Xeo 6 is a wireless floorstanding speaker system that aims to deliver audiophile sound quality while keeping clutter to a minimum. Connect your sources to the Xeo Hub and it transmits sound signals to the active speakers using proprietary wireless technology, giving you a clean, stylish setup with no need for external amplifiers or metres of messy cable.
This speaker system will no doubt appeal to style-conscious listeners who don’t want to compromise on sound quality. As the successor to the Danish brand’s Xeo 5 system (the floorstanding version of Xeo 3, which we reviewed in 2013), there’s a wide range of new features and upgrades that push its performance capabilities even further. But at £2,700 for the speakers alone it’s not cheap, so we’re expecting nothing short of a spellbinding performance.
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The Xeo 6’s looks and build quality are simply stunning, which should come as no surprise given the price. The floorstanding speakers come in a Satin White or black Lacquer finish, which not only looks classy but also makes them smooth and luxurious to the touch.
There’s a satisfying heft to the speakers, and they’re supported by adjustable metal feet that provide a wide, stable base with a choice of rubber pads or spikes on the bottom. The speakers’ 854mm x 170mm measurements are more compact than the Xeo 5, and their graceful styling means they don’t seem imposing at all.
Taking their design cue from Dynaudio’s Excite range, Xeo 6 has incorporated gorgeous touches such as the new grey magnetic speaker grilles, thick driver surrounds and angled front corners. An interface has been added to the Xeo 6, housed in a small box on top of the cabinet. It sports three buttons and a front display panel showing the volume level and power status. Volume is represented by a row of lights that stretches the width of the panel, while a tiny LED glows blue when active and red in standby. The two speakers are linked, so when you make adjustments to one speaker the other follows through as well.
This interface, which has been added in response to comments about the Xeo 5’s lack of a display panel, certainly comes in handy. However, the black box catches the eye too easily on the white version, slightly spoiling its clean, elegant look.
On the back of each speaker is a panel of switches that adjust its performance. One switch offers a choice of EQ settings for different positions in the room – near a corner, near a back wall or a neutral setting if neither applies. Another switch lets you choose whether the speaker plays in mono or acts as the left or right channel in a stereo or multi-channel setup. The third switch offers three wireless zones for multiroom use.
The brains of the operation is Dynaudio’s upgraded Xeo Hub, which has to be purchased separately for a hefty £225. This compact black box sports a tactile rubberised finish and fetching curved corners, while at the back sit a generous bank of connections.
Dynaudio has added two new sockets to the upgraded Hub, coaxial input and Ethernet, which facilitates future firmware updates. They're joined by optical digital input, analogue RCA input, 3.5mm mini-jack input and a mini-USB port to connect a PC and use the Hub as a sound card (which also powers the unit).
It’s a good selection, but Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both conspicuous by their absence. It probably won’t concern typical Dynaudio buyers, but we think built-in access to DLNA servers or even streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal through a smartphone app would have been nice. It’s the sort of functionality you’ll find on cheaper wireless systems such as the Samsung R7 and Crystal Acoustics Cuby 9.
However, there is support for high-resolution audio playback up to 96kHz/24-bit through the Hub’s optical, coaxial and USB inputs – a talent not offered by the Xeo 5.
Xeo 6 uses the same driver array as its predecessor: a 27mm soft dome tweeter and two 5in MSP woofers. They’re driven by three 50W amplifiers (increased from two in the Xeo 5), the sort of muscle that makes them suitable for use in larger rooms. DSP fine tuning gets the two speakers working together in harmony.
The Hub sets up its own wireless connection with the speakers through a switch on the back, which lets you choose from three wireless bands (2.4GHz, 5.2GHz or 5.8GHz, as opposed to just 2.4GHz on the previous Hub) to ensure the most stable and reliable signal. Add more Xeo speakers and the Hub will also beam music to them as part of a multiroom system.
The Hub has a range of 50m in a typical home or 100m in open space. But if your speakers are out of range then you can extend their reach with the optional Xeo Extender (£135). Alternatively, the £135 Xeo Link receives the wireless signal from the Xeo Hub and makes it available on its analogue and digital outputs, allowing you to add active speakers or a subwoofer to your system.
Setting up the Xeo 6 is a straightforward process. Place and power up the speakers, hook up your source(s) to the Xeo Hub, flick the relevant switches on the back and press play – the Hub’s Auto Play feature detects the signal and switches to it automatically.
The system comes with a simple remote that lets you switch between sources manually, adjust volume and switch between wireless bands. Sadly, the remote was missing from the box, but the fact that we could still set up the system and get music playing is testament to Xeo’s inherent user-friendliness. The top-mounted controls and Auto Play came to the rescue.
The layout of our listening space meant that the Xeo 6 speakers couldn’t be placed against a rear wall or corner, making the Neutral EQ setting a no-brainer, but they certainly don’t need any such reinforcement to deliver a powerful, room-filling performance. Even in open space their muscular, enveloping sound comes at you like a sonic tsunami.
Fed into the Hub from a laptop via USB, "Unstoppable" by Lianne La Havas lives up to its title through these powerhouse speakers. The booming kick drum thumps tightly and purposefully, while string and choral arrangements swoop around the Xeo’s spacious stage, reaching the epic proportions for which its producers were clearly striving.
La Havas’ vocal takes centre stage, never struggling to be heard over the busy backdrop, while the open hi hats, harp chords and plinky piano stand out clearly alongside the beefy drums and bass. It’s this irresistible combination of force and finesse that makes the Xeo 6 system such an enjoyable listen.
Switching to Coldplay’s "Sky Full of Stars", the Dynaudio brings the requisite scale and energy to this unashamed stadium anthem. It handles the song’s energetic arrangements with effortless control and composure, and every sonic element – from Chris Martin’s reverb-drenched vocal to the rousing piano chords and driving kick drum – is beautifully organised. The song comes at you as a cohesive whole, giving the impression that Dynaudio’s chosen drivers and amps are perfectly matched and all pull in the same direction.
As we plunder our gamut of test tracks, including hi-res fodder such as Daft Punk’s "Random Access Memories" and David Benoit’s "2 In Love", we also revel in the Dynaudio’s articulate, full-bodied handling of solo instruments and vocals, the crisp leading edge on snare drums and guitars and its refined high frequencies. Most impressive is its bass output, which is muscular and fleet-footed – but never bloated.
Connect your TV to the Hub and the Xeos’ outstanding power and clarity makes them perfect for viewing movies. Huge, slamming bass notes lend a sense of scale and depth to action scenes, while dialogue is authoritative and detailed. Gunshots and explosions hit hard within the roomy soundstage, which makes you feel strangely immersed even in a two-channel setup.
As wonderful as Xeo 6 is, most people reading this review probably won’t see past the expensive price tag. And while we agree that £2,700 is a major outlay (plus £225 for the Hub, of course) let’s put it into context. Not only are you getting a pair of luxurious, audiophile-grade wireless speakers, but since everything is built into the cabinets you’re also eliminating the cost of amplifiers, cables and DACs.
But it's the Xeo 6's phenomenal performance that justifies the expense over and above anything else. Remarkably powerful, detailed and cohesive, these speakers will blow you away whether you’re listening to an album or blasting out a Blu-ray disc. Dynaudio has improved on the impressive Xeo 3 and Xeo 5 with a bunch of nifty new features, something for which the Danish brand should be applauded.
The only downside is the lack of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This isn’t a deal-breaker, since you can connect your smartphone or laptop to the Hub, but we think it would have made sense on a system such as this – as well as making that price tag a little easier to swallow.
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Dynaudio’s wonderful wireless speaker system is a worthy successor to the Xeo 5, with an achingly gorgeous design and phenomenal performance that’s ideal for both music and movies