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Dali iO-12 – True HiFi Sound on-the-road durch Dali SMC Technology

The Danish company Dali Speaker A/S is convinced that the Dali iO-12 is a new state-of-the-art headphone, a solution that offers nothing less than true hi-fi sound even when on the move, and presented it for the first time at the High End 2023 in Munich.

Story Highlights
  • Dali Speaker A/S describes the Dali iO-12, first presented at the High End 2023 in Munich, as state-of-the-art headphones.

The new Dali iO-12 is based on four decades of expertise in the development of audio solutions, according to the Danish company Dali Speaker A/S, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The new Dali iO-12 should be seen in the context of these celebrations, because it offers a solution that is described as state-of-the-art and that is entirely in line with the company’s philosophy.

According to Dali Speaker A/S, the new Dali iO-12 is a solution that offers true hi-fi sound on the move, relying on state-of-the-art technology. It is also the latest addition to the Dali iO Series.

Dali iO-12 with Dali Soft Magnetic Compound Magnet System

Probably the most outstanding feature of the new Dali iO-12 is that it is the world’s first headphone to use the so-called Dali SMC, the Dali Soft Magnetic Compound Magnet System.

This technology was developed by Dali Speaker A/S years ago and is considered an outstanding feature of almost all speaker systems from the Danish specialist.

When using conventional magnets in a driver, it is not uncommon for a phenomenon called hysteresis to occur, says Dali Speaker A/S. This leads to increased resistance in the voice coil, which in turn can result in unwanted distortion in the reproduction of the audio signal.

Dali SMC Technology relies on a special material in which this phenomenon is said not to occur, thus ensuring distortion-free reproduction at all times. The result is a crystal clear sound with unsurpassed detail and depth, both in the drivers of speaker systems and now in the drivers of the new Dali iO-12.

The fact that a very generously dimensioned driver with a diameter of 50 mm is used, and that the material used is a paper-wood mixture, which is typical for Dali Speaker A/S in the loudspeaker segment, ensures that this is also a particularly dynamic reproduction over a wide frequency range.

Signal transmission via Bluetooth and USB-C as well as ANC

Of course, Bluetooth is primarily used for signal transmission for the Dali iO-12, whereby a solution from Qualcomm Inc. is used and apt Adaptive is supported in addition to the SBC and AAC codecs. This enables signal transmission of at least “CD quality”, if not hi-res audio with at least 24 bit and 48 kHz.

However, it should be emphasised that the new Dali iO-12 can also be operated via USB-C, e.g. directly on a notebook, whereby a signal transmission with up to 24 bit and 96 kHz is possible via USB audio. Alternatively, a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack is also available.

Active Noise Cancelling, or ANC for short, is designed to ensure undisturbed music enjoyment even in noisy environments.

The Dali iO-12 has two sound modes: the HiFi sound mode for a neutral reproduction, or the Bass sound mode for those who want something a little more powerful.

It should also be mentioned that the Dali iO-12 has an integrated microphone and can of course be used as a hands-free device as well as for voice control, for example via Apple Siri on Apple iOS, Google Assistant on Google Android, and in interaction with Amazon Alexa.

It is also worth noting that Dali Speaker A/S decided not to design a special app for the new Dali iO-12. The headphones are designed in such a way that they are not needed, according to the manufacturer’s promise.

Long playing time of up to 35 hours

It is pleasing that the new Dali iO-12 has a really very long playing time. The manufacturer says it can be used for up to 35 hours. The integrated battery is of course charged via a USB-C cable, which is included in the scope of delivery, as are two audio cables with 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack – one with a length of 1.2 m, the other with 3 m – a 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm jack adapter and a flight adapter, as well as a transport case.

High wearing comfort

The new Dali iO-12 are designed to be as light as possible, which makes them comfortable to wear. In addition, there are soft ear pads, which interestingly have a square shape and can be removed. They are covered in genuine leather, as is the soft padding on the inside of the headband.

Prices and availability

The new Dali iO-12 celebrated its premiere at the High End 2023 in Munich. There, it was also announced that you will have to be a little patient for these exclusive over-ear headphones for mobile use, as they are expected to be launched on the market in August 2023 at a recommended retail price of € 999,-.

Getting to the point

With the new Dali iO-12, Dali Speaker A/S presents an exclusive over-ear headphone for mobile use, which is described as a state-of-the-art solution. First and foremost, the drivers are equipped with the exclusive Dalli SMC Technology, which is used here for the first time in a headphone and which is supposed to provide no less than True HiFi Sound.

Price€ 999,-
ManufacturerDALI A/S
Distribution Austriasmart audio GmbH
Distribution GermanyDali GmbH
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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