Dynaudio Special 40 vs RBH-61r

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TankTop5

Audioholic General
Let the games begin, completely biased and unscientific review coming soon.
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T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
Fist impressions without running Audessey the S40 plays more like a floor stander and the RBH like a bookshelf but I simply raised my sub crossover to 80hz and it’s a non issue. The quality and clarity of the highs are in the same league with the S40 edging out the RBH but just barely. What I was hoping for is definitely what the RBH brings to the table, the S40’s sweet spot could be described as a we’re N°2 pencil whereas the RBH’s sweet spot is the couch.

More this weekend when I can play with placement and Audessey but the RBH’s are looking like keepers as I was wanting a speaker that’s easier to listen to. That said the S40 has some secret sauce, Dynaudio may have been playing with a Ouija board when they made it, It’s far from a perfect speaker but there’s some things it just does magically. You gotta spend some time with it to understand
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
What in the world is the RBH 71R?

Oh, okay, SV-61R. :D
 
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Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Yeah, I'm partial to RBH, but haven't heard either. There were a pair of S40s on craigslist out here for a little while. I don't remember what was being asked but it wasn't cheap.
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
So by the end of the night I switched back to the Dyn’s. Watching a single scene in a show I A/B’d them several times, it’s an action scene with a half dozen people rush through a door, there are a lot of different sounds from shuffling feet to things breaking and everyone yelling. And that’s what you hear with the RBH, the Dyn on the other hand you don’t hear shuffling feat you hear each individual footstep, item breaking and individual voice.

In that test the Dyn wins hands down, not even close. The best way I can describe it is like the soap opera effect for HD TV’s but with audio, each individual sounds stands out on its own.

I will say I also just got a power cable from Synergistic Research and plugged it into the toaster. Also my speaker testing sauce had enough burn in time on the speakers by the end of the night, could have been a factor?

All in all the RBH is a great speaker but the Dyn is better in almost every way. I’ll keep listening to both over the next couple weeks and give my impressions as my ears adjust to the RBH’s and I make adjustments to Audessey and speaker placement. I have hanging mini blinds and a sliding glass door one foot to the right of my right speaker which is affecting both speakers equally, maybe a heavy curtain would make a difference.

edit ad: with the RBH I feel a center channel would benefit a lot, with the Dyn it’s completely unnecessary. With the exception of the RBH having a huge sweet spot which I like it’s not winning at anything else.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
So by the end of the night I switched back to the Dyn’s. Watching a single scene in a show I A/B’d them several times, it’s an action scene with a half dozen people rush through a door, there are a lot of different sounds from shuffling feet to things breaking and everyone yelling. And that’s what you hear with the RBH, the Dyn on the other hand you don’t hear shuffling feat you hear each individual footstep, item breaking and individual voice.

In that test the Dyn wins hands down, not even close. The best way I can describe it is like the soap opera effect for HD TV’s but with audio, each individual sounds stands out on its own.

I will say I also just got a power cable from Synergistic Research and plugged it into the toaster. Also my speaker testing sauce had enough burn in time on the speakers by the end of the night, could have been a factor?

All in all the RBH is a great speaker but the Dyn is better in almost every way. I’ll keep listening to both over the next couple weeks and give my impressions as my ears adjust to the RBH’s and I make adjustments to Audessey and speaker placement. I have hanging mini blinds and a sliding glass door one foot to the right of my right speaker which is affecting both speakers equally, maybe a heavy curtain would make a difference.

edit ad: with the RBH I feel a center channel would benefit a lot, with the Dyn it’s completely unnecessary. With the exception of the RBH having a huge sweet spot which I like it’s not winning at anything else.
These speakers need to be level-matched for any kind of comparison. The RBH speakers are relatively low sensitivity. You will need to give them a lot more wattage for the same SPL, and that will make a big difference.
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
I agree with shadyJ. You need to level-match. But not only that, you also need a way to switch quickly back and forth (by quickly I mean within a second or two at most).

Otherwise, the speakers aren't the test subjects. Your brain is.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
These speakers need to be level-matched for any kind of comparison. The RBH speakers are relatively low sensitivity. You will need to give them a lot more wattage for the same SPL, and that will make a big difference.
Yeah, I didn't even think to ask.

@TankTop5 how did you do the comparing? If they weren't closely level matched, like with an spl meter, even 1 dB difference can make 1 speaker sound "clearer" or more detailed than another. It would be interesting to see how you'd pick listening blind.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
Aren’t the Dynaudio S40 a lot more expensive? Or is the RBH in the same price range?
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
Yeah, I didn't even think to ask.

@TankTop5 how did you do the comparing? If they weren't closely level matched, like with an spl meter, even 1 dB difference can make 1 speaker sound "clearer" or more detailed than another. It would be interesting to see how you'd pick listening blind.
Can I use my Umik-1 and run test tones on the Marantz to match the speakers output to the volume?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Can I use my Umik-1 and run test tones on the Marantz to match the speakers output to the volume?
How would you do the switch quickly while still level matched with your gear? What's the whole setup involved here?
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
How would you do the switch quickly while still level matched with your gear? What's the whole setup involved here?
Slowly... so far I’m just using my ears.
I have a Marantz SR 5014 and a UMIK-1 and REW... any suggestions?
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
@shadyJ , did you measure sensitivity when you reviewed the RBH speakers?

Stereophile measured the Dynaudio's sensitivity as 84.4dB, while the Soundstage NRC measurements came up with 83.6dB

As for the best way, there are lots of ways of level-matching speakers, none of them ideal or perfect. Try band-limited pink noise. Your receiver probably outputs pink noise test tones. Set speakers to small, set crossover pretty high (above 100Hz to remove bass influencing result), then run the pink noise.

Then use a mic or SPL meter to get them close, or just use your ears with the pink noise to get them close.

It's a lot easier here to do it by ear if you can switch back and forth immediately with some sort of A/B switch.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
@shadyJ , did you measure sensitivity when you reviewed the RBH speakers?

Stereophile measured the Dynaudio's sensitivity as 84.4dB, while the Soundstage NRC measurements came up with 83.6dB

As for the best way, there are lots of ways of level-matching speakers, none of them ideal or perfect. Try band-limited pink noise. Your receiver probably outputs pink noise test tones. Set speakers to small, set crossover pretty high (above 100Hz to remove bass influencing result), then run the pink noise.

Then use a mic or SPL meter to get them close, or just use your ears with the pink noise to get them close.

It's a lot easier here to do it by ear if you can switch back and forth immediately with some sort of A/B switch.
I did measure the RBH's sensitivity. It was so low that I thought I had done something wrong, so I didn't publish the measurement. I don't remember what it was exactly, but it was lower than 83dB. I did a few things to make sure my sensitivity measurements were valid after that, and I don't think it was my measurement technique at fault. It was just a fairly low-sensitivity speaker.
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
I did measure the RBH's sensitivity. It was so low that I thought I had done something wrong, so I didn't publish the measurement. I don't remember what it was exactly, but it was lower than 83dB. I did a few things to make sure my sensitivity measurements were valid after that, and I don't think it was my measurement technique at fault. It was just a fairly low-sensitivity speaker.
The S40 is also a pretty low sensitivity speaker and they seemed fairly well matched to the RBH’s.

I’ve just been using my ears as test equipment but in the end that’s the most important test of a speaker.
 
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TankTop5

Audioholic General
I’m going to run Audessey on the RBH’s and spend a few days to a week listening to them. I don’t have equipment to do scientific testing other than my ears.

On paper both speakers want a lot of power apparently but I haven’t cranked the volume to neighbor irritating levels and I probably won’t. I am in an apartment, I have a marantz receiver, UMIK-1 and laptop with REW but my experience and expertise is well below many members here. If you have a specific test you want me to run I will but in the end I’m doing subjective tests using my ears as the decision makers. It’s what I like to listen to and the enjoyment it brings that’s most important to me. I went into this hoping the RBH was a better speaker but the Dyn is more expensive using their even more expensive drivers (doesn’t necessarily mean anything) and initial testing using my ears says the Dyn probably sounds significantly better.

The other thing I noticed quickly listening to several songs is the soundstage of the Dyn is significantly larger but I haven’t played with placement. I have a second PB1000 coming and that will require I use speaker stands, once I have those placement will be much easier and I will be able to bring both speakers away from the walls much better. I no longer have WAF to consider so I will have more liberties with placement and I think that’s probably most important.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
As for the best way, there are lots of ways of level-matching speakers, none of them ideal or perfect. Try band-limited pink noise. Your receiver probably outputs pink noise test tones. Set speakers to small, set crossover pretty high (above 100Hz to remove bass influencing result), then run the pink noise.
Limiting the bandwidth would skew the results and really, they were made to be used as bookshelf speakers and not necessarily as speakers in a surround system, so why not judge them with full-range? While they can be used in a surround system, the Dynaudio really do sound good as stereo speakers, without a sub.
 

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