What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 26 Sep 2008, 3:00pm

Dynaudio Excite X16

Tested at £990
80100
4

An able all-rounder that displays talent in many areas - they're just not quite up to the ATC's standards

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For

  • Sweet, detailed treble
  • excellent integration
  • clean, clear presentation
  • accurate timing

Against

  • Some competitors offer marginally greater detail and better-resolved bass

Well, just when we thought things couldn't get more exciting than the B&W684s, tested in the same group test, we arrive at Dynaudio's aptly named Excite range. Can these standmounters live up to their billing?

The X16s are similar to the ATC SCM11s, also tested in the same test, in that they're not the most eye-catching of designs. They are, however, smoothly constructed and the real-wood veneer that look and feels expensive.

One thing that does make them stand out from the crowd is that the X16s are only single-wired, while all the other speakers in the group offered bi-wiring. Why? Dynaudio is of the opinion that bi-wiring doesn't make a significant improvement to sound quality – and it's difficult to muster an argument when the X16s sound so accomplished.

The 2.7cm soft dome tweeter delivers glorious sweet treble on demand, with no trace of hardness or sibilance. The 18cm long-throw mid-bass driver showcases excellent agility and the two combine to produce an invigorating, dare we say, exciting sound.

They do a great job of communicating the unrelenting pace of Like A Dog Chasing Cars taken from The Dark Knight OST. Articulate, spritely delivery keeps your feet tapping right until the very end, and the fact that the music is so easy to follow also emphasises the X16s accurate timing.

Sound has room to breathe

The Dynaudios also produce an open, expansive soundstage. During The Dark Knight track, it's easy to pinpoint the various sections of the orchestra. Switch to a more vocal track such as Kings of Leon's Fans and there's a fine sense of spaciousness around vocals and instruments.

They're allowed to breathe and you're left to enjoy the detail that the X16s excavate across the frequency range. Having said that, we would add that the ATCs still edge ahead for outright resolution and transparency.  

There's a great deal of bass weight and depth considering the modest size of the Dynaudio's cabinet. And, while the likes of the ATCs offer a touch more detail in the lower realms, you never sit there wishing the X16s had greater heft.

These understated standmounters certainly deliver a fine performance.