So, you’ve read up on active speakers. You know what they are, and what they aren’t. You know all about DSP, and what it can do for you. You want a pair of actives. Or two. And now you’re ready to start planning your new system.
Because, with Dynaudio’s active speakers, it really can be a new system. They’re powered and have their own on-board amplification (one amp per driver, in fact), which means they don’t need to be connected to an external rack with speaker cables. They’re wireless, which means you can hook them up together into a multi-room system or use them alone to stream music over the air from a vast array of sources. And they’re Hi-Res Audio-ready, which means they can play back music captured just as the artist intended.
And, of course, you can still use them with your existing analogue kit.
So, what’s available?
Dynaudio Xeo series
The loudspeakers in the Xeo range are designed to bring high-quality wireless and Bluetooth audio to your living room without requiring you to fork out vast sums of money.
The smallest and newest, the Xeo 2, is a two-way model engineered for flexible placement. It’s optimised to work just as well on a wall-bracket or a shelf as it will perched on a stand. It can accept 24-bit/192kHz signals via its optical digital input (the sound is then streamed wirelessly from the connected speaker to its counterpart), and supports multi-zone listening, too.
You can make the Xeo 2 completely wireless by adding the Dynaudio Connect box, which lets you access DLNA devices, Spotify Connect, and anything you can stream to it via your Wi-Fi network.
The two models above it, the two-way Xeo 4 stand-mounter and the three-way Xeo 6 floorstander, are pure wireless speakers that move all their connections into an outboard box – the Hub, or, optionally, Connect – which sports analogue, optical, coaxial and USB connections (the Connect adds DLNA and Spotify Connect to the mix). The Hub and Connect stream whatever you send to them to the speakers, and away you go.
Focus XD series
The Focus XD range is designed to be the benchmark for high-end active loudspeakers. Dynaudio has poured years of expertise from making high-performance passive speakers into these wireless actives, which means its proprietary speaker-cone material is present and correct, as is its obsessive attention to finish quality.
The Focus XD series can handle 24-bit/192kHz signals via its coaxial input from source to driver; deal with 24-bit/96kHz signals sent wirelessly via the Connect box; expand to multi-room format; play music from smartphones, tablets and portable Hi-Res Audio players; connect to network-attached storage devices; even work with your TV.
They all incorporate advanced DSP technology that accounts for variations in room conditions, and can be told whereabouts they’re sitting in a room via a seven-position control. That means they’re engineered to sound consistent, whether they’re free-standing or right up against a back wall.
Building a system around active speakers
So. Now that you know you want a set of Dynaudio active speakers, how can you build your perfect set-up around them with your existing kit? Just choose your own adventure…
I get my music from a smartphone, tablet or laptop
If you get your music from your computer’s hard-drive or stream it from services such as Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer and the like (or if you’re a fan of internet radio), the Xeo 2s could be your ideal companion.
You can stream to them wirelessly from any Bluetooth device (including laptops, smartphones and tablets). That means you can send music to them from whatever you’re using at the time, and whatever service you choose to use on it. True versatility, and no faffing about with cables. Unless you want to, of course; you can also connect your sources physically via the 3.5mm jack, optical digital or RCA inputs.
Add a Dynaudio Connect box and you’ll be able to convert the system to multiroom, and also add Spotify Connect (so you don’t have to cane your device’s battery or your data allowance).
I’m traditional… I use a CD player
If your CD player has a digital output, you can connect it straight to the Focus XD or Xeo 2’s digital inputs. If not, you can use still analogue, but digital would be the preferred method – that way, the signal stays in the digital domain for longer, only being converted to analogue at the last moment before it goes into the drivers.
All my music is on a networked hard drive
Hook your DLNA-compatible drive up to your network via Ethernet, and your Dynaudio Connect can stream its contents wirelessly. It’s as simple as that. And because it works using industry-standard DLNA technology, you can use your regular software to stream its contents to any Focus XD or Xeo speakers on your home network. Using hi-res? The Focus XDs and Xeo 2s can receive 24-bit/96kHz files wirelessly.
I get my tunes from a hi-fi streamer
A few options here. You can wire your streamer directly to your Focus XDs or Xeo 2s via analogue or digital outputs – each of these speakers natively supports Hi-Res Audio. Alternatively, you can attach your hi-fi streamer into the Hub or Connect and send its audio to any Xeo or Focus XD speakers wirelessly (if you want wireless hi-res, you’ll need the Connect box and a set of Xeo 2s or Focus XDs).
I want multiroom music
You’re in luck – both the Hub and Connect boxes are capable of streaming to up to three stereo pairs of Xeo and Focus XD speakers. You can even increase the range of a multiroom setup with the Dynaudio Extender box (ideal if you’ve a bigger house and want active speakers in a few rooms).
I want to make my TV sound better
This one’s easy. Hook up the Xeo 2s or Focus XDs directly to your telly using a stereo RCA or digital connection (coaxial on the Focus XD, optical on the Xeo 2. Xeo 2 also has a 3.5mm input). Or use those digital and analogue connections to attach your TV to a Hub or Connect box, creating wireless TV sound. If you have an Apple AirPort Express or Apple TV (up to the third-gen model), you can use the optical connection on those with the Dynaudio Hub or Connect to equip the speakers with Apple AirPlay.
I’m totally traditional… analogue all the way
If you have a turntable, you can still connect its phono amp to the analogue input on the Xeo 2 or Focus XD. And if you want to go one step further, you can connect it to a Dynaudio Hub or Connect box instead – that way you can stream its sound all over your house to other connected speakers. Multi-room vinyl? Yep.
A variety of set-ups, then – from a small office-based Bluetooth set-up to full-on hi-res wireless streaming. But all of it backed up by nearly 40 years of Dynaudio expertise.