Price (RRP): $999
One of the very first sound systems I wrote about professionally, many years ago, was installed in a superb recording studio. The loudspeakers they used were from the Danish company Dynaudio. Over the years I’ve remained impressed by its home offerings, mostly amazing high-fidelity loudspeakers. But like so many others, it is now venturing into compact, multiroom speakers. Here I look at the second-from-the-bottom unit, the Dynaudio Music 3.
Dynaudio Music 3 features
There are four models in the range: 1, 3, 5 and 7. I shall be returning in the near future to the Dynaudio Music 1. And to seeing how it and the Dynaudio Music 3 work together. But for now, I’m restricting myself to the larger speaker.
Before getting to its details, I should note that a good ten years ago we recommended a Dynaudio car speaker system as part of our Christmas Gift Guide. Unfortunately, it cost two million dollars … probably because it was the in-car audio system for the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport. It seems I’m not the only one to like Dynaudio.
The Dynaudio Music 3 is a mid-sized standalone speaker with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a built-in battery that gives it up to eight hours of independence from your home’s power.
I won’t try to describe the diamond-like shape. The pictures do a better job. Mid-sized: it measures 405mm wide, 220mm tall and 174mm deep and it weighs 3.7 kilograms. It has a tweedy cloth front and back in dark grey, blue, red or light grey. A metal strap runs up the sides, over the top and along the bottom. On the top of that are play/pause, skip, volume and input buttons. LEDs on the top show the volume level and the selected input, and also the chosen preset if relevant. At the bottom right, largely hidden away, is the power button.
Inside, the Dynaudio Music 3 has three drivers. Bass is handled by a 5 inch – 125mm – woofer and two 25mm tweeters. Each driver has its own 40-watt amplifier. The enclosure uses closed box design principles. That means, no bass reflex port, no passive radiator. There are pros and cons of such a design. It makes it harder for the woofer to produce deep bass, but also better controls it. With an active speaker such as the Dynaudio Music 3, more power and some digital signal processing can overcome that.
Dynaudio seems to have done that. It specifies the frequency response of the Dynaudio Music 3 at 47 to 20,000 hertz at the -3dB points. It also says that the THD – Total Harmonic Distortion – is less than 0.3%, although I suspect that rating is for the amplifiers, not for the drivers.
There’s a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a USB socket. That socket can be used to power a device or you can feed music directly to the unit from an iOS device. One likely use, as we’ll see, is a Chromecast Audio device.
As is the way of these things, you use an to set up the speaker. That app is Dynaudio Music. Install it, fire it up, follow the instructions and it talks you through providing the Dynaudio Music 3 with the password of your Wi-Fi access point. In fact, it recognised all three of the access points in my office, including both the 2.4GHz-only and the 5GHz-only points. That confirms that the system is dual band.
It took a couple of goes for the connection system to work. The first couple of times, after entering the password the app came back and said, “It looks like your speaker is no longer in setup mode. Do you want to try again?” I tapped “Yes”, then realised that the speaker seemed to have switched itself off, so it no longer had the usual flashing Wi-Fi light. The next time it asked the same question, so I tapped “No” and the app said, “That’s it! You’re all set.” But it turned out I wasn’t all set. The app couldn’t find the speaker and I noticed the Wi-Fi setup light was still flashing.
Third time lucky: “Your speaker is now on the Wi-Fi network ‘[REDACTED]’ and ready to use.”
Music from app
The Dynaudio Music app is somewhat of a strange thing. It provides access to music, after a fashion, but nowhere near the full range of it. The first time I fired it up, it asked me which artists I like, offering a list. As I ticked some, it added more. After a couple of dozen, I indicated I’d finished. At some point in there it asked if I’d like an impressively generous nine-month free trial on Tidal. But I generally use Spotify, so I chose “Later”. Then it asked if I wanted to connect to a music service. I agreed, and it offered “Tidal” as the only option. Which I rejected.
Then it went into the “Music Now” page, showing some of the artists I’d previously ticked. I tapped on one to play it, but the app told me I had to link my Dynaudio account to Tidal in order to play the music. Oh, there were radio stations I could dial into (the app uses the vTuner portal). But that was it, Internet radio stations or Tidal.
What it couldn’t do in the app was apply any other music streaming service such as Deezer or Spotify, nor could the app stream music from my DLNA-enabled NAS. Nor, for that matter, could it stream music wirelessly from the phone itself. To play that I has to use Bluetooth and some other music-player app. Hmmpphhh!
No matter, really, it just meant using my preferred apps. For DLNA and local music I used BubbleUPnP. For Spotify I used the Spotify app. Both apps found the speaker readily enough and happily fed music to it.