Thank you for your feedback! I just went ahead and got them, figured the risk was manageable and then I’m also a Dynaudio fan (loved the BM6/12s when I got to use them for a while during my time in London).
I purchased two Dynaudio Air 15s (Masters) + an Air Base 1 Subwoofer.
What made these speakers special in 2003/4 was that they had a digital signal path with their own converters etc (that whole part was designed by TC Electronic). The ones I got have the audio input modules in them, so mine can also take an analog signal.
I was worried that they would be outdated despite having been a top-of-the-line product back in its days, as I wasn‘t sure how dependent they would be on the internal DA conversion and the whole TC Electronic spiel.
Turns out, they sound phenomenal. Super dry and crisp, very good separation, good stereo field, though surprisingly weak bass but the sub will make up for that (the bass crossover point can be set on the speakers…from 50Hz to 120Hz). Bass IS crisp, tight and fast though and the perceived lack of it could also be a room issue, as these are significantly bigger than my previous monitors (I had 5“ and 6“ woofers before these) and I haven‘t bothered to arrange things accordingly yet. In general I‘m impressed with the separation on these, so clear and surgical, nothing muddy or messy at all.
On how I’ve set them up (because I wondered about this before I decided to take the plunge):
I‘ve tried them through their digital path, sending my Apollo 8‘s SPDIF Out to the speaker‘s AES/BUS IN using internal clocking first. It sounded good, the obvious quality of the speakers came through but the conversion seemed a little bit „closed“ for a lack of a better term.
Then I tried that setup with an additional word clock sync from the Apollo 8, but unfortunately that introduced weird sibilance/distortion in the high mids & high frequencies. Maybe it‘s the cable I‘m using, not sure (if anyone has any ideas, I‘m all ears :))
Finally I decided to try out the analog path on these and plugged in the main outs of the Apollo 8 into the Dynaudio Air 15 master speaker - even though I at first felt hesitant to do so as the marketing material from 2004 stressed how the superiority of the Dynaudio Air series partially came from its integrated top-level conversion.
But man, what a difference! Much more open, even more detailed, spacious…it seems like the technological advancements in DA conversion have not at all been trivial these past 20 years or so. Even my wife noticed the difference immediately while I was tinkering around. BIG difference, but then I also really like the converters on my UAD Apollo 8.
Overall I’m really happy that I ventured out to get these and took the plunge. I can‘t believe the value-for-money I got here.
I write this partially because it was already hard to find any information on the Dynaudio Airs from their own time let alone in the context of today. So I hope that this will help others who may be considering these speakers in the second (third) hand market.