Dynaudio Special 40 Review
Dynaudio Special Forty 40th Anniversary is the Best Classic Memorial Speaker from Dynaudio so far. The special edition bookshelf speaker-Special Forty, launched by Dynaudio, Denmark, commemorates the company’s 40th anniversary. This speaker uses a newly designed tweeter. Regardless of the cost, the outer box is very dazzling with multiple baking paint layers, available in red and gray. Special Forty is by no means a mere commemorative character. It has an excellent sound and is a bookshelf speaker not to be missed.
The Dynaudio Special Forty that I listened to this time is gray wood grain, with multiple layers of transparent piano paint on the outer box. The design is two ways and two drivers, with a bass reflex hole at the rear. The response frequency is 41Hz~23kHz, the sensitivity is 86dB, and the impedance is 6Ω. Use first-order partials. The crossover point is 2,000 Hz. The size is 198 x 360 x 307 mm, and a single speaker weighs 8.1 kg.
Redesigned New Driver
As everyone knows, all Dynaudio drivers are independently designed and produced with outstanding quality. The most significant advantage is that you can set a single unit’s design for different models, different speaker volumes, or crossover designs. It can be changed and adjusted at any time during the design process to achieve the best results. This way of making speakers is the best, and it is also beyond the reach of companies purchasing drivers to drive speakers.
Top Tweeter Technology
Special Forty does not use the driver model produced in the past but redesigns a brand new unit suitable for this 40th-anniversary speaker. The tweeter unit is called Esotar Forty and uses a 28 mm hemispherical silk diaphragm.
Same as in the past, the hemispherical silk diaphragm designed by Dynaudio is very light, has good damping, and can achieve a fast response. It has a unique DSR coating (Dynaudio Secret Recipe), making the frequency response more balanced. , smooth. Generally, the tweeter often focuses on some frequency bands, which cannot be as average as Dynaudio’s tweeter.
The highest-end Esotar 2 tweeter and the new Esotar Forty also use large neodymium magnets, not for more significant sound pressure, but better control.
The New Bass Port design
The most significant improvement of Esotar Forty is to redesign the contact connection between the back of the diaphragm and the chamber so that the generated back wave airflow can be more smoothly transmitted to the rear of the cabinet and no longer reflect to affect the diaphragm. Although the sound is emitted forward by the diaphragm, the back wave involves the degree of distortion. The lower the frequency, the more back waves will be generated.
Estar Forty focuses on controlling the back wave airflow this time, allowing Esotar Forty’s frequency response to extend down to 1,000 Hz, achieving better connection with the mid-woofer. This improvement mostly reflects the replay of the tweeter in the low-frequency range.
The Best 17cm Mid-Bass Unit
Special Forty’s mid-woofer size is 17 cm, which is the best mid-woofer of Dynaudio in this size. This is an improvement from the past 17W75 MSP unit, which has better structure and control capabilities.
The same use MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) material diaphragm has not found a material with a better overall effect than MSP in rigidity, stability, and damping characteristics. And unlike other diaphragm materials, MSP will not change or decay due to time.
On Special Forty’s mid-bass unit, the concave diaphragm forms a protrusion in the center, an integrated design. Keeping it in one piece is more troublesome in manufacturing. Still, it can control the diaphragm’s degree of deformation when it moves and let the entire diaphragm directly connect with the voice coil. The front end of the voice coil is directly related to the diaphragm’s back (Balance Ribs). The response frequency of the Special Forty mid-woofer can be as high as 4,000 Hz.
Hybrid Magnet System
The mid-bass unit uses a hybrid magnet system in which a neodymium magnet provides powerful energy. The other part is a milder ferrite magnet that keeps flowing around the voice coil to improve efficiency and control.
In particular, the mid-bass unit is the same as the tweeter. The magnet system is placed in the voice coil barrel instead of outside the voice coil. Placing it inside the voice coil makes the magnetic force more efficient. The same voice coil quality can provide more power and reduce the internal reflection of the driver. The mid-bass unit adopts a long-stroke design to provide more energy.
Whether it is the magnet system in the tweeter or mid-bass unit, Dynaudio uses an aluminum voice coil instead of the standard copper voice coil. The reason is that aluminum is lighter. Under the same weight, the aluminum wire can wind more turns. Multi-turn voice coils can make the diaphragm better control, longer stroke, and faster heat dissipation.
Excellent Driver Combination without Complicated Crossover
The crossover used by Special Forty uses a simple first-order crossover design, which does not require complex circuit components and steep roll-off slopes.
The reason lies in the design of the driver unit. The tweeter’s response frequency can be as low as 1,000 Hz, and the mid-bass unit can be as high as 4,000 Hz. The design allows the driver characteristics to be very similar in tone, dispersion, phase, and separation. Therefore, on Special Forty, you only need to ensure a smooth connection of frequencies around 3,000 Hz.
Special Forty’s crossover is further optimized based on Dynaudio’s classic first-order crossover design. The superb crossover technology enables each unit to obtain the corresponding frequency band’s ideal signal and obtain excellent sound playback effects. The unique impedance adaptive technology can effectively reduce phase distortion and interference, making the sound more accurate. Precise and meticulous adjustments make the Special Forty’s treble and bass unit an excellent match, give full play to the unit’s superb performance, and make the overall sound more natural.
Special Forty’s crossover is similar to the past, but it has improved phase accuracy and impedance accuracy. Because of the wide frequency extension and similar characteristics of the single unit, there is no particular difficulty designing the crossover.
There is a bass-reflex hole on the back of the Special Forty, which is treated with an arc at the edge to reduce noise when air passes through. The 40th anniversary is written on the speaker terminal’s metal fixing plate to represent its uniqueness and commemoration.
Hegel H390 Amplifier
The integrated amplifier used to drive the Special Forty this time is Hegel from Norway, model H390. It is the second flagship product of the Hegel integrated amplifier series, and the flagship model is H590. Hegel’s product line is vibrant, from the entry-level integrated power amplifier H90, H120, H390, and H590, and P20 preamplifier, H20 power amplifier, and P30 preamplifier. Regardless of the needs of music enthusiasts, Hegel series integrated amplifiers and power amplifiers can meet. In recent years, Hegel power amplifiers have been popular in Europe and the United States and have won many awards.
HEGEL H390 has high power (250W/8Ω), is equipped with high-quality decoding, supports PCM, DSD, and high-quality network streaming audio. Besides, its ultra-high damping coefficient can drive many difficult-to-drive speakers, and it is also cost-effective. The price and other advantages have been widely concerned in the international media, audio exhibition, and HIFI enthusiast circles.
The decoding part of the newly upgraded HEGEL H390 has gone up to the next level. It fully supports the current streaming digital high-quality MQA music files. It can play and transmit the physical MQA-CD signal on the ordinary CD player to the H390 decoding process, and the MQA processing can reach up to 8x (352.8kHz/384kHz).
In addition, digital inputs such as USB, BNC, coaxial, and optical fiber support high-format PCM (up to 384 kHz/32bit), DSD (DSD64, DSD128, DSD256). Support various summary network streaming media applications, including AirPlay, UPNP/DLNA, Spotify Connect, etc. The output power (250W/8Ω), with a damping coefficient of 4000, can quickly drive difficult speakers.
Hegel’s sound has always been relatively neutral. The high-frequency part is very detailed and temperamental. The low-frequency control is excellent. It belongs to the typical pyramid energy distribution. This time listening with Dynaudio Special Forty can make people feel at ease in sound quality and control.
Precise and Emotional
Listening to Hanne Boel’s “Outtakes” album, Dynaudio Special 40, is not only accurate but also emotional in the vocal reproduction, but it is also charming and pleasant. This album is also rich in the bass frequency range, and the mid and low frequencies shown by Special 40 are fast. The rich liveness presented in the album is quite lively, and it plays well in fast-paced music. Electronic music or live recordings can be enjoyed on Special 40.
After listening to popular modern songs, I replaced them with Anne-Sophie Mutter’s “Carmen-Fantasie.” Special Forty is also top-notch in the sound and color of the violin. The tone is neutral enough, the sound image is accurate enough, and it can even show the level of the violin lead itself. The position’s depth in the same measure can be displayed very clearly, not to mention the whole orchestra. The stereo sound is perfect. Moreover, the high-frequency band’s extension is comprehensive and natural, and the low-frequency band is fast and not tangled and muddy. It is excellent to listen to the violin and the orchestra.
Although Dynaudio Special Forty is a commemorative speaker launched for its 40th anniversary, this is a set of bookshelf speakers that fully uses the design spirit and philosophy of Dynaudio over the past 40 years. Dynaudio has a unique ability to design speakers, has perfect and correct design concepts, all self-made strength, and 40 years of experience, all of which have been seen on Special Forty.
Dynaudio’s Special Forty 40th Anniversary Passive Speaker inherits Dynaudio’s classic features, handcrafted, and pursues details. All the passion is to present the original sound you expect. The new Special Forty tweeter can raise the airflow unobstructed to another level. A new channel is designed behind the hybrid magnet system to reduce backpressure and make the airflow more unobstructed. The 17cm MSP woofer can effectively reduce the sound reflection in the unit and present a more accurate and true sound.
Dynaudio Special Forty Specs
- Sensitivity: 86dB (2.83V / 1m)
- IEC power handling: 200W
- Impedance: 6 Ohms
- Frequency response (±3dB): 41Hz – 23kHz
- Box principle: Bass-reflex rear ported
- Crossover: 2-way
- Crossover frequency: 2000Hz
- Crossover typology: 1st order
- Woofer: 17cm MSP cone
- Tweeter: 28mm Esotar Forty
- Weight: 8.1kg / 17.9lb
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 198 x 360 x 307mm / 7.8 x 14.2 x 12.1in
- Dimensions with feet/grille (WxHxD): 198 x 360 x 322mm / 7.8 x 14.2 x 12.7in