Speaker upgrade: Dynaudio Special 40 / PMC Twenty5.23

Hi forum,

I would like to get some opinions and additional input from the forum. Last year I moved to from 202 / 200 DR setup to a Nova, which really worked well for me. Now it is time to upgrade the speakers, I have been quite happy with my PMC Twenty.22 stand-mounts and am considering to move towards their Twenty5.23 floor standers. However, I once listened to the Dyns (at the hifi store, not at home) and it put a smile on my face, reminding me of the fantastic Dynaudio C1’s I once had. I know this question has popped up and sound is very personal, I would be interested to hear some opinions, I have never owned floor standers and it is very hard to demo, I am pretty sure both would work for me. The Room is around 4 x 4m and I have a very eclectic musical taste.

A square room of 4m x 4m could prove problematic for bass, you could end up with boomy bass, especially if floorstanders or speakers that are rear ported like Special 40.

I would definitely try in your room before committing to buy.

All are great speakers, just down to room match and personal taste.

PMC just released new 25i.22 with upgraded tweeter.

It is more bass that you want?

Thanks, very good input. Room is maybe not completely square and one side has an opening to the hallway (not sure if that is relevant). Yes, I do find that there is a lack of texture in the bass at times and moving the stands closer to the wall does not seem to improve the situation. I am able to get both ex demo so they can fit in my budget.

I like both of these brands, i have 26.26 which i bought with my Nova…but would happily listen to the Dynaudio range. Home demo, if possible.

Hi, @vgonx, I use a pair of PMC Twenty5 23’s on my Nova, very happy with results, easy to place and not too fussy about distance out from wall. I also have a pair of Spendor A4’s on another Nova and would have no hesitation in recommending them.
I have only heard the Dynaudio Special 40’s at my dealer, liked them sounded great.

I had the PMCs and S40s on home demo at the end of 2018. On the end of a 72-Hi-250 I found the yes completely blew the PMCs away. Try both at home if you can. The S40s are gorgeous looking too (I find the PMCs rather ugly) with a very high standard of finish.


I used special 40s with a Nova and they sounded wonderful.
I couldn’t find anything in their price range that matched the 40s overall.
I listened to PMC but didn’t like the top end.

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I’m another person with 25.23s on the end of a Nova (with NACA5). I really like the pairing, the top end is very good in my room and the bass fast and well controlled.

I home demo’ed the PMC Twenty5 23 and was disappointed with them. They do have very articulate bass, but they are very bass light. In fact the bass response reminded me of the Epos ES 12s, I owned about 20 years ago. Articulate but with no really low frequencies. With any thinner recordings they were very bad. The mid-range is very good, but it is recessed. The treble has a very distinct lift or boost at the top, which we all felt would become fatiguing. Somewhere online is a review with a frequency response graph. The line is ‘u’ shaped and not very flat at all. My Vienna Acoustics Bach Grand trounced them in a long weekend of side by side listening at home. Friends who came over to listen all agreed. The Vienna Acoustics were infinitely better across the board.

I feel that the PMC Twenty 25s are designed to impress you in a five minute shop demo with a degree of boom and tizz. But their obvious flaws soon stand out if you listen at length at home.

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That’s a name from the past, must be over 10 yrs since I listened to those speakers. It’s a good thing we all have different tastes in speakers etc, everyone liking the same thing would be boring.
My recollection of the Vienna’s was nice piece of furniture, well finished but fairly average in hifi terms, muddy ill defined bass, overall a bit constrained.
As I said it’s good we don’t all like the same things. Do they still make Vienna’s ? don’t think they were very popular in the UK.

If you liked the Dyns you might also consider giving the Contour 20s a listen.

The C1s are a great speaker. I love my C2s.

I would sell my left kidney for some S40s, although NAP 100 might not do them justice?

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Vienna Acoustics are a large company and very popular in America, Europe and across the world, but they were only imported into the UK for a year or two through Cyrus as Cyrus thought they were a good match for their kit. So it was the lack of availability that makes them rare here and not that they were unpopular. I have had mine for seven years. They are a sweet, detailed sounding speaker and they go fairly deep. I would not describe them as muddy at all. The bass is very clear and well defined. It depends what you pair them with I suppose, or where you place them, or where you heard them.

Chord have used Vienna Acoustics speakers in recent years to demo their high end gear at various hifi shows, so I assume Chord think they are very good indeed.

The PCMs were good but not great and not worth £3300 in my opinion. At £1000 I would judge them as quite good speakers. Here is a frequency graph for the Twenty5 24, the next model up and shows the problem with the current PCMs.
PCM graph
As I said, this confirms what we heard. They accentuate the bass and the high treble and recess the mid-range. A bit boom and tizz, like a boom box. Surely the frequency response of a fairly high end speaker ought to be much flatter than that?

Here is the VA Bach Grand frequency graph.
VA Graph
It looks much better to me, not perfect, but way better. This is a good visual representation of the difference in sound between the two speakers as they sounded in my listening room.

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Well I guess PMC sales figures and excellent reviews are at odds with your point of view, also they seem fairly popular on here. I don’t recognise any of the attributes you describe, maybe it was your room ?
Someone posted on the forum recently that speakers by the likes of Kudos, Dynaudio, Neat, Spendor etc at a certain price point are much of a muchness, I’m inclined to agree, there will be ones I prefer over the other but generally standards will be high.
As I said it’s good we all like different things but I doubt I have experienced a trouncing between these well regarded speaker manufacturers.

How would you explain the graphs though?
Also I would opine that popularity is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. Usually high quality items are pretty exclusive and less common.
There are more Clarkes shoes sold each day than there are sales of John Lobb shoes.

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I have no idea what you mean by this, can you explain?

In terms of speakers at a certain price point, say £2k-£3k, standards are generally high, the differences are in the margins, well that’s what I took from it.

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Ok that gets your point across, I have just never heard the phrase “much of a muchness” here in Canada.

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I don’t buy speakers based on frequency response graphs, I prefer to listen to them, if I like them I buy them.
I must admit had to google John Lobb, never heard of them, an eye watering price for shoes, if the price difference was as huge as between Clarks and Lobb I would expect the Lobb speakers to be vastly superior. If they weren’t and I bought them I would be stupid.

I don’t buy gear on graphs either. I used the graphs, the actual measurements, to demonstrate what we heard, both at my home and at the dealers as the graph perfectly demonstrates what we heard. I only found the graph after the PCMs had gone back to the dealers.
As regards good reviews, you can’t always believe them. I recently had a demo of the Q Acoustics Concept 500. The reviews are stellar. We thought they sounded awful. So do several high end dealers I spoke to who actually sold them. So who is right, me and my friend who came on the audition, the dealers who say are are over hyped, or the paid reviewers?
I own Church’s, Barker and Loake shoes, but not John Lobb, not yet, but one day. If you think the prices you saw are high for the ready to wear, you would be amazed at the ‘bespoke’ price of John Lobb’s. About five grand I believe. Yes, they are that good.

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