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

Beyond matters of taste was how the Focus 340 applied its focus in less extreme ways. Have you worked with a photo editor's sharpen command to overdo things?

Then you’ll appreciate the hyper pixilation that's involved in ‘artificially sharp’. For a challenge, Cake’s Fashion Nugget is a recording so dry and unpretentious that many speakers will react tonally lean and bored whilst the spatial depiction will turn out coarser than usual. Far from blending everything together—that clearly was not on the agenda!—the Focus 340 despite high transparency and clarity did ‘arrange’ everything together. On "Frank Sinatra" the clangy e-guitar to the right now played together with the trumpet on the left rather than dominate the foreground where another woodwind works away at left.

When high room presence was called for, the speaker responded instantly like at the 2:50 break where the trumpet becomes key and turned supremely tangible. But enough of that. It should be loud and clear that the Focus 340 surprised me most pleasantly with its soundstaging. Yet that wasn’t the whole of its surprises yet.

Common preconceptions about Dynaudio speakers include Gemütlichkeit  and slowness, i.e. the opposite of sprightly and dynamic. Though I’ve not found it so with the current Twenty-five or small active Focus 110A, older models did conform with this judgment. If you still cling to that notion, hear the Focus 340 and get ye with them new Danish times. Impulsivity and speed have become special virtues! This was apparent on "The Righteous Wrath Of An Honorable Man" by sax maniac Colin Stetson. No matter how small an embellishment, how quick a melodic turn or twist, the Focus 340 tracked them as though glued to the player’s lips. Nothing was swallowed, not even the subliminal key clatter which in certain passages doubles as percussive sideline, albeit one so reduced in amplitude that many less transparent speakers simply don’t resolve it at all.

What was good for the sax was naturally good too for the guitar, piano, percussion etc. I couldn’t shake the impression of being very close to them all. That’s how direct their attacks translated, albeit happily accompanied by realistically elongated decays to not dominate the natural progression of transient, sustain and release. The Dane simply proved to be a close-up-and-personal performer without any need to artificially sharpen its point.

Joie de vivre and microdynamic vitesse were clearly handled to a high degree. To check how much macrodynamic fortitude, loudness stability and sheer bass lust might be catered to, I slid Nils Petter Movær’s album Khmer into my Luxman player and cued up "Tløn". About four minutes later a wonderfully porcine bass lightning unleashes – or should in theory since many a speaker suddenly flounders, plays it shy and merely hints at it. Even given the obviously twinned woofers of a floorstander I was very surprised by the physicality the Dynaudio applied to the task. I’m not talking pleasing groove factor at neighbor-conscious levels. I’m talking veritable pressure waves flooding the room at amplitudes which began to massage the gut. All throughout my finger hovered nervously above the remote’s ‘stop’ button for the first telltale signs of distortion or acrid smoke. Alas the Dynaudio just kept pumping away unfazed. I had to scratch my head and wonder from whence this still small-ish box managed to pull such unexpected reserves.