• Dynaudio Xeo 6 System Review



    The Dynaudio Xeo 6 system is often misrepresented as a pair of wireless loudspeakers. The reality is that the Xeo 6 is a system that takes the place of a DAC, audio cables, amplifiers, and loudspeakers. The only piece not included with the Xeo 6 is the source such as a music server or traditional computer. What's more, the Xeo 6 system includes all of these elements in a sleek design. The visual minimalist can even place a music server and the wireless transmitter in another room, so the only visible piece of the audio system is the Xeo 6 loudspeakers. In addition to flexibility, the Xeo 6 system offers true high end audio sound quality. There are so many things right with the design of this system that itís no wonder the sound quality is so impressive. From the full digital signal path to the loudspeakers to the active design with perfectly matched amplifiers for each of the three drivers in each speaker, the system technically hits many high notes. The Xeo 6 system simply makes sense on several levels and delivers the goods when it comes to sound quality.


    The Xeo 6 System

    The average consumer seeking to equal the performance of the Xeo 6 system with a traditional HiFi system would need a DAC > audio cables > amplifier(s) > speakers cables > loudspeakers. In addition to the extra pieces and cost of a traditional system, the userís placement options are limited because of cabling and aesthetics. Weíve all seen those advertisements for loudspeakers sitting alone in a room without any components and speaker cables. In the case of traditional loudspeakers the advertisements are misleading to say the least. Fortunately, with a wireless Dynaudio Xeo 6 system consumers can bring the ideal of a majestic advertising image to reality.

    Not only is the Xeo 6 system easy to place in any room because of its design, its design is much preferred by many people in the industry. The reason I say that is because Iíve talked to hundreds of people whoíve been in the high end audio industry for decades and many of them say the same thing. Active loudspeakers are inherently better than traditional passive speaker designs. All things being equal, an active design will outperform a passive design every time. Why isnít the industry full of active loudspeakers you may ask. The answer is simple, active loudspeakers donít sell nearly as well as traditional passive designs. Digging deeper into the reasons why they donít sell as well is a can of worms I will not open in this review. However, many more consumers are starting to see the benefits of active loudspeakers, especially when combined with wireless capabilities. Back to the preference for active loudspeakers. Traditional amplifiers and loudspeakers are designed to be somewhat universal in that they will work with almost any connected component. But, the price one pays for universality is that the loudspeaker or the amplifier canít perform to its maximum ability. On the other hand, active systems like the Dynaudio Xeo 6, are created as a matched set. Each driver unit in the Xeo 6, two woofers and one tweeter, is paired with its own custom amplifier designed specifically to power the driver (each loudspeaker contains three 50 watt amplifiers). In addition to this perfect match, the active design bypasses all the inherent problems of a passive crossover. Talk to many loudspeaker designers and they will tell you that passive crossovers are the bane of their existence.

    In addition to the smart active design of the Xeo 6 loudspeakers, the system includes excellent DSP fine tuning to maximize room placement options. Each loudspeaker features a switch on the back for Neutral, Wall, or Corner placement. I tested all configurations during this review period and really liked the sonic improvement the DSP fine tuning made. I even setup a stereo pair of Xeo 6 loudspeakers with the left channel against a wall and the right channel in a corner. I figured this is a real world scenario for many people. I flipped the switch on each loudspeaker to the appropriate position, Wall for the left channel and Corner for the right channel, and was very happy with the sound quality. Switching back and forth between the Neutral position and the custom Corner / Wall positions, without moving the loudspeakers, only amplified my love of the improvement the Xeo 6 DSP made. If youíve ever listened to a system with and without room correction youíll know exactly what Iím talking about. The differences are not subtle and once youíve heard them you canít go back and live without them.

    Sending music from nearly any source to the Xeo 6 system is very easy with the Xeo Hub. The Hub features optical (TosLink), coaxial (RCA), and USB (mini-B) digital inputs. When using the USB input the Hub can be powered over the USB cable. The digital inputs support audio playback up through 24 bit / 96 kHz. A nice feature of the Xeo 6 system is that one can play music at higher sampling rates and the system will simply down-sample the audio. For example, I played Supertampís Crime of the Century album at 24/192 through the Xeo 6 system just fine. Sure the quality of the down-sampling is likely not as good as if the albums played at its native sample rate, but at least I was able to play all y music without thinking about the sample rate. I much prefer this as opposed to a system that simply wouldnít play music unless it was under a certain sample rate much as 24/96. In addition to digital, the Hub features two analog inputs. One for traditional RCA inputs and the other mini jack for devices like phones and tablets. Dynaudio advertises a maximum distance of 20 meters for the wireless signal from the Hub. I was able to send the signal from the Hub to the loudspeakers in different rooms and on different floors of my house without an issue. Users with many wireless devices will be happy to lean the Xeo system supports three different GHz frequencies, 2.4, 5.2, and 5.8. This enables the user to move the Xeo 6 system to a less used frequency if necessary. Users should also know that the Xeo 6 system doesnít connect to oneís personal wireless network. The system automatically sets up its own point-to-point wireless network. Thus, thereís no need to worry about the frequencies supported by your current router or wireless access point and no need for the SSID and password.

    Some readers may have noticed that this system is the second generation of Xeo from Dynaudio. This second gen product has some very nice upgrades not found on the original product. For example, the AutoPlay function that automatically detects a source and activates it, the speaker position EQ settings, a really handy interface display on top of each speaker that enables the user to power On/Off the speaker, control volume or select source, multi-band wifi, coaxial digital input, improved remote control, and magnetically attached speaker grills are all improvements from the first gen product. According to Dynaudio's Mike Manousselis, "we are a few weeks away from having the forthcoming Dynaudio Connect transmitter, price TBA, which will be an upgraded version of the Hub that will also stream Bluetooth (A2DP, apt-x and AAC compatibility) to the Connect, will also feature Spotify Connect and DLNA, and will also facilitate control of the Xeo system via the Dynaudio control App." Not only is the section generation of the Xeo much better than the first, it looks like the Xeo series will improve even further wit the Connect transmitter.

    The price for the Xeo 6 system is $3,999 ($3,700 for the pair of speakers and $299 for the Xeo Hub). If readers are looking for a little less expensive approach or simply a smaller loudspeaker, with all the aforementioned benefits and functionality, the two-way Xeo 4 system retails for $2,399 including Xeo hub.



    Using Xeo

    I setup the Xeo 6 system several ways during this review period. The sources I used were a Windows computer running JRiver Media Center, a Macbook Pro running Roon (video), and an Aurender N100H music server (review). Each of these sources has pros and cons, but none of the cons are associated with the Xeo 6 system. The Xeo 6 is nearly agnostic as to what source itís connected. I used the Hubís driverless USB input for all my listening. Whether I connected the Hub to Windows, OS X, or Linux it just worked without any installation. The source I used most frequently with the Xeo 6 system was the Aurender N100H. I placed the N100H, connected to the Hub via USB, in a utility room about twenty feet from my listening room where the loudspeakers were located. The flexibility of the Xeo 6, being wirelessly connected, enables placement of the source component (Aurender & Xeo Hub) out of sight and out of mind.

    Peter, Paul & Mary - All My Trials - Sounded fantastic. The harmonies sounded super seductive and sucked me right into the music. More than anything, this track pushes a system to reproduce vocals and midrange. Itís not bombastic and doesnít contain highs that only a bat and dog can hear. This track has a feeling of real life and the frequencies that were not only encounter most but to which we are most sensitive. The Xeo 6 system reproduces this one wonderfully.

    Fiona Apple - Limp - I like this track not only because itís a great tune, but it also features several elements I like to listen for when evaluating audio components. Fionaís opening vocals have a wonderful gloss to them when played through the Xeo 6 system, and when played through my $100,000+ reference system for that matter. No the systems arenít in the same sonic league, but that doesnít mean both systems canít produce wonderful sound. The percussion solo that begins at 2:05 into this track reveals both strengths and weaknesses of the Xeo 6 system. Reproduction of the midrange and high frequency bells and cymbals is crystal clear with a nice realism. However, the lowest bass frequencies in this track come across a touch boomy. That said, the Xeo 6 system isnít shy on bass and for the most part itís nice and tight.

    Moving to a little hip-hop and much more bass, I selected Jay Zís Holy Grail featuring Justin Timberlake. This track has a great beat with deep bass juxtaposed to the opening piano and high pitched vocals of Timberlake. When the bass kicks in the Xeo 6 system performs wonderfully. I expected to hear more boomy bass, but do to the tackís inherently boomy beat it sounded very right. I enjoyed every minute of this track, bass and all.

    On Shelby Lynneís Just A Little Loviní title track I was surprised at how well the Xeo 6 system reproduced the air around the percussion instruments and delivered a sense of space while the sounds trailed off after the initial strike. On the other hand, the touch of boomy bass heard earlier was back in a bigger way with the opening bassline of the track. Fortunately this boom was, for the most part, only present during the opening 45 seconds or so of the track. Overall the sound of the track through the Xeo system was really nice.

    Joni Mitchell - California - Maybe because I just returned from a trip to California I have this track on my mind, but nonetheless itís a wonderful song. To me this track is all about the vocal. The other instruments sound funny to me on any system. Through the Xeo 6 system Joniís vocals sound really nice and perhaps a bit more forward than Iím used to hearing through my TAD CR1 loudspeakers. Switching to Joniís track Woodstock, written by her even though she never made it to the festival. On this track Joniís opening with a tremoloed Wurlitzer electric piano just has this authentic sound to it through the Xeo 6 system. In addition to Joniís main vocal, her multi-tracked backing vocals are terrific and remind me of the incredible backing vocal by the ďgirlsĒ in Lou Reedís Wild Side. The Xeo 6 system does a great job of reproducing these Joni Mitchell tracks.


    Conclusion

    The Xeo 6 is another true high end wireless audio system from Dynaudioís much loved Xeo product line. Whether replacing a traditional HiFi system or starting anew, the Xeo 6 is a system that canít be brushed aside. The combination of form and function serve the end user very well. Functionally this system can be placed almost anywhere and sound very good given its DSP options. This flexibility in placement is due to form / design. The inherent advantages of an active loudspeaker system improve sound quality but also enable all-in-one designs housing a DAC and amplifiers inside the loudspeaker chassis. Connecting the Xeo Hub to the source of your choice, in my case an Aurender N100H, and placing the loudspeakers in any reasonable position is all thatís required to get rocking in oneís home. Great sound quality, no cables, no separate digital to analog converter, no separate amplifier(s), and no digital source component within view is enough for me to suggest you ďadd to cartĒ given the opportunity.








    Product Information:
    • Product - Dynaudio Xeo 6
    • Price - $3,999
    • Product Page - Link
    • User Manual - Link (PDF)






    Where To Buy:

    Addicted To Audio (Australia)










    Associated Music:






    Comments 28 Comments
    1. PorkChop's Avatar
      PorkChop -
      We need a variation of the phrase "active speakers" to distinguish between run-of-the-mill amplified speakers and this new generation of amplification plus DAC/DSP speakers. "Fully" active?
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by PorkChop View Post
      We need a variation of the phrase "active speakers" to distinguish between run-of-the-mill amplified speakers and this new generation of amplification plus DAC/DSP speakers. "Fully" active?
      Integrated audio system would be a pretty accurate term.
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      A couple of comments. First...
      the user’s placement options are limited because of cabling and aesthetics. We’ve all seen those advertisements for loudspeakers sitting alone in a room without any components and speaker cables. In the case of traditional loudspeakers the advertisements are misleading to say the least.
      Well just as misleading as showing the Dynaudio Xeo in similar situation as these require power cables which can be just as inconvenient in many people's living rooms.

      Second you say...
      The digital inputs support audio playback up through 24 bit / 96 kHz. A nice feature of the Xeo 6 system is that one can play music at higher sampling rates and the system will simply down-sample the audio. For example, I played Supertamp’s Crime of the Century album at 24/192 through the Xeo 6 system just fine. Sure the quality of the down-sampling is likely not as good as if the albums played at its native sample rate
      I don't follow... Surely the inputs are limited 24/96 and the computer is doing the resampling - this is nothing to do with the Xeo speakers per se.

      Finally if you are able to give any feedback to Dynaudio - can you suggest that a "local" input would be useful additional function for systems where the speakers are positioned with a monitor. I know a couple of people who would find that useful and I'm sure there would be more.
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      The problem I have with this system is instead of using WISA, would it not make more sense to use a pcm 24/384/DSD 256 capable renderer instead? You can still wirelessly control it. WISA may be cool but not sure what the real world benefits are for high end audio until it can handle higher sample rates.
    1. dallasjustice's Avatar
      dallasjustice -
      Ii think this is your second review of active loudspeakers. That's two more than any other significant reviewer. Thanks for staying true to your namesake, "computer audiophile."

      Sometimes I wonder whether most audiophiles will ever humble themselves enough to listen to a real active loudspeaker. Of course you are correct, true active designs have major inherent advantages. Thanks for mentioning a few of them. Other major advatages include: much lower driver distortion, much more linear driver performance, and much greater overall time coherence. These advatages arent in the pee-wee leagues. Eg. DSD512 vs hi-rez PCM. These are big league advances to musical enjoyment.

      I bet these speakers sound great. I also expect there will be more and more top shelf active speakers offered in the near future. They will change a lot of minds.
    1. AvilleAudio's Avatar
      AvilleAudio -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Ii think this is your second review of active loudspeakers. That's two more than any other significant reviewer. Thanks for staying true to your namesake, "computer audiophile."
      WRONG! It's the 3rd. 1st: Neo 3, 2nd: Linn Exact. Check your facts, man. ;-)

      Signed, Your friendly neighborhood troll.


      And Chris: Thanks for the review. I'm intrigued--someday I'll audition a "fully" active loudspeaker system. Enjoyed running into you at AXPONA.
    1. AvilleAudio's Avatar
      AvilleAudio -
      Quote Originally Posted by PorkChop View Post
      We need a variation of the phrase "active speakers" to distinguish between run-of-the-mill amplified speakers and this new generation of amplification plus DAC/DSP speakers. "Fully" active?
      I think you're right.
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Ii think this is your second review of active loudspeakers. That's two more than any other significant reviewer. Thanks for staying true to your namesake, "computer audiophile."

      Sometimes I wonder whether most audiophiles will ever humble themselves enough to listen to a real active loudspeaker. Of course you are correct, true active designs have major inherent advantages. Thanks for mentioning a few of them. Other major advatages include: much lower driver distortion, much more linear driver performance, and much greater overall time coherence. These advatages arent in the pee-wee leagues. Eg. DSD512 vs hi-rez PCM. These are big league advances to musical enjoyment.

      I bet these speakers sound great. I also expect there will be more and more top shelf active speakers offered in the near future. They will change a lot of minds.
      Slowly everyone will catch on. With state of the art digital/class d amplification combined with SMPS, it's the only logical way to do things moving forward.

      Unless of course your passionate about wasting money on multiple boxes connected together with overpriced, sound degrading and unsightly cables. Followed by degrading the sound further with the passive crossover network.
    1. dallasjustice's Avatar
      dallasjustice -
      Quote Originally Posted by PorkChop View Post
      We need a variation of the phrase "active speakers" to distinguish between run-of-the-mill amplified speakers and this new generation of amplification plus DAC/DSP speakers. "Fully" active?
      Powered speaker is a speaker with built-in amps and passives XOs.

      Active speaker is a speaker with or without built-in amps but always employs crossovers in digital domain before DAC/amp instead of analog/capacitor crossovers.
    1. dallasjustice's Avatar
      dallasjustice -
      Quote Originally Posted by AvilleAudio View Post
      WRONG! It's the 3rd. 1st: Neo 3, 2nd: Linn Exact. Check your facts, man. ;-)

      Signed, Your friendly neighborhood troll.
      I'm happily corrected. I can appreciate an excellent troll. Few can out-troll me when it comes to DSP. :-)
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Powered speaker is a speaker with built-in amps and passives XOs.

      Active speaker is a speaker with or without built-in amps but always employs crossovers in digital domain before DAC/amp instead of analog/capacitor crossovers.
      There is such thing as active speakers with analog active crossovers as well. However DSP based active crossovers can be very good with the proper implementation.

      For example ATC still uses analog active crossovers in their highly regarded legendary active loudspeakers.

      The amps don't have to be built in, they just need to be directly coupled to the drivers without passive components in the signal chain.
    1. dallasjustice's Avatar
      dallasjustice -
      Yes. I know about ATC. They make powered speakers. They don't make active speakers. I think it's a pretty sensible distinction and using the correct terminology helps on fora since folks often get active and powered confused.
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Yes. I know about ATC. They make powered speakers. They don't make active speakers. I think it's a pretty sensible distinction and using the correct terminology helps on fora since folks often get active and powered confused.
      Actually they are active since they are amplified and also use active crossovers.

      There's 2 types of active crossovers. They both go before the amp not after. Analog and digital (DSP)



      Powered would be amplified with passive crossovers.

      However ATC also makes passive speakers. I've built a few using their phenomenal drivers.
    1. Old Listener's Avatar
      Old Listener -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Yes. I know about ATC. They make powered speakers. They don't make active speakers. I think it's a pretty sensible distinction and using the correct terminology helps on fora since folks often get active and powered confused.
      There are plenty of people who argue that an active speaker has a crossover before the amps (analog or digital crossover) and one amp channel per driver and that or digital while a powered speaker may not have a crossover before the amp and may have a single amp channel driving a crossover and multiple drivers.

      I bought my Waveform speakers in 1998 and analog based active crossovers were far from new then.

      Active speakers with analog crossovers existed well before anybody was selling products with DSP based crossovers. And those speakers were called active speakers.
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Old Listener View Post
      There are plenty of people who argue that an active speaker has a crossover before the amps (analog or digital crossover) and one amp channel per driver and that or digital while a powered speaker may not have a crossover before the amp and may have a single amp channel driving a crossover and multiple drivers.

      I bought my Waveform speakers in 1998 and analog based active crossovers were far from new then.

      Active speakers with analog crossovers existed well before anybody was selling products with DSP based crossovers. And those speakers were called active speakers.
      Exactly. When I started building speakers in 1995 I think the only guys building DSP based active speakers were Meridian with their D600. The first version of that was in 1989.
    1. Blizzard's Avatar
      Blizzard -
      I found this article from 1989 on the Meridian D600. The speaker that started it all for active DSP:


      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1...1-inch-tweeter
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
      Yes. I know about ATC. They make powered speakers. They don't make active speakers. I think it's a pretty sensible distinction and using the correct terminology helps on fora since folks often get active and powered confused.
      And (as others have commented) it appears you also get active and powered confused!

      Powered speakers are any speakers which include an amplifier built in. They may or may not be also active speakers. An example of powered (but not active) speakers would be Audioengine's offerings and most desktop computer speakers. Some firms may use the term "semi-active" for this kind of speaker.

      Active speakers are any speaker which use an "active" crossover rather than the more typical passive crossover - that crossover can work on either analogue or digital signals. An active speaker may or may not have the amplifiers built into the speaker cabinet. Active speaker systems have been in use within the professional arena for much longer than in HiFi and (as also commented) predate DSP by decades. The term Active is probably the most well defined term and definitely includes those with analogue crossovers (before the amplifier).

      DSP speakers are active speakers which utilise digital processing in the active crossover.

      Just to add to the confusion, there are a few speakers with digital inputs which are then converted to analogue using a basic DAC before passing through an analogue active crossover.

      Eloise
    1. Jem666's Avatar
      Jem666 -
      Excellent review and I agree with your findings. I have a Xeo Hub USB connected to my Weiss MAN301. It streams to a pair of Xeo 6 speakers in the guest room and to a Xeo Link connected to a Sugden Headphone amp at my desk. It works perfectly, although Dynaudio is a little optimistic regarding the range of the Hub. Anyway, a Xeo Extender is available. Expensive, but build quality is impeccable and it allowed me to let the MAN pull triple duty. So in the end I saved a lot of money. The DAC in the Link is decent, but one can always connect an external DAC to the digital out as an upgrade...something I'm planning to do at a later stage.
    1. Cloth_Ears's Avatar
      Cloth_Ears -
      Excellent review of a very interesting bit of kit. As theowner of a pair of Xeo 6s Iím somewhat prejudiced but they are amazing, and allthings considered really good value for money too. A couple of points Ė these speakersreally benefit from being ďrun inĒ. They were impressive out of the box, butafter a few weeks use really opened up. Iím intrigued by the new Connect Hub with itsupdated feature set and plan to upgrade as soon as itís available. For a relativelymodest piece of kit at a lowíish price the hub does some excellent work.
    1. Cloth_Ears's Avatar
      Cloth_Ears -
      My apologies for the lack of spaces in parts of the above post - I don't know what happened there.

      Is there any chance of Dynaudio (if you're reading this) posting further details of the Connect Hub? Rumours of something along this line seem to have been circulating for several months, but there is almost nothing published as far as my searches have shown. Thanks.