I will admit I I am an avid Dunlavy fan and between my 2 channel room and home theatre I have 5 sets of Dunlavy's including a center channel model HRCC1. Anyone that tells you the SCV's are anything short of amazing is more than likely running them with inferior equipment. They sound their best with large tube amps preferably Audio Research components. I have tried BAT and Antique sound labs equipment and there is no comparison. Audio Research is the best gear out there. The set up is not difficult to do and well worth softening the listening room. I have listened to MANY audiophile systems and have never heard anything close to them. The only speakers that are any where near them are the new Vandesteens and they ar 45K a pair. As stated garbage in will be garbage out so if you dont have the required gear dont waste you time
I can't believe I stumble upon this thread. Again. I didn't even realize that I had posted my review almost 10 plus years ago!! My electronics, cables almost everything has changes except the Dunlavy's. I think that is saying a lot.
I have auditioned many 'ref' speakers in the past, present but I still find my Dunlavy's Vs to be irreplaceble. Yes, there are fancy speakers (lot to brag on material this and tweeter that, shiny car like finishes and the like) from Wilson, Magico, et al out there at $100k plus prices but none IMHO deliver the natural sound no nonsense music that these speakers reproduces.
I have never wrote a review for a piece of audio equipment, as I find the subject anymore too full of psychobabble voodoo, marketing ploys, and "tweakers" who don't play an instrument or record themselves..... or understand live music, let alone the recording and mastering process. You hear what you want; psycho-acoustics is another subject matter all together. But these loudspeakers warrant some true praise, and speak to John Dunlavy's engineering savvy and understanding of acoustics.
Yea, they look like coffins in the living room. Yea, they are a pain to set up and are totally unforgiving of room acoustics and positioning. (probably any loudspeaker's greatest enemy, and so often over-looked in favor of gear, is the environment) Yea, if you put garbage source material through them, they will sound like garbage. And yes, your wife WILL hate them. Quite simply, these loudspeakers are more of a "tool," if you will. They are not convenient, require competent power and source equipment, and if you are looking for the artificial low end "bloom" that exists in so many designs, they are not for you. There is a reason so many mastering studios over the years, have used these designs.
Without re-hashing what has been said in previous reviews, they are quite simply the best bang for the buck reference loudspeaker out there at this point in time, if you can find them. They do one thing, and one thing very well. If you attend live music regularly, or are involved in the recording and production process, their qualities will be immediately evident and speak volumes of their capabilities. I have had my big, ugly furniture grade oak veneer set of SC-V's for years. You could offer me any other loudspeaker on earth no matter the price, and I would still never part with them.
Simply,this is the best speaker money can buy--even if I were the wealthiest man alive,I would still use these speakers for my music playback;or may be I would use the same design model but implement drivers with even lower distortion and faster settling time(a sum of propagation delay,rise time,overshoot recovery to within the error margin),all other measurements being equal. These speakers have a set of credibly documented and unconditionally guaranteed measurements that describes every performance parameter of a electromechanical transducer and has yet to be surpassed by any other speakers. Some other speakers may have lower distortion in the low bass,Wilson Audio and Celestion come to mind,and still some others may have faster drivers;however,when interpreted as a whole,the SC-V's acoustic and electrical properties are still the most accurate in its ability to reproduce an input signal.
Measurements are the most important indicator of a speaker's performance capabilities; that is,if a complete set of measurements is made by competent engineers in a controlled environment(anechoic chamber),and scientifically interpreted;yes,measurement observations are open not only to interpretations,but also to critiques by academic peers. Which parameters are being measured? How important are they? And to what extent and at which measured valued will a certain parameter cause an audible degradation in sound quality? For example,a speaker with .3% of THD at 50 Hz at 90 SPL at 1m will not sound any more distorted than a speaker having a .1% THD under the same conditions,because human ears can not detect harmonic distortion at these low THD levels;of course,at over 100 SPL, the rising distortions will eventually take a toll on the listener's ears.
Before a loudspeaker engineer can prepare a comprehensive set of tests that will reliably predict a loudspeaker's acoustic performance and a listener's response to such a stimulus, designer must understand music theory and how music is related to an electrical signal,and he must also hold impeccable credentials in acoustic theory,electrical and electronics engineering,as well as knowledge in psycho-acoustics and room acoustics. The late Mr. John Dunlavy was the most competent in designing a transducer that will reproduce an electrical signal into an acoustic wave as accurately and as faithfully as possible. He emphasized flat on-axis frequency response,time and phase coherence,fast rise time and minimal energy storage,paying special attention to frequency response in both the vertical and horizontal plane(polar response),and ensuring dispersion characteristics that matches that of many important musical instruments. Point source radiation,symmetrical radiation patterns,low cabinet resonances and vibrations,low harmonic and inter-modulation distortions,low Doppler distortion,fast spectral decay,minimal ringing and overshoot,high efficiency,minimal electrical phase angles,flat electrical impedance for proper impedance matching with Dunlavy speaker cables--all these has been completely and successfully achieved in the SC-V.
Subjective analysis is reliable and trustworthy only if credible and competent authorities conduct it under scientific double-blind testings. Mix magazine,the recording industry's authoritative journal peer edited and reviewed by the best recording engineers,conducted a search for the most accurate loudspeakers in the world. They narrowed down to three monitors: the Dunlavy SC-V,the ATC SCM-300A,the B&W Nautilus 801.
The B&W was eliminated in the preliminary round,and the Dunlavy beat the ATC in the overall score by a considerable margin. In fact,the Dunlavy scored good to excellent in all performance categories,beating the ATC in all but two insignificant performance aspects;the ATC played louder with less strain(110 db),and had better imaging for off-axis listeners. The bass was a toss up--ATC for hard-hitting rock music,and Dunlavy for classical music,Jazz,and acoustic music. In conclusions,all the engineers agreed that the Dunlavy SC-V had better top to bottom coherence and transparency,more accurate on-axis imaging,better tonal balance,and more accurate overall.
Listen for yourself,and you will be amazed and thankful that you do,because it is the best there is.
Although I have never actually owned the Dunlavy V's, I feel qualified to comment on these having owned a pair of Duntech Sovereign 2001's as well as a pair of Dunlavy VI's. (and besides, audioreview.com does not have a formal review section for the Sovereign 2001's)
I just wrote a review on the VI's in their appropriate section, but since my comments are almost identical, I will cut and paste that review here, changing the specific parts that apply here.
It seems to me that Ted probably had a hidden agenda when he wrote his review. That anyone can rate these speakers a one out of five is absolutely rediculous!
Ted, did you hear them in a busy stairwell or maybe even a noisy bus terminal? I know; maybe you were on a subway ride during rush hour and they were being powered by a boom box?
My point is a rating of one on a speaker of this caliber is just incredibly off the mark! I'm not saying that everyone has to rate them a perfect five, but you gave them a one! These speakers would have to be submerged in a pool of salt-water for most sane person to rate them a one! Were you having a bad day or something?
I have been fortunate enough to have owned seven different pairs of speakers in the over $10,000 (when new) category and one of those even made it into the over $50,000 category. I have also critically listened to many high-end, ultra-high-end and even super-duper-ultra-high-end speakers over the past 25 to 30 years. Some of them were in carefully set up rooms and some had not passed the WIF (Wife Acceptance Factor), so they were in less than ideal settings!
To anyone considering Dunlavy or Duntech speakers, they are truly amazing products at every one of their respective price points. You should definitely give them an audition if you ever get the chance.
Unfortunately, the Dunlavy factory has since closed it's doors and Mr. Dunlavy has passed away.