Bookshelf Speakers

Dynaudio X16 Bookshelf Speakers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Despite naming their new line "Excite," Dynaudio has stuck with a very classic 2-way rear ported box configuration for the X16. While it may not have the elegantly curved side panels that seem to be all the rage these days, the basic rectangular bookshelf design has proven itself time and time again. From a marketing perspective, I'm surprised that Dynaudio chose such an emotional name for what is really a rather traditional design, but I won't hold it against the X16s.

My pair of X16s arrived safe and sound, individually wrapped in protective thin foam sleeves and then encased in thick Styrofoam end caps. The X16s are available in four real wood veneer finishes; maple, cherry, rosewood, and black ash. I requested the black ash veneer for my review samples to best fit in with the décor of my home. While I personally like the black ash veneer, I have a feeling that choosing one of the other three wood veneers would have helped make the X16s look a little more, well . . . exciting (I swore I wouldn't fall into that trap. Oh well).

Dynaudio X16 Book shelf speakers
Dynaudio X16 Book shelf speakers

The overall quality of the wood veneer was excellent, as was the fit and finish of the loudspeaker. While $1600 for a pair of medium-sized bookshelf speakers is not exactly cheap, once you experience the overall quality of the X16s you won't have any doubts as to where your money went. Cabinet construction is first-rate, with a knuckle-rap against the side of the cabinet producing a non-resonant "thud." Chalk this up to the rigid internal bracing and low-resonance MDF used in the cabinet construction.

I would also like to point out that Dynaudio explicitly states that no endangered woods or toxic glues are used in the construction of the Excite cabinets, which is wonderful news for the environment. The single pair of 5-way binding posts (Dynaudio does not believe in bi-amping/bi-wiring) was of equally high quality and should have no problem accepting bare wire, banana plugs, or spade connectors. Moving towards the front baffle, all of the Excite line features a dark grey/pewter colored 25mm thick MDF baffle, which adds a nice contrast to the veneered cabinet. The speaker grilles are a very simple design, consisting of thin black fabric stretched around a black plastic frame. When installed, the grilles sit about a half inch from the face of the front baffle, which makes them very easy to remove. This is a very good thing, because removing the grilles proves paramount to getting the best performance from the X16s.

Personally, I also thought that the X16s looked far more "expensive" once their grilles were removed, which is never a bad thing. Just be careful with the grilles off, as the soft-dome tweeter is rather fragile and won't hold up well against poking fingers (not just of the toddler variety) or pet attack.

Dynaudio X16 Book shelf speakers
Dynaudio X16 Book shelf speakers

The X16s sport a 1" hand coated silk soft-dome tweeter that reproduces the 1800Hz to 23kHz range. The 6.5" mid-woofer handles all sound below the 1800Hz crossover point, and bottoms out around the 40Hz mark. The crossover is a phase-aligned first order (6dB per octave) design and operates at 1800Hz. Rated sensitivity is 87dB at 4Ohms, which seemed a bit low for a speaker designed for lesser powered receivers and amplifiers. My initial thought here was that while the Excite range was designed for receivers, "high-powered" receivers are probably the better choice. However, anyone spending $1600 on a pair of bookshelf speakers will typically have suitable driving components.