Dynaudio Contour 20i-We’ve long been fans of Dynaudio’s Contour 20 stand mounters. Their combination of a muscular and expressive sound coupled with the fine build made them a firm recommendation at the price. This latest Contour 20i version aims to build on those solid foundations without altering the fundamentals of a great product.
Dynaudio Contour 20i Right place
Contour 20i is a further refined Contour 20, still with its heart in the right place. The 20i bass is tighter than I remember from the Contour ’20s, seems to reach deeper in the lower frequencies. The higher frequencies produced by the 20i’s do not show any sharpness while they are fast and defined. Voices and solo instruments are a delight to listen to these speakers. Within the design team, a lot of effort must have been put into improving the system, although the appearance has remained virtually the same.
Dynaudio Contour 20i Build
This new 20i version still uses the company’s usual 28mm fabric dome, but much has changed behind it. Now there’s a larger chamber for the dome’s rear-firing sound to get absorbed in, and at its entrance is what the company calls a Hexis inner dome.
This fixed dome structure helps to manage the airflow behind the moving diaphragm and, together with the larger chamber, is claimed to reduce distortion and give the tweeter a smoother, flatter frequency response.
While this may make these speakers look like a tough electrical load, that’s not the case. Dynaudio tends to engineer its products with relatively flat impedance curves, making them kinder than the specs indicate. Even so, we’d still recommend an amplifier with a bit of grunt if you want to get the best out of them.
The 20i’s 44cm tall cabinet remains unchanged from the previous generation, and that’s no bad thing. Like most rivals, it uses MDF but here the back panel is 38mm thick and is coupled to 16mm sides. There’s extensive bracing to control resonances and improve stiffness.
Dynaudio Contour 20i Compatibility
the Contour 20is is no different. We think the bare minimum is something like Naim’s SuperNait 3 (£3500, $4299, AU$8000) or Rega’s Aethos integrated amps (£2999, $4000, AU$5999) with a comparable source. But, if you really want to hear what these Dynaudios can do, you’ll need more sonically capable electronics, which will cost far more.
We use our usual reference set-up for this test. That’s Naim’s ND555/555 PS DR music streamer and the SL-1000R record player from Technics, partnered with Burmester’s 088/911 Mk3 pre/power combo.
Don’t judge these speakers straight from the box. They need some time to settle, but once they do you’ll be greeted with a surprisingly capable performance
Dynaudio Contour 20i Sound
Dynaudios sound right at home. Their bass output grabs our attention first. It’s impressively powerful with a sense of weight and punch that seems out of keeping with a box of this size. Yet, despite this rich and full-bodied approach to lows, these boxes still have enough in the way of agility and tunefulness to satisfy.
The sheer quantity of low frequencies these speakers produce could be a problem if you use them with an amplifier that has poor bass control, or if you place the Contours without care.
In either case, you will end up with overblown lows that will dominate the rest of the frequency range
more than we remember for the first-generation model. They offer class-leading insight, tracking delicate instrumental strands with ease and rendering sonic textures superbly. Dynamic nuances are resolved with considerable skill.
You can add refinement to the list of plus points too. Given the almost demo-like quality of Bruce Springsteen’s Terry’s Song, the Dynaudio strikes a great balance between showing the rough edges of the recording and still letting us enjoy the raw emotions of the track.
The Contours are skilled at tying together musical strands and making them work well together. We listen to a variety of tracks from the likes of Kate Bush’s Watching You Without Me and Major Lazer’s Pon The Floor and each time these speakers make sense of the music superbly.
There’s no shortage of talented rivals for these Dynaudio’s. The obvious contenders are KEF’s Reference 1s. Both of these are excellent performers and deserve a serious audition. The KEF’s are impressively transparent and deliver even more in the way of bass authority thanks to a dedicated driver, while the B&Ws have sweet lovely highs and offer an impressive degree of resolution.
Yet, these Dynaudios hold their own even against such formidable opposition. They’re more rhythmic than either
- Composed and muscular sound
- Excellent detail resolution
- Pleasing rhythm
- Needs care in positioning
- Amp must have some grunt