Bookshelf Speakers

Dynaudio Focus 110A Actively-Powered Bookshelf Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Each Dynaudio Focus 110A integrates two 50W stereo power amplifiers with a relatively compact two-way loudspeaker. The mating is synergistic, with Dynaudio's soft dome tweeter and proprietary magnesium silicate polymer (MSP) mid/bass driver tailored to match the amplifiers' specs, and vice-versa. The net result is the equivalent of a 100W, dual-amped loudspeaker.

The tweeter has a 4 mm aluminum front, Esotec 28 mm/1.1" soft dome with a rear chamber, pure aluminum wire voice coil, and magnetic fluid. The dual woofer/mid-range has a 145 mm/5.7", one-piece molded MSP cone, and 75 mm/3" pure aluminum voice coil. Speakers are available in Cherry, Rosewood, Maple, Black Ash, Gloss White or Gloss Black finish. I followed the black goes with everything rule, including the print on the page.

Each speaker includes an on/off switch and blue power LED, an IEC AC power input that accepts after-market power cords, analog RCA input, high pass filter, input level sensitivity switch, three frequency equalization switches (low, midrange, and high), fuse, and heat sink. Though the speaker is not a Class D design, it runs cool, and poses no danger should you touch it during use.

Several important features of these speakers distinguish them from other self-powered desktop speakers such as the AudioEngine 5 (see Adrian Wittenberg's review). Because each speaker has its own pair of amplifiers, there is no need for speaker cable. And because each speaker's power cable is detachable, it is possible to bring out more of its ultimate potential by using after-market power cablea. Combined with the rear equalization and level sensitivity switches, and easily accessible fuse drawer, it's fairly easy to tweak the sound to your liking.

The high pass switch has three positions: flat, 60 Hz cut off, and 80 Hz cut off. If you don't pair the Focus 110A with a subwoofer – I do not – you will probably want to set the filter to "flat," so that the speaker naturally extends down to 55 Hz without impediment. Because the bass is real – these are Dynaudios, after all - I recommend decoupling the speakers from your desktop. I use Ganymede ball bearing supports, which work quite well. The difference in bass clarity with and without decoupling is immense.

The input sensitivity switch is a great addition. If your source has a low output level, you can boost the speaker's sensitivity by 4 dB. If, on the other hand, the source output level is high, you can decrease sensitivity by 10 dB. (In the case of the Benchmark DAC1 USB, I leave the switch in the flat position).

I prefer to leave the frequency response settings in the neutral position. Depending upon speaker placement, isolation from vibration, and the quality of your source components, this extra ability to tailor the sound is a great boon.