This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This review first appeared in the November 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of the Dynaudio Special Twenty-Five in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or Dynaudio- Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog – deck -
Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12-inch; pickup - Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Zu Audio DL-103; phono pre - SAC Gamma Sym; digital – player - Audionet VIP G3, Fonel Simplicité, HIFIAkademie cdPlayer; Computer & Co -
Logitech Squeezebox 3, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook; D/A converter - Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Preamplifier - Octave HP300; power amp - Electrocompaniet AW180; integrated - Denon PMA-2010AE, Lua 4040 C
Loudspeaker: Ascendo System F, Thiel SCS4
Various accessories, cables & racks
Review component retail:

Since Dynaudio was founded in 1977 and we’re in 2010 now, this jubilee model should really be called Special Thirty-Three. Alas this compact monitor still goes by Special Twenty-Five as it did eight years ago when the Danes celebrated their 25th anniversary. Two years later the Dynaudio Special Twenty-Five had sold out. Why then isn’t this special edition – well, history yet? The company cites ongoing demand and petitions from importers and customers alike. Thus the Special Twenty-Five was relaunched for the "really final" round. Obviously this ‘last edition’ looks just like the original. Hot threads, huh? The longer you stare, the more the markings of the Beech veneer seem to turn into wicked flames.

It’s one showy special finish. Better love it since there’s no other option. Fit & finish are obviously beyond reproach. One could question whether it’s technically vital that the bass reflex port be affixed to the aluminium back panel with six hex bolts when a dab of hot glue woulda done but it most assuredly looks a helluva lot more solid. Product manager Roland Hoffman at Dynaudio condensed the core concept into one taut question: "What would happen if we integrated the driver technology of our Evidence range into a compact monitor enclosure?" This hints at the chosen drivers being far from chopped liver. In Dynaudio’s catalogue, the Evidence range is the absolute top. There's nothing better.

Tech: First about the enclosure. Its dimensions of 22 x 42 x 35cm WxHxD make it a standard compact. Dynaudio’s active Focus 110A is significantly smaller, a Harbeth Super HL5 clearly larger. But geometrically the Special Twenty-Five is nothing special. It’s a box, period. The mid/woofer loads into a 17.5-liter volume and there’s no internal separation. You can make out the tweeter’s back looking through the large rear-firing port. The HF unit itself is sealed of course and shielded from the internal sound pressures.

Building material is a constrained 30mm sandwich of MDF and LDF (the latter’s wood particles are larger) fused under pressure to purportedly exhibit lower resonance behavior than pure MDF.

The box panels are veneered inside and out to prevent twisting from exposure to air moisture and environmental temperature swings over time. Certain critical areas are lined with bitumen and stiffeners.

Part of the building block menu is the aluminium plate screwed with 10 bolts to the rear. Dismounted, you’ll find a second one beneath to which the crossover board mounts. The Danish constructors see two specific advantages with this scheme – higher mechanical stability which is good for microphonic parts; and improved thermal behavior for the ceramic resistors which remain passively cooled even during extended high-output sessions and thus always in their optimal operational window. The filter network’s circuit board is reinforced with glass fiber for greater stiffness and the copper traces are particularly wide and thick (70μm rather than Dynaudio’s usual 35μm).

The filter’s slope is 1st-order, i.e. a very shallow 6d/octave rolloff set at a very typical 2.400Hz for a 2-way. In established Dynaudio traditions, there’s only one pair of terminals. The Skanderborg team sees no advantage in biwiring. The sockets accept bare wire, bananas and spades and are broadly spaced to improve handling.

While we’re at the terminals, shall we ask their parts vendor whether it’s really smart to make a parts that must be turned to tighten from smooth hard plastic and with a diameter that's too small to accept many turns? (Note to director: Fade in large chorus with “no, absolutely not!”)