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Donner Dyna 4 Monitor Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 68 53.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 51 39.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 8 6.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.8%

  • Total voters
    128

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Donner Dyna 4 powered speakers. It was sent to me by the company last year and is now discontinued.
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Review Computer Piano.jpg

The Dyna 4 is surprisingly good looking for a budget speaker and it even sports a small waveguide around the tweeter! Back side shows even balanced interconnects which makes sense given the fact that Donner is a manufacturer of musical instruments:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker back panel Review Computer Piano.jpg


I liked that the power cord that came with it was ultra flexible as otherwise the cable can tug on small monitors like these. Overall, fit and finish is impressive.

By the way, I see the speaker on clearance at very low prices. Someone even scooped one for $25 on Amazon before they ran out!

It is past midnight so this review is just measurements. As you will see, it doesn't merit listening anyway.

Speaker at 425 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.5 stars.

Donner Dyna 4 Speaker Measurements
I perform the distortion tests before starting the full 3-D measurement scan. There, I could see highly exaggerated high frequencies so I measured everything with treble control set to -2 dB:

Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Frequency Response Measurement.png


As you see, even with that the response is hugely variable. The small driver plus waveguided tweeter make for very good directivity so equalization should be effective. You can see some of the flaws in near-field response:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker near field Frequency Response Measurement.png


I could not detect a cut off for the tweeter low frequency which was strange. Wonder what crossover there is.

Early directivity matches on-axis due to good directivity:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker early window Frequency Response Measurement.png


PIR looks poor naturally:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Predicted in-room Frequency Response Measurement.png


Speaker naturally could not handle 96 dB so I tested it at 80 and 86:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Horizontal THD Distortion relative Measurement.png

Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Horizontal THD Distortion Measurement.png


I was seeing so many resonances that I decided to try it with a weight on top of the speaker. It helped a bit:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Horizontal THD Distortion with weight Measurement.png


All the measurements you see were with the weight on top.

Horizontal beamwidth and directivity are good:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Horizontal beamwidth Response Measurement.png

Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Horizontal directivity Response Measurement.png


Vertically is not half bad either:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker Vertical directivity Response Measurement.png

But stay at or slightly above tweeter.

Waterfall is not pretty due to all the resonances:
Donner Dyna 4 Powered Speaker CSD Waterfall Measurement.png


Conclusions
The Dyna 4 monitor gets a lot right as far as features, look and build quality. Shame that a bit more attention was not paid to even response as that could have made it a winner. With good directivity, equalization should be effective within the power envelop.

I can't recommend the Donner Dyna 4 but if you can pick one up cheap and apply EQ, it could do the job for non critical applications.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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amirm

amirm

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Looks like it was discontinued right on time :p
It was actually discounted fall last year. I had such a long backlog that I could not get to it any earlier. I think they sent a year ago now! I had it packed away and just saw it and decided to test it anyway.
 
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amirm

amirm

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I’m flying from Honolulu to Tampa right now, update in 10+ hours.
What? You were enjoying Hawaii while I was testing speakers??? Something is not right with this picture!
 

Digby

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What was the price before it was discontinued and how does it compare to similar speakers around that price? It might not be too bad as a cheap background speaker....

No listening test this time, Amir?
 

TNT

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Someone at Donner need to check the wax...

//
 

anphex

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This looks kind of as if it wanted to create a fixed equal loudness contour curve. Question is whether it was on purpose or not.
The dips and boosts check out.

1689584273337.png
 

pierre

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Looking at the spinorama, that's an example where the EQ could be useful.

Here is an EQ to flatten the LW which make sense for a small desktop speaker:
Score goes from 2.8 to 4.7 (resp. 5.4 and 7.5 with a subwoofer).

filters_eq.png


If you want to flatten the PIR (or increase the score):
Score goes from 2.8 to 5.2 (and 5.4 to 7.9 with a subwoofer).

filters_eq.png


I would take the first one for listening on a desk.

Second eq:
Code:
EQ for Donner Dyna 4 computed from ASR data
Preference Score 2.77 with EQ 5.17
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.23

Dated: 2023-07-17-16:07:15

Preamp: -1.9 dB

Filter  1: ON PK Fc   125 Hz Gain -2.98 dB Q 1.25
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   187 Hz Gain -2.41 dB Q 1.02
Filter  3: ON PK Fc   625 Hz Gain +1.91 dB Q 2.14
Filter  4: ON PK Fc   873 Hz Gain +1.16 dB Q 2.59
Filter  5: ON PK Fc  3438 Hz Gain +2.63 dB Q 1.96
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  6937 Hz Gain -2.90 dB Q 1.32
Filter  7: ON PK Fc  8766 Hz Gain -2.86 dB Q 1.19
 
Last edited:

ABE43

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The first thing that I thought when I saw the Frequency Response Measurements graph is that the speaker was designed this way. If this is a low-budget monitor from a musical instrument company then this could be made with scooped mids in order for low-level home recordings to fool the listener(s) into thinking the recording is better than it is. This essentially drops many of the frequencies associated with harshness and boosts frequencies that are harder to capture on a cheap basement recording with only a few mics that may not be suited for that specific recording application. Furthermore, the mentality of some musical instrument amplifier companies is/was to build amps with scooped mids so this could just be part of an industry mindset if Donner is primarily an instrument manufacturer. Anyone with more recording experience please chime in to correct me if needed.
 

sarumbear

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JayGilb

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A pair could have been purchased for $50 on sale, so how could it not get a fine rating ? Use an EQ or the contour controls on back and it would be perfect for a cheap bedroom speaker for my kids. For myself, there is a price point where specs really don't matter and this speaker falls into that category.
 
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