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Article: Dutch & Dutch 8c Loudspeaker Review

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On 9/5/2018 at 3:40 AM, Em2016 said:

Hi @mitchco

 

Another wonderful review.

 

All the latest discussions I've read about the Kii3's have lately been mentioning these Dutch & Dutch speakers.

 

So to have your reviews, almost back to back, is awesome.

 

Quick question - have Dutch & Dutch indicated to you what the streaming capabilities currently are and what they are working on adding? Roon? Others?

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Hi @Em2016,

 

I fully agree, it's a great review! I like how Mitch has a very different approach from most other reviewers, very in-depth and technical. Love it!

 

There are several very interesting streaming functionalities in the development pipeline. Implementing the Roon RAAT SDK was actually not that much work. Getting the 8c's Roon Ready took very long because we've had to develop quite a bit of technology to achieve perfect sync between speakers over the network. We have that part covered now and we're in the latest stages of Roon certification. The heavy lifting has been done, so we'll be able to add other protocols relatively soon after. 

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On 9/5/2018 at 4:13 AM, sixman said:

Fantastic review - as you always deliver Mitcho. Enjoyed reading it!

 

Couple of questions - when you talk about positioning the speakers close to the back wall - it looks like one is actually up against a glass window. Does glass - as opposed to a traditional wall surface - effect the sound in any way?

 

Also, as well as getting rid of dac/pre/amplifier/cables etc - does this system mean you can ditch unsightly room treatments as well?

 

 

The 8c's offer their best performance when coupled to the boundary behind them. That means up to 40 cm between the back of the speaker and the wall for optimum results and still almost perfect results with a distance of 50 cm. When the distance is significantly smaller than the wavelengths being produced, the 8c and the wall become a single system. The reflection effectively coincides with the direct sound produced by the woofers, for a perfectly phase-coherent result. 

 

A boundary that is not solid, will take away some of the bass energy and will slightly phase-shift to the reflection. However, the wall would have to be a very effective damper in order to significantly affect the end result. In practice it turns out that the response of an 8c in front of double pane glass is pretty much the same as of an 8c in front of a concrete wall. Very lossy panels such as for instance a single layer of gypsum board are probably too lossy for best results, but I've found that with acoustic measurements and proper EQ you can actually achieve a very good results. And really, you should always do acoustic measurements and use the onboard DSP functionality (we call is Active Room Matching) to perfectly integrate the 8c's into your own room. 

 

When properly set up and dialed in with Active Room matching the 8c's sound great even in rooms with mediocre acoustics. I've had direct experience with this myself in my previous house. The living room was very large, with 14 x 5 meters and there was hardly any damping. Reverberation time was about 1 second. I tried several speakers that simply sounded horrible. I only ever listened at background levels. Until I put the 8c's into the room. All of a sudden I could play very loud without any listening fatigue. Sure, you could still hear the long delay tales, imaging was pin-point precise and some details got masked, but the sound was always very pleasant and spacious. 

 

There are a couple of reasons the 8c's sound good even in such a reverberant. The first is that the off-axis sound corresponds closely with the sound that is radiated directly at the listener. The reflections have the same neutral tonal balance, without certain frequency standing out and coloring the sound. The second reason is that the 8c's are a bit more directional than conventional cone and dome speakers, which results in relatively more direct sound and thus less room sound. Finally, with the Active Room Matching functionality you can deal with annoying peaks as a result of room modes. This will clean up the bass considerably, be it only in certain locations within the room. 

 

So yes, with the 8c's you can indeed choose to ditch the unsightly room treatments, but they sound even better in a room with good (preferably not too dead) acoustics and some bass damping. 

 

 

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On 9/5/2018 at 1:08 PM, CJH said:

Is digital input max 24/192 with internal processing at 96kHz? No mention on their site.

CJH

 

The AES input accepts anything up to 24/96. In streaming mode the 8c accepts anything up to 24/192.

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On 9/5/2018 at 6:13 PM, gcoupe said:

I see that the D&D speakers actually have a fan in the base to help cool the electronics. Did this ever kick in during your testing, and did it cause any distraction/negative impact?

 

The fan is there only as a safety precaution. It goes on only when the amp reaches a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. In practice it very rarely does, perhaps only in some studio's in summer, with lots of tube gear on all day. I've never heard the fan turn on myself, besides during any practical listening session. 

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On 9/5/2018 at 6:26 PM, christopher3393 said:

Thanks for the review, Mitch. Very promising. Looks like only a 2 year warranty ( https://dutchdutch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/8c-Manual-English.pdf, p. 15. Not clear if this has to be sent to Netherlands, but looks like it. The weight involved is going to be challenging for shipping. I wonder how good their packaging is?

 

A 2 year warranty, which will be extended to 5 years if you register your pair with us.

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On 9/13/2018 at 4:29 PM, dc655321 said:

Nice review, @mitchco.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the acoustic/electric design of the rear-facing subs of the 8c, as it's unclear to me if the subs are designed to also produce or contribute to the controlled (cardioid?) radiation pattern. From the video clip you shared, it appears to my eyes that the subs are out of phase with each other. I could be deceived about this though given that only a small piece of the bottom driver is visible.

 

Given the recommended proximity to the front-wall, the subs will pick up some boundary gain. They will also radiate half of their power around the enclosure (less so if significant radiation-shaping is in play). Do the enclosed back-waves also contribute here? Add to this recipe the blending of the subs with the mid-range speaker and the result is that I'm both super-impressed and super-confused ?

 

A little help, please?

 

Hi @dc655321!

 

The 8c conceptually is quite unlike conventional loudspeakers. In the midrange (100 - 1250 hz) the radiation pattern is more or less cardioid. The waveguided tweeter has directivity that matches with the cardioid quite well. Below 100 hz I initially considered going cardioid as well, but you sacrifice a lot of headroom in order to do it and the benefits of a cardioid in the modal range (the frequency range where standing waves dominate what you hear, not the loudspeaker itself) a questionable. Then I remembered the work of the late Roy Allison. He came up with the idea of coupling a speaker and the wall, in order to deal with the early wall reflection. In the 8c a very welcome additional benefit of boudary-coupling is that the wall increases the directivity in the bass, for a better directivity match with the cardioid midrange. 

 

The two woofers in the back only do bass below 100 hz, they get the exact same signal. The visual effect you describe is probably the effect of aliasing. The woofers in the back don't work together with the midrange driver or the slots in the sides to create the cardioid pattern. In the midrange the directivity pattern of the 8c is strictly the result of the acoustic cardioid that is formed by the midrange driver frontwave and its filtered backwave, through the vents in the sides. 

 

What I as the designer personally think is really cool about the acoustic cardioid, is that it kills two birds with one stone: you get the very welcome cardioid radiation pattern, but you also deal with the backwave of the midrange driver, but putting it to use instead of having to go to great lengths to keep it contained inside the cabinet and turn it into heat. 

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On 9/11/2018 at 9:27 PM, joergchm said:

Quick but hopefully not silly question to all proud 8c owners(since I can’t find any description in the specs):

 

Do the speakers turn on (by music signal) and off (after some time without signal) automatically ?

 

Hi Joerg, 

 

They don't actually. We might at some point add an auto-off functionality with a firmware update, but you'd have to turn on the 8c's manually again. 

 

 

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On 12/3/2018 at 12:22 PM, Emlin said:

 

 

Where are you Martijn, he who is so concerned about our simple questions? You have time over on Gearslutz to diss the Kiis (ineffectually), but none to reply here!

 

The pile of work in front of me is getting bigger every day, but I should have taken the time to reply to these questions much sooner. Mitch wrote a wonderful review on this platform, and he, Computer Audiophile and the readers had every right to my time and attention. I'm sorry about that. 

It's a unfortunate you interpreted my post on Gearslutz as a diss, because it wasn't. I've always been very clear about the fact that I have a lot of respect for the people at Kii - both personally and professionally - and that I think the Kii Three is a remarkable product. I stand by that and don't feel there's anything I should apologize for. 

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30 minutes ago, mensink said:

 

Hi @dc655321!

 

The 8c conceptually is quite unlike conventional loudspeakers. In the midrange (100 - 1250 hz) the radiation pattern is more or less cardioid. The waveguided tweeter has directivity that matches with the cardioid quite well. Below 100 hz I initially considered going cardioid as well, but you sacrifice a lot of headroom in order to do it and the benefits of a cardioid in the modal range (the frequency range where standing waves dominate what you hear, not the loudspeaker itself) a questionable. Then I remembered the work of the late Roy Allison. He came up with the idea of coupling a speaker and the wall, in order to deal with the early wall reflection. In the 8c a very welcome additional benefit of boudary-coupling is that the wall increases the directivity in the bass, for a better directivity match with the cardioid midrange. 

 

The two woofers in the back only do bass below 100 hz, they get the exact same signal. The visual effect you describe is probably the effect of aliasing. The woofers in the back don't work together with the midrange driver or the slots in the sides to create the cardioid pattern. In the midrange the directivity pattern of the 8c is strictly the result of the acoustic cardioid that is formed by the midrange driver frontwave and its filtered backwave, through the vents in the sides. 

 

What I as the designer personally think is really cool about the acoustic cardioid, is that it kills two birds with one stone: you get the very welcome cardioid radiation pattern, but you also deal with the backwave of the midrange driver, but putting it to use instead of having to go to great lengths to keep it contained inside the cabinet and turn it into heat. 

 

Thanks for addressing my question(s), Martijn. Your time and expertise are much appreciated!

Again, fantastic design you've achieved here. Very elegant engineering.

 

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On 10/30/2018 at 1:13 PM, hifi_swlon said:

Was there any reason Kii Threes were used as a main comparison, and not the Devialet Phantom Golds which I read your review of? I’m just curious since no one seems to compare the 8c to the Phantoms, yet your Phantom review was favourable and they’re quite a bit cheaper.  The Phantoms aren’t for me but just curious as there’s not much ‘pro’ feedback. 

 

Does anyone have more info on D&D plans to make a proper physical volume control? I’ve heard rumours but nothing solid. On paper these speakers are perfect for me and I’d love to demo a pair, but that would be a deal breaker for me in a home environment where there’s no mixing desk! Using an outboard DAC or digital volume control seems counter intuitive since the speaker has everything built in already. 

 

As a general question, are there custom stands and can they be fixed to the stands? I have a young child and would be worried about them getting knocked over and hurting someone or worse (or no doubt damaging the speaker)

 

We are working on a physical volume control device that accepts multiple sources. 

 

We're also working on custom stands. The 8c's can be bolted to those stands. 

 

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On 11/15/2018 at 9:32 PM, hifi_swlon said:

Great to see you contributing here @mensink. I love the look of these and planning to demo them very soon (having a very challenging home living room space) as soon as a demo pair become available and I have a spare weekend!

 

I have a few questions that I can’t find answers to on the D&D website if/when you have time (apologies if have already been asked above):

 

What bit depth/sample rate does the internal DAC/DSP run at? 

 

Are the DAC, streaming module and amps proprietary or third party? Can you tell us a bit more about each?

 

Whats the max input rate that can be fed in via AES and network (assuming RoonReady).

 

Do you know whether they will be true RoonReady (ie be able to be grouped with other RoonReady devices) or a specific setup for D&D only. 

 

The website mentions a native native app for volume etc (which one would hope could run within a local LAN only), but all reviews point only to a very basic looking web app. 

 

How do the electronics keep cool?  Many actives have large heat sinks even for class D, but these appear to have only a very small fan. I guess I’m thinking electronics lifespan being as they’re quite expensive and have a relatively short warranty. 

 

When a lower max volume is set at the speaker level, what’s happening? Is it a DSP reduction or are the amps running at lower power. 

 

How does servicing/repair work? Again, just thinking about longer term ownership. 

 

Would love to see a beautiful hardware wireless remote (Bluetooth or radio) for volume and input, and an ‘input box’ for additional sources to make them more family friendly (airplay etc). But this can all come later. 

 

Exciting times.

 

 

Hi @hifi_swlon,

 

That's quite a number of questions!

 

We feel the frequency at which the DSP runs is irrelevant engineering information. I'm reluctant to the share that information, because it is often misinterpreted. Some people believe a high DSP frequency to reflect higher sound quality, which is not true. 

 

The DAC is a Texas Instruments PCM4104.

 

The amplifiers are by Pascal-Audio.

 

There's a networked Linux computer inside the 8c, no separate streaming module. We do all software development ourselves. The DSP print and interface print are of our own design as well. 

 

The AES input takes anything up to 24/96. Streaming mode currently accepts anything up to 24/192.

 

The 8c's will be truly Roon Ready.

 

A native app is under development. I didn't know our website says we already have a native app. I'll look into it! Thanks. 

 

The electronics don't run very hot, there is sufficient cooling. Standard warranty is 2 years, but when you register your pair with us it's 5 years.  

 

When the volume is decreased with the web-app on lanspeaker.com the volume is reduced in the last stage of the DSP, right before the DACs. This is entirely transparent. 

 

We are training our distributors to do basic servicing. For big repairs sometimes the speakers have to be shipped back to the Netherlands. 

 

I too would love to see a beautiful hardware wireless remote for volume and input, as well as an 'input box' ;) . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, mensink said:

We feel the frequency at which the DSP runs is irrelevant engineering information. I'm reluctant to the share that information, because it is often misinterpreted. Some people believe a high DSP frequency to reflect higher sound quality, which is not true. 

 

Yes I agree in general, I was more curious in the technical workings and also at what  sample rate the internal mechanism runs to understand the ‘best’ or native rate to send them. 

 

I have a Devialet so am limited to its internal sampling rates but personally I play most music at 44.1 because that’s most of my collection. I experimented with upsampling and couldn’t tell it apart blind so abandoned it with my setup. But still I like to know how things work and it’s a pretty well published spec for any DAC/active setup these days. But I appreciate your reasoning especially in the audiophile world. 

 

Great news on the App, the stands (and bolting ability) and physical controls. May they all be beautiful. :) 


Roon lifetime > Mac Mini > ethernet > microRendu (RAAT) w/ Paul Hynes SR3 > Intona > Curious USB link > Devialet 250 Pro > PMC fact 8.

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Any thoughts on which speaker - Kii Three or Dutch & Dutch 8C - processes digital audio better?

 

My only use for either speaker is to stream digital audio files (Hi-Res FLAC, DSD, etc) via Roon and the processing capabilities of the speakers are an important consideration.

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1 hour ago, asiano said:

Any thoughts on which speaker - Kii Three or Dutch & Dutch 8C - processes digital audio better?

 

My only use for either speaker is to stream digital audio files (Hi-Res FLAC, DSD, etc) via Roon and the processing capabilities of the speakers are an important consideration.

Depends what you mean by "processes digital audio better". Both speakers have that exact function as their central function. They both take a digital signal,use DSP,  convert it to analog, and output a DSP'd "cardoid" analog output with limited room interaction and time alignment of the driver signals to your ears.

Do you literally mean something about the "processing" or are you asking how they sound? Give us a better idea what you are asking.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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5 hours ago, firedog said:

Depends what you mean by "processes digital audio better". Both speakers have that exact function as their central function. They both take a digital signal,use DSP,  convert it to analog, and output a DSP'd "cardoid" analog output with limited room interaction and time alignment of the driver signals to your ears.

Do you literally mean something about the "processing" or are you asking how they sound? Give us a better idea what you are asking.

I apologize for not being clear.

 

I'm curious about which product has the better DAC and implementation as, at least for the Kii, the incoming format has to be converted since it accepts DSD and various PCM sample rates. I'm not even sure if that can be ascertained as everything is so tightly integrated in these products. With standalone DACs, even those with the same DAC, there tends to be a difference in sound.

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1 hour ago, asiano said:

I apologize for not being clear.

 

I'm curious about which product has the better DAC and implementation as, at least for the Kii, the incoming format has to be converted since it accepts DSD and various PCM sample rates. I'm not even sure if that can be ascertained as everything is so tightly integrated in these products. With standalone DACs, even those with the same DAC, there tends to be a difference in sound.

Both products have specialized DACs and amps which are made specifically for them and don’t exist on their own. So your question doesn’t really apply. The only questions would be: do I like how they sound?; do I like how they sound when fed analog?; and do I prefer one to the other? 
Both speakers convert incoming formats - they have to in order to do all the DSP. Exactly how they do what they do is proprietary. I think you should care about the results, not the details of the process: if you knew some of the details of the process would that really tell you something about which one has a “better process” and which one sounds better? I don’t think so.

Audiophiles tend to latch on to such details as if they actually tell you something about the resulting SQ. They don’t. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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2 hours ago, firedog said:

Both products have specialized DACs and amps which are made specifically for them and don’t exist on their own. So your question doesn’t really apply. The only questions would be: do I like how they sound?; do I like how they sound when fed analog?; and do I prefer one to the other? 
Both speakers convert incoming formats - they have to in order to do all the DSP. Exactly how they do what they do is proprietary. I think you should care about the results, not the details of the process: if you knew some of the details of the process would that really tell you something about which one has a “better process” and which one sounds better? I don’t think so.

Audiophiles tend to latch on to such details as if they actually tell you something about the resulting SQ. They don’t. 

 

I was just trying to understand whether one speaker did a better job than another with digital files as at least in the case of DSD and possibly hi-res flac, the files are being decimated during processing and some people claim that depending on the quality of the conversion their may be audible effects. I've read a lot about the concerns of decimation of DSD in threads for Chord DACs and others. Also, some DAC reviews include the results for jitter and resolution (number of bits).

 

I can see where it would be challenging to determine the quality/impact of that process in the Kii and Dutch & Dutch speakers due to the tight integration of the entire process. You can't swap out the DAC like you can in a traditional system to determine how it sounds. 

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If anyone has a the inside on someone selling their Dutch & Dutch 8c's give me a pm.  We downsized our home and i had to sell my big Klipsch 402 horn system.  Being without a system is killing me slowly.  

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How would I connect my Aurender N100's usb2 to the 8c. Is there a usb-to-AES/EBU adapter of some kind?

 

--------------

In the US, D&D really seem to be ignoring the hi-fi market and aiming this product very much toward the pro studio folks. So far I have not found any hi-fi dealers, only pro shops selling them. Weird.

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14 minutes ago, coot said:

How would I connect my Aurender N100's usb2 to the 8c. Is there a usb-to-AES/EBU adapter of some kind?

 

--------------

In the US, D&D really seem to be ignoring the hi-fi market and aiming this product very much toward the pro studio folks. So far I have not found any hi-fi dealers, only pro shops selling them. Weird.

There are numerous USB to AES converters available. The best one I’ve used is the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB. 

 

Not many HiFi dealers carry any speakers like these. The exception is some may carry Kii. 


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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On 1/24/2019 at 3:05 PM, asiano said:

I'm curious about which product has the better DAC and implementation as, at least for the Kii, the incoming format has to be converted since it accepts DSD and various PCM sample rates. I'm not even sure if that can be ascertained as everything is so tightly integrated in these products.

Nor should you be concerned with this issue.  Since each is a completely integrated system, there is no logical* reason why one would need to compare any parts since those parts cannot be swapped or upgraded.  One needs only to compare the intact systems.

 

*One can entertain an intellectual curiosity about the components but that info is a matter of engineering and does not play a role in use.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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8 minutes ago, coot said:

Thanks Chris, but sadly Berkeley is is WAY above my pay scale. More exploration needed.

There are lots of converters of good quality starting at about $100 and going up to the price of the Berkeley. They also are often found on sale second hand. Even my $130 iFi DAC can function only as a USB to SPDIF if desired. No problem finding one if you look. If you need USB/AES those also exist. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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16 minutes ago, coot said:

Thanks Chris, but sadly Berkeley is is WAY above my pay scale. More exploration needed.

How about this. They no longer make this device but there are others like it.  I had one and it worked great, has its limitations though.

 

https://www.musicalfidelity.com/support/discontinued-products/vSeries/v-link192

 


PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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