Dynaudio & Octave – CES 2017

by Rafe Arnott

While CES 2017 is like a sprawling octopus of new technology across the core of the Las Vegas strip, with tens of thousands of attendees wandering, mouths agape, often standing looking skyward as they try to get their bearings, the CES that I actually came to see seems to be located on just two floors at The Venetian Hotel. It’s on the 29th, and 30th floors to be exact, and while the bulk of exhibitors on those floors are high-end audio manufacturers, Sealy Mattress has also tucked itself in among the likes of VTL Amplifiers, and Dynaudio. It’s Vegas… what can I say? And it was Dynaudio that I wanted to check out while in the desert for the North American premiere of their Contour 60 three-way loudspeakers with an MSRP of $10,000 USD.

The 60 is a three-way design that features an entirely new crossover kitted out with Mundorf capacitors, 9.5-inch MSP woofers inherited and reworked from the Contour 30. An Esotar2 soft-dome tweeter handles the upper registers with a redesigned six-inch midrange driver featuring low-mass aluminum voice-coils for a fat-sounding middle section with no flab whatsoever. The tweeter voice-coil is bathed in magnetic ferrofluid, which according to Dynaudio “works like a shock absorber” to dissipate heat for reduced stress on moving parts “which improves power-handling and widens the frequency response.”

This is a sonic signature for those who like speed, dynamics and power as the bone structure of their music. Octave amplification has always impressed me with it’s ability to maintain absolute control of the lower registers without sacrificing the all-too critical air, and space around voices, and instruments that a speaker as transparent as the 60 is able to pass along. Some may question $50,000 USD of source, and amplification for a $10,000 USD transducer, but I felt that once again, Dynaudio was showing exactly the kind of value-for-money that they’ve always built, and made their name on. There are a few other similar speaker designs, that offer comparable performance to the Contour 60, but at over three, or even four times the price.
You do the math.

With the Aurender N100H network streaming player juicing the Incredibly sweet – yet accurate – SimAudio Moon 780D DAC, this was a curated combo of valves, and digital that Vice President of Operations for North America Michael Manousselis seemed very happy to demonstrate.
And that I was very happy to listen to.

Room equipment:
Dynaudio Contour 60
$10,000 USD/pair
Octave MRE 220 monoblock amplifiers (220W) – $20,000 USD/pair
Octave HP 700 Preamp – $12,500 USD
Moon 780D DAC – $15,000 USD
Aurender N100H – $2,500 USD
Cardas Clear Beyond Cable