The first difference you'll notice is the new aesthetic. The familiar navy blue has made way for a striking white finish, though the tweeter protector appears unchanged. They're quite light out of the box for an eight-inch speaker, weighing only 10kg. The excellent manual and iOS app help you to calibrate the position of the speakers and explain the basics of acoustics, bass modes and best sonic practices. As well as the usual -6, 0 and +6dB Sensitivity switches, Dynaudio's DSP technology has allowed them to implement some unique controls to help adapt the speaker to its positioning.
The Bass Extension switch is designed to offer a more even bass response across varied volume levels. The -10Hz setting allows the speaker to reach its lowest frequency—in this case, 45Hz—while the zero level sets the filter to 55Hz and +10Hz to 65Hz. The idea is that, when mixing at lower volumes, you can open the filter completely (-10Hz) but if you want to increase the volume, it's recommended to reduce the amount of bass extension to prevent damage to the speaker. It's a sound concept, but it'd be great to have this function on the front rather than the back, or better yet, have the DSP automatically detect when the volume crosses a level threshold and reduce the extension appropriately. It's a welcome addition all the same.
The Sound Balance feature is somewhat less common. With settings for Bright, Neutral and Dark, the frequency is shifted in favour of the high- or low-end, with a 1.5dB boost and cut at each end of the spectrum. Another benefit of DSP, it's designed to help the speaker shine in a dead room or to reduce its high-end response in a bigger, live space. The effects are fairly subtle. I found a Bright Sound Balance set at -10Hz Bass Extension offered an open sound with a tight low-end, but the room will dictate your own settings.
The Position setting is slightly more vague. There's a choice of either Free or Wall, which alters the sound depending on how close your speaker is to a rear wall. There's no information on what the process actually does to the sound, other than it "helps." I imagine it's something to do with how the rear port responds but I couldn't hear any drastic difference between the two settings.
While these extra settings are a step in the right direction, without proper understanding of acoustics and your personal mixing space, they could do more harm than good. There's an accompanying iOS app with a frequency analyser and SPL meter, which is certainly helpful, but you'll need to ensure you know what you're looking for before you use it. It would have been nice to see some of the more detailed control and measurement functions of Dynaudio's AIR range trickle down into this new entry-level model.
The usual Dynaudio low-end tightness is well and truly intact. The bass on the LYD 8s is excellent. It was never cloudy or woolly and, in fact, revealed some of the flaws in my own audio interface converters. The high-end is equally impressive, with excellent clarity even at very low volumes. Much like the BMs, they require some break-in time and the highs may seem too strong for the first few days. Dynaudio is known for frequency separation and it's very easy to pick out subtle changes as you mix. Not only will you hear a 1dB cut in a crowded frequency range, it allows you to make decisions faster and move quickly through the mix process, a benefit that cannot be overstated.
The stereo field is impressive, too. Tilt your panning one degree to the left or right and you'll begin to hear the shift. I A/B'd these speakers with the similarly priced but slightly smaller Focal Solo 6BEs and although both have an excellent high- and low-end response, the LYD's remained more consistent across volume ranges.
Whether you're a full-time mix engineer working for clients or producing and mixing your own music, trusting what you hear is vital. Ideas, money and time can be saved when you don't have to check yourself at every stage and the creative process is allowed to thrive. There's a learning curve with any speaker and the room will play a huge part in how your mix translates but the LYD series is an excellent place to start and one that will get you a lot of the way there very quickly. Minor gripes, such as the lack of an LED on the front, won't stop these white speakers being just as popular as the BMs that preceded them.
Ease of use: 4.0