Dynaudio Excite X14A

Device Type: Active Speaker
Input: single-ended RCA and balanced XLR pairs
Dimensions: 6.7 x 11.1 x 9.7/10.3" (170 x 282 x 246/262 mm)
Weight: 6.5 kg
Availability: Authorized Dealers
Price: $2000.00/pair
Website: www.dynaudio.com

Excite
What do we want, ideally, from an active desktop speaker? I know, everything.

The Dynaudio Excite X14A is the active version of their Excite 14 speaker. Each X14A houses two 50W digital amps, one for each driver, so you get 100W per channel. The proprietary Dynaudio drivers consist of a soft dome tweeter and MSP (magnesium silicate polymer) long-throw woofer. Frequency response is rated at 45Hz to 23kHz by Dynaudio. The speaker cabinet is a rear-ported bass-reflex design and the 14A's are as solid as rocks. The speakers are built in-house at the company headquarters in Skanderborg, Denmark.

On the X14A's backside you'll see three equalizer switches for adjusting bass, midrange and treble to suite your environment. The high-pass filter (60 or 80 Hz) is for using the X14A with a subwoofer although 45Hz on the desktop is pretty full, imo. There's also an input sensitivity switch (three levels), and an Auto On, Auto Off button. You can also choose to just leave the X14A's on all the time. Finishing off the back panel is the on/off switch and the power inlet for the included power cords.

The Excite X14A come in a number of finishes including real-wood Walnut and Rosewood veneers, as well as Satin Black and Satin White lacquer. The review pair are clad in the lovely tiger-stripe Rosewood finish. The drivers are surrounded by matt aluminum rings and the Dynaudio logo sits underneath. The cabinet's front edges are chamfered giving the X14A's a slightly slimmer look than their 6.7" width would suggest. I find their size to fit perfectly on my desktop, which is 5' x 30". For this review, I sat the X14A's atop the highly recommended IsoAcoustics SO-L8R155 Speaker Stands (see review).

The remainder of the review setup consists of my iMac running Audirvana connected to the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC via Firewire. The Mytek was leashed to the X14A's with lengths of Kimber Kable Select KS 1126 Balanced ICs. Time to play.

Excitable
Some things in hi-fi are as plain as day. Thankfully. When I first connected the Dynaudio X14A's to the Mytek DAC and hit Play on Audirvana, I laughed out oud. The sound of Bjork's voice from her most recent album Vulnicura was resplendent. Clear, present, rich, and beautifully solid. The Excite X14A's delivered Bjork in all her power and glory right there in my ears, in my head. Lovely. Just plain lovely.

The X14A's do not exhibit any self noise which is a must-have feature for any desktop speaker. They also exhibit a very smooth and sweet top end without even a hint of glare or etch. Like honey. The mid-range is full and rich, much fuller and richer than my ADAM A3X's (see review) which is to be expected for any number of reasons including the ADAM's smaller size. The X14A's bass response also goes much deeper than the tinier A3Xs so you also get a more powerful and full-range sound. All-in-all, the Dynaudio's absolutely out-class the ADAM's in every conceivable way, as they should considering the price difference. There is simply more musical there, there.

I played all manner of music through the X14A's and they excelled at everything. This is the first time I've experienced sound from a desktop speaker that begins to come close to what I'm used to with my DeVore Fidelity The Nines driven by my Pass INT-30A amp. While this much more costly pair certainly deliver even more room-filling sound as well as an even richer musical sound image, the Dynaudio's offer up a healthy helping of musicality and finesse that leaves behind every other desktop speaker that has come through here with the exception of the slightly more costly and larger Focal Solo6 Be (see review).

The X14A's are extremely cohesive, refined, and flat out pure pleasure. I cannot think of an area where I would ask for improvement with the possible exception of even greater frequency extension down low. I say "possible" because I find the X14A's reach to be plenty sufficient for nearfield desktop listening. My new(ish) listening room resides in a fairly large, open barn and the Dynaudio's also did a fine job of filling the space beyond the confines of my desk. While I do not have interconnect cables that are long enough to spread the X14A's out to a position suitable for my room, I can easily see them servicing a small listening space.

I don't know about you, but I really enjoy nearfield desktop listening. I especially like it when a speaker and the music coming through it make it impossible to do anything other than close your eyes and listen. Snow Ghosts, Schubert, PJ Harvey, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Ibeyi, Future Brown, THEESatisfaction, and on and on all proved to be deeply moving, deeply felt through the Dynaudio X14A's.

Dynamite
If you spend real time at your desk and you enjoy listening to music, lots of music, and you value the quality of its reproduction, the Dynaudio X14A's deliver as much of everything as I've heard from an active speaker. Bravo! (and I do not want to see them go...)



Associated Equipment

Also in-use during the Dynaudio review: ADAM A3X

COMMENTS
pictornyc's picture

Hi Michael,

Any idea what the remote port on the is for?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...is to accommodate a potentially forthcoming outboard volume control for the speakers.
pictornyc's picture

That is exactly what I was hoping you would say :-)

Thank you.

pictornyc's picture

Any idea on the timing of when this functionality becomes publicly available?

Thanks again

Michael Lavorgna's picture
The response I posted came directly from my rep at Dynaudio so "potentially forthcoming" is their wording.
pictornyc's picture

Ok, it is skipped over in the documentation and not in the cleanest of ways, Fingers crossed it is available soon. Thanks again.

pictornyc's picture
Casimir's picture

Hello,
how do they compare?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...since I've heard the Focal's, they were returned immediately after my review back in May 2013, the Dynaudio's struck me as being more enjoyable and closer to what I'm used to from my main system. The Dynaudio's also "fit" my desk better due to their smaller size.
pamplona62's picture

Michael, nice review! What's the distance between your wall and the rear port? For desktop listening, it seems that a front port like the Focal Solo 6Be might be more practical since many desks are up against the wall.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I did not notice any issues with this proximity of the rear port to the wall.
pamplona62's picture

Thank you. That is good to know!

PDQ.Bach's picture

Dear Michael, I’d be very curious to learn what you think of the Excite X14A sound compared to my current desktop setup, PSIAudio A14-M.

(The PSI have a studio pedigree going back several decades, comparable only to Klein+Hummel; if you haven’t heard them, Steven Stone has reviewed them in a desktop context.)

Pricing is in the same league, and for me, the PSI A14-M epitomised so far the very qualities you appreciate in the Excite X14A, in a completely no-frills packaging*. (They sound like a pair of huge and very accurate [read:phase-linear], very spacious 3D studio headphones.)

So I’d be very eager to read your impressions, should the opportunity of a comparison arise.

*read, Apple Watch Sport in terms of functionality vs pricing.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I had not heard of them but they certainly look very interesting. I will try to get a review pair.
RAYSAY's picture

Nice review. I am interesting in the speaker stands on the table...?? Can you tell me??

Thanks :-)

deckeda's picture
RAYSAY's picture

Thanks :-)

BradleyP's picture

95% of my listening is on my desktop system, now. Those Dynaudios are absolutely beautiful, and I would love to have a pair. Are they voiced like studio monitors, or do they embellish for a more euphonic sound?

I hope this doesn't sound churlish, but 50 watts on each driver isn't exactly the same as 100 watts per channel. It's exceedingly rare that both drivers would draw exactly 50 watts. It's more likely that one would come close to clipping while the other would be drawing 30 or 40 watts at the same time. When really jamming with bass-heavy material, a 100 watt amp might send 65 watts to the woofer while balance went to the tweeter, an impossibility with 50 watts on each driver. So technically, this speaker, or any bi-amped active speaker, could draw 100 watts per channel without clipping, but in actual use you would see performance more like, say, 80 wpc or less, depending on the content. Am I all wet?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
When talking about total available power.
Are they voiced like studio monitors, or do they embellish for a more euphonic sound?
That's an interesting question and something that had not crossed my mind. I have not heard this kind of difference with the speakers I've reviewed including the pro monitors.
Kije's picture

Michael, sorry but could you tell me which version of Audirvana and Pure Music you use?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
On my desktop, I use v1.5.12 of Audirvana. I mainly use Pure Music v2.0.3 in my main system.
Kije's picture

Thanks, which OS do you use on your two systems please?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
on both.
Kije's picture

Thank you very much Michael!

jky999's picture

How do the dynamics and immediacy compare to the Adams? Your reference to Hendrix flying around your head with your Adam's review is what comes to mind. A meaty sound with an Adam's like presentation would be exactly what I'm looking for. Basically, desktop speakers that are similar to good headphones, say the LCDs.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...more dynamic and as immediate as the Adams. The quality of the Adam's ribbon tweeter does have its own sound which seems to present micro-details very precisely so in that sense the Dynaudio's sound ever so slightly softer but I actually prefer their presentation. Sigh.
roscoeiii's picture

Hi Michael,

These seem like a nice alternative to the powered KEF models, or even the raved about LS50 (which is not active). Have you heard the active KEFs or LS50s, and if so can you give an idea how these compare to them?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
So I cannot offer a real comparison. In general, I like having my DAC separate from my active speakers. Steve Guttenberg reviewed the KEF X300A for us here.
philooo's picture

I was trying to located these online ... I could not find them anywhere .

Any recommendation on where to buy them ?

BradleyP's picture

These are nowhere on line, so I assume you need a Dynaudio dealer.

http://www.dynaudio.com/us/dealer_list.php?gnr=3

Imagine actually listening to audio before buying. What a novel concept!

JLM's picture

Have you considered looking into professional monitors? The question goes begging in light that the 14A seem very comparable to Dynaudio's own BM Compact (that sells for $1200/pair with IsoAcoustic stands). Note that the BM Compact is the baby of that product line and that the next model up, the BM5 mk III uses a better woofer and sells for $1460/pair again with IsoAcoustic stands. Neither have wood veneer or grills. Another very well respected professional monitor is this range is the $1500/pair Neumann KH-120.

BTW recently attended Axpona where they had 5 rooms with Dynaudio, but these models were only on static display. I was only there on Saturday (very busy so had no chance to listen). Very disappointing. The only products I could listen to that I was seriously interested in were Oppo HA-1 and Emotiva DC-1 (which I bought and would be curious to read an Audiostream review of).

Yokum's picture

Michael, I read both reviews. You also suggested that you prefer the X14a compared to Focal (as far as your taste). I believe your conclusions were correct based on your set up. There lies the big problem. To begin with the Focal have so much more bass energy such that unless they were treated they could not sound better than the smaller X14a, especially on the desk. To make matters much worse the Focal you had sitting almost right on your desk and the Dynos on Iso-accoustics. I am sure you get the picture. The true way to have listened to them was to put both on Iso stands..
That would still not be enough since the Solos have so much more Bass and high frequency energy. What I do in addition is calibrate the system using Earthworks M30 mic on heavy Triad-Orbit stand connected to RME babyface PRO A to D and Calibrating using Dirac Live software.
The filters it creates corrects for the bass energy and room as well as other acoustical distortions, all in 32 bit. Only then can you truly hear what these speakers are capable. Although I did not A-B them I would not be surprised if under this balanced circumstance the Focal will smoke the Dyno. The reason is because the Focal can reach lower and higher with ease such that when these are controlled you get a relatively complete picture with texture and harmonics that is simply beautiful.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...were reviewed in dramatically different rooms nearly two years apart.

Thank you for your comments and recommendations.

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