An impressive 3-way monitor design with a dry, focused sound, featuring ultra-powerful, easy to use onboard DSP
Review by Paul Vnuk Jr.
The Core 59 is a new, professional reference monitor from Dynaudio.
For 42 years, Denmark’s Dynaudio has been crafting high-quality loudspeakers for recording studios and mastering suites as well as for the home hi-fi market. Stephen Marsh (interviewed on Page 50) is a big fan, and uses Dynaudio LYD 48 monitors in The Lathe Room vinyl cutting lab, and Dynaudio BM15 nearfields in his main room. Reviewer Alex Hawley took the 3-way LYD 48 system for a spin back in our March 2018 issue.
The 3-way Core 59 and 2-way Core 7 (review forthcoming) make up Dynaudio’s new flagship Core series, which replaces the popular AIR series.
Past Featured Reviews
- DECEMBER 2019: Thermionic Culture ‘The Kite’ Stereo Equalizer
- NOVEMBER 2019: Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre
- OCTOBER 2019: Austrian Audio OC818 Multipattern Dual Output Condenser Microphone
- SEPTEMBER 2019: Dynaudio Core 59 High-End Professional Reference Monitor
- AUGUST 2019: Steinberg AXR4 Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface
- JULY 2019: PSI Audio A17-M Studio Monitors
The Core 59 has a minimal, monolithic look. Its round-edged, two-tone gray/black cabinet is made of MDF, measures in at 11″x15″x21″, and weighs 54.2 lbs. It features an inert 1.26″ baffle and a front-loaded bass reflex port.
The Core 59 is at home vertically or horizontally; its midrange driver and tweeter are housed in a removable Orbit baffle that can be rotated to meet your placement needs; Dynaudio maintains that you can even place the woofer on top.
Core Components and Power
The 1″ tweeter is a newly-designed Esotar Pro driver that makes use of a Hexis device. According to Dynaudio, Hexis is, “…an inner dome that sits just behind the diaphragm and optimizes airflow, smooths the frequency response and eliminates unwanted internal resonances.” The outcome of this design is improved imaging and transient detail, and effortless high end response.
The 5″ midrange driver cone is made of a light, stiff, and well-dampened magnesium silicate polymer, coupled to an aluminum voice coil and neodymium magnet.
The 9″ bass driver is another brand new Dynaudio design, constructed of glass fiber tied to a copper voice coil and ceramic magnets.
Core 59 power is handled with a Pascal Class-D amplifier (HF 150 W / MR 500 W / LF 500 W). Crossover points are addressed by DSP at 312Hz and 5.1kHz.
Powerful, simplified Core DSP
The previous Dynaudio Air series was one of the first studio monitors to feature direct AES digital connectivity coupled with extensive onboard digital signal processing. It had a menu-driven onboard LCD screen, an optional hardware remote, and a software-driven GUI. AIR monitors offered room correction, bass management, and sonic customization galore.
Now almost 20 years later, the DAW-based room correction features have migrated to the speaker enclosure itself; the onboard Core 59 64-bit DSP has been integrated via eight simple rear-mounted switches—no more menus, LCD screen, or peripheral computer app.
There are eight Core 59 onboard DSP controls:
Power Mode: On/Standby (sleep mode when no signal is present for 20min)
Bass Extension: Full/High Pass (integrates the Core 59 with a Dynaudio DSP-equipped subwoofer)
Digital Channel: Selects whether the speaker is left or right when connected and daisy chained digitally
Sound Balance: A tonal tilt filter: Bright (20 Hz -1.5dB, 20 kHz +1.5dB) / Neutral / Dark (20 Hz +1.5dB, 20 kHz -1.5dB)
First Position Room Treatment Filters: Anechoic / Desk / Soffit
Second Position Boundary Filters: Free / Wall / Corner (for monitors placed within 20″ of corners or walls).
Analog Input Sensitivity: 0 / +4dB / + 12dB / +24dB
SPL Level: 88dB / 96 dB / 100 dB / 112dB
When connected digitally, the clocking rate is automatically detected and the speakers operate at incoming sample rates up to 192kHz, thus keeping unnecessary conversions out of the process. When using the analog inputs, the signal is converted to 192kHz.
Digital connections on the rear are handled by XLR AES inputs, with a through line that runs to the second monitor, which is where you choose L/R positioning. There’s a standard BNC word clock connection, a USB connection for firmware updates, and a three-prong power socket. Note that there’s no power switch aside from the On/Standby function.
I set up the Core 59 system on a pair of Zaor monitor stands in my studio, Moss Garden Music, a well-treated 12’x15′ room with an 8′ ceiling. I set them to Anechoic, Free, and Neutral. Music was mixed and played back through a Universal Audio Apollo x16 feeding a Dangerous D-BOX+ (reviewed on Page 18). Initially, I was surprised by how pleasant the Core 59 was on my ears, in a very literal sense. They are highly detailed, and all but devoid of the typical piercing brightness common to many studio monitors.
In describing Core 59 sonics, the word I keep returning to is dry. Not just me though—when mastering engineer Justin Perkins stopped by to check them out, completely unprompted by me, dry was the descriptive term he used as well!
The Core 59 sound is exceptionally even from top to bottom. There is zero hype going on across the entire spectrum. No bloated bass, no forward mids, and zero top-end push masquerading as detail.
From a whisper to a roar
From whisper-quiet levels to their exceptionally loud limits, the sound and tone of the Core 59 does not change—it just gets louder or softer. The full details are always there. Because of this and their natural top end, ear fatigue needn’t enter the conversation.
The sweet spot of the Core 59 is also unique—not in its obvious width, but more in a lack of obvious width. I could move freely around my room while enjoying a coherent image—I never felt like I was in a bad spot.
If there’s one thing to be aware of, it’s that these are seriously detailed mix tools, and not merely ‘hey look at me’ client pleasers with room rattling lows or overly juicy top end. While the bass doesn’t rumble the room like a subwoofer, it is very detailed, and on paper extends down to 17Hz. I could hear bass frequencies in great detail, and even though I could not feel them, I could mix them.
The Core 59 offers extreme precision and detail in one of the most full and neutral ways I have ever experienced in a studio monitor. It’s a dry sound—if you like your speakers ‘exciting’ the Core 59 might come with a bit of a learning curve. But once you learn to believe and trust the stories these speakers tell, you’ll be surprised by how well your mixes translate—and it will be your mixes that sound exciting.
Maximum SPL: 112 dB @ 1 m anechoic, 118 dB half space
Crossover frequencies: 312.5 Hz (LF/MF) / 5100 Hz (MF/HF)
Frequency response: 36 Hz – 24 kHz – 6 dB
Frequency response: 42 Hz – 21 kHz ±/- 3 dB
Max SPL: 112 dB @ 1 m anechoic, 118 dB half space
Price: $2999 (each)