Dynaudio Xeo 4
Dimensions: 170 x 282 x 246/246 mm
Weight: 6.4 kg
Availability: Authorized Dealers
Price: $2100/pair, Xeo Hub $299.00
The Dynaudio Xeo 4s and the larger floor standing Xeo 6s plus the Hub need just two things from you—a source(s) and power. That's it. That's all you need for a complete Hi-Fi. Interested?
In terms of pedigree, the Xeo 4s house the same proprietary Dynaudio drivers as the company's Excite X14A's which I loved (see review) consisting of a soft dome tweeter and MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) long-throw woofer. That little puck affixed to the top of each speaker has power/input selection and volume control buttons and a series of blue LEDs which indicate various status states as well as volume level. I preferred using the included remote which also allows for source switching and Hub selection. Also like the X14A's, the Xeo 4's are rear ported and as solid as rocks passing the tap test with a sore knuckle. The Xeos come in your choice of black or white satin lacquer finish with magnetic grills (which I preferred off) that come in gray for the white finish and black on black.
The Xeo 4's offer a few options accessed around back including a "Speaker Position" switch for telling the on-board DSP where your XEO's sit. Options include "Neutral" for free standing in-room placement, "Wall" if they're near a wall (mine are), and "Corner" if the XEO's have been bad. There's also a three position "ID" Zone switch (Red, Green, Blue) which comes in handy if you have more than one pair of Xeos or if you find that one band is congested. Finishing off the backside is the power switch and power inlet for the included power cords.
The Hub offers three 24/96 capable digital inputs (Coax, Toslink, micro USB), and two analog inputs (3.5mm, RCA pair). There's also an Ethernet input "intended for future functions" and a 5V power inlet for the included power cord. The three position "Id" switch allows you to select the transmission channel (A = 2.4 GHz, B = 5.2 GHz, C = 5.8 GHz). It's worth mentioning that Dynaudio also offers an "Extender" ($175) that does what it says, extending the WiFi range beyond the Hub's claimed 50 meters in a typical home (100 meters in an open space). There's also the "Link" ($175) which allows you to add additional devices like an active subwoofer (outputs include Coax, Toslink, and RCA pair) to the Xeo network.
Dynaudio has also introduced a new "Connect" box which I saw at the Munich High End Show that adds Spotify Connect, AptX Bluetooth capability, and Dynaudio App control to the Xeos.
Just Add Source
You want simple, we got simple. I sat the Xeo's atop the highly recommended IsoAcoustics SO-L8R155 Speaker Stands (see review) connected my iMac's USB output to the Xeo Hub's USB input with the included USB cable, set the Xeo's to the "Wall" position, and played away in minutes. I played through the new and very slick Roon software from my library as well as from Tidal, streamed from various Internet sources, and generally just had a blast with the Xeo's.
They are, like the Dynaudio Excite X14A's, great, relatively small speakers that sound big. They stop and start on a dime, are punchy as all get-out, reach down to 45Hz according to the company and deliver a smooth, clean, and very engaging sound. They rock.
I listened to the Xeo's for well over a month, much longer than I had to, and threw every kind of music I know at them and they ate it all up and gave back music. I did not experience one glitch or hiccup with WiFi but a desktop, which is what I cover in terms of speakers, is not very challenging acreage. One record in heavy rotation is the new self-titled release from Algiers. This record is heavy in sound and message and the Xeo's handled all the noise, claps, and fury with ease. They do not sound like small speakers. I cranked them up a number of times well beyond desktop levels and they had no difficulty whatsoever delivering room-filling levels.
Bass response is very nice, natural, and tuneful, upper registers sizzle with real life, and the meatier midrange is rich and full of music's colors. The Xeo's handle acoustic music with aplomb, elecrtonica with ease, and raucous fare fairs just as well. If there are any shortcomings, and there always are, I'd point to simply wanting more, we always do. For my tastes, I can get more of what I want from the Dynaudio X14A's coupled with a separate DAC like the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC. This more also comes with a higher price tag.
Of course the Xeo 4's are better suited for in-room placement since the benefits of their simplicity are better enjoyed away from the clutter of a desktop, imo. Just imagine coupling something like the new Auralic Aries Mini to the Connect/XEO and you'd have a wireless system capable of streaming music from your NAS, from USB storage, from Bluetooth enabled devices, and from Tidal for under 3 grand.
Stepping Out With Simplicity
Dynaudio is now two fer two in terms of providing great sounding active speakers. The Xeo 4s strike me being very well suited, and in a league pretty much all their own, to people looking for a real wireless Hi-Fi solution that only asks you to provide a source.