Dynaudio special forty


Home review

We have a confession. Our first impression of Dynaudio’s 40th anniversary speaker is more one of mild disappointment than anything else. It’s not that there is a lot wrong with the Special Forty - it's just the design seem a little too familiar.

Dynaudio has made any number of two-way standmounters, of this size and with drive units that look pretty much identical to the ones used here.

Put aside the gorgeous finishes – the options are Birch in either grey or red gloss – and there seems little to differentiate the Fortys from a stack of products the company has made in the past. Except pretty much all of them were way cheaper.

But things start to look brighter once we delve into the details. These speakers are indeed designed as something of a homage to the company’s past, but they’re not meant to be museum pieces.

That drive unit array may look straight out of the £600 Emit 20 (or even the Contour 1.1 from over a decade ago), but it’s actually based on the drivers used in company’s high-end Confidence C1 model that retails for ten times this price.

Build and compatibility

Dynaudio didn’t just plonk in the units from the C1 - the drivers have been fettled, with markedly improved results.

The engineers worked on improving airflow and damping behind the 28mm tweeter dome - the idea is to reduce back-pressure as the diaphragm moves, increasing detail and lowering distortion. The motor system has also been tweaked.

That 17cm mid/bass unit still uses the company’s traditional MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) cone – it’s a one-piece cone using the large dome in the middle to aid rigidity. But much else has changed, from the suspension to voice coil former and magnet system.

MORE: How to buy speakers and set them up for the best sound

Dynaudio claims this to be the best 17cm mid/bass unit it makes, which is quite some claim considering it has far pricier two-way models on its books using similar drivers.

The tweeter and mid/bass units are mated by a relatively simple first order crossover designed to minimise phase and impedance issues.

Each drive unit can cover quite a wide range – the tweeter is can delve to 1kHz, while the mid/bass is comfortable up to 4kHz – but the crossover point is fairly conventional at 2kHz.

MORE: How to build the perfect speaker

Our Special Forty review samples aren't brand new, so it doesn't take long for them to come on song. Positioning is simple - we end up with them placed on solid stands, a metre or so from the rear wall with just a hint of angle towards the listening position.

These speakers don’t provide a particularly difficult electrical load – nominal impedance is claimed to be 6ohms – so most price-compatible amplifiers will be happy driving them.

We use both our reference Gamut D3i/D200i pre/power and a Roksan Blak amplifier for this test, without issue.

MORE: Gamut D3i/D200i pre/power review

Sound

How do the Fortys sound? We keep coming back to three words in our notes: confident, muscular and subtle. We start with Holst’s Mars and the Special Fortys respond with glee.

They sound far bigger and more authoritative than a speaker that stands 36cm high has any right to.

Part of this is down to powerful, well-extended bass that balances weight and agility superb. The rest of it is down to a combination of composure and dynamic reach that allows these boxes to cope brilliantly with the demanding crescendos of this piece.

MORE: What Hi-Fi? Awards 2018 - stereo speakers

They image well too, the orchestra organised with precision and stability. There’s a good sense of depth, which extends the presentation well beyond the confines of our listening room. We like the tonality too.

There are more neutral alternatives – ATC’s mighty SCM19s come to mind – but the Special Fortys are even, cohesive and nicely balanced.

They’re also magnificently detailed, digging out the low-level acoustic clues that define a recording venue with ease. This resolution is apparent whatever genre of music we play.

We love the way these speakers reveal the texture and attitude in Jill Scott’s voice on Gettin’ In The Way.

MORE: ATC SCM19 review

There’s a natural fluidity to this speaker’s midrange dynamics, and we admire their ability to tie a multitude of instrumental strands together in a convincing and musical way.

They’re surefooted when it comes to timing and rhythms too, rendering the changing momentum of a piece well while keeping our toes tapping.

Moving to Bruce Springsteen’s Radio Nowhere shows the Fortys can cope with dense production while delivering a sound with drive and plenty of energy.

While these speakers are great at revealing low-level information, they’re just as happy to rock along with something and just entertain.

MORE: Best speaker deals - hi-fi, Bluetooth, wireless

Verdict

The Special Fortys are easy speakers to underestimate. They’re not an overtly cutting-edge design using the latest in high-tech materials, nor are they styled to stand out in a crowd.

But once we start listening none of that matters. We’re far too busy having fun.

See all our Dynaudio reviews

www.whathifi.com

Special Forty anniversary standmount speakers

We still surprise ourselves. Some people might be content to sit back and be complacent about their successes after 40 years of constant innovation. We aren’t. In fact, we only get hungrier for new techniques and technologies.

That’s why we developed the Special Forty: we wanted to revisit those innovations and see what we’d do differently this time.

What you won’t find here is anything revolutionary. Instead, you’ll discover a look at our past – along with some special sneak-previews of the future.

The Special Forty is classic Dynaudio: all the craftsmanship, attention to detail and total love of authentic sound you’ve come to expect. It’s the connoisseur’s choice – a simple pair of passive hi-fi speakers. But it isn’t about looking back, misty-eyed, at past glories and leaving it at that. It’s about using those glories as a platform from which to launch our next set of breakthroughs.

Greatest hits… reimaginedWe do compact speakers really well. We always have. So, as a nod back to classics including the Special One, the Special Twenty-Five, the Crafft and the Contour 1.3SE, we kept the Special Forty pure – if incredibly advanced.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an anniversary speaker if it didn’t include some of our greatest hits. But we haven’t just got the old band back together to trot out the same old stuff, unchanged. We’ve remixed, remastered and rearranged things to bring those old favourites into 2017 – and beyond.

That’s why it has one of our classic first-order crossover designs, incorporating our unique Phase Alignment and Impedance Alignment technologies. The crossover expertly marshals the input signal between the woofer and the tweeter – so each driver gets only the frequencies it’s supposed to, and can perform at its very best. Its specially selected components handle the impedance optimisation and, because both drivers have extended frequency ranges for even better overlap and integration, that performance borders on the mesmerising.

The song remains the sameThe Special Forty uses our proprietary MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) material for its main driver. MSP delivers precisely the right combination of rigidity, damping and stability for the most faithful sound reproduction. And, unlike other cone materials, it doesn’t change over time – so your Special Forty speakers will still be singing just as sweetly come our next anniversary. 

The cone itself uses a painstakingly developed symmetrical excursion for even better midrange performance. Behind it sits our asymmetrical spider – our passive harmonic rectifier. It minimises upper harmonics to further tighten the performance and make it possible not only to pick out individual parts in a piece of music, but even individual instruments in an orchestra. (So now, finally, the Third Violin section can have its day in the sun.) And, like all our other MSP cones, it’s a one-piece design (you can tell by the special balance ribs around the central dust-cap). This gives it an incredibly solid connection to the voice-coil, as well as stabilising its form – which is crucial when you decide to turn it up to 11.

It all sits in our special AirFlow Basket – the bit that holds the whole driver motor securely in place in the cabinet. Its development was one of those ‘Eureka!’ moments our engineers seem to get a few times a week in Dynaudio Labs (you can often hear them cheering from across the road in our factory). We asked them to reduce internal reflections and increase air movement without compromising the basket’s stiffness or stability, and this genius design is what they came up with.

Airflow is kingThe new Esotar Forty tweeter takes air-movement to another level. It moves the air in typically sweet fashion in front of the DSR (Dynaudio Secret Recipe) precision-coated soft-dome, of course, but there’s a lot of engineering going on behind it as well.

Take the new pressure conduit. It’s a shaped vent in the back of the hybrid magnet system that allows more space in the rear chamber. That space lets us pack in more damping material and reduces back-pressure, while the shape itself optimises airflow coming backwards from the rear of the dome.

Then there’s the outlet; the aero-coupled pressure-release system. It sits underneath the voice-coil and reduces unwanted pressure build-up that could affect its movement. Stopping those pockets of air from forming reduces resonance – and less resonance equals even greater potential for detail.

Flux optimisation and beam controlWe love playing with the laws of physics. Physics wins in the end, of course (usually), but we almost always manage to bend it to our will along the way. Just like we have with our magnet systems.

The magnet turns electrical energy that flows from your amplifier into the voice-coil, into the physical back-and-forth movement of the driver diaphragm. These movements are very small and very fast (especially in the tweeter), so they need a lot of finesse if you want to hear all that luscious detail and emotion in your music.

Behind the wooferIn the woofer, we’ve achieved that finesse in two ways: by placing the magnet inside the voice-coil, and by playing with magnetic energy itself.

Other manufacturers typically put it around the outside edge, leaving the voice-coil hollow. Putting the magnet inside keeps the magnetic energy (or flux) in the optimum position for getting itself wrapped around the voice-coil – where it should be. That means we can use more of its power for a given weight. It also reduces internal reflections because there’s less material for sound to bounce off inside the driver.

Second, we use a hybrid magnet for even greater control over the flux and voice-coil movement. An incredibly powerful neodymium rare-earth magnet provides the muscle and flings flux around with abandon, while a ferrite magnet tempers that enthusiasm by gently moving the flux back to exactly where it’s needed most. The result? Symmetrical excursion, a reduction in second-harmonics, and an even more accurate, authentic sound.

Box cleverAnd then there’s the finish. Whichever veneer you’ve gone for, the Grey Birch or the Red Birch, our designers have given you a treat. We’ve always pushed the boat out on our special anniversary speakers – from the luscious bird’s-eye maple of the Contour 1.3 SE to the Special Twenty-Five’s stunning burled birch and the Sapphire’s amazing Mocca, Bordeaux and Ivory veneers. The Special Forty takes that to a new level. We pushed our team to come up with something different to the kind of thing we’ve done in the past, and they took that to heart. That’s why they’re raw; visceral; striking. We wanted the Special Forty to look as authentic and honest as the music they’re playing sounds.

Happy birthday to us! Enjoy the party (help yourself to fastelavnsboller).

www.dynaudio.com

Dynaudio Special Forty

Getting the best out of loudspeakers is as much about finding an amplifier that works as anything else. It’s a nuisance that you can’t match amps and speakers by looking at the specs, all they really tell you is approximately how much power is needed, but the crux of a really good combination has little to do with that. I re-learned this lesson when I first installed this standmount, a medium size two-way built to celebrate Dynaudio’s 40th anniversary last year. This looks like a typical Dynaudio but costs a little more than most models with a six and a half inch mid/bass driver, and it comes in a rather nicer box with a high gloss birch finish in grey or red lacquer. 

Its sensitivity is given as 86dB which is lower than average especially when you take the six Ohm load into account, so it should be partnered with a reasonably powerful amplifier. But putting it onto the end of my ATC P2, a 150 Watt power amp with vice like grip, resulted in a bass heavy balance that while it had plenty of physical presence and power didn’t really have enough get up and go. Even with a half metre gap between speaker and rear wall the bass was overpowering, which is not normally a problem in my room. The Special Forty does have a large reflex port in the back but so do other speakers such as the Q-Acoustics Concept 500 that works so well with this amp in this room.

Something needed to be tried, so I hooked up a Naim Uniti Nova integrated amp and streamer that I will get round to writing about soon, this proved a much better match all round, its 80 Watt amp has just the right balance of power and agility to bring out the best in the Dynaudio. Voice on a Captain Beefheart track stood out really well and drums were strong and er, drum tastic for want of a better term, but then the drummer in the Magic Band was called Drumbo (John French). The speaker delivering an intensely delicious sound with a piquancy that’s rare, there’s still plenty of bass if you put on a modern recording that’s rich in the stuff but it doesn’t threaten to overwhelm the mid and treble. Which is a good thing because that’s where all the detail comes from. 

The Special Forty isn’t the fastest two-way on the block, possibly because of the impressive bass extension, but it can conjure up a full scale image with any recording that has acoustic space on it. I found this to be the case with John Martyn’s ‘Head and Heart’ (BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert) where the thrap of his guitar strings had lots of power while his voice was full of warmth. Putting on something zippier in the form of Lee Morgan’s ‘Sidewinder’ there is no shortage of pace and a chunky double bass to balance out the sizzle of the ride cymbal that accompanies the fabulous horn playing, the trumpet standing out in the room and sounding very solid and real. Then the sax comes in and creates an equally visceral presence, especially if you play at the sort of levels that help suspend the disbelief. Blue Note surely knew how to capture music back in the sixties.

I do like bass so decided to see how well the Special Forty would cope with the deep but timely low end on Leftfield’s ‘Inspection (Check One)’, this turned out to be a very good idea and resulted in some excessively coherent and entertaining sounds emerging from what seem like rather small cabinets for the depth of bass produced. In fact it proved impossible to sit still while it was playing, always a sign of a good system in my book. Going over to more sophisticated material with Bach’s Goldberg Variationsplayed by Angela Hewitt I was struck by the subtlety of the playing. Her style is usually a little too restrained for my tastes but here it was possible to appreciate why she is held in such high regard, I doubt that there are many who play with more delicacy.

Having had so much success with the Naim I thought I’d see if a lower powered (and far more affordable) amp would work by hooking up the Rega Brio. This was not such a happy partnership, the little integrated doesn’t have enough power or finesse to work with this fairly current hungry and revealing loudspeaker. My next choice proved rather better, the Leema Tucana II has a lot more muscle on tap, but not in the same style as the ATC, and this worked at least as well as the Naim, probably a little better. It brought out the true extent of the Special Forty’s transparency by delivering new layers in each piece of music and projecting a full scale room enveloping sound with certain pieces of music. Radiohead’s ‘Decks Dark’ being one of them, this had power and depth to die for and made me want to carry on listening to the whole of A Moon Shaped Pool.I continued to find nuances and character in everything played, flitting from Herbie Hancock’s ‘Maiden Voyage’ to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ and hearing a huge gulf in playing and production styles in the process.

The Special Forty is clearly a very capable speaker when partnered with the right source and amplification, largely because its constituent parts are highly refined examples of Dynaudio’s engineering skills. These include the Esotar Forty tweeter, a variation of the Esotar2 which was their best high frequency driver prior to this year’s Esotar3 seen in the new Confidence range. The Esotar Forty follows an approach seen in a number of high end drivers today where attention is given to the rearward radiation of the driver, here a pressure conduit (hole) allows more space behind the dome and damps the air movement to allow cleaner high frequencies. The mid/bass or woofer has a one-piece cone and dustcap made of magnesium silicate polymer that sits in a chassis designed for maximum ease of airflow again. Unusually it has a magnet system that sits inside the voice coil for optimum flux where it matters, and Dynaudio use a combination of neodymium and ferrite magnets to achieve controlled power. It’s a very well thought out design that’s for sure something that’s clearly reflected in the performance and naturally the price, this may look like a simple two-way albeit a very nicely finished one, but in reality it’s an extremely sophisticated and revealing loudspeaker. 

www.the-ear.net

Dynaudio Special Forty loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Source: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge. Digital Sources: Roon Nucleus+ file server; Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A converter; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter. Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier. Power Amplifiers: Constellation Centaur II 500, Lamm Industries M1.2 Reference monoblocks. Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Vodka (Ethernet), Canare (15', AES/EBU), DH Labs (1m, AES/EBU), Esperanto Audio (S/PDIF). Interconnect: AudioQuest Wild Blue. Speaker: AudioQuest K2. AC: AudioQuest Dragon Source & High Current, manufacturers' own. Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

Page 2
Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Source: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge. Digital Sources: Roon Nucleus+ file server; Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A converter; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter. Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier. Power Amplifiers: Constellation Centaur II 500, Lamm Industries M1.2 Reference monoblocks. Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Vodka (Ethernet), Canare (15', AES/EBU), DH Labs (1m, AES/EBU), Esperanto Audio (S/PDIF). Interconnect: AudioQuest Wild Blue. Speaker: AudioQuest K2. AC: AudioQuest Dragon Source & High Current, manufacturers' own. Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

Page 3
Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Source: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge. Digital Sources: Roon Nucleus+ file server; Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A converter; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter. Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier. Power Amplifiers: Constellation Centaur II 500, Lamm Industries M1.2 Reference monoblocks. Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Vodka (Ethernet), Canare (15', AES/EBU), DH Labs (1m, AES/EBU), Esperanto Audio (S/PDIF). Interconnect: AudioQuest Wild Blue. Speaker: AudioQuest K2. AC: AudioQuest Dragon Source & High Current, manufacturers' own. Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power/Noise-Dissipation System. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

www.stereophile.com

Dynaudio Special Forty. User manual. English. Positioning

Dynaudio loudspeakers consist of classic bass reflex loudspeaker designs with no unusual or extraordinary positioning demands. Every room will still have its own particular sound characteristics. Any room is also shaped and decorated uniquely, and therefore remains independent regarding options for positioning loudspeakers.

The following steps are general suggestions that will make the correct positioning easier to achieve.

Figure 3: Positioning the loudspeakers.

General recommendations

The following explanations refer to Figure 3.

  • The distance between each loudspeaker and your listening position should be the same (B). Try to achieve an isosceles triangle.
  • The distance between the loudspeakers should be the same or better slightly less than the distance between each loudspeakers and your listening position (A, B).
  • The closer the listening position is in relation to the loudspeakers, the closer the speakers can be positioned to each other.
  • As a starting point, it is recommended that the speakers be about 2 meters apart from each other for the best results (A).
  • If the speakers are positioned too close to each other, the stereo image will not seem realistic; if that distance is too wide, the image may leave an acoustic hole in the middle.
  • Paying attention to the image during listening tests will help dictate optimum placement during experimentation and set-up.

CAUTION

Excessive brightness

Direct sunlight or excessive brightness can affect the colour of any natural wood veneer (the structural integrity of the cabinet will not be affected).

To maintain the aesthetic quality of the loudspeakers for the long term, placing such in very warm, very cold, or very humid environments should be avoided.

Figure 4: Distance to walls.

Every loudspeaker not only disperses sound energy directly into the room, but also to the side and even backwards. As a result, time-delayed reflections occur and add to the original music signal. Thus, when loudspeakers are positioned too close to walls, the sound quality can be restricted.

Dynaudio loudspeakers were developed to be placed free-standing, and therefore they reach their optimum performance when positioned as clear of any walls as possible.

To reduce possible influences from the back and sidewalls, the distance to these boundaries should ideally not be less than 0.5 meter (see Figure 4).

Adapting the bass reflex port

To minimise low frequency reflections, which will be heard as a thickening of the sound, the loudspeaker models can be adapted to the room’s acoustic character by using foam plugs in the bass reflex port. This will essentially attenuate the room-induced boost in the low frequency range by dampening the deep frequencies, yielding a more clear and tight sound when the loudspeaker is positioned near rear walls.

Fully insert the foam port plugs packed with your loudspeaker into the bass reflex port, to attenuate the bass output (if required).

If the attenuation of the bass volume is too high (bass level too low) remove the inner part of the foam plug. Then fully insert the foam ring in the bass reflex port. Make sure the ring is formed in a concentric circular shape within the port to prevent reduced and turbulent airflow.

Floor-standing loudspeaker set-up

The floor-standing models feature a special base construction, which offers both an ideal performance and mechanical basis. Integrated into the base plinth are four individual spike assemblies. These stabilise the cabinet on an extremely small contact area, and therefore prevent any wobbling while offering optimal resonance control. The individually adjustable spikes allow levelling of the cabinet on uneven floors.

Compact loudspeaker set-up

The compact models are designed to offer exceptional performance while taking up minimal space. The mini-monitors will realise their optimum performance when used in conjunction with a dedicated stand (such as the Dynaudio Stands) to position them at the proper height while absorbing any resonance.

Due to its dimensions, you can also place the loudspeaker on a ledge or shelf or on top of furniture. But to avoid the possibility of any negative influence on sound quality, one should take care to utilise a stable surface offering a wide enough space in front of the loudspeakers as to not limit the sound quality and performance. In such applications or if placing the speakers in enclosed audio/video furniture, the bass reflex port can usually be left unplugged as long as there is minimal clearance to the boundaries at the top and rear of the loudspeaker cabinet.

Figure 5: Angle inwards loudspeakers to improve imaging.

Loudspeaker Toe-In

Depending on your personal listening environment and room dimensions, the loudspeakers may be angled in towards the listening area to focus the sound radiation. This positioning will typically improve imaging and is especially recommended by Dynaudio (see Figure 5).

Room and furniture influence

The sound quality of any loudspeaker is influenced by the furniture, wall materials and other objects in the listening room. For example, large rooms without much furniture and many clean, hard wall surfaces can give a bright and diffuse sound with diverse echoing frequencies. A room with thick carpet, curtains and soft furniture surfaces will give a warmer, darker and less lively sound.

Grille

A cloth grille is included and can be affixed to the cabinet to help protect the drivers from dust and any other influences. The grille is acoustically optimised, but the highest sound quality levels will be attained without any grille covers in place during listening

To remove the grille, gently pull the grille straight out from the front.

To fit the grille, line up the grille and let it snap in place.

www.dynaudio.com

Dynaudio Special Forty. User manual. English. Meet the Special Forty

They say ‘life begins at 40’. Take a peek inside Dynaudio Labs and you’ll see that’s absolutely true.

Say hello to the next evolution of passive stereo speakers.

“What are you going to do for your 40th birthday?”, everyone asked. We thought about it for a bit and decided that since we aren’t big on huge decorated cakes and candles (although we are partial to a tasty fastelavnsbolle), we’d celebrate a little differently.

With a new speaker.

And yes, we know you’re the ones supposed to be giving us gifts – but we just couldn’t help ourselves.

Happy birthday to us! Meet the Special Forty.

Laurels aren’t for resting on

We still surprise ourselves. Some people might be content to sit back and be complacent about their successes after 40 years of constant innovation. We aren’t. In fact, we only get hungrier for new techniques and technologies.

That’s why we developed the Special Forty. We wanted to revisit those innovations and see what we’d do differently this time.

What you won’t find here is anything revolutionary (check out our active speaker range for that – you’ll be amazed). Instead, you’ll discover a look at our past – along with some special sneak-previews of the future.

The Special Forty is classic Dynaudio: all the craftsmanship, attention to detail and total love of authentic sound you’ve come to expect. It’s the connoisseur’s choice – a simple pair of passive hi-fi speakers. But it isn’t about looking back, misty-eyed, at past glories and leaving it at that. It’s about using those glories as a platform from which to launch our next set of breakthroughs.

Greatest hits… reimagined

We do compact speakers really well. We always have. So, as a nod back to classics including the Special One, the Special Twenty-Five, the Crafft and the Contour 1.3SE, we kept the Special Forty pure – if incredibly advanced.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an anniversary speaker if it didn’t include some of our greatest hits. But we haven’t just got the old band back together to trot out the same old stuff, unchanged. We’ve remixed, remastered and rearranged things to bring those old favourites into 2017 – and beyond.

That’s why it has one of our classic first-order crossover designs, incorporating our unique Phase Alignment and Impedance Alignment technologies. The crossover expertly marshals the input signal between the woofer and the tweeter – so each driver gets only the frequencies it’s supposed to, and can perform at its very best. Its specially selected components handle the impedance optimisation and, because both drivers have extended frequency ranges for even better overlap and integration, that performance borders on the mesmerising.

The song remains the same

The Special Forty uses our proprietary MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) material for its main driver. MSP delivers precisely the right combination of rigidity, damping and stability for the most faithful sound reproduction. And, unlike other cone materials, it doesn’t change over time – so your Special Forty speakers will still be singing just as sweetly come our next anniversary.

The cone itself uses a painstakingly developed symmetrical excursion for even better midrange performance. Behind it sits a new Nomex spider – the ‘suspension’ for the voice-coil. It enables for even more symmetry in the driver’s excursion – and makes it possible not only to pick out individual parts in a piece of music, but even individual instruments in an orchestra. (So now, finally, the Third Violin section can have its day in the sun.) And, like all our other MSP cones, it’s a one-piece design (you can tell by the special balance ribs around the central dust-cap). This gives it an incredibly solid connection to the voice-coil, as well as stabilising its form – which is crucial when you decide to turn it up to 11.

It all sits in our special AirFlow Basket – the bit that holds the whole driver motor securely in place in the cabinet. Its development was one of those ‘Eureka!’ moments our engineers seem to get a few times a week in Dynaudio Labs (you can often hear them cheering from across the road in our factory). We asked them to reduce internal reflections and increase air movement without compromising the basket’s stiffness or stability, and this genius design is what they came up with.

Airflow is king

The new Esotar Forty tweeter takes air-movement to another level. It moves the air in typically sweet fashion in front of the DSR (Dynaudio Secret Recipe) precision-coated soft-dome, of course, but there’s a lot of engineering going on behind it as well.

Take the new pressure conduit. It’s a shaped vent in the back of the magnet system that allows more space in the rear chamber. That space lets us pack in more damping material and reduces back-pressure, while the shape itself optimises airflow coming backwards from the rear of the dome.

Then there’s the outlet; the aero-coupled pressure-release system. It sits underneath the voice-coil and reduces unwanted pressure build-up that could affect its movement. Stopping those pockets of air from forming reduces resonance – and less resonance equals even greater potential for detail.

Flux optimisation and beam control

We love playing with the laws of physics. Physics wins in the end, of course (usually), but we almost always manage to bend it to our will along the way. Just like we have with our magnet systems.

The magnet turns electrical energy that flows from your amplifier into the voice-coil, into the physical back-and-forth movement of the driver diaphragm. These movements are very small and very fast (especially in the tweeter), so they need a lot of finesse if you want to hear all that luscious detail and emotion in your music.

Behind the woofer

In the woofer, we’ve achieved that finesse in two ways: by placing the magnet inside the voice-coil, and by playing with magnetic energy itself.

Other manufacturers typically put it around the outside edge, leaving the voice-coil hollow. Putting the magnet inside keeps the magnetic energy (or flux) in the optimum position for getting itself wrapped around the voice-coil – where it should be. That means we can use more of its power for a given weight. It also reduces internal reflections because there’s less material for sound to bounce off inside the driver.

Second, we use a hybrid magnet for even greater control over the flux and voice-coil movement. An incredibly powerful neodymium rare-earth magnet provides the muscle and flings flux around with abandon, while a ferrite magnet tempers that enthusiasm by gently moving the flux back to exactly where it’s needed most. The result? Symmetrical excursion, a reduction in second-harmonics, and an even more accurate, authentic sound.

Box clever

And then there’s the finish. Whichever veneer you’ve gone for – the Grey Birch or the Red Birch, our designers have given you a treat. We’ve always pushed the boat out on our special anniversary speakers – from the luscious bird’s-eye maple of the Contour 1.3 SE to the Special Twenty-Five’s stunning burled birch and the Sapphire’s amazing Mocca, Bordeaux and Ivory veneers. The Special Forty takes that to a new level. We pushed our team to come up with something different to the kind of thing we’ve done in the past, and they took that to heart. That’s why they’re raw; visceral; striking. We wanted the Special Forty to look as authentic and honest as the music they’re playing sounds.

Happy birthday to us! Enjoy the party (help yourself to fastelavnsboller).

www.dynaudio.com


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