upgrade path from my current speakers? (Dynaudio Special Forty)


have gone through a rotation in the last couple of years, LS50's, Sonus Faber Lumina V's, Heresys, Fortes, Harbeth 30.2's and Habeth Super 5's

none of these sounded good to me

recently landed on Dynaudio Special Forty, loved them, upgraded to Heritage Special, really liked them also but went back to the Special Forty

this is the sound for me by far, nothing else has come close to pleasing me

I'd like to get to a tower that provides more bass and dynamics maintaining this sound profile

Contour and Confidence are on my short list

what else should I be looking at?




Interesting question. That is a pretty large array of speakers. I think we need to look at the whole picture: all the electronics and venue. It would be really helpful… actually manditory (if we are to help) to see your system, there is a place to put your system, photos and identify your components under your userID. I suspect the problem may not be the speakers… it might.


What did you find lacking with each type?

Maybe nothing else since you like upper level Dynaudio sound.

But, yes, this may also be the case of match.

The sound of these 40's just resonates with me as super lively and energetic, hard to quantify why I love these and not the others

Ideally if they made this in a tower version I would be done

I can acquire any electronics to achieve my goals short of silly money, I've been using a variety of high quality amps , integrateds, and dacs up to Lumin X1 , Luxman 509, Benchmark, and Mcintosh , still own all those pieces and currently streaming bluesound node x to RME preamp/dac with NAD C298 power amp

I feel like all my electronics have always been up to task

room is not the greatest and never will be, that wont change I'm afraid

if feel very close to ending my journey, the little Dyns have everything I want in small package......just seeking bigger

I will try and actively seek out auditions this time around as getting towers into my walk up town home is hell

might be worth noting again that I also enjoyed the Heritage very much, the other speakers not at all, so Dynaudio seems to have something in the DNA for me

Funny you mentioned the sound of the special 40. I went through the exact same scenario. Found a good deal on a pair of Heritage speakers. I had  them awhile but they just did not engage me like my 40’s I sold th Heritage and bought an another pair of 40’s. I keep several speaker and amps as I like to change up sometimes. My PassLabs and my 40’s are my best combo.

Given that you like the dynaudio sound, I would think the confidence series would be the most natural path. I've had a chance to hear them a few times and they sound really good, the only negative I heard is i thought they lost a lot off axis 

I have a pair of the HS’s after auditioning the SP40’s in my home. My Pass Lab INT 25 sounded great w the 40’s but not as good as the HS’s. I brought in a PL X250.8 amp and now the HS’s jumped to a new level with more of the Dynaudio sound. I noticed the cymbals and highs grabbed my attention and became real. The upper bass was fast tight w incredible dynamics. What turned these amazing speakers in to was adding a sub that could keep up the HS’s so I added a REL S510 and spent time dialing it in. It filled the lower register and it doesn’t miss a beat w the HS’s. I’d like to try adding a second sub as I’ve heard it’s even more incredible.
this setup competes w $20k floor standers.   

I have to agree with @ghdprentice. You are focused on the speakers, but there’s a lot more out there than Bluesound , RME and NAD. Bring your RME into a dealer and ask them to demo it against some other dacs and see what you think. 

Subwoofers can help a lot. Also, nothing about room conditions have been mentioned. These are the two factors which allowed me to get amazing bass with standmount speakers (Fritz) and also with towers (Ascend). I'm not spending nearly the money you are -- no shade, there at all -- but without the room/sub factor considered, I believe the lower frequencies can be an endless chase. 

Since you’re so enamored of your Dyns my first thought was why not just keep the magic alive and add a couple subs from the likes of Rhythmic, JL Labs, or REL?  If your room is difficult this option might actually be better than trying to get more full-range towers to work well in there, and you can get down to an honest 20Hz whereas most floorstanders can’t.  If you’re sub averse for some reason, some others I’d recommend hearing if you can are Joseph Audio, Usher, ProAc, Usher, Sonus Faber, and Vandersteen.  Hope this helps somewhat, and best of luck. 

+1 @soix 

Indeed, OP, you're really at a choice point -- finding out whether you are really interested/able to improve the *sound* or whether you're actually more interested in swapping gear. A lot of us have thought we were after better sound when in fact we really had Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

Given all the speakers you have tried, and how much you like the Dynaudio's I would suggest speaking to a Dynaudio vendor and ask them which speakers up the line would carry forward and improve on the characteristics of the Special 40's. 

Others have mentioned the rest of your gear and I agree you might want to consider some upgrades. You could make some big improvements without spending a bundle.

As an aside, I am considering a speaker upgrade from my LS50's, and Dynaudio is on my list. Any comment on the difference between these two?


I agree with the sub suggestion.  Lots of used subs on the market.  Do 2 as they are easier to integrate. 

Re: Dynaudio; My at home experience was Contour 20 was a significant bass response upgrade from Special Forty.  Plus you don't lose the excellent natural vocal soundstage. 

Also add:  The resale market for your Special Forty's is very strong.  I'd reach out to some of the retail resale vendors as well as posting.  If you have original box and materials you may get near what you paid for them.

The Special 40 is unique in the lineup.  If you liked the HS you should enjoy the new Confidence floor standing models as they share the same tweeter.  I’m a huge fan of the Esotar3, it strikes the perfect balance of being detailed while never getting shrill or bright. The S40 uses a modified version of the older Esotar2 so perhaps the Contour i series would be a better fit. Either way I’d stick within the Dynaudio family if that’s the sound you prefer.  

Or do what I did and move the S40 to the bedroom and go with an entirely different type of floor stander for some variety. I went Klipsch Forte since nothing fills a big room like horns. If I had the space I would have went with La Scalas + subs. 

I've mentioned this on other threads asking the same questions about what could replace the Dynaudio Special 40 and it may just be the Revival Audio Atalante 3 monitors.

Daniel Edmonds is the owner and designer of all Revival Audio speakers. He designed speaker for Altec Lansing, JMLab-Focal and Dynaudio. As lead engineer at Dynaudio for 7 years he designed: Contour 2016 range, Special 40, Evoke, Confidence 2019, Contour i series 2020 and the Heritage Special. He knows a thing or two about speakers.

Try to audition a pair of Atalante 3s if you can. I bought mine sound/unheard based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews online from all over the world. Dealers had a difficult time keeping inventories in stock when they first came out. Everything is made in house (in France) and the drivers are designed by him and used only in his speakers. He's only been in business since 2021 and his prices can't be beat. For $2500, you can conceivably get a generation or two of improvement and refinement over his earlier designs.

All the best,

thanks all

I've been in touch with a local REL dealer who is going to come over for a consultation, he's recommended one or two small RELs and has suggested he can do the integration

from there will seek to audition further Dyns up the chain including their pro audio gear


I lived with a beautiful pair of Dynaudio Contour 5.4's for several years, but my first love was of Tannoy Dual Concentrics. I bought a pair of 12" HPD's, and had them sent from England.

I sold my Dynaudio's, and built a pair of 150 liter bass-reflex speakers that I love much more than the Dynaudio's. I built them very stout at just around 200 lbs. each with out drivers and crossovers. I'll probably be listening to them on the day I leave this existence.

You might want to give them a listen.





Alone, I own both dyn 40’s and kefls50 metas. The metas are world class IMO. However, the dyns are a better speaker, PROVIDED, you have some horsepower to drive them. The more juice you give them, the better they sound. I have several amps, like Accuphase, McIntosh, hegal. The 40’s sound the best with my Pass 250.

A sleeper speaker is the Goldenear BRX. 

Sounds like the DynAudio is the place to start. Sounds like you are doing fairly fast semirandom equipment swapping. That makes getting where you want to go nearly impossible. You need to start with a good set of speakers and then upgrade the electronics and room treatments to support them. If we can see the room it would be helpful. 

Definitely a bluesound streamer is a very weak point. But it is important to carefully choose each component to take advantage of your speakers and push the sound quality to your tastes.

Multiple Youtube reviewers, including Steve Guttenberg, tout the Buchardt S400 MK II  as a world beating stand mount speaker in the same class as Dynaudio, but here it is rarely mentioned.  Any ideas?

@kb54 your question seems like a separate topic but I think the reason Buchardt isn’t heavily mentioned on Audiogon is that they are a newer manufacturer and Audiogon’s members are older and tend to focus on more established brands. Most of the Buchardt hype is coming from the youtube reviewer community, which draws newer audiophiles.

Personally I’m not a fan of investing in companies that are quick to revise or push out new models. It's bad for resale. Their lineup is a bit of a mess, just looking at passive models they went from S300>S400>S300mk2>S400mk2 and then a low cost P300 which I’m assuming will retire the S300 series altogether. All in under 10 years. And I’m not including SE versions with custom finishes & wiring. To me that feels like they are taking their customers for a ride.

Regarding Buchardts, I have owned the s400 and now own the 400SE. There is a clear difference in the sound between the two. The 400 is a warmish-sounding speaker, whereas the 400SE is more neutral. The 400 has a laid-back treble the SE is more forward in the treble. That is the most notable difference The Speical 40 IMO is better sounding than both. The 40 is more energetic and punchy in the bass. Having said that, the Buchardts are very good sounding for the money. They do not need as much power to sound their best as the 40's.

Revival Audio Atalante 5

Although I really like my Buchardt S400 MKII, they have usurped by the Atalante 3s for sure.

If I had room for the 5s . . .


i've got Countour 30 run by Hegel H390. Fantastic sound. no need for sub. 

I highly recommend them. they sell for a significant discount used. 

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I had the sp40 as well. Then moved to Dynaudio Evoke 50.

The bass and dynamics are massive on the evokes. I am still shocked at the difference . The Soundstage is much taller

Heritage Special with the right cables and electronics are quite a bit better than the 40’s . But the 40’s are more tolerant of less expensive gear.

All hail Revival Audio Atalante 3. I've been blown away by the sound of these. Game changer.

If you are still looking to upgrade, Dynaudio Confidence 20s are very special to my ears. I also owned the Evoke 20s and the Evoke 50s. Currently I also own the Revival Audio Atalante 3s in another system, and agree with comments above they sound great too. But the Confidence 20s are at another level IMO.