In 2012, Dynaudio released its first Xeo series speakers combining active, digital, and wireless features at the CES exhibition in the United States. In 2014, it released the second generation Xeo 4 bookshelf and Xeo 6 floor standing speakers. Later Dynaudio has further launched the new Focus XD series of active digital speakers at the Munich Audio Show in Germany. The most remarkable thing is that it maintains the entire digital signal from the input all the way to the speaker unit. Here is the Dynaudio Focus 400 XD.
History of Wireless Hi-End
In 2012, Dynaudio’s Xeo series was launched. In the various “wireless” speakers on the market at that time, Xeo was the only product focused on sound quality. I have experienced the first-generation Xeo3 and Xeo5. The sound and the performance are really amazing. In 2014, the Xeo3 and Xeo5 upgraded into Xeo4 and Xeo6, and the overall perfection had reached a higher level. At the end of 2015, they launched Xeo2, the smallest speaker in the series, to maximize Xeo’s wireless technology benefits.
Everyone thought that this was Dynaudio’s overall product lines for the wireless speaker market, and they did not expect them to launch a higher-end Focus XD series. But we can find that Dynaudio’s determination to position its wireless products in the high-end market, regardless of the Xeo or Focus XD series. The primary consideration in design is sound quality, not just convenience and ease of use.
Focus 400 XD is an active digital speaker specially developed for digital high-resolution music files. It can support up to 24bit/192kHz high-resolution music files. Dynaudio mentioned that the Focus XD has an Analog Devices DSP digital processor and a digital amplifier developed by Texas Instruments.
The digital input signal goes through a digital DSP crossover, avoiding traditional phase distortion problems caused by the analog transmission. The signal is then handed over to the digital amplifiers of different driver units for digital amplification. Therefore, there is no DAC digital converter inside the Focus XD. In other words, if you send a digital signal to Focus XD from the beginning, you will keep the original state of the digital signal all the way to the driver.
Focus XD is an active speaker, continuing the design features of the Xeo series. An independent amplifier drives each unit. However, the amplifier power of the Focus XD has been increased to 150 watts. There are three built-in 150-watt digital amplifiers to drive the high, mid, and bass units, respectively, with a total power of 450 watts. You can save a lot of budget for purchasing the amplifier, and you don’t have to worry about the matching issue between the amplifier and the speaker!
The Dynaudio Focus 400 XD is equipped with a 27mm soft dome tweeter, which uses the Esotec+ technology developed by Dynaudio. The high frequency can be extended up to 24kHz. 400XD is equipped with 1 MSP mid-bass and 1 MSP woofer. This MSP diaphragm is also one of Dynaudio’s signature technologies. The surface has been specially treated and coated with a layer of ions to strengthen the diaphragm.
As for the 75mm large-diameter voice coil on the back of the MSP diaphragm, the “outside magenetic” design can make more effective use of magnetic force and help improve the control. Moreover, the large-size voice coil has a larger area and better heat dissipation efficiency.
The new speaker inherits the existing Focus series design but has been upgraded in great detail in terms of appearance. For example, all the speakers are changed to a magnetic grill. It is as beautiful and generous as the grill is removed. In addition, the remote control has been upgraded from Xeo’s business card size remote control to a large design.
The Versatile Inputs
If you are using active speakers for the first time, you may want to pay more attention to the connection of Focus 400XD. For the binding post, there is the RCA analog input on the back of the speaker. There is a switch beside the RCA inputs for adjusting the input sensitivity ( +6/0/-6dB) to facilitate users to match analog signal sources with different output levels or impedances.
Another way is to use RCA digital input. This connection can support up to 24bit/192kHz music file format. If you don’t like to have a wire between the left and right channel speakers, it’s okay! Because the Focus 400 XD has a wireless pairing function, as long as the digital signal is sent to the main speaker, though the back panel switching, the Focus 400 XD will wirelessly send the signal to the auxiliary speaker. The difference is that the audio version will change from 24bit/192hz dropped to 24bit/96hz.
If you don’t even want the digital cable between the source and the speaker, then again, it doesn’t matter only if you have purchased a Dynaudio Hub wireless transmitter to connect to the source. So that the digital signal can be wirelessly transmitted to the Focus 400 XD with the Hub. In other words, the computer or CD player only needs to be connected to the small Dynaudio Hub, and your 400XD is wirelessly connected with your computer.
When placing the speakers, pay attention. There is an LED indicator on the side of the Focus 400 XD. The positions of LEDs for the left and right channel speakers are different. In addition, there is a knob, which is convenient for the user to adjust the speaker’s low frequency according to the speaker’s position, whether it is against the wall or against the corner.
Comparison of the Focus XD Series
In Dynaudio’s product family lines, the Focus 260 should be closer to the Focus 400 XD. Although it has the same design, Focus 400 XD is a bit larger. But when it comes to new designs such as a new type of monomer, a magnetic grill, the Focus 400 XD is very similar to the Excite X34 with the addition of a DSP digital signal processing system and amplifier. But the Excite X34’s size is smaller than the Focus 260.
Wilfried Ehrenholz, former president of Dynaudio, believes that every product is unique. There is no way to apply one design technique directly to another, so it must be completely redesigned. That is Dynaudio’s unique thinking.
Comparing the Focus 600 XD and Dynaudio Focus 400XD, the appearance of Focus 600 XD looks like the flagship X38 in the Excite series. But in fact, the entire cabinet structure has been dramatically improved. It has been changed to a completely different sealed cabinet design. The low frequency is claimed to be able to dive down to 20Hz. While the low-frequency extension of Focus 400 XD is only 29Hz, which is impressive for a speaker of this size, all thanks to Dynaudio’s excellent self-made driver unit technology.
The Focus 600 XD is a standard three-way design, while the Dynaudio Focus XD wireless floor standing speaker is a two-way speaker, lacking the 14cm midrange unit. The size of the midrange and bass unit has also been reduced from 18cm to 17cm. But it is still larger than the 14cm bass used by Excite X34 a lot.
The Focus 400 XD adopts a 2.5-channel design. In other words, the two mid-bass units are responsible for a different frequency. One is responsible for the frequency below 2,500 Hz, and the other is only responsible for a signal below 300 Hz.
The Focus600 XD uses a fourth-order crossover, while the Focus 400 XD uses a gentler third-order crossover. A single Focus 400 XD speaker weighs 18.5 kg and a Focus 600 XD speaker weighs 27 kg. Although it is the same series of products, the difference between the two is not tiny.
With so many design details introduced, how does the sound perform? The source is the Audio Research Reference CD9 player. However, in the beginning, I did not connect the Focus 400 XD digitally. Instead, the RCA analog output is used first and then switch to the digital input.
Is there any difference between the two? I think there is, and it’s pretty obvious! One is through the analog amplification circuit of CD9. The sound has the characteristics of the CD player itself. The other is to skip the analog amplification and directly output to the Focus 400 XD as a digital signal, which is relatively less affected.
For example, in the “Girl Talk” jazz album released by the Three Blind Mice, you can clearly feel the piano condensed in the center as soon as you start the music. The sound and image are great, the keys are round and soft, and have a thick feeling without being puffy, sounding quite comfortable. The low frequency of the bass is thick and heavy and is not muddled. The vibrations of the jazz drummer on the side when tapping the cymbal are light and delicate, showing the Focus 400 XD’s ability to master the details.
Change to another piece of “Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1,” played by Argerich. The piano sound and image on the Focus 400 XD are quite huge. The keys are full and heavy, and Argerich’s fingertips are powerful, sometimes violent, sometimes soft. The sound of brass instruments is warm and not irritating. The shape, hierarchy, and positioning of each instrument are precise, and the sound field sounds quite deep.
As mentioned earlier, the resolution of the Focus 400 XD is quite good. It reflects the subtle sounds of the recording scene. In particular, the sound heard is not emitted from a single speaker but appears somewhere in the “sound field.” The speaker seemed to disappear from his position, and what he heard was a whole piece of music, a hole deep and wide sound field.
The second half is “Haydn: Piano Concerto No. 11”. The Focus 400 XD immediately showed a solemn vibe. The positioning is very clear. The piano image is full and ample, and the notes are elegant and shiny. It bounces quickly and echoes with the string music group. The momentum is getting stronger and stronger. The strength and the dynamic changes are all at a glance.
We can already know that the Dynaudio Focus 400 XD that receives analog input shows a thick and smooth warm tone, which obviously has the characteristics of the Reference CD9 player. For example, another piece of Paganini’s composition, “Diabolus in Musica,” interpreted by Accardo, this record is a reference test music I often use.
The gentle and smooth sound bottom makes the violin sound comfortable and not harsh. The great thing is that it retains the details and shows full penetration when pulled to the high pitch. When entering the climax of the unison section, the whole momentum is rushed out, and the low-frequency volume is full. Even the sofa can feel the vibrating force, which is quite brilliant. The momentum and scale of the whole sound are not like a pair of small floor-standing speakers at all.
The same track was changed to digital input. The sound background was not as warm as before, the high frequency of the violin sounded much more refreshing, and the tail extension of the musical triangle was more delicate. If you want to compare it, the previous analog input sounds perceptual, but now the digital input is much more rational, and the music details are better.
I want to try Focus 400 XD to interpret the human vocal, and take out the original soundtrack of the movie “Frozen.” Anyone with children at home should have experience. You can watch the same cartoon many times. Even adults will love to watch it several times, even with eyes. If you don’t watch, your ears will be catchy as you listen.
In the track “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”, the little princess Anna taps on the door of Elsa’s room, the sound is very realistic, and it sounds fascinating! The voice density of the little girl’s singing is good and is very clear. When she got older, she sang again. You can hear that the little girl grows up without looking at the video. The singing skills, emotions, and tone of voice have changed more and more delicately.
The next track is the world-renowned “Let it Go.” It sounds perfect on Dynaudio Focus 400 XD Active Digital Speaker, especially when entering the chorus. The momentum is getting higher and higher. Idina Menzel’s singing is full of penetrating power, and the sound is condensed in. The center is clear and protruding, and the music is full and rich in the back, and it will not cover up the singing of Idina Menzel. This alone is worthy of praise! And the overall momentum is enormous.
As a manufacturer with deep accumulation and strong technical strength, Dynaudio has a glorious past, and in the new era, it closely meets the needs of the times. This review of Dynaudio Focus XD wireless floor standing speaker, its rich functionality, and convenient user experience impress me, a music lover who has experienced many Dynaudio speakers.
In terms of sound performance, Focus 400XD is a product with prominent Dynaudio characteristics. It is precise, neutral, serious, and balanced. At the same time, it has the characteristics of the times and is a bit more lively than the previous products. Use such a product Whether you are listening to music or watching movies, you will have a good experience.