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Dynaudio Audience 42 vs. Castle Richmond 3: my impressions... Which to buy?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by cribeiro, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. cribeiro

    Well-known Member

    Nov 2, 2002
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    A Spaniard in Germany

    I have made a comparison between these two, and I find the choice really tough... So I decided to write down my impressions and see if that helps me to decide. I thought if I wrote them here, that can also help another people and, in addition, you might have some advice... Before I start, I'd like to pose a question: do you think the Dyns would be overkill? Maybe with my gear I won't get all they can give...

    First, the Castle are cheaper by far, but in the end I decided to invest up to 650 euro in the pair of speakers, so it shouldn't be an issue...
    Looks are great in both, although very different. I love the real wood veneer of the Castle. My godfather was a carpenter, and I spent half of my childhood in his workshop. Let me tell you something: I know how real wood smells, looks and feels... That is real wood, and it is nice to recall good old memories... :) I was only disappointed by the finishing of the binding posts, which looked and felt cheapish.

    Anyway, the main point is the sound, and since both are nicely finished and do not look ugly, I think it is the only thing I'll consider.
    I spent the weekend listening both, and this is what I found out:

    Dynaudios are open, with "air" around the sounds, wide stage and vivid, clear and detailed as I hadn't heard before (not as wide and lively as Klipsch or Triangle, though). Bass is very powerful, specially taking into account the little volume of the cabinet, but it is always very controlled, with depth and slam, all in one. Metallica's "Nothing else matters" is a good example. Detail and soundstage are impressive with Buena Vista Social Club. I use Queen's Rhapsody to check how well behaved are the highs, since I cannot bear them with very bright systems. Dynaudios showed all distorsions, but they didn't get into my head. Good, good. "Chill Out" is a good album for soundstage, detail, etc.... Well, I could write for hours. In short, the Dyns simply put the sound into your living room as it is. Everything. Period.

    Now let's go to the Castles... These are very nice sounding speakers, no doubt. I will describe them comparing with the Dyns. I think it is fair, since the Dyns are so neutral and real. What did I hear? I heard a lovely mid range which is the reason of all my doubts. Voices are sweet, mellow. They do not really loose in realism, but they are more "rounded" than with the Dyns, so they do not sound so natural and vivid. There is also plenty of detail, and highs are as well behaved as with the Dyns, but they are not so wide: soundstage is narrower and more laid back, relaxed. I think I could listen to them for many hours. Finally, the bass is not as good as the Dyns one. I think here I got a problem with a resonance in my room, since different placement gave a different behavior. But, in the end, it is not as good. It is a bit enhanced and less detailed with respect to the Dyns.

    I'd resume it saying that if you take Dyns (raw, pure sound) and add a patina of sweetness and roundness to their sound, you'd end up with the Castles (I mean, like using a photocamera with a filter). This adds gentleness to the sound, but sacrifices some soundstage and bass detail. It fills with mellowness the "air" that the Dyns put between the instruments, so it is more difficult to follow instruments separately, although this makes easier to listen to them since they become more relaxed.
    Like when you look at a landscape with and without sunglasses, as you change you notice, but after a while you get used. It is only that, with the glasses, you loose contrast in the shadows, but you can stare at the sun. You understand why I am mixed up, don't you?

    One final note: I compared Castle with Triangle, and the Triangle were bright in excess, making it almost unlistenable at times. The soundstage was kind of deformed, maybe because of that.
    I think the new Azur line goes better with soft dome tweeters... But Tons of Fun has a different opinion here, he likes the Azur with the Triangle Titus.
    I have also compared the Dyns to some JM Lab bookshelf in the same price range, but again they were too bright.; to the Audience 52, but the difference wasn't big; and to some B&W standmount (more than 1000 euro the pair) which didn't like (kind of equalized like a smiling face...).
    You can add this to all the opinions I had written before here about previous auditions. I think I have listened to quite a lot of stuff, and I feel confident to relax after my final choice because I believe I will have exactly what I want.

    PS: equipment was Cambridge Audio Azur 640 Amp and CD player, with good interconnects and cables selected by my dealer to match the gear (that's all I can say...). I bought it after I realized how good it sounded with Opera (italian), Castle and Triangle speakers. I compared it also with Myryad Z amp and cd player (1600 euros, while Azur was 1000), finding it better in all respects. More natural. The Myryad sounded muddy in comparison.

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