Dutch & Dutch 8c Speakers

tmallin

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I think that most people who have actually heard the speakers come away being very impressed with the sonics.

It's too bad that in most markets these speakers seem to be sold primarily through a few pro-audio outlets rather than the usual consumer high-end stores. Many audiophiles are either intimidated by pro-audio stores or so unfamiliar with the ancillary components that they might not trust their judgment at an in-store demo. That leaves in-home demos arranged through dealers and distributors as the only way most audiophiles might hear these.

And even then, there are many who are reluctant to "put all their eggs in one basket" with a product embodying speakers of unusually innovative design principles, tri-amplification of a non-traditional type, DACs, very flexible and powerful DSP equalization, and perhaps someday even streaming via Roon Readiness. That's despite the obviously very high value represented by the asking price in terms of the sonic performance and the usual cost of "competitive" separate audiophile components the D&D 8c replaces.

Resistance comes not only from those who worry about having a failure of one part of the D&Ds taking down their entire system pending replacement or repair (as if that doesn't usually happen with most systems when a component fails!) but also those who worry that acquiring the D&Ds will take the fun out of the hunt for ever-more-performance-enhancing separate components.
 

tmallin

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Roon Readiness

It's been a long time coming, but the dawn is finally approaching. Since the very first reviews a couple of years ago now, Dutch & Dutch held out the tantalizing possibility that the 8c speakers would "soon" be Roon Ready. In fact, some early reviewers apparently were treated to an experimental version of Roon Readiness in the speakers they were reviewing. They reacted to it with favor, stating or at least implying that the speakers provided their best sound this way. Some reviewers even said something to the effect of "by the time you read this" the speakers will be Roon Ready.

Well, that was not to be the case. The problems D&D has encountered along the very long way to this goal are explained at this link:

https://dutchdutch.com/software/#Notinthisupdate

If making a pair of active stereo speakers a Roon Ready endpoint were an easy proposition, you probably would find such already on the market. If there are any, I'm not aware of them.

System Implications for Roon Ready Speakers

What would it mean to you for your D&D 8c speakers to become Roon Ready? In my case, it will allow me to dispense with my existing streamer, the Lumin X1. Now, let me state right up front that even if your existing system, like mine, is a streaming-only system, you may lose some program sources you may be used to if you do this. The program sources you might lose are mostly less-than-CD-quality internet streams.

While Roon has a very nice internet radio function called Live Radio which seamlessly integrates thousands of internet radio stations worldwide into Roon, Live Radio does not allow you to include all the stations or services you might want. For example, without a streamer, you will lose AirPlay capability (the D&D 8c speakers are NOT AirPlay receivers) and thus the ability to stream some services such as Sirius/XM and Spotify into your system. Spotify is not a big deal to me since most of its content relevant to me is duplicated in higher quality via Qobuz and Tidal. While I would miss playing a few Sirius/XM streams (primarily the Grateful Dead Channel, Real Jazz, and Siriusly Sinatra), I can play them via my NAD Viso HP50 headphones direct from my M-1 iPad (2021 edition) in my stereo room (see this thread) and from my computer desk via the NAD or other headphones or computer speakers—not to mention in my car.

Where We Are Now

We now appear to be closing in on the official release of the Roon Ready firmware for the Dutch & Dutch 8c. Martijn Mensink kindly has recently made available to me a pre-release version of this firmware and I have now listened to it, comparing the sound in Roon Ready mode to the sound I was getting with the digital output of my Lumin X1 feeding the digital inputs of the 8c's. More specifically, up until now I was using a Blue Jeans Cable Belden 4505R SDI BNC/BNC digital link from the Lumin's BNC digital output (the X1 lacks an AES/EBU digital output) to the left speaker, a Canare BNC to XLRM 75-ohm to 110-ohm transformer to connect that digital link to the left speaker; a Blue Jeans Cable Belden 1800F AES/EBU cable for connecting left to right speaker, and a D&D-supplied XLR terminator plug in the "Thru" socket of the right speaker.

[Continued in next post]
 
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tmallin

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Set Up Issues

I suspect that the set-up issues I encountered implementing the pre-release version of the Roon Ready firmware for the Dutch & Dutch 8c will go away with the publicly released Roon Ready version. I regard these as "teething problems" even though Dutch & Dutch has been working on this firmware for at least a couple of years now.

The issue seems to be the incompatibility of Lanspeaker, which has been the D&D control app up until now, with the new Roon Ready D&D firmware. Martijn describes the current status of the Lanspeaker control as "end of life." That issue should go away with the official release of the Roon Ready firmware for the D&D 8c's.

Here are the problems I noted when I first tried installing the new pre-release Roon Ready firmware, which is called version 1.5.210:

1. Despite several power cyclings, I could not get sound out of the right speaker. Also, I could not get the LED on that speaker to turn off. I did get sound from the left speaker and the LED on that speaker did turn off when set for disabled.

2. The Lanspeaker volume control which I've been using to control my system volume, did not work on either speaker.

3. In Roon, while Roon saw the two speakers, the message I got said they were Uncertified. Roon would not let me enable either speaker as a Roon Ready endpoint device because they were Uncertified as Roon Ready.

4. There was a problem with nomenclature in Lanspeaker. On some screens, the newly installed firmware was identified as 1.5.199, while on others it said 1.5.210.

5. I was not sure what the new D&D control website, http://beta.ascend.audio, was supposed to do. It did see the speakers once I installed the 1.5.210 firmware. It did play a test tone through each speaker. But after just a few steps, the screen went blank and no controls for the speaker were available. Restarting/refreshing that site merely went through those few steps again with the same blank screen result at the end.

6. Also, it was unclear what type of speaker input I should use in the beta.ascend.audio site. I chose AES, which is what I've been using when running Roon to the D&Ds via my Lumin X1 streamer. But I thought the speakers would be using a native connection to Roon, so I thought ethernet should have been an available choice, but that choice was not available. Since Roon would not enable either speaker, I would still need to use the AES connection via the Lumin X1 anyway. With the AES input, the volume of the test tone through the speakers was startlingly high so the Lanspeaker volume control which I had set to -65 dB was not operating.

After reverting to 1.4.65 for both speakers (Lanspeaker allowed this), everything was working normally again.

I told Martijn about the problems I had encountered. It was at this point that Martijn told me that Lanspeaker is end of life and that it doesn't work with 1.5.x firmware. Lanspeaker is being replaced by the Dutch & Dutch-produced Ascend Audio app, which I could access in beta form at http://beta.ascend.audio. The production version of this new Ascend Audio D&D control app will be accessible from the App Store.

Martijn also told me that my speakers will not yet be recognized automatically by Roon. My account needed to be added to the early access/beta list by Roon first. Martijn couldn't do that himself, but he immediately sent Roon my email address so that Roon could add me to the early access/beta list. Maritjn urged me to try again by updating both speakers to 1.5.210 and then firing up the Ascend Audio web-app.

There followed several more attempts at set up. The major problem continued to be 5. above, the blank screen I encountered when attempting to complete the speaker set up in the Ascend Audio web app. I tried different devices (iPhone, iPad, two different iMac computers, one an M-1 and another an earlier version, but still had no success. I also tried using different Web browsers to access the Ascend Audio site.

Finally, I was successful. As far as I can determine, success came when I accessed the Ascend Audio web app via the Safari web browser on my M-1 iMac computer after the following process:
  • I updated the firmware on both speakers in Lanspekaer to 1.5.210
  • I went to beta.ascend.audio but it wouldn't load properly
  • Then I rolled back to 1.4.65 by means of Lanspeaker
  • I updated the firmware again using the app hosted on the speakers themselves (http://8c-xxxx where xxxx represents the serial number of one of my speakers) This is the other method for setting up the speakers mentioned on page 9 of the D&D 8c online manual.
  • This time around the Ascend Audio website did work and allowed me to complete the set up of the speakers. It allowed me to import into the 1.5.210 firmware the prior ARM settings as well as all the parametric filters which resulted from measuring the speakers with REW and importing those filter calculations into the 1.4.65 firmware.
  • After rebooting both speakers and Roon and refreshing the list of Roon Ready devices found in Roon's Audio Settings, everything worked as intended. Roon found the speakers as Uncertified Roon Ready devices, but I was then allowed to enable the 8c's and set them up for Roon.
Note that REW integration is not yet ready for 1.5.210. (This new firmware will be dubbed Firmware 2.0 in the official release, by the way.) This means that if I wished to redo ARM or the parametric settings (such as if I decided to move the speakers) with REW, I would have to downgrade back to 1.4.65, change the ARM settings, re-run the REW measurements and import the newly calculated filters back into firmware 1.4.65. Then I would upgrade the firmware to 1.5.210 again and import the new settings from 1.4.65.

If you're using REW-integration under 1.4.65, note that you don't actually need an audio interface in order to play REW sweeps on the 8c: all that is required is a computer running REW and a measurement mic, such as the miniDSP UMIK-1. For more infomation, please check the REW Room Matching guide: https://support.dutchdutch.com/rew/ Thus, in my case, I would not need to reinsert the Lumin X1 and its associated cabling just to run the REW test tones.

In the new firmware version 1.5.210 you can still manually add, remove, or adjust the parametric filters. But REW doesn't interface with the new firmware yet.

Martijn says that REW integration in Firmware 2.0 is currently being worked on. "Won't be very long," he said. I will keep the speakers in their current locations. They have worked extremely well there anyway from very soon after I installed them in my room.

[Concluded in next post]
 
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tmallin

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The Sound

Now, the Lumin X1, by all accounts, is a very fine sounding streamer. I'm on record as saying that a lot of program material sounds better played back via the Lumin App than via Roon. Thus, why would I even care that the D&D speakers are now becoming Roon Ready endpoints? How could it be possible that eliminating that streamer could be sonically beneficial compared to listening via the Lumin App? After all, doing so means relegating all the Roon and streaming functions to hardware and firmware built into the 8c speakers, hardware and firmware which already were performing many other functions, such as driver time alignment, crossover, active tri-amplification, active room matching, and potentially many bands of parametric equalization. Were it not for the positive comments in many early reviews of the experimental version of the Roon Ready firmware, I would have been very skeptical as well.

But, for whatever reason, now that I've heard even this pre-release version of the Roon Ready firmware, I can confidently say that while there is not night-and-day difference between the sound I was getting streaming through the Lumin X1 and what I'm now hearing, there is no doubt to my ears that eliminating the Lumin X1 and allowing the D&D 8c speakers to function as the Roon Ready endpoint yet further improves the already stellar sound I was experiencing from the 8c's, either via the X1's native Lumin App or via Roon from the Nucleus+ through the Lumin.

I believe most would regard the improvements as subtle rather than significant. That is probably true, but the improvements I hear are subtle in ways which to me ARE significant in that they further reduce the vestiges of "digital" sound we're all familiar with by making the sound both easier on the ears and more "analog."

I hear yet greater high frequency smoothness, a "blacker" background, and yet firmer, clearer bass. Image focus and all aspects of staging are a bit better than before. Different recordings sound more differentiated from each other in terms of sound quality. The low-resolution internet radio versions of tracks compared with the FLAC versions of those tracks from Qobuz and Tidal evidence greater sonic differences. (Roon allows quick comparison of the "broadcast" version versus the FLAC or Hi-Res versions on Qobuz and Tidal in many cases.) There is greater dynamic ebb and flow, and the pace and rhythm of music is more infectious. The sound at higher SPLs seems yet cleaner with yet less edge without losing—in fact seemingly gaining—high frequency extension and airiness.

The sound of material via Roon is thus now higher quality than what I was hearing via the Lumin App. Exactly how much of the improvements I'm hearing now are actually from the Roon Readiness of the D&Ds and how much is just from the physical and electrical elimination of a stage in the signal path (the Lumin X1) and its associated cabling and connections is impossible for me to know. But I heard positive differences right from the start, while the Lumin X1 and its associated cabling were still connected. I could determine this by simply switching back and forth between the Lumin and the D&D speakers as the applicable end point device while listening to programs via Roon.

Roon Ready Functionality

Now that everything is working smoothly, the D&D 8c speakers' implementation of the Roon Ready endpoint seems rock-solid stable in terms of basic Roon functionality. All the Roon features I've become accustomed to using seem to work as expected and as quickly as expected. There are no even momentary interruptions in streaming. In addition, once an internet radio station is tuned and playing, it stays playing for at least overnight from one day to the next without stopping. That is superior to the internet radio station stability I was getting before with the Lumin X1 acting as the streamer either for Roon's Live Radio function or the Lumin App's radio station integration of Tune In radio stations.

My New System Configuration

In my case, removing the Lumin X1 and its associated cabling means that my system basically is now down to the Roon Nucleus+ as the source and the D&D 8c speakers for everything else. Details on my current system description can be found at this link and this link. I have just updated my system description to account for elimination of the Lumin X1.

Note also that making the speakers Roon Ready eliminates a couple of cable connections to the back of the speakers, further tidying up the set up. Both speakers now only have a power cable and an ethernet cable connected to them. Before the left speaker had four cables (power, ethernet, digital in, digital out) and the right speaker had three cables (power, ethernet, digital in) plus an XLR terminator plug in the digital out socket).
 
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tmallin

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Upon further listening to the now-Roon Ready D&D 8c's, I'm yet more impressed with the improved sound this affords. Owners will be very pleased, I strongly suspect.

Especially noteworthy are sonic improvements in program material which is identified by Roon as being 48 kHz sampling rate. This is the native sampling rate of the DACs in the D&D speakers. Program material in that format does not need to be resampled from, for example, 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz. Roon notes the lack of this resampling step in Roon's displayable signal path for the program you are listening to.

Even program material of low bit rate, such as internet radio stations which send out their signals at 48 kHz seem to get special sonic benefits. The sonic improvements I note in my prior post are more significant with such material. At least among my favorite internet radio stations there are quite a few which Roon identifies as 48 kHz signals. Just one example is Chicago's WFMT.
 

tmallin

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On another forum folks are currently playing around with inserting a presence range dip aimed at compensating for our ears' difference in response between direct sound and the diffuse field. The idea is that such a dip may make two-channel stereo programs sound more natural since with such program material all the sound is coming mostly from in front whereas in a concert hall much of what you hear at any reasonable audience location is diffuse field from the concert hall ambiance. This idea is nothing new. It has been part of many speaker designs or at least recommended over the years from the 1960s BBC box speaker systems to the omnis and dipoles produced by Siegfried Linkwitz.

I find this whole experimental proposal rather telling. Most on that other forum are listening to what they thought all along were well-balanced BBC-research-based speakers. But at some level apparently most feel that things sound too bright on too many recordings, especially of orchestral music. And what is being presented as a possible cure is nothing more than an exaggerated "BBC dip." You mean the BBC-derived speakers don't get it right after all?

I would urge the more adventurous among you not to use symphonic material as the touchstone for such an experiment. Use the real acid test: big band music with a lot of high trumpet parts, played at close to live unamplified levels. If you haven't been to an indoor concert of such music recently (ever?), take my word for it, even unamplified such music is very loud, too loud for comfortable home playback, perhaps. But you get the drift: turn it up as loud as you care to and then listen for proper upper brass balance. Get that right and, in my experience, everything else, including massed string tone, will be very smooth and fine sounding indeed.

One reason I like the Dutch & Dutch 8c speakers' balance so much is that, right out of the box, with no special EQ, these speakers nail the sound of big bands played loud. They thus nail everything else from 800 Hz up and require absolutely no special EQ in that region, at least in my small room using a lot of foam absorbers in first reflection areas and diffusers behind the listening seat. Orchestral strings and oboes are quite acceptably naturally balanced on a wide swath of commercial recordings. No, I can't tell one violin maker from another, but I can't do that live anyway, so it's in the ballpark and "good enough."

And, yes, the D&D speakers do have a bit softer high frequency balance than the dip-and-return common with BBC-type efforts. That "softer" HF balance sounds natural to me since it is rare to hear live unamplified orchestral music in a good hall and think that you need to turn down the treble. Obviously, if you think you need to insert an added presence dip, your speakers aren't really naturally balanced, at least not for most recordings in most rooms and set ups.

Most speakers on most big band recordings played loud will tend to produce ear bleeds unless you EQ down some part or all the treble region. Hitting the ears with high levels of harmonically rich high transients from trumpets, saxes, and such is a much easier way to zero in on the proper treble balance than by using classical orchestral music since the proper balance with big band music is quite critical: subjectively, listenable is just a bit more trebly than naturally balanced. Orchestral music, by comparison, is more than a bit forgiving of a range of high frequency balance settings since it is rarely rich in this kind of high frequency content.

You can even use the old Sheffield Lab Harry James recordings for this tuning. Remember that the digital versions of these are really "quiet" recordings, meaning you'll have to turn up your volume control much higher than normal to get close-to-live big band levels. Since these recordings were made with a single quasi-coincident stereo microphone, you then need to sit on the edge of your seat or move closer to the speakers so you approximate a 90-degree separation rather than 60 degrees. With 60 degree separation these extremely fine recordings will have relatively ambiguous imaging and a good deal of high frequency over-brightness and edge. Once you move close enough to lock in the imaging and have the volume adjusted to "11," EQ the highs until the solo and massed trumpets sound naturally balanced. Now check out some fine orchestral recordings. You'll be amazed.

Of course, as I've implied, the D&Ds with a decent set up get this high frequency balance correct with no need for such an experiment or additional high frequency equalization.
 

tmallin

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The Dutch & Dutch 8c speakers are now showing up in Roon as full-fledged Roon Ready endpoints. The "Uncertified" designation is no longer there. Thus, D&D has now completed the Roon Ready certification process. The sound seems unchanged, but there are minor changes in the display. For example, on Tidal MQA recordings, the signal path now displays the processing intensity at the top of the list. This is not displayed for Qobuz Hi-Res recordings.

I reiterate that the sound definitely has the highest potential sound quality on program material for which the Sample Rate conversion is not necessary. As long as the sample rate of the source material is 48 kHz the Signal path will not show a Sample rate conversion step. There is a certain additional clarity and solidity with such programming.

Integer-related downsampled Hi-Res material from Qobuz where the source is 192 or 96 kHz also sounds spectacular. Still, such material doesn't usually have that special quality I hear from 48 kHz source material.

The sound is still truly excellent with other sample rate conversions. These are just gradations of really, truly excellent. The clarity gained by eliminating the separate streamer and its associated cabling from the signal path still more than makes up for any Sample Rate conversions going on. But the added clarity makes more apparent to my ears the slight degradation of any sample rate conversion in the signal path.

I'm sure that sample rate conversion goes on with many if not all DACs. When equipment says it handles "native" streams of various sample rates, I'm sure that usually this just means that the unit is able to process a variety of incoming sample rates in such a way that the stream can be converted to the internal processing rate of the DAC. For example, Benchmark states that its DACs convert all incoming signals to a 110 kHz sample rate which was chosen for reasons Benchmark believes to be technically sound.

In the case of the D&D DACs, that internal processing rate is 48 kHz. The manufacturer is on record as saying that the DACs used in the speakers are more exact in their processing at that sample rate than at higher sample rates and that it was for that reason that 48 kHz was chosen as the internal processing rate of the DACs in the D&D speakers.
 

davenrk

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@tmallin good morning, do you think D&D 8c have the same refined and detailed sound as other speakers you had in the past such as Harbeth M40?
My personal benchmark is today the Graham 5/9
thanks
 

tmallin

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I've compared the D&D 8c speakers with others I've owned at various spots along the way of this now-six-page thread. But two posts comparing them to other speakers I've owned, particularly in this room are #10, #11 and #12 above. Those comparisons were done fairly early on in my ownership and with stand changes, and now the Roon Readiness the D&Ds are now yet better speakers.

The one area where other speakers may be heard to exceed the performance of this set up is in front-to-back depth. Putting the speakers--any speakers, even the D&Ds--very close to the wall behind them tends to impede the visualization and other perception of a large block or "air" in the presentation from front to back. This impression is mostly because, for eye-open listeners like me and many others, we tend to use our eyes to focus on the front-to-back placement of images populating the three-dimensional soundstage. If you tend to listen with your eyes closed, this is not an issue at all.

If there is a real physical wall right behind the speakers it is more difficult to "see" images in depth. This is true for any speakers. The D&D speakers produce more obvious front-to-back depth than any other speakers I've ever heard placed near the wall behind them. Most other speakers (Gradient 1.4 and Revolutions are the only real exceptions I've heard) sound truly atrocious in terms for front-to-back depth when placed close to the wall behind them, whether I listen with eyes open or closed. The D&D and those Gradient speakers can sound fine near the wall behind them because of the cardioid dispersion pattern they have which reduces rearward radiation by some 15 of 20 dB compared to other box speakers, much less open panel dipole speakers which are even more atrocious sounding when placed less than a few feet from the wall behind them. But even with the D&Ds, the best perception of depth occurs at night when the lights in the room are low and when I close my eyes to eliminate the perception of the physical wall behind them.

Other than front-to-back depth perception with eyes-open listening, the D&Ds remain the most lifelike, natural sounding speakers I've owned. With the recent firmware changes to make them Roon Ready endpoints, the performance gap between these and other speakers I've owned has further widened.

"Refined and detailed" as you are using that phrase is I think shorthand for BBC-heritage, speakers which have a long history of refinements. Graham, Harbeth, Spendor all share that heritage. I talked in the linked posts mentioned above about how the D&Ds compared to the Harbeth M40 series speakers I've owned. The Harbeths, especially the M40.2 are, I think, more natural sounding than the Spendor SP 1/2 I owned for a while and also superior to the current Stirling Broadcast LS3/6 which I also owned and had in this same room six years ago or so.

There is no way that the D&D speakers are not as "detailed" as any of the BBC-heritage speakers I've owned or heard. More natural detail about the recorded sound is there with the D&Ds without any tendency at all to sound overly etched, bright, or aggressive. I attribute this to a combination of the frequency response of the D&Ds, their relative lack of interaction with the room surfaces given their more controlled dispersion, and their time aligned design. I hear more natural detail from the D&Ds than from any speakers I've owned with the possible exceptions of the Sanders 10c and Janszen Valentina Active electrostatic hybrids. I had the Janszens in this same room a few years back. Both the Sanders and Janszens were brighter sounding than the D&Ds, so I think their detail came in part from a bit more emphasis on high frequency response.
 
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davenrk

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@tmallin thanks. One question to understand the "kind of sound": I like the "monitor" sound, where the sound is composed or made by many very little details rather than a more compact sound, I don't know if you understand.
And with "refinement" I mean the absence of grain, the sound is fine, subtle, no grained....
is the combination of detail resolution and refinement what I'm searching for most.
do you think the D&D 8c are suitable for me too?
thank you
 

tmallin

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Many speakers regarded as detailed or revealing get this quality from a bit too much high frequency level. They are revealing, yes, but can quickly become annoying or at least a bit uncomfortable to listen to. Some electrostatic speakers I've owned (e.g., Sanders and Janszen) emphasize detail at least partly because they have quite narrow dispersion patterns and thus their sound is less "blurred" by room reflections. The D&D speakers are quite detailed while still sounding quite relaxed and open in their presentation. There is no high frequency overemphasis and long-term listening is not problematic in any way.

There may be a feeling that any speaker incorporating so much active digital electronics must be at least a bit grainy and thus unrefined in the sense you are getting at. It seems to my ears, however, that putting all the electronics in the box with the drivers and having those electronics designed as a unit with the transducers results in a net gain compared to the mix-and-match-by-user approach of separate speakers, amps, DACs, EQ, crossover, room correction, etc., together with all their associated cabling and connections. Yes, you are "locked in" to D&D's electronic choices, but I hear no "grain" or other overt electronic or digital artifacts. The total package seems quite refined to me.

I suggest that if you are truly considering the D&D speakers you should go to a stocking pro-audio dealer to at least get a feel for how they sound to you. I know it's hard to audition high-end speakers generally these days, but to the extent you can, you should attempt to hear for yourself some other speaker approaches which might be regarded as refined and detailed and which are very roughly in the same ballpark price-wise. I suggest comparing your reaction to the D&Ds with some electrostatic and BBC-heritage approaches such as:

Quad 2812
Harbeth M40.3
Graham LS8/1 (see REG's review in January 2022 The Absolute Sound)
Sanders 10e
Janszen Valentina A8 or P8
 
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tmallin

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It's not there yet; paper only so far. I just got my paper copy in the mail yesterday. I mis-spoke earlier; the review is actually in the January 2022 issue of TAS; I corrected my prior post. This speaker is a re-work of the design which goes back to the Spendor BC-1. Note that the pictures of the speaker in that TAS issue are incorrect. The pictures are of another Graham model, the one with the slotted loading of the larger drivers, the LS5/5. According to REG, TAS will publish new corrected pictures in a future issue. The Graham speaker REG reviewed looks more or less like the Stirling Broadcast LS3/6

A similar speaker which you will find reviewed at TAS online by REG is Derek Hughes' earlier design, the Stirling Broadcast LS3/6. I have a thread about that one as well on WBF. In his review of the new Graham speaker, REG compares it to the Stirling LS3/6. One observation he makes is that the Graham has more robust bass response and is better for those who don't want to use a subwoofer. The Graham costs more than the Stirling, though, and is about $10,000 USD.
 
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davenrk

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I have seen the review, I will read it carefully tomorrow. Incredible how they missed the pictures :p
The Stirling Broadcast 3/6 was another speaker I was interested to.
But, thinking with myself, they have , including the new 8/1, compared to my 5/9, a larger cabinet, but more or less the same woofer size, so wondering how much I would increase the impact and psysical presence. Probably not so much I suppose.
A real upgrade would the 5/5 (I don't consider the 5/8 for sevaral reasons), but they cost a lot, so thinking also about the dutch&dutch 8c.
 

tmallin

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Back to the Roon Ready firmware for the D&D 8c speakers: The Ascent Audio control app for the speakers is now out of the beta phase and is located at app.ascend.audio.

The app stores are linked to from that new site. However, the app-store version of the D&D control app, while it is now ready, has not yet been approved and added to the app stores. That should be coming within a few weeks, according to the D&D designer, Martijn Mensink.

The integration of REW with the new Roon Ready firmware is the next big project for D&D. Mensink currently thinks that should be ready within a few months. REW is still integrated with the old D&D firmware, of course.
 

tmallin

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The "relaxed" nature of the treble I hear in my set up from my Dutch & Dutch 8c speakers makes a lot of classical recordings sound well balanced already. Over on the REG forum there has been discussion about the efficacy of inserting a frequency response dip to counteract the 4 kHz peak shown in this graph:

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When I tried that with my D&D speaker set up, the sound was too "dead."

However, the "adding a psychoacoustic 3 kHz dip" suggestion at page 18 of the DSPeaker Dual Core manual:

http://www.dspeaker.com/fileadmin/datasheets/dspeaker/AntiMode20DualCoreEng.pdf

works quite well with my set-up with a lot of material and is easy enough to reverse out on material where the sound is still a bit too "dead." This recommendation is a parametric filter centered at 3 kHz with an amplitude of minus 4.2 dB and a width of 1000 Hz, which, by my reckoning, should probably be interpreted as a Q of 3.

In any event, dialing in such a 3 kHz, -4.2 dB, Q = 3 dip via either Roon's DSP module or, as I do, with the D&D Ascend Audio app controlling the D&D speakers' own parametric EQ, sounds quite pleasing on my system. Not only are the highs yet more pleasant on a lot of recordings (classical and otherwise), but the imaging/staging is yet more 3D and centered vocalists seem yet more firmly anchored and not really any farther away--no recessed soloists, in other words. I like centered soloists a bit forward, and they still are.

Via the Ascend Audio control app, once this parametric filter is set up, it is a matter of one click on my iPad controller to insert it or remove it, so instantaneous A/B comparisons are easily available.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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While I have now moved to the Sanders 10e speakers in my audio room, I want to emphasize that I still think the Dutch & Dutch 8c are every bit as good as I've described in my many posts above and are a "bargain" for both the sound quality and the fact that the speakers incorporate so much of what you need for an audio system right within the boxes. Yes, $13,000 is a lot of money for many to spend on speakers, but as I've discussed, you get tri-amplification, sophisticated DSP-based room and speaker correction with REW integration, and Roon Readiness all within the speaker boxes.

Also, if you are among those who find most or a lot of recordings to sound too bright on your speakers, the D&D 8c may be just the thing for you. The "relaxed" high end (maybe down at most 2 dB in a broad swath from 2 kHz up to 8 kHz according to some reviews' measurements) is the closest thing I've ever heard to speakers which sound acceptably balanced on most all recordings and program sources. And that is right out of the box with absolutely no second-guessing of the manufacturer's settings above about 800 Hz. The vast majority of music sources sound neither too dull nor too bright through these speakers. Audiophile specials sound wonderful. The overall balance is VERY cannily chosen. All you may want to do is allow REW to further smooth the bass response for you.

Yes, for some concert hall recordings, the type of psychoacoustic dip I described in the above post can push the subjective result even closer to what I hear as natural sound. But as time went on I found myself using this adjustment less and less often. It is not useful at all for studio-created recordings where the musicians' sound is not captured by microphones in a concert hall. Using it on most pop, jazz, or other recordings is not helpful; it sucks a bit of life out of the recording. And even for recordings where I found this adjustment helpful, it is not like the frequency balance was too bright without it, demanding correction. It was just that with this adjustment the sound proved even better balanced, more natural sounding.

Unlike my practice for the past decade or more when I swapped speakers, I am not selling my Dutch & Dutch 8c speakers. I am keeping them for future use in another room for another system. They are still bolted to their stands, at the ready.
 

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