What would happen if Bowers & Wilkins had decided not to switch gears in the twenty-first century and shift their focus towards headphones and lifestyle-oriented speakers? What would that company look like today? There's a good argument to be made that they'd look a lot like Davone Audio.
Founded in 2007 by Paul Schenkel, Davone manufacturers loudspeakers out of Denmark using flexible, small-scale Danish design and manufacturing practices. What this means is that their products aren't mass-produced, and that they take a little extra time to make them right. When was the last time a company brandished its lack of care for economies of scale, and how many of those companies are still around today?
As a result, Davone isn't a large brand, nor does it make a lot of different speakers scattered over a number of different product lines, which is kind of refreshing. In total, Davone offers seven different loudspeaker designs, four floorstanding models, and three bookshelf or monitor speaker options, all ranging in cost from roughly $2,000 to $20,000 per pair. The subject of this review, the Studio, is Davone's most traditional two-way monitor, and it retails for $3,250 per pair.
There are two things almost all Davone loudspeakers have in common: a unique, curvaceous shape and heavy use of bent, veneered plywood, à la Eames. The Studio monitor fits right into this aesthetic, looking a bit like an unbloomed tulip, with an Eames-era modern design that would look right at home next to the designer's iconic lounge chair. The Studio is on the slightly larger side as monitor speakers are concerned, measuring a hair over 14 inches tall by 9.5 inches wide and nearly 12 inches deep.
The Studio tips the scales at a respectable 20 pounds apiece, though some of that weight has to rest in its attached table stand. The table stand is removable should you want to mate the Studio monitor with its all-metal floor stands, which retail for an additional $650 a pair. Around back and resting below the port are a pair of five-way binding posts that can accept everything from bare wire to banana-terminated cables.
The Studio is a two-way design that houses a single one-inch aluminum dome tweeter and a seven-inch blended fiber mid/bass driver. Bass response is enhanced by the Studio's use of a rear-firing port, giving the speaker a reported frequency response of 45Hz to 30kHz. Sensitivity is rated at 88dB (2.83v/1m), and nominal impedance is 4Ω, with minimum impedance of 3.7Ω at 350Hz. The Studio uses a 24dB/octave Linkwitz Riley crossover, with the crossover point falling at 2.4kHz.
I took delivery of the Studio loudspeakers and a pair of their matching stands on what had to have been the hottest day on record in Austin. It was also day that I found myself moving into a new home. Eager to have music in the house, I tore into the well-packaged Studio's box and removed the beefy little beauties. "Those are big!" exclaimed my girlfriend from across the room. A fact I couldn't argue, for despite having shown her pictures of the Studio speakers on my phone, I too was taken aback by their size.
The Studios come affixed to a substantial round plinth meant to serve as their table stand. This round piece of metal definitely adds to the Studios' overall weight, but does make them feel extremely well grounded and likely impervious to tipping if placed in an area or on a piece of furniture that may be prone to accidents. The plate is removable (it's held in place by four large bolts) and must be if you plan on using Davone's stands.
The stands are equally solid, and hurrah-hurrah, ship fully assembled! Though because of their design, attaching them to the base or bottom of the Studio via the same bolts as I mentioned earlier isn't that easy. I ultimately had to balance the Studio's on their head and screw the stands into the bottom of the speakers while they were inverted. Once connected, however, the speakers on their matching stands were about as solid as a single piece of granite.
I placed the Studios on either side of our wall-mounted 65-inch Samsung Ultra HD display. This meant the Studios were approximately 87 inches apart (tweeter to tweeter). My girlfriend and I are both pretty minimal in our tastes, so I knew I wanted a setup that would be easy to use, functional, and simple. To pull this off, I turned to Marantz and its new NR1509 5.2-channel slim AV receiver. I connected the Marantz to the TV via a single HDMI cable and, horrors of horrors, enabled HDMI CEC so that the receiver could be controlled via the TV's remote.
Next, I connected my Apple TV, also via HDMI, as well as a Chromecast Audio via its included cables, which allowed the whole system to be integrated into our Google Assistant connected household. For fun, I did connect my Bang & Olufsen turntable to the system as well. The Studios were connected to the Marantz receiver via a pair of eight foot MusicLink/Wave speaker cables from Transparent.
Davone does tout their loudspeakers' wide dispersion thanks in no small part to their cabinet designs. While the Studio did image very nice from the onset, I found that if a little toe-in was necessary to solidify its center imaging. Your mileage may vary, but in my room (which is a completely open concept) slight toe-in towards the primary listening position was necessary. I also utilized a little bit of boundary reinforcement to add a touch of extra heft to the Studios' bottom end by not pulling them too far out from my front wall.
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competion, and Conclusion...