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My review and "journey' to select the Dana 630is

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  • My review and "journey' to select the Dana 630is

    Also posted in a thread at

    I have been very lazy about posting a review on these speakers but I decided I should not put it off any longer..

    The short and sweet version of my review: These speakers have amazing detail and resolution, and blow away the competition at their price range... The value is camouflaged by more recognizable brands, a true diamond in the rough. I think they are also very much improved over their predecessor (Dana 630) which already had glowing reviews..

    Now for the long-winded version.. a.k.a. my "journey" to decide on these speakers...

    My dad has always appreciated classical music above all other types and I've wanted to get him new speakers for a few years now.. I have poured through hundreds, possibly thousands of posts here and over at AVS on my quest to find speakers that my dad would absolutely love...

    A while back I came across this thread: in which there was a very detailed comparison between the Swan Customs and the Dana 640is... as well as quite a few others giving great reviews for the 640is..

    One particular review went into great depth and the reviewer touched upon a lot of what I was looking for.. "On the 640is, I go, "Holy , I'm THERE! There's the acoustic bass, there's the piano, there's the singers, a guitar, a cello, and all the space between them..." No speakers, just music. .... As for the bass response, I'm floored by it. "

    I was hooked, but not convinced. Also, the price of the 640is were a bit out of my budget, so I focused more on the 630i. I did tons of research... I tried to find any information on the internet about the Dana series, even the predecessors and found lots of positive remarks.

    One particular article helped to convince me this was a wise investment... even though it was about it's predecessor, the Dana 630, it was very impressive. Essentially it was a blind shootout of various high end monitors:

    A few remarks stood out:
    -"Bass was tight, and dynamics, both micro and macro, were very good.
    Vocals got very high marks for clarity, and instruments for accuracy. Most of the panel thought the
    630’s were a very good loudspeaker, with excellent overall balance... Winner: Dana 630 67.19 points to B&W 805S 65.27 points"

    -"It wasn’t until much later that people started to realize that the $349 Dana model 630 had stood toe
    to toe with the $2500 B&W 805S" ---> This impressed me to no end... how could speakers selling for $349 do better than speakers selling for $2,500?!!

    Now, I know the retail price for the revised version (630i) is quite a bit more than $349... but again, I believe that it is much improved over the already great 630...

    Another thing that influenced me to buy the 630is is the great customer service that I have received from Jon Lane at the Audio insider. I am in no way affiliated with them whatsoever, I am just simply a very happy and loyal customer. I previously bought Swan active desktop speakers after careful deliberation and was very happy with them.

    When I found out about a special project in which Jon Lane was personally involved in the design and many iterations of tweaking, fine-tuning the crossover I was intrigued- the Arx A5 project. It took quite a bit of convincing (and endless research), but I joined the first group buy and am eagerly, patiently waiting to receive them this summer. He has been very accommodating and transparent about many aspects of the project and the group buy, and actually values and acts on feedback from everybody from the audio enthusiasts to first-time speaker buyers. That is rare and something to be appreciated when buying internet direct... Anyways, my journey with Arx is a different journey I will talk about in another thread once I've actually received them and had time to spend with them...

    Back to the Dana 630is: I've hunted all over for the unboxing pictures I took, but can't find them unfortunately. In summary, they were packaged very well, and also double boxed. Arrived in pristine condition and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the wood cherry grain the first time in person- beautiful, fine craftsmanship.

    Naturally, I was very curious about these speakers so had a super-extended "break-in period" to get them ready for set up at my dad's house. I was impressed but not blown away initially, but after a couple days of breaking them in, the sound became what I had read in the various glowing reviews... I was confident I had made the right choice. As I listened to more and more music I found myself not wanting to let go of them. I enjoy classical music, but it's nowhere near my favorite genres.. I knew from the reviews that they would be great for classical, but I was truly impressed by how the speakers handled everything I threw at it. I also had extended listening sessions just as 2.0 as well as 2.1 connected with a HP Seaton Submersive sub.. I was surprised at the amount of bass these speakers could produce by themselves and also how wonderful they sounded when integrated with the sub. (Using my Denon 4311ci, I tried both 60hz and 80hz crossovers; both integrated the Danas with the SubM very well)

    I integrated them into my home theater setup at one point and kept them as my main L and R speakers for over a month because they did great with movies as well.. I thought i would run into sound stage issues integrating them with a different brand center (SVS SCS-01) but the sound stage only improved..

    So the icing on the cake, and the most rewarding experience with the 630is by far: I finally, recently hooked them up at my dad's house. The first album I put on for him was a classical album he's heard hundreds of times and he was absolutely floored by what he's been missing from listening in his car (which had the "premium" speaker option) and from older speakers that these 630is replaced in his living room. The look on his face was precious, and he must have listened to various albums for hours and hours after I had left as he was falling in love with his music all over again..

    As a side note, I was also surprised that the soundstage grew much larger.. I expected it a little since my living room is much smaller than his, but the way the music enveloped the room put a huge smile on my face... anyways, I've rambled on much longer than folks care to read, so I'll end my review

    I'll give a preemptive disclaimer about my review: I did not take any measurements, and set up the Dana 630is on SVS floorstands about a foot away from any major boundaries, with a slight toe-in to the main listening position; I tried "pure direct" mode on my receiver as well as calibrating with Audyssey MultiEQ XT32 with some additional fine-tuning afterwards.

    I realize that my review may not be as technical as plenty others posted on this forum, but did my best to convey my journey in deciding on them and how I feel about their performance. I will say that I have auditioned many, many speakers ranging from low-end to super high-end for the past 20 years since I first really fell in love with this hobby at the age of 9.. so for me to give such a great review of these speakers is really something... at least in my humble opinion :D

  • #2
    Thanks, ryanboston!