The SC-I.AV is the smallest of Dunlavy Audio Lab’s Signature Collection speakers designed primarily for home theater applications. While five of the SC-I.AV speakers can provide an accurate matched surround monitoring experience, there is certainly nothing wrong with a pair of these babies in stereo especially when used with the SC-S1 subwoofer.
Product PointsApplications: Recording or mastering, high-end monitoring
Key Features: SC-1.AV – Dual 5.5-inch woofers; 1-inch silk dome tweeter. SC-S1 – 12-inch woofer; onboard 250W amplifier. Choice of oak, cherry or black finishes
Price: SC-I.AV $995 each, SC-S1 $1,845.
Contact: Dunlavy Audio Labs at 719-592-1159, Web Site
+ Quality construction
+ Low distortion
+ Flat response
+ Easy to drive
– SC-I.AV needs subwoofer
The Score; A highly accurate full range monitor system when used with the SC-S1 subwoofer
I have known and respected John Dunlavy as a speaker designer for many years dating back to the Duntech line of high-end speakers that were all designed by John and built in Australia. John holds several acoustical patents relating to speaker design and is uncompromising when it comes to measurement and testing of speaker products. Dunlavy is one of the few speaker manufacturers that employs anechoic chambers for both design and testing of individual drivers and final product quality control.
The SC-I.AV consists of a pair of 5.5-inch shielded magnesium basket high-damping rubber surround bass-mid drivers with one 1-inch silk dome tweeter mounted between them.
The sealed enclosure measures 20 inches high by 8 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep and weighs in at 25 pounds. Two pairs of high quality five-way binding posts recessed on the back of the cabinet provide capability for biwiring or biamplification. In-room efficiency is rated at 91 dB SPL for 1 watt at one meter. With an impedance of 5 ohms nominal (not dropping below 3.5 ohms at any frequency) the SC-I.AVs are a piece of cake to drive. Because of the efficiency and easy load for the amplifier, not much power is required, however a very high quality amplifier is recommended because the SC-I.AV will disclose almost any flaw in the electronics that precedes the speaker itself. I have been told that they sound great with SET (single-ended triode) amplifiers. Frequency response is claimed to be from 75 Hz to 20 kHz ±1.5 dB while matched pairs are said to be within .5 dB of each other. Crossover design is minimum phase first order (6 dB/octave). The tweeter is physically mounted on a plane behind the two mid-bass drivers for even more accurate phase alignment. Impulse response is a specification that John Dunlavy is fanatic about, I have had discussions with John in the past on the subject he feels it is one of the most underrated and overlooked specification in speaker design today, and I agree. One of John’s patents has to do with diffraction distortion which is all but eliminated with the SC-I.AV by using highly efficient acoustical absorption materials around the tweeter and edges of the cabinet. And it works, within its frequency range the SC-I.AV is one of the most uncolored speakers I have heard. My qualification has to do with the bottom two octaves. Two 5-inch drivers cannot be expected to create earth-shaking bass but down to 80 Hz or so look out, this is some of the most well defined, accurate tight bass you will hear. However, what is essential to complete this system is an equally good subwoofer.
Enter the Dunlavy SC-S1 powered subwoofer. Built around a 12- inch long excursion, down-firing cast basket carbon fiber composite driver this sub is nicely matched to the SC-I.AVs. Powered by an internal 250 watt RMS amplifier the SC-S1 is capable of reproducing frequencies down into the 20 Hz region, filling in those missing two bottom octaves that the SC-I.AV just cannot reproduce.
An active low-pass crossover is continually adjustable from 35 Hz to 115 Hz with a 12 dB per octave slope. A bypass switch is provided just in case you want to do your crossover externally, along with a 0 – 180 degree phase switch. An overall level control is also available. The SC-S1 can be driven with either unbalanced RCA line level or five-way binding post speaker level inputs. Compared with other subwoofers that go down to 25 Hz, the SC-S1 is relatively compact measuring only 15 x 15 x 19 inches, and weighing 70 pounds.
My listening set up consists of a Philips SACD-10 transport feeding an EMM Labs DAC8 D/A converter with the bit stream DSD signal. The balanced converter output then is connected to the balanced input of an EMM Labs Switchman monitor controller. The balanced output of the Switchman feeding the balanced inputs of a Bel Canto eVo6 power amplifier in the bridged mode driving the pair of SCI.AV speakers. I used the isolated unbalanced outputs of the Switchman to feed the left and right inputs of the SC-S1 subwoofer. The SCI.AVs were placed on RPG speaker stands while the subwoofer was placed on the floor between them.
I will go a step further beyond uncolored and say the SC-I.AV are some of the most accurate speakers I have heard, and when used in conjunction with the SC-S1 subwoofer they make up a true full-range high-end monitoring system. The top end is open and airy while the mid range is very precise without the usual harshness that sometimes comes with a lot of detail. You can tell the distortion is really low, and as I said before you should use the best power amplifier you can get your hands on to drive these speakers because they will show all the warts in the electronics.
I set the crossover on the sub to approximately 80 Hz and the transition from SC-I.AV to the subwoofer was fairly smooth. I have yet to hear a perfect transition from satellite to subwoofer and find more often than not two subs work better than one. The SCI.AVs are priced at $995 each while the SC-S1 powered subwoofer is $1,695. Not cheap but definitely a level up from most pro audio speakers.
Philips SACD-10 CD player; EMM Labs DAC8 D/A converter; EMM Labs Switchman monitor controller; Bel Canto eVo6 amplifier; RPG speaker stands.