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Dynaco A25 vsDynaco A25 XL loudspeakers

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I have a pair of Dynaco A25 loudspeakers that I use with an old Marantz 2230 receiver . Love the mellow sound this combo produces . It's music to my ears . Recently I passed up a pair of Dynaco A25 XL loudspeakers at the pawn shop . Went back to purchase them and they were sold . Now I'm wondering if I let a great pair of speakers pass me by . Has anyone ever done a listening comparison between the two speakers ? Mine has alnico drivers , the XL I believe has ceramic magnets . Is there a difference between the sound of the alnico speakers and the ceramic versions ? Comments appreciated .

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I have a pair of Dynaco A25 loudspeakers that I use with an old Marantz 2230 receiver . Love the mellow sound this combo produces . It's music to my ears . Recently I passed up a pair of Dynaco A25 XL loudspeakers at the pawn shop . Went back to purchase them and they were sold . Now I'm wondering if I let a great pair of speakers pass me by . Has anyone ever done a listening comparison between the two speakers ? Mine has alnico drivers , the XL I believe has ceramic magnets . Is there a difference between the sound of the alnico speakers and the ceramic versions ? Comments appreciated .

Hi there

First hand comparison, I have heard none, but I do have each type A-25 speakers including the Scans version.

Reading over the years, the A-25XL speakers are more efficient, about 3 db, than the earlier A-25 speaker system.

This will make the XL speakers sound brighter and louder on a simple A - B switching setup, with no volume compensation.

The tweeter is 1" versus the A-25's 1 1/2" unit.

The highend is suppose to be more extended, with possibly slightly better dispersion characteristics.

It has a higher crossover point, I believe, which may affect the midrange sound.

I believe that by the time the XL came out, there was other, and newer competitive speaker products.

Dynaco, un-like AR, in that they did not publicly display their engineering findings, if they did any themselves.

If they did it was minimal.

Dynaco posted reviewers findings and graphs in their literature.

Dynaco was a very consumer oriented company.

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interesting read, i have a rehabbed pair of dynaco A25's that have a bigger then original 5 uf clarity capacitor, he doubled the negative on the drain and replaced the tweeter wires with some kind of thin wire with cotton covers, he says they are much better, but i question weather he changed them too much..... kinda like the dynaco xl ? or do you think what he did overall is better ? it's kinda hard for me to tell because one of them was imaging better then the other side so i'm waiting for them to be repaired again. what do you think do the changed i mentioned ruin the smoothness ? Should i have him return the old tweeter wires and get rid of the double drain ? I read your opinion about the xl, very interesting you seem to know your stuff, i have never heard a pair but i love the A25s so much they seem hard to beat for overall value.

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I'm not an engineer, but my hunch is that changing wires and using super-high-end capacitors in Dynaco A-25s is overkill. It shouldn't hurt anything, but it's not worth the additional cost. I've read that with very short runs of wire, you don't need really thick or fancy wires to get decent signal through. And I've heard improvements in Dynaco A-25s when I replaced the capacitors with $4 Daytons or $6 Solens (5.1s, usually), but I'm only 100% sure I heard improvements when the original capacitors were getting tired (reduced output or obviously changed crossover frequency). I have one pair of stock A-25s that sounds just as good as another pair I re-capped with Daytons.

The A-25XLs use different drivers. The tweeters look different while the woofers look the same, but are 3db more efficient (in the XL). One some blogs I've read that they're not as smooth as the originals (the woofers, I mean). I've never directly compared the two woofers, but I like the overall sound of A-25s over A-25XLs, though I think the XLs are more extended in the highs. Changing wiring and capacitors will NOT turn the A-25s into A-25XLs.

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So he replaced mine with clarity cap it's a more expensive bigger cap, i think the caps he replaced he told me were leaking to about 7uf. Anyway i mostly worry he put wrong kind of cap or that the tweeter wire is so thin, he says it's better, dont know what he means by doubling the negative. Originally took them in because one of the drivers stopped working, turned out to be a hair somewhere it didn't belong 40 bucks to get it fixed he then talked me into rehabbing the crossovers. kinda wish i hadn't but they are back at his shop now hopefully he will get the other side to sound as clean as the side i like. I hope overkill doesn't mean a tighter deeper bass will make it overkill. i have yet another pair of of A25s as well, unfortunately i bought the stock pair them when i was 12 yo i somehow thought after we moved they didn't sound as clear so i replaced the capacitor with a 4.9 ohm resistor not knowing what i was doing, they sound ok but seem to be a little bit monotone on the bass, now that i know i did wrong im hoping i can swap it back out with a capacitor, Where do i buy dayton capacitors ? With the pair of A25s i had rehabbed you think overkill is just a waste of money but wouldn't hurt the sound ? just curious If the highs are getting less mids to them is that good or bad ? I guess you answered that, it's hard for me to tell because they don't sound the same. they do close but it seems the bass is a little tighter and less likely to warm up the sound, but powerful when it wants to be. The highs seem more confined less range but much cleaner just not sure what to think.

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Overkill just means more money spent for no improvement. Nothing is hurt. A resistor in place of a capacitor could mean too much signal to the tweeter at the bottom end of its range (in the midrange) and subdued highs. If the tweeters aren't blown, the speakers should sound fine when you replace those resistors with Dayton 5% 5.1 mfd capacitors. I think both Madisound and Parts Express have them for about $4 each.

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I have a pair of Dynaco A25 loudspeakers that I use with an old Marantz 2230 receiver . Love the mellow sound this combo produces . It's music to my ears . Recently I passed up a pair of Dynaco A25 XL loudspeakers at the pawn shop . Went back to purchase them and they were sold . Now I'm wondering if I let a great pair of speakers pass me by . Has anyone ever done a listening comparison between the two speakers ? Mine has alnico drivers , the XL I believe has ceramic magnets . Is there a difference between the sound of the alnico speakers and the ceramic versions ? Comments appreciated .

Hi there

I recently went to our local Vancouver Public Library and copied a Dynaco A-25XL review.

Next time I am here I will post it and make my comments, which I will have more than just a few.

By the way, I've read several Epinion reviews done by Horsewhispr, nicely done.

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I'v heard both pairs, I think the A25's run circles around the XL's but it may depend on your preference. The A25s seem to have a better mid range and a better relationship between the highs and lows.

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On 1/16/2012 at 1:59 PM, Horswispr said:

I recently had a pair of A-25XLs pass through here. If the pair I had here was representative, I prefer the sound of regular A-25s. Here's my write-up on the XLs.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Dynaco_A_25XL_epi/content_554942697092

I'll put a link to my review of the originals in the XL write-up if I can.

epinions site is dead, here is Horswisper's review from the wayback machine:

Dynaco A-25XLs were a later version of the famous Dynaco A-25 loudspeaker. The XLs came out in 1975 or 1976, six or seven years after the original, and were said to be 3db more efficient than the original. They were also said to be a bit more extended in the high end, and to be able to handle more power overall. Visually, they resemble original Dynaco A-25s, with similar dimensions, real walnut veneered cabinets, and creme colored grilles, but the front edges are skinnier than those on original A-25s, meaning that someone who has had the originals can tell the newer speakers from the originals at a glance.

Functionally, A-25XLs differ from the originals in that the tweeter level knob on the back has only three positions, not the five positions of original A-25s. Internally, the A-25XL woofer looks almost identical to the original, but it is more efficient, matching the efficiency of the newer, smaller tweeter. I am told that the crossover is also different from the original, but I didn't open these up. Dynaco A-25XLs measure just under 11.5" wide x 20" tall x 10" deep and weigh about 21 lbs each, one pound more than the original. Retail price in 1976 was about $180/pair, $20 more than original A-25s. Today, a pair of A-25XLs commands from $125 to $250 on eBay, depending on condition.

I have refinished (and listened to) something like 50 pairs of Dynaco A-25s, as well as several pairs of A-10s and A-35s, but I somehow managed never to hear a pair of A-25XLs until recently, when I refinished a pair that was fully functional but aesthetically challenged. This review is of that pair of speakers.

Set-up and Listening.

Set up of Dynaco A-25XLs is a breeze, as the speakers are relatively light, compact, and easy to move about. Speaker wire attachment is by standard-spaced banana plugs (or bare wire if you prefer). I placed the XLs atop my Cambridge Soundworks Towers for some listening, and on 20" stands placed about 24" away from the wall for more critical listening.

The sound of the A-25XLs was interesting, and notably different from that of the original A-25s. The extreme highs had more sparkle, and bass was if anything a touch tighter. The soundstage was also notably deep, with backing instruments presented well behind the plane of the speakers. But the A-25XLs didn't sound louder for the same setting on the volume control, as I had expected.

As I listened to my usual assortment of music (Keith Jarrett Trio, Diana Krall, Gordon Lightfoot), my impression was that the midrange of the A-25XLs was recessed, probably leading to the sense of image depth mentioned above. Piano sounded both full and sparkly, but the upper midrange that gives piano its presence was missing. Same with male vocals: there was ample heft, and sibilants came through, but the clarity I'm used to was not there. Of course, I didn't get to measure the speakers, but my impression was that there was a broad valley in the midrange, sort of like an exaggerated "BBC dip." An audiophile friend who came to listen with me agreed: he thought the speakers lacked the midrange clarity of the original A-25s. However, their owner has since emailed me and said he is quite satisfied with their sound, so they will certainly appeal to some.

I should say that the Dynaco A-25XLs did not sound bad to me--in fact, I was really impressed with the depth of their soundstage and their high frequency extension. And I would take them over many under-$200/pair speakers I hear today. But they didn't sound as good to me as regular Dynaco A-25s, KLH 6s, Acoustic Research AR-2axs, and several other comparably priced (today) vintage speakers.     
      
Conclusions.

The A-25XLs were an interesting listen. When I first fired them up, I was impressed with the depth of the image, but then quickly noticed the "hole" in the midrange. I settled in and was able to enjoy them for awhile, but ultimately found myself glad to return to the regular Dynaco A-25s I had on hand for comparison.

I should mention that it's possible that "capacitor drift" was responsible for the recessed midrange of these speakers. If crossover capacitors change in value as they age, they can make a speaker sound bright (see my review of the KLH 17s) or recessed, depending on which way they drift. This is the only pair of Dynaco A-25XLs I've heard, and I did not venture inside the speaker cabinets.
 
In conclusion, the pair of A-25XLs I heard were good, but there are other speakers from the same era that I like better.

A link to my review of original Dynaco A-25s can be found by Googling Dynaco A-25 Horswispr.

The system used in this review consisted of the following: NAD 521BEE CD player, AR ES-1 turntable with Shure M97xE cartridge, conrad-johnson MF-80 power amplifier, NAD 1020 preamplifier, and an M&K V-2B subwoofer

 

 

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How did you find my ancient review? Heh. I haven't heard Dynaco A-25XLs since I wrote that (I still have a pair of A-25s here), but I did refinish a pair of A-40XLs that sounded pretty darned good to me. These days, I'm mostly switching between KLH 6s (recapped), Marantz Imperial 6s (not recapped), and DCM TIme Windows (not recapped). I'm surprised by how good the Marantz Imperial 6s are, given that they didn't get much press "back in the day."

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2 hours ago, Horswispr said:

How did you find my ancient review? Heh. I haven't heard Dynaco A-25XLs since I wrote that (I still have a pair of A-25s here), but I did refinish a pair of A-40XLs that sounded pretty darned good to me. These days, I'm mostly switching between KLH 6s (recapped), Marantz Imperial 6s (not recapped), and DCM TIme Windows (not recapped). I'm surprised by how good the Marantz Imperial 6s are, given that they didn't get much press "back in the day."

A copy of your original review is available on The Wayback Machine. Like PeteB above, I use it a lot to read pages after they disappear from their original website. Your review is at

https://web.archive.org/web/20140525020316/http://www.epinions.com/review/Dynaco_A_25XL_epi/content_554942697092

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