VAF Research, one of Australia's most innovative
loudspeaker manufacturers, released their original
DC-X loudspeaker in 1997. It quickly became the
focus of unprecedented media interest and was often
reported on as setting new standards of performance
at its price. It offered very high sensitivity,
uncommonly linear frequency & phase responses, and
exceptional time domain performance. This was all
delivered by a system in which the electrical crossover
network had been effectively eliminated. In this article
Philip Vafiadis, Chairman of VAF’s R&D steering
committee and the firm's Founder together with
Simon Wilde, VAF Loudspeaker Designer and
Product Engineer, explain how even higher levels of
performance are now possible. Philip and Simon also
describe a revolutionary new speaker kit that you can
Nominal impedance: 8O (4.9O min; 14.2Omax)
Sensitivity: 95db/watt (2.83V)
Power rating 10W to 200W
Frequency response: 35Hz-18kHz +/-2dB (-3db @ 32Hz)
Before the DC-X Generation 4 came out around 3 years ago, I already had a pair of the the previous generation at home, along with a larger custom-made DCX centre speaker.
Although I loved them, curiosity got the better of me - Before dropping the dollars, I toured Sydney's hi-fi shops (there were a lot of them, back then) to suss out the competition.
After auditioning to the point of exhaustion, I gave up. Nothing beats the DCX for anywhere near the money.
I recently had them upgraded to Mark II, which has made them even better still.
Those that are considering the upgrade to Mark II should go right ahead. You'll get the same sonic supremacy - just more of it. The new tweeters and crossover yield even better definition and soundstaging, with noticeable improvements from top to bottom.
Here's why I love my DCX...
* Enormous sound.
Few speakers put out such a huge soundstage and image as well as these do. The larger cabinets and drivers play a part in this, yet many speakers with even larger drivers don't have that magic sensation of size.
* Crystal clear and very accurate.
I hate speakers that add their own sound. But the DCX's are transparent, neutral, and just give you the facts. You can easily hear the differences between better and worse recordings, yet even the crap ones still sound brilliant. I've been in a few sound mixing studios that use lesser speakers than the DCX. Not surprised that the Conservatorium of Music uses them.
* The bass. Wow. Plenty of speakers will impress you with big-arse, bloated bass. But I still haven't heard any for the money that'll put out bass as deep and detailed as the DCX. These buggers will dig down as deep as you can hear, so there's usually no need for a subwoofer unless you're a serious bass-junkie.
Actually, I've owned a couple of subs that wouldn't go as deep as the DCX, and they definitely didn't sound as ultra-clean and punchy.
* The tweeters & woofers are all arranged around seated ear height.
I find it hilarious how many smaller tower speakers have the tweeter below ear-height, with the other drivers below that. Bloody ridiculous! You need to sit on the floor for the best sound!! The DCX's hit you right at typical ear-level, with the dual woofers close-by, and the difference is big.
* Very power efficient. Although I'm using chunky power amps, the DCX don't demand them like some larger speakers do. They'll still sound great with a middle-of-the road receiver.
* Music, movies... whatever.
I always laugh when people claim that a certain speaker is good for this or that type of music, or that they're more suited to movies than stereo. Huh? Accuracy is accuracy!!! And the DCX will rock no matter what you pump through them.
* Nice looks. Depending on your taste, there may be slicker looking speakers out there, but sound is often the first casualty. The DCX aren't the most attractive speakers on the market, but they're still very nice. The choice of custom veneers or black stocking surround is a big bonus.
* Fairly flexible with room placement.
You wouldn't think it to look at them, but they're pretty easy to place in a dodgy room and still get great sound. I moved recently, and my latest room is a fair bit smaller at around 5 x 4 metres. No problem. The DCXs sound no worse, and in some ways better! Due to the room's quirks, I've lightly plugged the ports, and still get tight, thunderous bass when the soundtrack calls for it.
You can sometimes take for granted how damn good these things sound. Then a visit to a friend's place, a HiFi store, a commercial cinema (and even some sound studios!) will remind you of the DCX's superiority.
Good to see VAF are finally officially making the larger DCXcc center speaker. If you can spare a little extra room and dollars, then definitely skip the DC6 and get one of these instead. It's basically a horizontal DCX and it's bloody sensational. NEVER skimp on the centre-speaker!
Likewise, if you're tossing up over the DC7 (with or without sub), then try and go for the DCX. It's on a completely different level.
My only real gripe is that VAF don't make a matching bipole or dipole surround speaker. (Although, I'm sure the DC3 is still very good.)
It's worth mentioning that I work in post production. A while back, a film I cut was screening at a hired 60-seat theatrette with an unreliable sound system. The only solution was to haul my amps and the three front DCX's into the theatre and set them up on the stage. The DCX's performed beautifully, filling the auditorium with dynamic, reference-level sound. During setup, we agreed that they actually out-performed the existing industrial horn-loaded theatre speakers for smoothness and accuracy!
It's a pity you can't audition the DCX's outside Adelaide, but oh well... Just buy 'em. You won't be sending them back!
I was a little hessitant to go with the the DC-X's. because 1. I couldn't hear them before I purchased and 2. There big. Wife was not keen on big speakers. Dispite there size they look good with there classy Australian Jarrah finnish.
I purchased mine as a kit (the boxes are assembled) and assembled them myself. Anyone with just a little technical apptitude and can hold a soldering iron should have no trouble. It is a good way to go to, as you will save yourself A$500 dollars over the fully built and tested set and there guarntee still stands if you do d.i.y.
Many years ago I did listen to the first generation of DX-C's with the single tweater I can remember coming away quite impressed. So I was expecting a lot and when first hooked them up. I was not dissapointed. I like jazz, R&B and guitary type bands. My wife likes piano/vocals and classical. My Yamaha amp used to sound a little bright and even harsh at times with my old Tannoy 632's, particularly if it was not a good recording. Well not any more, the sound is detailed and warm. To me they do sound accurate but more importantly the sound from these speakers will not be tiring to listen to over time.
First disc I palyed was Joe Jackson's Jumpin Jive and the sounds is astonishing for a speaker of this price. I have always believed that you don't get the imaging from floorstanders but now think that is a falacy. Not only do they image side to side but the depth of stage fantastic. It's like you can pick where each musso is standing on the stage! Next my wife played Elton John recorded with Melbourne Syphony orcestra and the sound is just massive. The bass is huge but contoled, it don't sound flabby at all. All the while because they are sensative, 95dB. the Amp is just cruising.
As a home theatre speaker it will not dissapoint either, not just because of there massive sound but that abillity to give great depth of field (that for and aft) imagining and because they go so deep my Sub now lives under the study desk to help out my computer speakers.
I did auditon several other speakers around the same price including Krix, Bose, Waffeldale, Whatmough and B&W. Couldn't listen to them all back to back same room same amp..... but to me the DX-C Gen. IV's wins hands down.
In fact I have listend to speakers costing much more that sound nowhere near as good.
What can I say that alrady has been said. These babies are the most exciting pieces of audio equipment that we can own.
Living in Adelaide VAF has always been a well respected and trusted brand name.
The first impression you get when you visit the VAF showroom is the Professionalism that exudes from the people who work there. I have had the pleasure to speak to Vaf's founder Philip Vafiadis as well as the product designer Simon Wilde.
Both these gentlemen were a mine of information and knowledge about accoustic engineering. There reputations have extended to overseas and they have been selected by Microsoft to develop the Octavio sound system which is to be coupled with the "Zune" which is Microsoft's answer to the ipod.
I heard a lot about these speakers and wanted to hear and see them in the flesh.
They are definitely imposing with cabinets standing at over 1200 mm high and 365mm in depth.
While they were imposing they also had that touch of elegance.
The finish I chose was the ageless Australian Jarrah veneer which is a piece of furniture in itself.
The listening sessions were from a wide variety of my own sound tracks including Jazz to contemporary rock. The sound of the accoustic guitars was what impressed me the most. Believe me they sounded like someone was playing the thing in the room.
The bass extension was very tight and extremely clean. Philip played me a South American number which brought all the frequency ranges to the forefront and I was breathless after listening to it.
The beauty about these loudspeakers is that they have been accoustically tuned so that the listener receives the minimal amount of colouring.
I have listened to Jamo and JBL's speakers but these speakers have raided the bar even further.
Even better still is the price. You have to pay 4 to 5 times this much to get this sort of quaolity.
This is a review of the new DC-X Generation 4 speakers, which I bought to replace my existing DC-X's. I assembled them myself to save some bucks. At one point I was investigating several other makes to see if I should stick with VAF, but no doubt about it - for the money these are just unbeatable. I've loved the former DC-X for some years now, and kept coming back to their accuracy, deep, clean response and big soundstaging. But the new incarnation is a definite step up. While the differences were obvious at first, it wasn't until I ran them against the old models that they really shined. More transparency all round, particularly up top. Improved tightness and definition down the bottom end. Less strain during loud and busy passages, and a cleaner mid-range with less 'grain'. The twin-tweeters really work in casting a wider sweet spot, but without causing more side-wall reflections in my narrow room, oddly enough. Only a SERIOUS bass junkie would feel the need use a sub with these things, such is their response. I used to have one with my previous DC-X, but ended up getting cleaner, less boomy results without one, albeit minus the very bottom register. If you have other full-range speakers in a surround setup, then you have even less need. I also got a custom-made Generation 4 DC-X centre speaker, which easily beats their standard DC-6, if you have the room for it.
So really, I couldn't be happier now. They're nice looking (I got the 'old-style' wraparound stocking finish), they're amazingly flexible with room-placement, and they're VERY easy to drive. And they sound bloody fantastic.
My system is:
* Creek OBH-22 passive pre-amp (REAL transparency - I will have this thing buried with me)
* Arcam Alpha 8 CD player (upgraded LClock XO3 and improved op-amps - incredible)
* Rotel RMB-1075 5-channel power amp (drives the DC-X's with ease)
* Rotel RB-971 2-channel power amp (for surrounds in a 6.0 setup)
* Rotel RSP-1066 surround processor (pretty good)
* an HT PC for DVD's etc
* VAF DC-X Generation IV for front 3 speakers.
* VAF DC-7 (old model) for side-surrounds
* VAF DC-6 (old model) for rear-surround
* Speaker cable: Belden 1810A (quad cable but not bi-wired over a 10metre run - This equals any overpriced snake-oil cable I've heard)
* Interconnect cables: Van den Hul D-102 MkIII and D-300 (Pricey interconnects are a joke - zero improvement over standard $30 interconnects like Crest, Belden or Canare )