I can't believe that many of you out there would not have heard of Dynaudio. I would put money on the fact that most of you have mixed or worked on a pair of Dynaudio monitors at some time. As a company they have been at the forefront of professional studio monitor design and innovation since forever. In fact the first studio I ever worked in had a paid of Dynaudio BM5s on stands behind the console. Now Dynaudio have a new range of monitors - The LYD range.
Back in March 2016 I was lucky enough to be invited to the Dynaudio factory in Denmark to meet with the design team and tour their factory, then at Musikmesse 2016 in Frankfurt I had a chance to hear the LYD speaker for the first time. As many of your know, a trade show is not always the best place for critical listening so finally I have the full LYD range back in my studio for some listening tests.
The Dynaudio LYD Range.
There are 3 models in the LYD range of speakers. The baby of the range is the LYD-5 with a 5" woofer and a 2 x 50 watt Class D amplifiers. LYD-7 has a 7" low end driver again with 2 x 50 watt amplifiers. The daddy of the range is the LYD-8 which has an 8" driver with 50 watt HF and 80 watt LF amplifiers. All 3 models have the same hand-build soft dome tweeter which gives Dynaudio speakers their smooth top end response.
The back panel of each of the 3 speakers is identical. There is an input to the speaker via RCA Phono jack or 3 pin XLR. The main power input is via a 3 pin IEC or what we in the UK call a "kettle plug" and next to this is the on/off switch.
In the top right of the panel is a Standby Mode switch. This is very handy if you, like me do not turn your rig off at night. The amplifier section will simply power down when not in use. There is no power indicator LED on the front of the LYD speakers so unless you fancy reaching around the back of your speakers each day I would be tempted to just set the LYDs to Auto.
Next to the Standby Mode switch is a 3 way switch for Sensitivity. There is no volume control on the speakers but this switch gives you 3 volume settings. +6dB, 0dB and -6dB. For all my testing I had the speakers set to 0dB.
We then have 3 switches to control the speakers in built Digital Signal Processing. The first 3 way switch is for Bass Extension. This setting I'm calling the trade off setting. In -10 position you get the greatest amount of bass but the overall volume of the speaker is pulled back by -5dB, I have to admit it is in all cases still quite loud enough for me. In the +10 position you get the least amount of added bass but you get +5dB of added volume. I'm not one who likes to fiddle with these things so I opted for the middle setting of 0. Nothing added, and I hope nothing taken away.
The Sound Balance 3 way switch treats the upper end of the frequency spectrum. This is a tilt filter that allows you to tweak the sound of the speaker depending on the type of room you are listening in. A very acoustically treated room might need you to push the switch to its Bright position adding some top end. A less treated room with more reflections may require the Dark setting.
The final 2 way switch is for Position. If the speaker is positioned closer than 50cm to a rear wall Dynaudio say you should have this set to Wall as this will help sound anomalies created by reflections bouncing back to the lister from the wall behind. I have no idea how this works but these are rear ported speakers and my bridge is much closer than 50cm to the back wall so I switched this setting in.
The Listening Test.
I have 6 pieces of music that I use to test my band's PA before any gig. I know those pieces very, very well and each piece is used to test a different aspect of the sound of the room and the sound of the rig. I am going to use the same 6 pieces to test the LYD speakers.
- Don't Cry - It's Only The Rhythm from Slave To The Rhythm is my stereo image test.
- Battle Without Honour Or Humanity (The Kill Bill Theme) is to test changes in dynamics.
- My Love Is On Fire by Stevie Wonder is a great test for low end bass.
- You Can't Get What You Want by Joe Jackson is for testing the top end.
- Asereje (The Ketchup Song) by Las Ketchup is great or detail and hi transients.
- Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel is just about a close to a perfect mix as my ears can hear.
Testing & Results
Now it is only fair to say that what I'm about to say / type is only my opinion and for a full test of these speakers you should check them out at your local dealer. I tested all 3 speakers with all 6 pieces at low, working and a high volume level so I could get an idea of how the speakers perform.
The LYD-5 is the smallest of the range in size but to my ears these make a really good full range sound. The bass end is tight and focused as you would expect from a smaller LF driver but when you crank it up there is no sign of that nasty flabby bass sound that you can get when a driver is over exerted. If you are in a smaller space then the LYD-5 speakers would be perfect for you. The top end is smooth as we have come to expect from all Dynaudio's soft done tweeters but not overly-flattering so when mixing you should be able to get a very genuine sound from these small boxes. If you are looking for a perfect speaker for a 5.1 surround setup and can add an older BM9S to 5 LYD-5's and you are on to a winner.
LYD-7 & LYD-8
I have to admit at first I was confused about why Dynaudio would make a 7 and an 8 inch version for the LYD range but when you start to listen to both the LYD-7 and LYD-8 you can instantly work it out. The LYD-7 is a fantastic replacement for the BM6A MKII. It sits in that space where you want near field size but main monitor sound. The bigger 7 inch drive gives you more of that lovely controlled bottom end when compared to the LYD-5 but it does not push to hard. It is a very natural, real sounding speaker and to be honest these are my favourite for the range.
The LYD-8 is, I think designed to cater to a different musical market. I noticed instantly how the more EDM and Dance Music tracks sounded better on the 8 than the 7. The 8 inch driver and the uprated power amp for the LF driver just make this box speak a bit more to the lower end. The top end is still there but it almost like there is no need for a sub with the LYD8. For me as someone who is used to mixing with a sub the LYD-5 and LYD-7 could really do with it if you were working in a dance music genre.
As I have said before speaker reviews are a very difficult thing to do as it's my ears and my room. The best thing for you to do if you like what you see and like what you read is to go out and try a pair at your local dealer. However at this final stage lets deal with the elephant in the room. White speakers. Now in this case I really like them. These are a total departure for Dynaudio Pro who, up until now, have either made black or very dark grey speakers and I like them very much. For me the best looking unit is the LYD-7. It just looks like a Dynaudio monitor should look. The dimensions are "right". The LYD-7 was also my favourite sounding speaker of the 3. The LYD-8 would be great if you are an EDM, or Dance producer or even a DJ, which is I suspect where the idea for the LYD-8 came from. If space is your issue but you don't want to compromise of sound quality then you should be looking and listening to the LYD-5. In volume (SPL) alone they match the LYD-7 almost beat for beat. They are tight and I'm sure very easy to mix on. As with all the LYD speakers they are very easy to listen to and not fatiguing on the ears.
Well done Dynaudio for sticking to your guns when it comes to sound quality but for being brave when it comes to speaker choices and choice of colour. I like the LYD range and I'm sure you will too.