This is pretty interesting. German publication, LowBeats, has done a comprehensive comparison of the three "SE" speakers, Contour 1.3SE, Special25, and Special40, along with Contour C20 for good measure. The title of the article is, "20 Jahre Dynaudio SE: 4 Kompaktboxen im Online-Klangvergleich" or "20 Years Dynaudio SE: 4 Compact Speakers in Online Sound Comparison."
The 1.3SE and S25 were supplied by Dynaudio, whereas they already had S40 and C20 in-house as part of their suite of benchmark speakers. The goal of the test? To determine what differences 40 years of evolution (and technology) has done to Dynaudio sound.
The article, in German, is here: https://www.lowbeats.de/dynaudio-se-...ine-vergleich/
Their conclusions? (Quick and dirty summary of the German)
-They are surprised how similar the four sound, each providing neutral, room-filling sound with high quality bass for their size.
-There were two distinct outliers in the test: Contour 1.3SE and Contour C20.
-The 1.3SE came in "last" showing its age with the less precise mids. For similar size and price (MSRP in Germany in year of release), the S40 shows specific gains in this regard.
-The other outlier, coming in "first" is the C20 with distinct precision in the mids and offering certain naturalness to its sound.
-Coming in "second" and surprising them the most for its age is S25. The 16 year-old classic is neck-and-neck with its newest cousins.
-S40 did not come in "third" but rather different in their subjective analysis. They actually praise its tweeter the most and refer to its mid-range as the most pleasing but they found its upper bass to be a little muddy compared to the rest.
-Between S25 and S40, they think it comes down to matter of preference: the S40 offers higher quality high-notes and mids that might be more pleasing to some, while the S25 offers better bass.
-If you can find a great, used pair of S25 for 2000-2500 EUR, buy them! They are still an amazing value.
-The C20 is undoubtedly the "best" in this test of four great speakers.