Denmark’s Dynaudio operation is one of relatively few brands to enjoy success in both the professional and domestic hi-fi speaker markets – one often notices Dynaudio speakers furnishing BBC TV studios, for example.
However, that’s partly due to the high-power handling conferred by the use of extra-large-diameter voice coils on many of its bass/mid drivers. A feature that doesn’t appear to be a part of this new Excite range, which seems to be more obviously oriented towards the price-sensitive home hi-fi marketplace.
The X16 sits one rung above the smallest model in the Excite range, which explains why the speaker is a little larger in both volume and main driver than the group average. Our samples came finished in the currently fashionable high-gloss black, just one of half-a-dozen options that include high-gloss white and a choice of four real-wood veneers (maple, cherry, rosewood and black ash). While the high- gloss versions are painted the same on all six faces, the veneered models have a dark charcoal front panel.
Accommodating that 180mm bass/mid driver explains why the X16 looks rather squat compared to the others in the group. However, the front vertical edges have a neat chamfer that slightly softens the lines.
The bass/mid unit has a 125mm diameter cone in a mineral-loaded plastic called MSP (magnesium silicate polymer). The tweeter uses a 28mm fabric- dome diaphragm, and both units have bright frames/faceplates. The two units are linked by a simple crossover network that uses high- quality components and gentle, first- order 6dB/octave slopes. This is fed from a single terminal pair that shares the back panel with a generous size port.
Despite its fine neutrality and good imaging, our Blind-Listening Group Test panellists didn’t warm to the Excite X16’s performance. Indeed, excitement was one thing that seemed to be singularly lacking in this case.
Pertinent quotes from each of the four panellists included the following: Number one: ‘Very competent [but] lacking some crispness and involvement.’ Second panellist: ‘boring if neutral [and] spacious…bland if dynamically literate…very matter- of-fact, soulless.’ A third listener: ‘Soft-sounding on kick drum (they don’t rock); seems to lose its pace when something a bit demanding comes on.’ And finally: ‘Monotone bass, very average detail, slow.’
Although they’re genuine enough, not all the comments were as critical as those quoted above. The Excite X16 undoubtedly has some real strengths, in its fine neutrality, lovely balance and quite expressive dynamics. It certainly shows greater power and bass weight than the group average, but hands-on listening did tend to confirm the test findings that it’s also a bit sluggish, and lacks the timing and coherence of the best in the group. Furthermore, it somehow also lacks sweetness and can get uncomfortably ‘edgy’ when driven hard.
Although the Excite X16 seems to offer decent enough material value, and shows high standards of engineering throughout, it ultimately proved rather disappointing with musical sources. Perhaps the design criteria was based more on acoustic performance than musical reproduction?
LIKES; Fine neutrality and a good tonal balance give fine speech reproduction
DISLIKES; Likes the coherance and timing for good music reproduction
WE SAY; Offers a high standard of neutrality but lacks the speed for good music reproduction
• 180mm bass/mid driver
• Reflex ported
• Choice of six
veneer or high-
• Proprietory Dynaudio drive units
• Long coil ensures powerful main
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