Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

When Dynaudio offers smart and wireless active speakers, it is anything but a copy of other manufacturers: the Danes were the first suppliers from the inner circle of high-end to bring audiophile smart speakers onto the market. And the Dynaudio Focus 30 streaming box featured here shows that you still have a reassuring head start...

“Streaming” is the hip way to consume music today. This works quite well with a mobile phone and good headphones, but it's even better with speakers in the living room. A "touch" in the Tidal, Spotify or Roon app - to name just a few - and the colorful variety of music is available in seconds. I think that's a brilliant development. Especially if you buy dedicated speakers for it. In other words: sell your hi-fi tower and your CD collection and put a pair of loudspeakers in the living room that you no longer need. All you need is an internet connection and an account with a streaming service provider - that's it.

More and more manufacturers are getting involved with this new type of speaker, and fortunately more and more high-end ones as well. Manufacturers of active loudspeakers have a clear advantage here, because the only thing missing here is a module and a software interface that accepts the sound data from the streaming services.

And this is where Dynaudio comes into play, a company that has decades of experience in speaker construction and has been building active loudspeakers for the professional recording studio sector for a long time. Founded in 1977 in Skanderborg, Denmark, they have always been known for their own chassis creations. In the beginning you could still buy the chassis individually in order to build your own boxes, but for many years the valuables have only been available in ready-made boxes. The Danes have built up three mainstays over the years: loudspeakers for the recording studio, for the music lover at home and for sound reinforcement in the car.

With their all-in-one streaming speakers from the Focus series, they have recently expanded their range of models for the home. All three models impress with their no-frills, straight-forward design that is "suitable for living spaces". There are four different finishes to choose from: Black High Gloss, White High Gloss, Blonde Wood and Walnut Wood.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

In principle, these loudspeakers are based on Dynaudio's active studio monitors from the top-of-the-line Core series: the built-in class D amplifiers also come from partner company Pascal in Copenhagen, the drivers are slightly modified for home use and, as usual, are made in-house.

Dynaudio Focus 30: the concept

The Focus 30 is the middle model in the range – a small floorstanding speaker that is only 90 centimeters high and weighs just under 15 kilograms. Two 14 centimeter woofers and a 28 millimeter fabric dome are located on the narrow front. It looks like a 3-way box, but it's not: In principle, the Focus is a two-way box that only receives support below 200 Hertz from the second 14 bass. This is then called a 2.5-way box. This means that up to 220 Hertz, both 14s oscillate in parallel to provide enough membrane surface for the low frequencies: Above 200 Hertz only the upper of the two oscillates to ensure broad radiation in the midrange. From 2,500 Hertz, the dome tweeter finally comes into play.

The diaphragms of the Esotec+ woofers/midrange drivers are of course proprietary developments that have been refined over the past four decades. The material is a magnesium silicate polymer, which has a low dead weight, high dimensional stability and a particularly low level of resonance. Lightweight aluminum voice coils have always been standard on Dynaudio's woofers/midrange drivers. The suspension, i.e. the bead and spider, are designed for a large stroke. The loudspeaker basket made of die-cast aluminum is very torsion-resistant and thus allows a filigree construction, so that the membrane can vibrate unhindered and reflection-free.

Tradition is also popular in the treble sector: Silk fabric was the material of choice when Dynaudio was founded in 1977. It is light, easy to shape and has a high level of internal cushioning. The Cerotar fabric tweeter is based on the current top model Esotar 3 and features a so-called Hexis mechanism that suppresses unwanted resonances of the energy radiated to the rear.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

The low-midrange drivers work in a closed housing and are each driven by a 280-watt power amp via DSP with equalization. In order to protect the chassis at high volume levels, a special "sliding" high-pass filter reduces the woofer deflection in the limit range. A full 110 watts are still available for the tweeter. That should be enough.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

As is often the case with streaming speakers, the Dynaudio Focus 30 has a sub and a main (primary) speaker. In addition to the active electronics, the latter also accommodates all accesses. As there would be: For the digital sources, a Toslink and coaxial input as well as a pair of cinch inputs for an analogue source. A connection to an external subwoofer is also provided. Any connected Dynaudio subwoofers can be connected to the trigger output of the Focus 30, which also copies the standby behavior to the bass player. If you don't want the two boxes to communicate via WiSa (Wireless Speaker and Audio) via the ether, you can also establish a wired connection via "Coax Out" - then music can be heard with data rates of up to 192 kilohertz. By radio it is 96 kilohertz.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review


The first step was to integrate the loudspeakers into the WLAN. That means switching on and waiting until the LED displays on the fronts flash slowly. The boxes are now in connection mode. Then you can download and start Dynaudio's "Set-Up and Control App". If you select "Add New Speaker" the Focus 30 are immediately recognized and activated.

In addition to a "loudspeaker coverage EQ", a subwoofer can be integrated under the advanced settings, the sensitivity of the analog input can be adjusted, the volume can be fixed if you want to adjust the volume via a player, or the LED display can be deactivated in night mode

As a hi-fi purist, I didn't use the front covers that came with it. But if you like it with an aperture, the Dynaudio app will magically show you whether there is a cover or not. Very cool. Why? Because the magnetic fixation immediately tells the electronics that they would like to set a suitable equalization. So the height loss is compensated by the material using a stored equalization.

The loudspeakers were placed in the standard positions, i.e. with the rather short listening distance of around 2.50 meters.

Thanks to the Roon Ready certification, the Dynaudio Focus 30 can be integrated and controlled directly as a "device" in Roon. However, by default I use the Roon App and the Roon Nucleus or a Tidal account as a streaming source to feed the Dynaudio Focus 30 with sound data via a Mutec MC3+USB as a control center and jitter killer.

A treat for sound tinkerers at home is certainly the option to "optimize" the loudspeakers for their own listening room via Dirac Live. The Focus 30 is one of the few current active loudspeakers that is "Dirac Live Ready" and can therefore be optimally calibrated to the listening position. So if the music in your living room sounds boomy, then it would be worth purchasing the license for 150 euros (20-500 Hz). This allows the transmission behavior to be ironed out to a large extent. What you also need is a USB measurement microphone, a computer and the Dirac software as a download.

We invested the money for the license on a trial basis to see what Dirac can and does. But one thing first: The first and better step towards perfect listening pleasure are, of course, passive acoustic measures. Digital room corrections are not a panacea simply because they only work at the listening position. At best, they should be used to keep any remaining drone frequencies in check. And also important: Changes in the middle and high-frequency range should only be used cautiously so as not to change the actual sound character of the speaker.

In my listening room, the usual listening and speaker placements show two noticeable room modes, namely strong peaks at 55 and 72 Hz as well as a peak at 120 Hz and a dip at 87 Hz.

As a check, I made a final measurement with the measurement system I usually use (REW) to see what the calculated correction would do with a given target curve at the listening position in the middle of the head. In fact, Dirac managed to smooth out all the excesses. This is exactly what I expect from "intelligent" algorithms in room correction software.

Position-dependent cancellations should by no means be corrected. Background: The dips in the bass range are sound pressure minima due to the position in the room. If you try to fill up these minima, the sound pressure in this position remains largely unchanged, but at other points in the room you would measure significant level increases and the bass would quickly be overwhelmed. The only thing that helps here is to find better listening and box positions in advance that show fewer cancellations.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

Overall, Dirac Live offers a large playground with the "variable" Home Curve. There are many of these home curves on the internet that will suit one speaker and room or another. The motto here is: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. What's cool is that you can save up to four different equalizations on the Dynaudio app and compare them directly. It is also a good idea to save a "loudness curve" as a target, for example, so that you don't have to miss anything in terms of bass and treble for the quiet evening hours. Of course, reduced EQs can also be saved, i.e. those that only process defined frequency ranges: for example for high-pitched recordings or to counteract a booming bass reproduction in the room.

Dynaudio Focus 30 Review

hearing test

So everything was ready for the listening test. The Dynaudios were only slightly angled towards the listening position. In the listening session, I compared the manual settings of the “Neutral” room optimization, i.e. free-standing loudspeakers and “Neutral” frequency tuning, with Dirac equalization according to my own HomeCurve.

As always, the voice rendition was at the top of the listening list. The character of the loudspeaker can be quickly recognized here – both the tonality and the imaging capabilities. Of course, direct comparisons to the recently tested KEF LS60 Wireless and the Genelec 8351B were also interesting later - especially since all three test subjects are in about the same price segment and I have already heard and compared the latter two extensively.

With the Focus 30, a strikingly neutral tonality immediately emerged. I like to use Patricia Barber's "Touch Of Trash" or Diana Krall's "The Girl In The Other Room" for the check, because they sound very balanced tonally and very clear and open in the presence range. Too open for some loudspeakers, with sometimes slightly emphasized S-sounds. Patricia Barber sounded nice and clear without intoning too presently. With Dirac Live and our own Home Curve equalization, the most noticeable difference was the bass: without equalization, individual notes tended to be boomy and pressed on the ears, with equalization, on the other hand, they were cleanly contoured and clearly differentiated tone by tone. At the same time, the stage seemed a bit tidier, the trumpet stepped back half a meter, the voice was positioned even more clearly, but everything was a bit more two-dimensional,

A similar picture with Diana Krall: Here, too, it seems that the bass range in particular benefited at first glance, but on longer listening the Dirac correction showed even more merits. Piano attacks but also the voice were simply positioned more clearly, which made it possible to follow the jazz ensemble in a more relaxed manner. I think the term "authenticity" sums it up best. The processing of what is heard seems less strenuous, one is more involved live than trying to decode the audio file – if you know what I mean.

That's not to say that the Dynaudio Focus 30 only sounds so good thanks to Dirac; even without equalization it plays at the highest level. But once you have hidden the room a bit thanks to correction, you hardly want to switch back. The core competency of the Focus 30 - with or without correction - is its ability to present the music happening at speaker level while at the same time losing almost nothing in terms of resolution. As a result, it never sounds intrusive or superficial, but builds up the musical events as vividly as one is used to from live recordings.

One finding sticks: Dirac helps to clean up the bass in particular. A good example was Peter Weniger's "Half Live" - ​​admittedly an extremely fat recorded electric bass. This recording sounded good, but clearly boomed and boomed at the listening position. With Dirac equalization, everything sounded clean and crisp, and the Focus 30 seemed to be able to play deeper, subjectively. Certainly because the droning without equalization did not allow for clean differentiation.

Finally, the comparison to the Genelec 8351B and the KEF LS60 Wireless showed where the Dynaudio stands. Compared to the KEF, the Dynaudio Focus 30 plays a little more quickly, slightly clearer in the mids with a similarly wide stage image. The Genelec showed once again that it places the music happening closer in front of the listener and carves out every little detail of the recording with great attention to detail. To a certain extent, Dynaudio's sound character can be classified between the KEF and the Genelec - but tends to be closer to the KEF.

In terms of depth, all three play at about the same level. The KEF could perhaps squeeze out a few decibels more level than the Dynaudio, but none of the three test subjects asked for an additional subwoofer.

Dynaudio Focus 30: The Verdict

I have to admit: I was fascinated by these speakers. On the one hand, the box format is really suitable for living space. With a height of 90 centimeters and a width of 18 centimeters in the front, this loudspeaker will not dominate any living room. On the other hand, despite its small size, the Dane can do almost everything that the listening spectrum demands: It plays down to 30 Hertz and can also handle high listening levels in normal living room sizes.

Let's get to the character of the sound. The term "character" is actually rather negatively charged in connection with sound. "Characterless" would be the optimum and would mean that the loudspeaker does not add any sound of its own, but only transports what the recording bears. Seen in this way, the Dynaudio Focus 30 can be described as almost characterless. Bravo, the developers did a great job here!

As the icing on the cake, the Danes have implemented a function in the Focus 30 (like the others in the Focus series) that rounds off the consistently positive picture: Dirac Live Ready is the keyword. Now don't say it's too expensive: At a retail price of 7,500 euros for a pair of Dynaudio Focus 30, an additional 250 euros for the room correction license is a good investment. OK: There is also a measurement microphone for about 100 euros. But then you have a powerful tool setup to mainly clean up your problem area bass - and I give you the word and seal that you have a problem somewhere here. So if you are willing to invest a few hours in "finding the home curve", you can get everything out of the speaker: Then you will hear the superb Focus 30 above all - and not mainly your room.

Technical specifications

Dynaudio Focus 30

Concept: DSP-equalized, 2.5-way active streaming box

Assembly: HT = 1 x 29 mm (Cerotar), TMT = 2 x 14 cm (MSP membrane)

Power de2 amplifier: 2 x 180 watts (bass), 1 x 110 watts (treble)

recommended max. room size: 25 square meters

Inputs (Primary Speakers)     1 x cinch (analogue), 1 x coax (digital), Ethernet, Bluetooth

Connection between the boxes: wireless or wired (Cinch)

Color variants: Black High Gloss, White High Gloss, Blonde Wood and Walnut Wood

Dimensions (W x H x D): 26.8 × 94.7 × 34.2 cm (including foot)

Weight: 16.2 kilos (piece)

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