Decware DM944 Bookshelf Loudspeaker Reviewed

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Decware DM944 Bookshelf Loudspeaker Reviewed

Decware_DM944_bookshelf_speaker_review.jpgMost of the bookshelf speakers available today are not as efficient as you would think. Using fewer parts should make something more efficient, yet strangely enough many bookshelf speakers that are mass-produced have fairly inefficient ratings. Luckily we have Decware, a company hell bent on keeping it simple and pure; a methodology that has served them well since the introduction of their first product, the Zen Triode Amplifier. Along with single ended triode amplifiers, Decware also makes high efficiency speakers, which if you haven't heard of them, is because Decware doesn't believe in marketing - instead they thrive off word of mouth. Decware hand-makes all their products in their "factory" in Illinois and sell them direct to the customer via their website.

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• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from the writers of Home Theater Review.
• Explore amps in our Amplifier Review section.
• See quality sources in our Source Component Review section.

Decware believes that if the first Watt sucks, why bother? The beauty of high efficiency loudspeaker design is its ability to shine under low power. How low? Try a few Watts, which is perfect, for as I stated earlier Decware only makes flea Watt amplifiers. Decware's DM944 bookshelf loudspeaker retails direct for less than $900 dollars and come with a 30-day, in-home trial period. The DM944 also comes with a five year limited warranty. Steve Deckert, founder and chief engineer of Decware, recently updated the DM944 bookshelf speaker to the DM945, which retail direct for $995.

The Decware DM944 measures in eight and three quarter inches wide by ten inches deep by 16 inches high and weight 25 pounds each. The DM944 comes in cherry as its standard finish, which helps keeps the cost down, though custom finishes are available at an extra cost. However , custom finishes void the 30-day trial period. My pair were finished in a black oak painted veneer with gold plated five-way binding posts recessed into the speaker so as not to protrude too far from the back. The DM944 has an isodynamic planar ribbon tweeter mated to an eight-inch wool cone driver. The ribbon tweeter adds a touch of airiness and shimmer to compliment the DM944's smooth midrange. The DM944's reported frequency response is 42Hz to 22kHz, with a capacitor on the ribbon tweeter making it the only crossover part. As I mentioned earlier, the DM944 is efficient at 94dB into a four-Ohm load. The DM944 can handle two to 100 Watts, which is its maximum input power rating. Also, the DM944 is rear ported so placing them in an actual bookshelf or enclosure will require plugging up the rear port with foam or rubber in order to achieve better control over the bass.

The overall sound of the DM944 is quite good and leans ever so slightly towards the warm side of the spectrum. It is quite musical with a surprisingly wide soundstage. Unless you are a basshead, the DM944's bass is good enough, though it wouldn't hurt nor be difficult to add a subwoofer if you feel there is not enough. The DM944 images really well and manages to deliver near laser-focused accuracy within its wide soundstage. The DM944s are at their best and most comfortable when set up as nearfield monitors on a desktop or on compatible speaker stands. Initially, I set up the DM944 bookshelf in my home theater and connected them to my Red Dragon Audio M-1000 monoblocks. The DM944s handled the M-1000's 1,000 Watts with ease and played louder than expected without distortion. I am used to my Aperion 6T's full bodied sound, but for being a compact bookshelf speaker the DM944s proved to be quite dynamic and rich. I will say that the DM944s did not fill my home theater like my 6Ts, but once I moved them into my office, their intended destination, they blew the room wide open. I set them up on my desktop making sure to place them away from the wall because how you set up the DM944s plays an important role in how well they will ultimately image. I am building a Decware system for my office that currently consists of the CSP2 preamplifier and the Taboo six-Watt tube amplifier, which together with the DM944s makes for a holographic experience and a match made in audiophile heaven - I love it.

Read about the high points and the low points of the Decware DM944 on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Decware DM944 Bookshelf Loudspeaker

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Decware_DM944_bookshelf_speaker_review.jpgHigh Points
• The DM944 is clearly aimed at the budget enthusiast and its sub-$1,000 price tag reflects that - though there is nothing budget about the DM944's sound.
• The DM944's appearance has a high WAF (wife acceptance factor), thanks to its small stature and standard cherry finish.
• The DM944 can be run with a measly two-Watt tube amplifier that Decware not only sells but is famous for. Of course you can use other amplifiers as well.
• The DM944s are hand-made in the USA and are not mass-produced. The only caveat to this is that they're not always available upon placing your order, which is a small concession - I think - for American made quality.
• The DM944 has a slightly warm sound that should serve many different genres of music well, not to mention they image like champions and feature a highly addictive and dynamic sound, thanks to their design and efficiency.

Low Points
• The DM944 is sensitive to speaker placement but when properly set up the imaging is simply excellent.
• The DM944 does not have dual binding posts allowing you to bi-amp your speakers but Steve Deckert, founder and chief engineer of Decware, has updated this in the DM945 bookshelf.
• The DM944 may not be enough speaker to fill larger rooms, but mated to a subwoofer or moved to a smaller room they should flourish.

Competition and Comparison
There are a few other high efficiency bookshelf loudspeakers that are comparable to the DM944; bookshelf speakers such as the Zu Audio Omen Bookshelf at $650/pair, Paradigm's Reference Studio 20 v.5 at $798/pair, Tekton's Model 65t/ $600 a pair and the Model 81t at $650/ pair. Also, the Omega Super 5 at $950/ pair and the Omega Compact Hemp at $1,399/pair also deserve to be in the conversation. Zu Audio, Tekton and Omega's loudspeakers are all hand-made in the USA and have similar specifications to that of the Decware DM944, which makes them the most direct competitors to the Decware DM944.

For more on bookshelf loudspeakers, including the latest news and reviews, please check out Home Theater Review's Bookshelf Loudspeaker page.

The Decware DM944 bookshelf loudspeaker succeeds at being efficient, dynamic, musical and affordable - a rare feat. All in all, the DM944 is a fantastic way to go if you are searching for a great bookshelf speaker for under a $1000, for you would be hard pressed to find another speaker this good for that price. The DM944 itself, as well as its retail price, is pretty amazing when you consider it's hand-made and built to order in the USA during a time in which the rest of the industry seams to be moving their manufacturing overseas. Unless you plan on spending two to three times more, I don't believe you'll find a more complete and fantastic sounding bookshelf loudspeaker.

Additional Resources
• Read more bookshelf speaker reviews from the writers of Home Theater Review.
• Explore amps in our Amplifier Review section.
• See quality sources in our Source Component Review section.

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