and with great success and saw the 3.4le's I told myself this is the speaker I need to have.
I had recently listened to the confidence c1 and maybe a month priore I heard the focus 200 XD ( pretty awsom made me want to get the 600xd) however it still had the focus sound after hearing the c1 in 3 different environments I was kind of tempted to get the c1 platinum.
It was extremely clear and detailed sometimes too much dependant of the recording however most speakers will show good tracks from the bad so the speaker is not to fault.The bass was pretty impressive for a monitor speaker as it puts some full towers to shame. In my listening room ( living room ) I think it would fill it very nicely but it was lacking a little bottom end that a full tower would give/have and it's not so much the difference in price 3.4le vs c1 that would break the bank because that little c1 is the cherry on top, creme de la creme of bookshelf speakers. The feel looks and finish of the c1 is spectacular as are all of the dynaudio speakers but these little C1's are beautiful work of art just like details of a exotic sports car.
It's got lots of character and the more volume you give it the better it sounds.
Back to the 3.4 le which is what this review is about.
As I walk into the store I see my speakers have arrived and therefore look at the boxes and see the 3.4 le typical dynaudio packaging which is extremely well packed double boxed. The boxes don't seem to big so I proceed to put then in my truck and go to lift the box containing only one speaker therfore almost got a hernia because these guys are heavy.
I thought it said 40 kilos approximately 88 pounds as per the specifications on the dynaudio site and the box could not be that heavy. After dragging and lifting the speaker a foot at a time I finally got them into my truck and home. Don't ask me how I got them into my home but let it be known ( kids don't do this alone ).
After unboxing, unwrapping these beauties I now know why the boxes were so heavy!
Dynaudio packs these speakers like a new born baby. Packaging must weigh 40 pounds on its own.
Finally the review as I said earlier I'm lucky to have these in my home and thank Codell Audio for being patient with me in the selection of these baby's .
Once plug in and having approximately 50 hrs of playtime I can truly say that these speakers are awesome.
I can't wait to see what the 200-250 mark will have on these but as of this writing these are by far one of the best speakers I've heard.Better than the c1 platinum yes and no. Is the c1 more detailed yes, is the base better no the 3.4le is dominant in this category and beats most of the speakers I've mentioned.
The c1 has the esotar2 tweeter and the 3.4le has a soft dome tweeter, is there a difference between the 2 yes. The c1 is slightly more revealing and you will hear more nuances and bad recordings will be more dominant on the c1 vs the 3.4le. I'm not saying that the c1 is too revealing to be bothersome simply has better voicing and imaging than say the 260, 340 or some other speaker brands I mentioned.
If I had 2 dedicated rooms 1 for home theatre and 1 for 2 channel music I would be very content with the c1 not that it's bad for home theatre its just not good for my current setup
I'm still at the 50hr mark therefore the difference between the c1 tweeter and the 3.4le is very close like a couple of hairs close and I think the gap will get even smaller after the full break-in.
The soundstage is very wide and doesn't need you to toe in the speaker all that much to get a feeling of the full soundstage because the placement of the tweeter is almost at ear level when sitting down. In my setup the speakers are approximately 80" apart and have a very wide soundstage sitting about 12 feet from the speakers.
The base when I first used the speakers after a couple of hours got me kind of nervous at first because my focus 260 had more bottom end than the 3.4le but after about 5 hours my worries were all cleared up and I'm happy to say that these have some heft and presence which I'm glad because the c1 would not be able to achieve this when the going gets tuff watching movies. This is also one of the reasons I didn't go with the c1 plats because the 3.4 can dig deeper when there is explosions or a fright train goes by or the rumbling of an old spitfire running the engine. I don't like to use a subwoofer in 2 channel mode because I find it takes away from the speakers themselves and a good speaker should give you a sense of presence ( the tap of the kink drum in the background comes to mind )without the sub and these 3.4 do that without a hiccup and one speaker I had in mind that had lots of heft and presence was the revel ultima. ( that thing don't need a sub!).
I've also noticed that the 3.4 are very efficient with volume level around 35-37 where the 260 I would have to turn up the volume to 28-30 to get the same output.
I've re-watched This it from Michael Jackson on blue ray with and without the sub on the 3.4le and all I have to say is WOW !!
There are new noises throughout the movie and these dynes bang out symbols and kick drums with authority even at low listening levels, some of the movements as they are walking across the stage can be heard very clearly where as the 260 I did not get this.
I could of gotten the focus 380 however the contours are once step up in the dynaudio line with reason and being a limited edition I knew these were going to be special.
What else can I say, I've said it all and no I don't work for Dynaudio they just have amazing products that are true to their moto dyn's don't lie.
I'm very! very! happy to have these in my home as this is my 3rd pair of dyn's and this speaks of the brand and my commitment to them being a high end speaker company and will enjoy the 3.4le for a very long time.
Special thanks to Codell audio its owner and excellent team introducing me to this wonderful brand.
Mark levinson 433
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