Dynaudio Excite Speaker System Real-World Performance
To tell you the truth, my very first impression of the Dynaudios' sound wasn't at all exciting. The sound so perfectly meshed with the Blu-ray and DVD onscreen action, I didn't notice the speakers.
That's really something for an audio reviewer to admit—hey, it's my job to pick out flaws—but the Dynaudio speakers' sound was subservient to the films' stories. The coloration of lesser speakers invariably calls attention to the speakers and breaks the spell. If you want an "exciting" sound that hypes detail or shakes your booty, sorry, the Excite series may not excite you.
WALL-E, Pixar's latest triumph, immediately demonstrated the Excite system's strengths. The film's "star," WALL-E, is a rambunctious little Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class rover-robot that whipped up a panoply of beeps, whirs, zooms, and whooshes of remarkable texture and, well, body. That, and the very soul of the spunky robot, are communicated by its noises. It lives!
There's an open quality to the sound of these speakers, especially when you're listening to the complete 5.1-channel ensemble. The soundstage had remarkable depth and spaciousness, and the speakers' disappearing act was astounding.
Flood, a British disaster film, pushed the Excite system harder. Dialog was disarmingly natural sounding, without a hint of extra warmth or an aggressive edge. As a giant storm engulfs London, huge tsunami-like waves flood the city—Katrina was a walk in the park compared to this movie's onscreen mayhem. The Excite system isn't at all burly, but it delivered the storm's fury without raising a sweat.
Two-channel music listening was, in some ways, even better. The Thinking About Bix CD by piano-man Dick Hyman put the speakers' stellar transient response and transparency in perspective. The piano tone was very right.
The X32's midrange took center stage when I played The Persuasions Sing U2. I was present during the recording sessions for this CD, and I have to say the X32 totally nailed the sound of The Persuasions. The purely a cappella CD's sound was spot-on—each man's voice was beautifully rendered with a holographic, you-are-there presence. This CD was recorded, mixed, and mastered without compression, and the Excite speakers let me hear every nuance of the vocals.
Satisfied with the X32's audiophile chops, I switched gears and cranked up the Clash's London Calling CD. I wanted to play the Clash loud, and while the Excite system obliged, I felt it was working hard. The sound grew thick and somewhat opaque; easing back on the volume restored the speakers' composure.