They're easier to admire than to love, but the X12s get enough right to land the full five stars
Fine build and finish
smooth, dynamic, sound
plenty of scale for such tiddlers
Not the most explicit speakers
This pair of X12 standmounters is our first taste of Dynaudio's replacement for its successful 'Audience' series, and it's the entry level of a four-strong range.
Though they're compact cabinets that seem ideal for putting on a shelf, we found the X12s happiest out in free space. Firing dead ahead rather than toed-in towards your listening position seems to suit them, too – though these niceties are academic until you've got at least 50 hours' playing time under their belts.
Smooth sounds all the wayTheir criteria met, the X12s are a smooth, coherent listen. Nick Cave's The Ship Song sounds warm and inclusive, the Dynaudios offering admirable scale and punch.
Low frequencies are deep and solid, the midrange vocals are alive with character, and the top end attacks with control. The whole frequency range knits together painlessly, and the soundstage is well defined.
Challenged a little more by Squarepusher's Come On My Selecter, the X12s have the resources to control the hectic tempo.
More after the break
Ideally, we'd like a little more rigour – the X12s don't find it hard to reveal detail, but they can struggle to organise it effectively. At the price, though (especially when you factor in the fine build), the X12s are among the most musical speakers around.