As you’d expect from a system trading on convenience, setting up Xeo is a walk in the park. Both speakers have to be plugged into the mains, which limits your placement options slightly, but that’s the only hassle. Once everything is powered up, the transmitter links up with the speakers instantly (blue LEDs on all three units tell you they’re connected). Connect your sources to the transmitter and away you go.
We hooked up Xeo to a Windows 7 laptop and after installing the USB driver the two worked in harmony and we were enjoying tunes from Media Player and iTunes in no time.
Xeo comes with a credit card style remote control, which sports only a few buttons covering input and transmitter selection, on/off, volume and mute. The keys are big and rubbery and the layout is simple. The zapper is coated in the same material as the transmitter, giving it a nice tactile feel in the hand.
There are three input buttons – 1 is shared between the minijack and RCA inputs, 2 is optical digital in and 3 is for the USB. It’s worth remembering that you have to point the remote at the speakers, something we soon learned after fruitlessly jabbing it towards the transmitter on more than one occasion…
First, we hooked our OPPO Blu-ray deck to the transmitter and fired up Iron Man 3. Even in stereo Xeo delivers a commanding performance with this busy blockbuster. The stereo soundstage is big and imposing due to the speakers’ wide dispersion and muscular amps, which hit loud volumes without batting an eyelid.
During the spectacular ‘Showdown at the Docks’, gunshots from Killian’s henchmen fire with a tight, vigorous blast, underpinned by taut bass. When Tony’s army of automatic Iron Men arrives, the resulting flurry of explosions, clanking metal robots and swooping Maersk containers is skilfully handled – huge thumping bass fills the room, while mids and highs sound as crisp and smooth as they should for the money. Such is its power and authority, it’s quite easy to forget that you’re only listening to a stereo system.
If we’re being critical, we’d like the sound to be a little more open – that considerable bass output makes the overall sound a little thick at times, and we’d like it to tease out more high-frequency detail. There’s a whole layer waiting to be peeled back but the Dynaudio doesn’t quite get there. Perhaps that’s only to be expected from a wireless system.
But Xeo was born to play music, and that’s where it excels. Running through a range of test tunes, Xeo is more restrained and insightful than with movies. It handles George Michael’s jazzy take on Roxanne on CD with absorbing grace and fluidity – the brushed drum has a delicate top-end rustle, the double bass is tight and well-timed and George’s vocal floats over the top with a clear, pure tone.
Move over to something more uptempo like Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good and Xeo is equally engaging – its tight, snappy, drums are backed up by punchy bass and crisp horns, all part of Xeo’s distinctly high-end, refined sound. Again, more discerning listeners may find low frequencies a little overpowering but overall Xeo’s performance is rather magical.
If you’re into high-end audio but have grown tired of cables trailing all over the house, then Xeo is definitely a worthwhile purchase – if you have the funds, that is.
Its sound is powerful, smooth and bassy, bringing a sense of grandeur and clarity to both movies and music. It lacks the top layer of detail you’d get from some similarly-priced wired speakers but as wireless systems go they deliver an assured performance.
They’re also beautifully built, sumptuously styled and easy to install, while the wireless tech works faultlessly – all of which makes Xeo good value for its big price tag.
Dynaudio’s delectable Xeo system brings sumptuous sound quality to the wireless speaker market