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Anyone familiar with the Dynaudio Contour 1.3MkII - for 7.1 home audio

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by tjobbins, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. tjobbins

    tjobbins
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    Hi guys,

    I am upgrading my mismatched 5.1 setup to a 7.1 system, and was wondering if anyone could provide any advice on my proposed purchase.

    Currently I have:
    Fronts - Mackie HR824 Pro Audio studio monitors (active)
    Centre - Dynaudio 122C
    Rears - Dynaudio Audience 42
    Sub - Rel Quake

    I have an opportunity to buy the following items at a potentially decent price:
    Pair Dynaudio Contour 1.3 Mk II
    Dynaudio Contour Centre
    Pair Dynaudio Audience 40
    all with stands.

    The 7.1 setup would thus be:
    Front: Contour 1.3 Mk II
    Centre: Contour Centre
    Surround: Audience 42
    Surround Rear: Audience 40
    Sub: REL Quake

    I would move my Mackie fronts to another purpose elsewhere in the house, and sell my existing Dynaudio 122C centre speaker.

    All this needs to be driven from my Denon AVC-A11SR, which is THX, 7*150W channels, etc.

    Primary requirement is for movies, but I do listen to a lot of music too. Room size is fairly small - 11'x10'. This is one downside with the Contour 1.3 MkIIs, I have read they should ideally be up to 4' from the rear wall. I can't do that, and realise I will lose some bass response as a result. However I imagine this to be a problem with a lot of decent speakers, so a compromise has to be had somewhere.

    Does anyone have any experience of such a setup and could comment on it? I haven't yet heard the Contour 1.3s, but have read two excellent reviews:
    http://stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/333/
    http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/center-channels/Dynaudio/PRD_124970_2743crx.aspx#reviews

    In particular I am interested on comments on how well my Denon would match with these speakers - as I am currently using active studio monitors fpr the front, the Denon has never driven front speakers before.

    Many thanks!


    Tom
     
  2. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I know the Contour 1.3mk2 very well, having owned a pair for over a year until I upgraded to the 1.3SE. They're brilliant speakers, very detailed and dynamic, deep punchy bass, great for both movies and music. They're much more refined than the Audience series. Not the easiest speakers to drive and a separate poweramp will no doubt give you better results, though the big Denon should cope fairly well. I had mine about 2-3 feet away from the wall behind. Just keep them as far out of the corners as possible and you should be ok. The 1.3SE are better still, smoother and more open top end and even deeper bass. Since you're in London as well you're welcome to have a listen to mine.
     
  3. Pat Marcus

    Pat Marcus
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    Also very familiar with the 1.3 mk2 and highly regard them. A small speaker with a truly enormous sound. Buy with confidence.
     
  4. tjobbins

    tjobbins
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    Thanks guys!

    I think I'm going for them. I'm getting:
    Pair Contour 1.3 MkIIs
    Pair Audience 40s
    Contour Centre

    and Dynaudio stands for the 1.3s and the Audiences, all for £750 - 4 years old, subject to a sound test.

    I think this is an excellent deal, and am looking forward to upgrading my system to a matching 7.1! (well, apart from the sub - will get a Dynaudio sub at some point!)
     
  5. Godfather

    Godfather
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    That's a bargain! I agree the sub is definitely the weak link in your system. It measured very poorly (very high distortion at modest levels) when independently tested recently.
     
  6. tjobbins

    tjobbins
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    Thanks Godfather, wasn't aware of that. To be honest I've never had a chance to really test it out - my current monitor speakers have excellent bass response, so I have the sub turned down quite a lot. Plus with everything not matching particularly well, the overall setup hasn't been great anyway. I've been waiting until I move (2 weeks time) and can get a dedicated HT room setup before I upgrade anything.

    Would you have a recommendation for a suitable sub to match my system? Max budget say £400-£500 (used)?


    Thanks again
     
  7. Godfather

    Godfather
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    For £400-500 I would strongly suggest you look out for a used Paradigm Servo 15. It's long been a forum favourite and in recent tests the Servo performed flawlessly - very flat response down to 20Hz (and below) with exceptionally low distortion. I don't think you'll find a better sub for under £1000, new or used. It's really night and day compared with the REL Quake.
     
  8. tjobbins

    tjobbins
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    Thanks Godfather.

    Having read this review:
    http://www.homecinemachoice.com/reviews/hccreviews/Subwoofers/Paradigm/ParadigmServo-15.php

    I'm not completely sure this is the sub for me - in particular it says it's best suited to a large room (mine will only be 11'x10', and on the first floor), and it's also not particularly suited to music. Now perhaps I won't need it for music, given that the Contour 1.3MkIIs may provide enough bass - but I do listen to a lot of music, so it would be nice to have a sub ideally suited to both.

    Would you agree with the assessment of the review? Any other recommendations given my requirements/limitations?

    Thanks again!
     
  9. Godfather

    Godfather
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    Slight correction, the REL I was thinking of that was tested was the Stampede. At 95dB below 40Hz the distortion went literally off the scale (over 30% total harmonic distortion and likely into the hundreds at lower frequencies). The REL Q200E was slightly better, producing 14% of distortion at 40Hz. The Servo 15 produced less than 2% of distortion at the same level. Neither RELs came remotely close to matching the extension of the Servo either.
     
  10. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I disagree with the reviewer about a few things. An accurate subwoofer will be good for both music and movies. Forum veteran Beekeeper uses a pair of Servos and rates them extremely highly for both duties. Because the frequency response of the Servo is so flat down to 20Hz, with room gain reinforcing the sub 50Hz frequencies you could end up with having too much bass in the lowest octaves. But that's true of ANY subwoofer with such a flat response, including the best ones e.g. Velodyne HGS and DD series. It's generally considered a bonus in a largish room because it means the sub doesn't have to work so hard, but in a small room it could be a problem unless you apply some form of EQ.

    For a small room like yours, something like a Velodyne CHT10R or 12R should work well. The Mordaunt Short MS909 also comes highly recommended by trusted sources, though I haven't heard it myself. Anyway I very doubt you'll feel the need to use a sub for music! The Contours go low enough even in a large room.
     
  11. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I agree that the Servo 15 is probably not ideal for you unless you intend to be playing films at such a loud level that you will be annoying the neighbours. Another eminent forum member who probably knows more about bass than anyone else has had Servo 15's in his system a few times and says that they aren't the easiest sub to position and lack finesse for music.

    Assuming that you don't wish to watch films at reference level and annoy whoever is living downstairs my own recommendation would be the BK Electronics XLS200 which has been much reviewed by many owners in this forum and which is probably deep and loud enough for you yet nimble enough to keep up with the most complex bass rythms in music.
     
  12. tjobbins

    tjobbins
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    Wow, that's really cheap! In fact I think that's pretty much the price I paid for my REL Quake (albeit that was 2.5 years ago)

    Thanks for the tip, I shall do some more research. If this does prove to be the sub for me at only £280 then this will be a big boon, as I now have my heart set on a couple of Tag McLaren 125M monoblocs, or other similar high end power amp, to feed my Contour 1.3 front speakers (leaving my Denon for the other 5) :)
     

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