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To Jeff Fritz,

I have been in the process of upgrading my current two-channel home system and have been referencing your reviews on SoundStage! Ultra a great deal. Currently, I have the following setup and I am looking to upgrade my speakers next:

McIntosh MC501 mono amplifiers
McIntosh C42 preamplifier
PSB Stratus Gold loudspeakers
Copeland CDA 266 CD/HDCD player
Dual record player
Audio Art cables and power cords

I have loved the PSB speakers since the first day I bought them back in '98. I have been thinking of upgrading to the Synchrony Ones (without even having the opportunity to give them a proper audition) until I heard the Dynaudio Focus 380. You highly recommended both speakers in your article on speakers under $15,000. I am looking to gain detail without being bright, and warmth without appearing loose and muddled. As mentioned, I have not been able to find anyone in the Los Angeles area who has the Synchrony One on the floor to hear in person. In your professional opinion, will I be getting that much more speaker for five grand more in the Dynaudio? Is it that much better than the PSB? You have had the rare opportunity to compare both, and I seek your opinion. My most sincere appreciation for your time and consideration to this inquiry.

Kind regards,
Brian Faudoa
United States

This is a no-lose proposition. As you mentioned, I think highly of both of the speakers you are considering. To be frank, they have more in common than they are different, and that is because of the similarities between the companies themselves. Both Dynaudio and PSB design and manufacture very neutral loudspeakers (they actually both use anechoic chambers in their R&D). If you examine the frequency responses of models from each brand they'll be impressively flat with excellent off-axis dispersion characteristics. Therefore, the house sounds of both PSB and Dynaudio do not have the tonal anomalies or colorations found in many competing products.

Still, there are differences. Probably the main one has to do with the tweeters. Whereas Dynaudio uses a soft dome in the Focus 380, PSB uses an aluminum dome in the Synchrony One. Even though both are excellent in their own regard, it has been my experience that listeners gravitate toward either one or the other tweeter design. Although it is a generalization that won't apply globally, soft domes are many times a touch forgiving whereas metal domes are more ruthlessly revealing. You'll have to decide which type you prefer.

The second important difference is that the Dynaudio Focus 380 is physically the much larger loudspeaker: 3" taller and 2" deeper. You'll have to decide whether your room is capable of housing the larger speaker. I expect that the bass extension would be about the same for both models: strong 30Hz in-room.

Good luck with your decision. You certainly have two fine products to choose from. . . . Jeff Fritz