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Dynaudio X14 Speaker Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Dynaudio Excite X14 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly sent in by a member for review. It came out in 2014 and has been discontinued. It cost US $1,500 then. I see used ones at almost that price.

While somewhat plain due to black finish, there is still some style in this Danish speaker:

Dynaudio X14 Review Bookshelf Speaker.jpg


The cabinet feels dense and there is good bit of weight to the X14. Here is the back panel:

Dynaudio X14 Review Bookshelf Speaker Binding Posts.jpg


Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 800 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% up to about 3 kHz but then climbed up to 2% or so.

Temperature was 58 degrees F. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the tweeter center.

Dynaudio X14 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Spinorama CEA-2035 Frequency Response.png


On-axis response is not as flat as I like to see from a company like Dynaudio. Due to lack of waveguide to control the width of the tweeter beam at its lowest crossover setting, it doesn't match the woofer's causing that dip in the index.

Individual driver and port response shows some of the reasons for the uneven response:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Driver Port Woofer Tweeter Frequency Response.png


Looks to me like that port resonance is boosting the lower midrange between 500 and 100 Hz. Crossover matching is not perfect either. Tweeter has a nice flat response until it doesn't above 10 kHz.

Early window reflections show the problem we already know about:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Spinorama CEA-2035 early Window reflections Frequency Response.png


Highly suggest having a thick carpet to absorb the floor reflections around 2 kHz as I do. Needs to be about 2 inches or so to be effective there.

Predicted in-room response is such:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Spinorama CEA-2035 Predicted In-room Frequency Response.png


Depending on where you draw the regression line, there is too much energy in the lower and upper treble which can make the speaker sound bright.

Beamwidth shows the lack of directivity control:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Horizontal Beamwidth.png


See how the laws of physics control the directivity of the tweeter, narrowing its beamwidth as frequencies go up. We want this to be horizontal so that the off-axis response matches on-axis and we don't have a lot of room dependency.

Distortion is good for this type of speaker:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Relative THD Distortion.png


Dynaudio X14 Measurements THD Distortion.png


Horizontal contour map shows our issue with directivity again:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Horizontal Directivity.png


Seems like the speaker was not fully aligned horizontally so the on-axis response may be a bit worse or better than what the spin shows.

Here is our vertical which is not bad:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Vertical Directivity.png


You have good bit of leeway on how high you place the speaker relative to your ears.

Edit: forgot the impedance graph:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Impedance and Phase.png

Dynaudio X14 Speaker Listening Tests
First impression was good. I could enjoy my female reference tracks which is where I always start. But I thought I make some corrections in the response and see how much better it gets:

Dynaudio X14 Measurements Equalization.png


Ignore the one at 102 Hz as that is for room mode. The rest helped a lot and nicely transformed the speaker. The bit of brightness was gone and clarity was improved with the boost in 2 kHz. The dip around 800 Hz also helped with clarity which could be due to reduction of port resonance.

With EQ in place, the X14 produce very good dynamics with surprising clarity. Distortion would only gradually set it as I pumped a ton of power into it. Indeed I felt no need to test its limits as it was already doing better than it should be.

Conclusions
Our of the box, the objective performance of the Dynaudio X14 is not that great. Despite its rather high price, there is no waveguide to control directivity. And response is not as good as it should be on axis. Mild equalization helped transform it to a capable speaker. Having been discontinued and expensive, The X14 is not a speaker that I recommend. But if you can find a cheap pair and use EQ, it can be a very satisfying speaker.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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MZKM

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#3
Sensitivity: 81.6dB (spec: 85dB)
Frequency response: +/-4.2dB 50Hz-20kHz
With such an amazing testing facility:


I am disappointed by their specs not being accurate.
Now, maybe that chamber and measurement fixture were made after this speaker, but they still should be able to accuracy measure sensitivity, not a single frequency hits even 84dB.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #4
Yeh, I should have commented on how insensitive it was. Had to pump a lot of watts into it in both measurements and listening.

I suspect marketing department does not let any company publish sensitivity below 85 db!
 

Xyrium

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#5
No question about the sensitivity. All Dyns seem to have that issue.

In house drivers, xovers, and cabs, and they couldn't do better than this? I have to say, I'm feeling a little down on Dyn right now. I suppose distortion was actually pretty good at normal listening levels, but ugh, that rising response.
 

Francis Vaughan

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#6
Looks like you have used the vertical directivity colour map twice, once where horizontal was intended. Not sure if that is the reason for your comment on asymmetric horizontal directivity.
 

Todd74

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#8
Yeh, I should have commented on how insensitive it was. Had to pump a lot of watts into it in both measurements and listening.

I suspect marketing department does not let any company publish sensitivity below 85 db!
How much power were you feeding them and how much would you recommend now that you’re familiar?
 

GimeDsp

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#9
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Dynaudio Excite X14 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly sent in by a member for review. It came out in 2014 and has been discontinued. It cost US $1,500 then. I see used ones at almost that price.

While somewhat plain due to black finish, there is still some style in this Danish speaker:

View attachment 93790

The cabinet feels dense and there is good bit of weight to the X14. Here is the back panel:

View attachment 93791

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 800 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% up to about 3 kHz but then climbed up to 2% or so.

Temperature was 58 degrees F. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the tweeter center.

Dynaudio X14 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

View attachment 93792

On-axis response is not as flat as I like to see from a company like Dynaudio. Due to lack of waveguide to control the width of the tweeter beam at its lowest crossover setting, it doesn't match the woofer's causing that dip in the index.

Individual driver and port response shows some of the reasons for the uneven response:

View attachment 93793

Looks to me like that port resonance is boosting the lower midrange between 500 and 100 Hz. Crossover matching is not perfect either. Tweeter has a nice flat response until it doesn't above 10 kHz.

Early window reflections show the problem we already know about:

View attachment 93794

Highly suggest having a thick carpet to absorb the floor reflections around 2 kHz as I do. Needs to be about 2 inches or so to be effective there.

Predicted in-room response is such:

View attachment 93795

Depending on where you draw the regression line, there is too much energy in the lower and upper treble which can make the speaker sound bright.

Beamwidth shows the lack of directivity control:

View attachment 93796

See how the laws of physics control the directivity of the tweeter, narrowing its beamwidth as frequencies go up. We want this to be horizontal so that the off-axis response matches on-axis and we don't have a lot of room dependency.

Distortion is good for this type of speaker:

View attachment 93797

View attachment 93798

Horizontal contour map shows our issue with directivity again:

View attachment 93799

Seems like the speaker was not fully aligned horizontally so the on-axis response may be a bit worse or better than what the spin shows.

Here is our vertical which is not bad:

View attachment 93800

You have good bit of leeway on how high you place the speaker relative to your ears.

Dynaudio X14 Speaker Listening Tests
First impression was good. I could enjoy my female reference tracks which is where I always start. But I thought I make some corrections in the response and see how much better it gets:

View attachment 93801

Ignore the one at 102 Hz as that is for room mode. The rest helped a lot and nicely transformed the speaker. The bit of brightness was gone and clarity was improved with the boost in 2 kHz. The dip around 800 Hz also helped with clarity which could be due to reduction of port resonance.

With EQ in place, the X14 produce very good dynamics with surprising clarity. Distortion would only gradually set it as I pumped a ton of power into it. Indeed I felt no need to test its limits as it was already doing better than it should be.

Conclusions
Our of the box, the objective performance of the Dynaudio X14 is not that great. Despite its rather high price, there is no waveguide to control directivity. And response is not as good as it should be on axis. Mild equalization helped transform it to a capable speaker. Having been discontinued and expensive, The X14 is not a speaker that I recommend. But if you can find a cheap pair and use EQ, it can be a very satisfying speaker.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
I never like the sound of these. they had some good stuff but to many flaws to be enjoyable for me. YMMV
 

richard12511

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#10
Pretty good in an absolute sense. Not great for Dynaudio.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #11
Looks like you have used the vertical directivity colour map twice, once where horizontal was intended. Not sure if that is the reason for your comment on asymmetric horizontal directivity.
Corrected.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #12
How much power were you feeding them and how much would you recommend now that you’re familiar?
I don't have a power meter to give you such specifics. I know the input to the amplifier which I adjust for every speaker to get 86 dBSPL. And here, I had to go up good bit.
 

Laserjock

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#15
Conclusions
Ou of the box, the objective performance of the Dynaudio X14 is not that great. Despite its rather high price, there is no waveguide to control directivity. And response is not as good as it should be on axis. Mild equalization helped transform it to a capable speaker. Having been discontinued and expensive, The X14 is not a speaker that I recommend. But if you can find a cheap pair and use EQ, it can be a very satisfying speaker
Or just buy @Rick Sykora DIY and paint them black...
 

Todd74

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#16
Pretty good in an absolute sense. Not great for Dynaudio.
This is interesting to me bc I researched the heck out of the Excites before buying a pair of X18’s and two pairs of X14’s for my home theater. I scoured through every possible forum post I could find on the internet, and it seemed like the common theme was that people preferred Excites more than half of the time to whatever they were being compared to, LS50’s being the one I noticed most.
 

Steve Dallas

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#17
With such an amazing testing facility:


I am disappointed by their specs not being accurate.
Now, maybe that chamber and measurement fixture were made after this speaker, but they still should be able to accuracy measure sensitivity, not a single frequency hits even 84dB.
These are my speakers. I am not defending nor disputing the results, but I have some comments.

1. This line of speakers was released at least 3 years before the Jupiter measurement system was employed.
2. They were darlings of the subjective reviews for several years, which is how I ended up with a pair.
3. The list price was high, but the street price was lower, and the lightly used price is commonly between $600 and $800 per pair. Indeed, I paid $800 with Dynaudio stands included, which I sold for $250.
4. Amusingly, Dynaudio claims the tweeter has a small waveguide somewhere in there.
5. I used them in my home office for a little louder than background music, where I rarely pushed them beyond 80 dB, and I always used 50 to 60W @ 8 Ohm amps with them with preamp volumes set to ~20% with no complaints.
6. These were rotated in and out with LS50s, and the KEFs required a few upward hits of the volume button to match their volume.
7. I liked them enough, that I replaced them with the larger X18s to gain more scale. And, I am still quite happy with them.

I will post in-room measurements later. They largely confirm Amir's measurements.

[EDIT] to add in-room measuremets in my study. The room is nearly a cube at 12.5' x 12.2' x 10.5' and is a very challenging environment. The response is close enough to the Harmon curve to make EQ a simple affair. This is how they measure in that room without correction.

Dynaudio Excite X14 Stereo Uncorrected.png
 
Last edited:

Maiky76

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#19
Hi,

Here are some thoughts on the EQ.
Score no EQ: 4.73; With Sub: 6.98
Spinorama with no EQ:
Dynaudio X14 No EQ Spinorama.png

Directivity:
Better stay at tweeter height
Better stay near on axis +/-10deg
Dynaudio X14 LW Better data.png
Dynaudio X14 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

EQ design:
I have generated two EQs. The APO config files are attached.
  • The first one LW is targeted at making the LW flat.
  • The second, Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.
  • The deviation from flat looks very significant (BBC deep?) and is related to the directivity error between the LF andHF unit and is very typical of speakers with no directivity control (i.e. waveguide) implemented.
  • It looks like a good candidate to compare the LW EQ vs the Score based EQ as the directivity error yields deviation for the flatness.
Score EQ LW: 5.85 with sub: 7.80
Score EQ Score: 6.44 with sub: 8.32

Code:
Dynaudio X14 APO EQ LW 96000Hz
November162020-111317

Preamp: -2.7 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 51 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.17
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 123.7 Hz Gain -2.17 dB Q 1.26
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 434 Hz Gain 0.45 dB Q 1.45
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 651.3 Hz Gain -1.54 dB Q 2.58
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 816.8 Hz Gain -1.42 dB Q 4.03
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1199 Hz Gain -1.04 dB Q 7.22
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 1911 Hz Gain 1.74 dB Q 6
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 3094 Hz Gain -1.11 dB Q 4.79
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 8488 Hz Gain -1.82 dB Q 2.4

Dynaudio X14 APO EQ Score 96000Hz
November162020-110319

Preamp: -2.7 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 48.4 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.16
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 124 Hz Gain -2.09 dB Q 1.16
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 444 Hz Gain 0.55 dB Q 2.01
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 641.5 Hz Gain -1.83 dB Q 2.08
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 810 Hz Gain -1.47 dB Q 5.03
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1210 Hz Gain -1.63 dB Q 8.22
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 1902 Hz Gain 1.74 dB Q 3.85
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 3372 Hz Gain -1.51 dB Q 2.3
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 7568 Hz Gain -2.54 dB Q 1.08
Dynaudio X14 EQ Design.png

Spinorama EQ LW
Dynaudio X14 EQ LW Spinorama.png

Spinorama EQ Score
Dynaudio X14 EQ Score Spinorama.png

Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Dynaudio X14 Zoom PIR-LW-ON.png

Regression - Tonal
Dynaudio X14 Regression-Tonal.png

Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Dynaudio X14 Radar EQ Score.png


The rest of the plots are attached.

Edit:
For those interested here is the spinorama with @amirm EQ
Dynaudio X14 Amirm EQ Spinorama.png

Changed the first Biquad to a High Pass for safety:
Score: 6.45; with sub: 8.33

Code:
Dynaudio X14 APO EQ Score HPQ 96000Hz
November162020-141915

Preamp: -2.7 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 39.6 Hz Gain 0 dB Q 1.32
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 119.3 Hz Gain -2.36 dB Q 1.09
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 444 Hz Gain 0.55 dB Q 2.01
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 641.5 Hz Gain -1.83 dB Q 2.08
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 810 Hz Gain -1.47 dB Q 5.03
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1210 Hz Gain -1.63 dB Q 8.22
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 1902 Hz Gain 1.74 dB Q 3.85
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 3372 Hz Gain -1.51 dB Q 2.3
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 7568 Hz Gain -2.54 dB Q 1.08
Dynaudio X14 EQ Design HPQ.png
 

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YSC

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#20
Great looking speaker with IMO good response for a passive in absolute terms. Can’t compare to the newer active offerings we see nowadays but should be good enough. Price is high in my bank account but seems already a bargain compared to some hifi speakers priced shooting through the sky?
 
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