This review began over a year ago when I was let in on a little secret from Dynaudio. The company was working on its new series of all-in-one loudspeakers called Music. Kind of a generic name for sure, but it's representative of what this series of products is all about. More about that later.
I was excited to hear about the products in development and looked forward to getting them in for review. This category of products is one of my favorites in all of HiFi because it enables audiophiles to share great sound and great music with people who will never venture down into a listening room dungeon and it enables people without much disposable income to get into high quality playback.
About one year ago I traveled to Dynaudio headquarters in Skanderborg Denmark to see how Dynaudio products are designed and manufactured and to get my eyes and ears on the Music series in person for the first time. I was very impressed by Dynaudio, and Denmark, to say the least. State of the art engineering facilities combined with the capability to manufacture every single piece of its loudspeakers should impress any HiFi aficionado.
When I left Skanderborg I made sure Dynaudio knew I wanted every piece in the Music series, the Music 1, Music 3, Music 5 and Music 7. It's really the only way to write a comprehensive review and to find a product that may enhance the lives of my friends, family, and this audiophile community. This category of speakers is all about enjoying one's favorite music in any area of a residence with anyone interested in listening. It's all about ease of use and setup simplicity. It's all about spending less and getting more.
The Dynaudio Music series features four models of all-in-one loudspeakers, each with different driver compliments and varying power and input options. All speakers in the series feature speaker grills with fabric designed and produced by the 168 year old Danish textile house Gabriel. The grills are available in four colors, light grey, dark grey, blue, and red and look even better in person. For this review I received blue, light grey, and dark grey colored speakers. The grills on the Music 1 and Music 3 aren't easily removable, but the grills on the Music 5 and Music 7 are easily removed.
All speakers in the series support up through 24 bit / 96 kHz audio and can be controlled by the Dynaudio Music iOS and Android applications.
Hardware and Sound Quality
Loudspeakers need to move air, among other things, and moving air requires driver surface area. The Music 1 has much less driver surface area than the Music 7 and its sound reproduction capabilities don't equal that of the larger unit. In addition to driver surface area, the mass of a speaker enclosure can be critical to sound quality. The Music 1 weighs 3.5 lbs and the Music 7 weighs 17 lbs. Based on these and other facts, the sound quality of the products should increase with each numeric model number increase from Music 1 to Music 3 to Music 5 to Music 7.
Given my extensive experience with the entire Dynaudio Music series I can say without question that the laws of physics line up with sound quality 100% of the time with these products.
Let's start with the best sounding speaker, the Music 7. The Music 7 features more of everything with respect to hardware. Its 32 inch wide, 17 lbs, ported enclosure contains six drivers (2 x 1 inch silk dome tweeters, 2 x 3 inch midrange, 2 x 5 inch woofers). Each driver is powered by its own 50 watt amplifier. The specified frequency response of the Music 7 is 40 Hz to 20 kHz.
The Music 7 is powered by a standard wall outlet with the power supply built into the speaker (no ugly power brick to hide), and comes with an infrared remote control.
The Music 7 has an HDMI input, optical Toslink input, USB power port and iOS mobile device audio input, and 3.5mm auxiliary analog input (Note: USB input will play music from a USB stick). The HDMI input is only available on the Music 7 and it supports via the HDMI Audio Return channel (ARC). ARC must be output from a television to the Music 7 for the speaker to play audio over HDMI. I tested a 3rd generation Chromecast connected directly to the Music 7's HDMI port but was unable to get it to play any audio. I also looked for a switch that separates the HDMI video from the ARC, but was unable to find such a device.
Using the Chromecast via HDMI rather than the Chromecast Audio is beneficial because it would enable the user to control the Music 7's volume with whatever casting app was being used. For example, if I casted music from the Qobuz iOS app to the Chromecast connected via HDMI, I would theoretically be able to use the Qobuz app to adjust volume on the Music 7. When I connected a Chromecast Audio to the optical input of the music 7, no volume commands were passed through this connection to the unit, so I had to use either the Music app or the physical buttons to control volume.
Anyway, the Music 7 should make a great soundbar when connected to televisions with an HDMI ARC output.
One additional note, when using the Chromecast Audio device or an iOS device it's possible to power it / charge it via the Music 7's USB port.
With respect to sound quality the Music 7 is not only the best in the Dynaudio Music series, it's as good or better than all other speakers in this HiFi category. I like to say I've heard them all, but of course there are some speakers I haven't heard just yet. Again, I love the all-in-one category and try to use and listen to every product on the market.
As an example of how good the Music 7 sounds, it's the first all-in-one loudspeaker I've heard reproduce Roger Waters' Perfect Sense correctly and with stellar sound quality. What I mean by "correctly" is that because the Amused to Death album was mixed in QSound, the audio reproduction system must be phase coherent, aligned correctly and, it goes without saying, in stereo not mono. Many all-in-one speakers are mono or some hybrid of mono/stereo. It's common to have stereo tweeters and a single mono bass driver or even multiple bass drivers configured in mono. On this track, on a good system, it's possible to hear breathing way to the left of the speakers and a piano way to the right of the speakers. The Music 7 reproduced this very well.
The Music 7 plays stereo music wonderfully. Not only was this Roger Waters track great, but so was almost everything to which I listened. Eddie Vedder's track Society from the Into the Wild soundtrack was rich and authentic sounding. His vocals had their usual baritone depth while his guitar sounded much more like a real guitar than a guitar emanating from a smallish box on my desk.
I put the Music 7 to the test by playing some Beyonce and Portishead. Both artists that are in the rotation in all areas of my house, not just my listening room. On Beyonce's Formation from her Lemonade album, at 30 second into the track the bass starts increasing for about 5 seconds until the main bass-heavy beat kicks in. The Music 7 reproduces this track very well and would likely impress my wife and daughter who frequently crank this track. Moving to Portishead's Dummy album and the track it Could Be Sweet shows where the Music 7 runs into problems. The opening beat is very bass-heavy and causes the Music 7's rear port to vibrate quite a bit when played at high volumes. Fortunately it's only the start of the track that vibrates most. When the bass is bright down in the mix and Beth Gibbons' vocals are brought up the vibration pretty much disappears.
Playing my usual Jazz suspects of Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins I heard nothing but great music that sounded excellent. By no means is the Music 7 a reference grade neutral source like a complete HiFi separates system, but because of this I enjoyed music when I may not have. What I mean by this is similar to listening to music in one's car. I often hear songs in the car on Jazz 88 in Minneapolis and use Shazam to identify them. They sound surprisingly good in the car. However, when I get home and put them on my main system they sound like a completely different song. Often, not even an enjoyable reproduction of the song I heard in the car. Listening through the Music 7 I had no such let-down experiences.
For example, on the album Blue Note Plays Billie Holiday, Dexter Gordon plays the track You've Changed. I Shazam'd this track earlier this morning in the car because it sounded wonderful and the music is good. When I arrived home I played this track through the Music 7 and was thrilled with what I heard. Probably not a neutral presentation given that all-in-one speakers fight many design challenges, but again the sound was spectacular as was the music. Isn't this what it's all about?
The Music 5 is slightly different from the Music 7 in many ways including inputs, size, drivers, and sound quality. Dynaudio removed the HDMI (ARC) input for the Music 5, reduced the driver compliment by a single 5 inch woofer, and reduced the width of the enclosure by 6 inches (down to 26"). This reduction in drivers, width, and weight (Music 5 is 5 lbs lighter) also reduces the quality of the music reproduction.
The Music 5 still sounds better than most other all-in-one speakers available, but it isn't the equal of the Music 7. The Music 5 is the unit that I introduced to my family in the dining room. I wanted to put the Music 7 in that room, but the width of the Music flagship was a bit too much for this location. The Music 5 fit the space perfectly, although my wife commented that it looked a bit bigger than the Klipsch Three speaker it replaced.
If I had to guess, I'd say the Music 5 would've been equally as enthralling as the Music 7 had I not listened to the Music 7 first. In other words, you don't know what you don't know.
The main sonic difference I heard between the Music 5 and Music 7 wasn't what I expected. I expected a little less bass but what I heard was a more congestion in the lower midrange. I have no idea if the speaker has been adjusted to make up for having one less woofer compared to the Music 7 and that's responsible for the touch of congestion. This was evident in Eddie Vedder's vocals at I'm guessing around 400 Hz.
Bass was still very good through the Music 5 even though it has half the woofer surface area and goes down to 45 Hz instead of the Music 7's 40 Hz. Listening to Portishead the rear port vibrated much the same as the Music 7 and the speaker output what I'd describe to my friends as "tons of bass."
Surprisingly the Music 5 also reproduced Roger Waters' Sound album in all its glory. The mono woofer likely reduced the overall effect on soundstage, but the stereo tweeters and midrange drivers handled the tracks nicely. Breathing to the left of the left channel and piano to the right of the right channel, just like it should be on Perfect Sense.
Much the same as the Music 7, the Music 5 made all my Shazam'd music identified in my car sound excellent. I put Dexter Gordon on repeat, then moved to the rest of the greats on the Blue Note Plays Billie Holiday album. All of it was lush sounding and enjoyable to have on in my office for several hours. That's the type of speaker the Music 5 is, one that's enjoyable all day.
The Music 3 is housed in a sealed enclosure as opposed to the Music 5 and Music 7's ported enclosures. The Music 3 is also powered by either a standard wall outlet or an internal battery with around 8 hours of playing time. The battery power results in a unit that is completely wireless / portable whereas the the 5 and 7 require a power connection at all times. The Music 3 also features a nice handle-like top plate to carry it around or move it from place to place. This isn't present on the Music 5 or Music 7.
The Music 3 doesn't have HDMI or Toslink optical digital inputs. Its main input is like all Music speakers via WiFi and the only other inputs are an auxiliary analog input and USB input. The Music 3 still retains the USB power feature and iOS mobile device and USB stick playback via this same port.
Given that the Music 3 is half has wide as the Music 7 (16 inches) and less than half as heavy (8 lbs), it's no surprise the sound quality changes quite a bit from that of the flagship speaker. Fortunately, Dynaudio has tuned the Music 3 to sound really good even with its smallish size.
The Music 3 has a single 5 inch woofer like the Music 5 and two 1 inch tweeters also like the Music 5 and 7. The Music 3 lacks any dedicated "midrange" drivers.
Listening to the Into the Wild soundtrack, Eddie Vedder's vocals sounded much smoother than though either the Music 5 or Music 7. Perhaps some additional DSP is helping where the Music 3's size and lack of drivers are a hindrance. I prefer the Music 5 and 7's reproduction over the smoothed vocals but the overall presentation is pleasant and one that most non-audiophiles wouldn't notice.
Bass response through the Music 3 certainly different from the Music 5 and Music 7 because of its size and the sealed enclosure. The Music 3 is rated down to 47 Hz, but its bass output is much less than its bigger siblings. One advantage of the sealed enclosure is the more controlled sounding bass even if it isn't as loud. One could even consider the Music 3 less boomy and perhaps more audiophile with respect to bass.
The more I listened to the Music 3 the more I liked its smooth presentation. I think the Music 3 could be the overachiever of the series and a hidden gem if one isn't stuck on the absolute best or most accurate performance. In fact, the Music 3 reminds me a little bit of adding a tube preamp to my main stereo.
The Music 1 is a little marvel in its own right and is a scaled down version of the Music 3 that's proportional to the size reduction. Whereas the Music 5 has a bit more midrange congestion than the Music 7, the Music 1 doesn't suffer the same fate compared to the Music 3. The big difference is a smaller soundstage with reduced bass. On some tracks, I heard a touch of reduced resolution and clarity, but this is likely from me overdriving the unit in a larger room.
The Music 1 remains just as portable as the Music 3 with its 8 hour battery and little handle-like bar at the top of the unit. Weighing only 3.5 lbs with a width of only 9 inches, it's easy to move and place the Music 1 in almost any location. Given its small footprint and smaller sonic output capability, a smaller room / setting is most appropriate for the Music 1.
The single 1 inch tweeter and single 4 inch woofer are as limited as one would think, but Dynaudio has managed to squeeze out all the sound quality possible from such a small driver compliment. Listening to Beyonce's Formation I can hear the bass but it isn't possible to feel the lower frequencies. Earlier in the day I shot a video of the Music 7 playing The undertaker from Prince. My iPhone vibrated with the beat because so much air was being moved by the dual 5 inch woofers in the Music 7. The single 4 inch woofer of the Music 1 just can't move that much air.
Through the Music app it's possible to configure a set of Music speakers into a stereo pair. I'm willing to bet a couple Music 1 speakers would sound even better as a left and right stereo pair than a solitary unit.
My daughter listens to podcasts and sleep stories through an app called Calm. I think the Music 1 would be a great speaker for this purpose, even if it's capable of so much more. As an audiophile, I'd prefer to put one of the other Music units in her room if she wants to play music, but I'm sure she'd be just fine with a Music 1 for music, podcasts, and sleep stories.
Which Hardware Should You Get?
My recommendation is to get the biggest Music speaker you can afford and fit in your desired location. Physics is physics. There's no getting around the fact that larger drivers and enclosures help with sound reproduction. If true wireless portability is required, then I recommend the Music 3 because it's the largest Music speaker with a battery. If portability isn't required, I recommend the Music 7 because it sounds better than everything else.
If you need more inputs I still recommend getting the largest speaker because it has more input options than the smaller speaker, noting that the Music 1 and Music 3 have identical inputs.
If your needs are more nuanced, then skip this short recommendation section and read the fine details. You'll need it.
Software and Usability
The Dynaudio Music hardware is not only very capable, it's excellent. The other and equally important pieces of this music playback equation are software and usability. A system must have both hardware and software that meet the user's expectations. The Dynaudio Music app for iOS and Android is very simple to use from the moment one opens the app to setup a speaker. Dynaudio borrowed a few user interface tips from other non-audio type apps and made the user experience very good. For example, adding a loudspeaker looks similar to sending a message, with feedback and user prompts.
I saved some of the common technical aspects of the Music series and music playback information for this section because I believe it fits more with software than hardware. The Music series supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz + 5.0GHz), Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA/UPnP, AirPlay (AirPlay 2 ready), and Roon via AirPlay. Most users will likely stick with the Dynaudio app and call it a day, but the options are available for a more full-featured experience through a DLNA app or Roon.
The Dynaudio Music app is one of the most unique apps I've yet used in that it has excellent usability but also omits common items like a playback queue and playlist curation. I talked to Dynaudio about the app to understand what the company was going for with its design and came away from these conversations satisfied that simplicity, music focused, and instant one-touch access were the most important design aspects.
Dynaudio really hit a home run with its Music Now personal mix feature. This is like Pandora in that it plays music one likes without one having to manually select that music. Or as some of my friends say, they don't know what they want to listen to but they'll know it when they hear it. This feature is perfect for those who won't or can't manually select music. The algorithm is based on one's app profile that enables the user to select genres and artists from which the Music Now feature curates a unique experience. Based on my usage of this feature, I believe it's one of the best at selecting music I want to hear.
For the most part I used the Dynaudio Music app during this review period. There isn't much to learn, but at the same time this may be an issue for people who like to have the ultimate control over music playback. Those who can give up a little bit in the control department will be happy to use this app and just listen to music.
When not using the Dynaudio Music app I tested other apps including Roon to interface with the entire Music series. Roon connects to this series via AirPlay because the speakers aren't Roon Ready. Using Roon is the way to go for those who are used to all the information and capabilities of a full featured application. Sure, AirPlay via Roon only supports standard resolution audio, but using Roon is great because it automatically resamples any high resolution audio for playback on any of the Music speakers. In addition, the Roon volume control adjust the volume on the actual Music speaker, not the volume within the Roon app. This is a huge deal for sound quality and simplicity. The last thing you want to do is have dueling volume controls as it hurts sound quality and will ultimately frustrate all but the most savvy of users.
I tested grouping the Dynaudio Music speakers in two different ways, with two different results. First I used the Dynaudio Music app to create a group of two speakers. Then using the Dynaudio Music app I played music and noticed it was synchronized perfectly. I had a Music 5 and Music 7 sitting right next to each other and couldn't hear any anomaly. I used Roon to select this playback group of speakers (still using the group create in the Dynaudio Music app) and was successful sending music this way as well. After deleting the group via the Dynaudio Music application, I created a group of the same two speakers from within Roon. This was disappointing because I couldn't get Roon to send audio to both of the speakers simultaneously. For whatever reason, it just didn't work. Perhaps additional time messing with the configuration could have resolved the issue, but it's really a non-issue because the Dynaudio Music app already handles this setup perfectly.
Two user selectable features within the Dynaudio app are NoiseAdapt and RoomAdapt. This is how Dynaudio describes NoiseAdapt.
"Sudden party? Music will adjust its volume and tonal balance intelligently so all the important details in your songs shine through. Sudden silence? It can handle that too – and you don’t have to touch a remote control or fiddle with a single button ... NoiseAdapt isn’t simply a ‘loudness’ control. It optimizes volume and tone simultaneously, and on the fly, by sensing the room and calculating as it goes."
I wasn't able to fully test NoiseAdapt but I extensively tested RoomAdapt. According to Dynaudio, "It doesn’t matter if the speaker is in a corner, up against a rear wall or in free space: its built-in RoomAdapt technology senses where it’s been placed and continually optimizes the speaker’s tonal characteristics to deliver the best performance possible. You’ll hear it most in the clean, accurate bass and midrange ... And it isn’t simply a bass-cut filter. The technology optimizes volume and tone simultaneously, and on the fly, by sensing the room and calculating as it goes."
I can attest to the sophistication and usefulness of RoomAdapt. I placed the Music 5 in several locations within my house and heard very similar performance in each location. Any audiophile knows that the room is the biggest instrument and alters audio performance more than any component could ever hope to accomplish. The beauty of RoomAdapt and NoiseAdapt is these settings are a simple On/Off click and they can be changed while the music is playing without skipping a beat. This makes A/B comparisons incredibly easy. The only thing the user has to do is make a decision which mode sounds best and select it within the app one time (set it and forget it).
In conjunction with the Dynaudio Music app, each Music speaker has instant playback with Music Now buttons. I've wished for this type of feature for many years and was very happy to see Dynaudio implement it so well. My daughter likes our local public radio classical station, but she doesn't have an iOS or Android device. So, I configured preset button 1 on the Music 5 to automatically play MPR Classical 99.5. When she presses button 1, music starts instantly. This is really a beautiful thing and even enables me to keep my iPhone on the shelf once in a while.
I created a video of the Dynaudio Music app for iOS in action. Here's a quick run-through of adding a speaker, additional features, pros, and some cons.
Dynaudio has designed and manufactured every component of loudspeakers for decades and now brings this experience to more people and more places through its Music series. Four speakers in all, featuring different sizes and capabilities. The one constant throughout is Dynaudio sound quality. In my extensive testing of the entire series from Music 1 through Music 7 I found the larger speakers perform better. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce this, but some companies have been known to make larger boxes and charge more money for the same thing available in a more compact package. Not so with the Dynaudio Music series. The Music 7 sounds fantastic. It's as good or better than all other speakers in this HiFi category. Plus, it offers full stereo sound and looks very nice with Gabriel fabric on the speaker grill. The Music 5 is the series runner-up, while the Music 3 is a hidden gem in the middle of the product line. Battery or AC powered and very smooth sonic reproduction make the Music 3 a great choice for anyone short on space or disposable income. The Music 1 serves a purpose and does it very well. I'd place a Music 1 in my daughter's room before I put many other brands of speakers in there. I could even add another Music 1 and create a stereo pair when she moves beyond kids' podcasts and sleep stories at bedtime.
The bottom line, if sound quality is important this is the series of speakers for you.
To purchase products directly from the Dynaudio, visit the Dynaudio North America brand boutique on Superphonica1.
- Source: Roon ROCK, 2018 MacBook Pro Running Roon, JRiver (Windows 10 and macOS Mojave)
- DAC: Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 MQA, dCS Rossini, EMM Labs DA2
- D-to-D Converter: dCS Network Bridge, Sonore Signature Rendu SE, Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB
- Amplifiers: Constellation Audio Mono 1.0 / Monoblock Power Amplifiers
- Preamplifier: Constellation Audio PreAmp 1.0
- Loudspeakers: TAD Labs CR1 Compact Reference
- Remote Control Software: Roon Remote
- Remote Control Hardware: iPad Pro
- Playback Software: Roon, JRiver
- Network Attached Storage (NAS): Synology DS1812+, CAPS v4 Cortes Server
- Audio Cables: Transparent Audio Reference Interconnects (XLR & RCA), Transparent Audio Reference 110-Ohm AES/EBU Digital Link, Transparent Audio Reference Speaker Cables
- USB Cables: Transparent Audio Premium USB Cable
- Power Cables: Transparent Audio Reference Power Cables
- Power Isolation: Transparent Audio Reference Power Isolator
- Ethernet Cables: Transparent Audio High Performance Ethernet Cables
- Network: Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 24, Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 8-150W x2, Ubiquiti UniFi USG Router, Ubiquiti UniFi AP HD x2, Ubiquiti FC-SM-300 Fiber Optic Cable x2, UF-SM-1G-S Fiber Optic Modules x4, Calix 716GE-I Optical Network Terminal, CenturyLink 1 Gbps download / upload
1 Neither Superphonica nor Computer Audiophile receive a commission on the sale of goods through the Dynaudio brand boutique.