Replacing a five-star product is never easy, especially when it’s a former Award-winner with a reputation to uphold.
These Dynaudio Xeo 10s are active speakers that have the daunting task of succeeding the 2017 Award-winning Xeo 2s. There’s no reason to think they won’t be a success, though. After all, the Danish brand has had excellent form in this category in recent years.
And the Xeo 10s are an appealing proposition for those looking for a combination of great sound, ample features and compact design.
Features & connections
If you want more inputs and wireless features, the Dynaudio Connect box offers extra inputs along with DLNA streaming up to 24-bit/192kHz and Spotify Connect. It will cost you an extra £295, however.
The Xeo 10s are two-way actives, with each driver powered by a dedicated 65W amplifier. Dynaudio says this configuration allows it to fine tune the amplifier to match the drivers, and have greater control over the performance.
While the Xeo 10s keep their predecessor’s 28mm soft dome tweeter, their 14cm MSP (Magnesium Silicate Polymer) mid/bass driver has been reworked. The DSP crossover has been re-tuned, too, to improve dispersion, as well as performance at high volumes.
The speakers don’t have a wire connecting them to each other (you just need to connect each to the mains), so there’s more freedom in where you place them. A switch at the back of each enclosure optimises the Xeo’s output for specific positions - close to a wall, in a corner, or out in free space - so the sound can be balanced accordingly.
Just like on the older Xeo 2s, connections include a pair of line level inputs, a 3.5mm jack and an optical input that supports 24-bit/96kHz files. You also get Bluetooth – a big part of the Xeo 10s’ appeal is being able to connect a wide variety of sources to it. You can easily use the Xeo 10s with your hi-fi sources, or your laptop and smartphone, or even use them as TV speakers. They’re a versatile pair.
Two LEDs on each speaker indicate they’re turned on and connected, while the touch sensitive controls on top of the speakers are simple to operate. We do end up using the neat remote control for changing volume and inputs more regularly, though.
The Xeo 10s have had a cosmetic revamp over their predecessors: a new aluminium baffle finish has been introduced with not a single screw in sight, giving the speakers a cleaner and more minimalist look.
The dimensions remain the same: they’re a compact pair that will be at home on a desktop or bookshelf if you’re short on space. The Xeos come in satin black or satin white and build quality remains sturdy.
We’re less taken with the aesthetics though. The plastic moulded cabinet (especially the back panel) and aluminium front are nicely made, but don’t feel as luxurious as they should for speakers costing £1300.
There’s a utilitarian feel to the Xeo 10s, which is fine if you’re placing them in brackets but it doesn’t immediately feel like you’ve had your money’s worth.
We noted that the previous Xeo 2s also left us feeling shortchanged in this regard and it’s hard not to feel more so given the £300 price hike.
That feeling dissipates once you start playing music through the Dynaudios, as they sound fantastic. They have the same spirit as their predecessors – namely, a do-it-all attitude that’s confident with every element of delivering music – but it’s level of clarity and scale that really stands out.
For small speakers, they sure belt out a large and spacious soundstage. These boxes have no problem going loud: they remain clean and don’t harden up when pushed to high volume levels, which is very impressive for speakers of their kind.
There’s authority to the sound, too – every strand of Girlfriend by Christine and the Queens is delivered with utmost clarity and confidence.
Nothing trips them up. These speakers time well, keeping up with the song’s funky rhythms and charge through the tune with an energy that’s infectious and endlessly listenable. The sound is agile and speedy; the tonal balance even. The leading edges of notes are clean and precise, but never sound clinical.
Inputs RCA, 3.5mm, optical digital
Dimensions (hwd) 25.5 x 17 x 15cm
Finishes 2 (black satin, white satin)
There’s a good deal of satisfying weight and grunt to the low end – again surprising because of their size. But the thundering drums and raucous guitars of A Perfect Circle’s Judith have plenty of wallop. The basslines on Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams are punchy and are pulled taut. Voices are projected clearly and with ample detail – every lyric and vocal nuance is enunciated clearly.
In fact, we have so much fun listening to the Xeo 10s that we forget that we’ve been streaming songs over Bluetooth for most of the time. Wireless is usually a compromise, but the Xeo 10s’ Bluetooth presentation enjoys a sophistication that is unrivalled in most other audio products. It’s worth noting that we do occasionally experience stutters when streaming from a smartphone and laptop, but it’s not too sustained an interruption.
Switching to the line level inputs grounds the music even further. There’s that bit more grip, solidity and detail compared with streaming via Bluetooth. The overall presentation remains the same across the inputs.
There’s a growing trend of active speakers on the market, but immediate rivals to the Dynaudio Xeo 10s are hard to find.
One option is the KEF LSX (£1000), which are more stylish and pack in more streaming features, but the Dynaudios deliver greater scale and genuine bass weight. Another is the Award-winning Acoustic Energy AE1 Active (£1000), which, don’t have the features of the Xeo 10s but do offer a performance that’s more comparable with traditional hi-fi separates.
The Dynaudios are pricier than both of these options, but not to the detriment of their star rating. If you want a versatile, great-sounding pair of speakers that don’t compromise performance over convenience, they’re definitely worth considering.
- Sound 5
- Features 4
- Build 4