Dynaudio Confidence 30 Review: The perfect balance between everything
Dynaudio has released more than one line under the name Confidence. If you count, then the current one is already the third updated version. And the series as a whole is more than a dozen years old.
The first versions of the Confidence were designed in closed enclosures – they had an eerily low sensitivity and very high gain requirements. However, I myself am very fond of the Confidence 5 from the first line – it was an excellent acoustics, with whose help I conducted a lot of tests.
In the second generation, the Confidence speakers became phase-inverted in design, more models were developed (at first there were one variant of shelf and floor speakers), then the use of d’Apolitto designs and a proprietary circuit with a pair of Esotar tweeters appeared.
And now – the third, current current line. It has one 2-way model, which can be called conditionally a shelf, and three models of 3-way floor standing units of different scales.
Younger “shelf speakers” are not the subject of our test, but I must explain why I put the word “shelf speakers” in quotation marks – their phase inverter is brought out to the bottom surface, and the whole structure works only in tandem with proprietary specially designed stands. Three models of floorstanding speakers, of course, do not have racks, but there is a lower base and ports of phase inverters also brought out into it.
However, the solution is good – when looking for the correct arrangement with columns of this design, it is somewhat easier to cope with than when the port is brought back. And the potential gain looks a little lighter than for a closed box. But about strengthening – a little later.
Another important feature of the new Confidence line is that the tweeters are no longer doubled here. All models have only one Esotar3 with 28mm soft dome.
It is worth mentioning separately that in the Dynaudio concept, only soft dome tweeters are used as a high-frequency radiator and nothing else is the manufacturer’s rule. And different versions of Esotar in different years were recognized by many as one of the best dome emitters in principle.
The updated Esotar3 has a number of important differences from its predecessor. Inside, under the soft dome, at some distance from it, there is a plastic hemisphere covered with recesses – it was called Hexis. The purpose of this part is to optimize airflow and stabilize the canopy.
It would seem that such a trifle: the part itself costs almost nothing, but for its development, and then for its introduction into production, which required a lot to be redone in the tweeter and manufacturing processes – for all this, the manufacturer required a lot of intellectual, time and financial resources …
Dynaudio Confidence 30 is a 3-way acoustics with a pair of low-frequency radiators with 18 cm cones and 15 cm mid-frequency. Traditionally for the manufacturer, the diffusers are made of MSP polymer, and the speakers are equipped with powerful magnetic systems with the most elaborated air flow system without unnecessary resistance. Crossover frequencies: 290 and 3 700 Hz.
Freedom of placement
The next major change to look out for is the complex-shaped front fascia, which is especially noticeable closer to the tweeter. In fact, this is an acoustic lens that corrects the directional pattern.
The whole panel on which the speakers are fixed is also not simple. It partly continues the shapes given by the acoustic lens, but its main task is both the continuation of the lens and the decoupling of the mutual influence of the speakers on each other.
I saw this panel in the form of a semi-finished product: it is some kind of composite, sintered from powder, and then processed and painted. The material is very interesting in terms of properties – you can literally feel it with your fingers, especially if you pay attention to the behavior of the material at the moment when the acoustics are playing at a fairly decent volume.
The connection here is only two-wire – the manufacturer did not provide other options. The terminals are excellent in WBT quality. Internal wiring with Van den Hul cable. The grills are included: they are very graceful, thin, partly following the curves of the front panel. Well, the magnetic mounts come in very handy here – everything looks very good with them.
If we ignore the details, then personally to me all the acoustics of the new Confidence line seems unconditionally beautiful and solid. And in the details I just don’t want to find fault with anything: neither to the finish, nor to the forms, nor to the quality of materials and workmanship.
There was a couple who had worked for some time on the test. I can’t say exactly how the acoustics sound out of the box, but from my experience with Dynaudio products, I will assume that some time will be required for running in. The placement of the acoustics was some pre-checked reality, and during the test, I did not notice any supercriticality or narrow radiation pattern.
On the contrary, the sound is good both at the listening point and when you deviate enough from it. Although it is clear that this is a different sound, even the “background” sound does not feel in any way flawed.
However, it is imperative to pay attention to the arrangement – the acoustics will not really like the cramped or pressed against the walls. It is more logical to compare the model with the room.
I’ll add on my own: I’m just delighted with the junior shelf units of this new line, and somehow I don’t even want to talk about them as a junior model. Confidence 30, on the other hand, can feel confident enough in rooms over 30–35 sq. m. And a free arrangement, as well as a sufficient margin for gain, will definitely not be superfluous here.
As part of the test, I tried several options: an integrated Esoteric F-05 amplifier, a Gryphon Essence preamplifier and a stereo version of an Essence Stereo power amplifier, and the Esoteric K-03XD SACD player was the only source .
According to formal criteria, both amplification was sufficient in power and current – no problems with acoustics control were observed. But the different style of presentation of different devices was also unmistakably guessed. And in general, using this acoustics, it would be possible to carry out almost any experiments and tests – everything was perfectly audible, noticeable and clearly.
At the beginning, we launched a system with Esoteric amplification. Objectively read the exact cool analyticity in sound, detail, sometimes reaching mathematical precision and rigor. And also everything else that could be heard from Esoteric in those conditions when the devices are fully disclosed in their handwriting and character – without embellishment or alteration.
Put on Nils Landgren’s “Sentimental Journey” CD. The sound is calm, balanced, accurate, but not squeezed. Rather cool – in the sense that it is definitely not warm. But also no coldness or detachment. Neat confident restraint and precision.
Emotionality is very natural, color is not felt. The feed is not imposing, and even more so not lax – everything is very accurate and neat, without fuss. The dynamics and detail were completely enough – there are no reservations or conventions.
Using this particular recording and publication as an example, I heard everything that I used to hear there – and with a very high-quality, detailed study. There are also no questions about the frequency range – everything is smooth and complete. If something is a little bloated somewhere, I totally attribute it to the recording, to the way it was made, or even to the manner of performance. Everything was conveyed accurately and accurately.
The scene is correct, the proportions are as they were recorded, nothing has been added or subtracted. Some of the features worth mentioning are a little more rigor in the sound, a little more restraint than you sometimes wanted.
The next disc is Angelo Badalamenti “Evilenko”. The sound isn’t just detailed or dynamic – it’s realistic. On the one hand, I hear almost all equipment with its features in the path, but nevertheless, first of all, I hear music and recording, although even here the plausibility of the sound of all components is very noticeable – right down to artifacts.
This is definitely not a sound for a home disco – it is too restrained and accurate. But for everything else – from listening carefully to testing something or selecting musical material – this sound is fine. And if there is a desire to listen attentively to the nuances and shades, but not to lose the feeling of integrity, this is definitely a suitable option.
Listening here is like a perfect dialogue with music that you don’t want to pull or push away. Formally, it is a very correct top, without coloring or distortions; the middle that passes exactly into this top; solid, correct bass.
Still, we must pay tribute: given the manufacturer’s capabilities for measuring and testing prototypes, it is not surprising. Although it is very pleasant, because few people can offer such an even feed and stitching in strips – even for a significantly higher price.
Another entry: Psapp “The Only Thing I Ever Wanted”. Excellent rhythm and volume of sound, and at the same time – excellent detail and transparency. Features of the recording are read at a time, easily and naturally. True, a little sharp and somewhat pedantic in presentation. But I would not even say that it is tough. And in the presence of dynamics and pressure, I did not notice any unnecessarily, artificially forced sound.
Then I tried acoustics with a different amplification – with Gryphon Essence. For the control of impressions, this is never superfluous, and from what was at hand, it was no less interesting. Changing the amplifier (with the same source in the form of the Esoteric K-03XD player) is perfectly audible. Another sound, less mathematical-strict, more velvety, with more emphasis on release and atmosphere.
But the acoustics both played cleanly, accurately and neutral, and continued in the same spirit. The emphasis in the presentation has changed, but not the result. The feed did not become clearly softer – just with the first and second amplification options, one interesting effect was clearly manifested here.
The feeling that “a lot of sound” is being produced is not due to the large shapes, but due to the very detailed presentation. Due to the amount of information, and not due to the ability of acoustics to “shout out” a certain form. However, if there is something on the record that needs to be “shouted out”, then we will hear it. But categorically without rudeness or simplification.
Anorexia Nervosa’s New Obscurantis Order album never surprised me. Reference intelligibility, no distortions, no mess. So that all this sounded in the same detail – I heard, but that at the same time it sounded so natural, without tension and without tedious importunity – this is something I have met very rarely.
You can immediately make out and hear literally every part, and at the same time without losing the sense of integrity. Although on many systems, this recording would be just a roaring mess and nothing more. And emotionally the sound does not become disassembled – everything is in its place.
If so, something very complicated is possible. Verdi’s Requiem is fine. This material is at the limit of recording as such, and not even at the limit of playback capabilities. But everything is fine: there is no porridge, good elaboration and articulation of instruments and parts, honest timbre presentation, a good large-scale scene with a decent layout in depth. There is plenty of air and everything is fine with the choral parts.
Sensitivity: 88dB (2.83V / 1m)
Impedance 4 ohms (min.2.8 ohms / 85 Hz)
Frequency Response: (± 3dB): 38 Hz – 22 kHz
Design: bass reflex directed to the base
Number of bands: 3
Crossover Frequencies: 290, 3,700 Hz
Crossover circuit: 2/3 order
Woofer: 2×18 cm, MSP cone
Midrange driver: 15 cm, MSP diffuser
Tweeter: 28 mm soft dome, Esotar3
Weight: 44.2 kg
Dimensions (WxHxD): 364x1382x424 mm
Exceptionally “adult” and self-sufficient acoustics. The new Confidence line appealed to me even at the first acquaintance, and on subsequent ones too, but here it was possible to evaluate its potential in detail only in the attentive test mode.
What I heard at the production site in Denmark was very interesting, but only great potential was guessed behind it – because a different reinforcement and a different harness were needed. Not so careful and tidy.
In our case, with different devices, it was possible to learn a lot: about acoustics, and about devices from pairs. With Dynaudio Confidence, you shouldn’t be afraid to select a system with maximum detail and dynamics. Acoustics will accept and pass all this, it is capable of it, and I would even say that she likes it.
But here there are several points. First, you need to give credit to the system. Not only amplification and source – absolutely everything. Even in the salon, while listening, I noticed some effects from the same stands between the acoustics. That’s why my technique is on the side of the system – a trifle, but noticeable.
But there is one pleasant quality that brings it all into balance. Over the course of several listens in a wide variety of conditions, I did not notice an obvious problem in sound construction here. This is not the case when a couple of small changes – and that’s it, the system stops playing, and the sound crumbles.
There is such an honest but capricious technique. And in our case, although all the changes are well audible, I cannot imagine that from any little thing it will suddenly become categorically bad. An interesting property.
And secondly, the potential owner needs to ask himself if he wants to listen in such detail and in detail to everything that is on the records and in performances? If so, then this is really a good option. I myself would love to build a test system on such a pair of speakers.
But even here one caveat is needed – a similar “test” system, with very high sound qualities, in practice, you can listen for hours without fatigue and feeling overloaded with information. Even if you get a lot of information.