Only the best “ingredients” are used in the Dali OBERON Series, designed as an all-round solution. This is the promise of the Danish loudspeaker specialist Dali Speaker A/S for the market launch of the latest product line, and indeed, this was once again demonstrated in a remarkable way. The flagship of the series, the Dali OBERON 7, proves this in a particularly impressive way.
For years, the Danish loudspeaker specialist Dali Speaker A/S has known how to move on thin ice. The company’s strategy is to address as many customers as possible, not just specialising in one area or another, but rather making sure that the product range is as broad as possible. And this at the most attractive prices possible, while at the same time making very high demands on the quality offered.
But why are we talking about thin ice in this context, on which the Danish company is operating with this strategy? Well, the answer is as simple as it is obvious, because Dali Speaker A/S is far from being the only company on the market. Rather, it is precisely those market segments that Dali Speaker A/S primarily serves that are the most competitive. Countless suppliers are active here, and the market for loudspeaker systems is not an easy one, neither for proven specialists in various segments, and certainly not for very broadly based companies. And even if everything is often presented as vain and blissful to the outside world, the last few years in particular have seen many a company’s substance gnawing away…
Dali Speaker A/S, however, has been very successful so far, which is probably mainly due to how the strategy just outlined is actually implemented.
Dali Speaker A/S sees itself as a proven innovative company, where development, especially the continuous development and improvement of products has the highest priority. To ensure this, Dali Speaker A/S has made it a point to leave all aspects of development and production in our own hands. For example, the company has its own development team with more than 35 years of experience. Their declared goal is to develop solutions that guarantee an impressive music experience and all the emotion and joy that goes with it. Their results can be directly transferred to production, whereby these are first and foremost used in the premium segment systems, which at Dali Speaker A/S always claims to be high-end – and rightly so, by the way. And because the development and production are in our own hands, it is also possible to gradually optimise the technologies, but above all the production, so that innovations can be gradually transferred from the premium systems to the more cost-effective solutions. Because of course, being not only a “sound tinkerer” and technician, but also a good businessman is necessary to be successful in the market.
Dali Speaker A/S has already proven many times that this strategy works perfectly, and is doing so once again with the company’s latest product line, the Dali OBERON Series.
The Dali OBERON Series is a very special product line from the point of view of the Danes and is of great importance for the company as a whole. It is the proven successor of the extremely successful Dali ZENSOR series, which, as Dali Deutschland GmbH proudly announced, was sold in thousands of units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland alone, and was thus very successfully included in the manufacturer’s range for over seven years. So the bar for the new Dali OBERON series is set accordingly high…
Broad-based and extremely flexible design
One of the reasons for the success of many series from Dali Speaker A/S, and of course the previous Dali ZENSOR series, was and still is the fact that the company always tries to plan different application scenarios, to offer the customer the widest possible choice to design his individual systems, ranging from classic stereo in various “sizes” to home cinema solutions.
This is exactly how the new Dali OBERON series was intended to be, so that it once again presents itself in an extremely wide range of configurations and is therefore ideally equipped to be used in the most diverse configurations.
The Dali OBERON 1, a very compact shelf speaker system of the series, is the first of the new Dali OBERON series. However, not all of the essential features of the Dali OBERON series have been implemented yet in order to offer a particularly favourable price point. These features can already be found in the second bookshelf speaker system of the series, the Dali OBERON 3, which has already won a clear test at sempre-audio.at.
Furthermore, for the sake of completeness, the Dali OBERON series also includes the Dali OBERON 5 floorstanding speaker system and the Dali OBERON VOKAL centre speaker, as well as the Dali OBERON ON-WALL, so that, as described, from stereo to surround, all requirements for an individual implementation of coherent systems are given.
And then there is of course the flagship of the series, the Dali OBERON 7, which we will now take a closer look at in the following.
The highest premise of the developers around the new Dali OBERON series was to use as many technologies as possible that can be found in the higher price ranges. This was to ensure that even in a proven entry-level series such as the Dalli OBERON Series, the declared goal of creating magical moments, i.e. to reproduce music in all its detail diversity, was actually achieved.
Dali Speaker A/S states that the Dali OBERON speaker series is made from the best ingredients of the existing high quality speaker lines, and that the goal of setting a new standard in its class in terms of sound quality, design and versatility has been achieved. This is especially true for our current test candidate, the Dali OBERON 7.
Extremely solid construction, extremely elegant appearance…
The fact that the Dali OBERON series as a whole is also designed a few things differently than before is shown right at the beginning by the design selection available here. All models, and thus also our test candidate, are available not only in the familiar black and white versions, but also in walnut and light oak. The baffle of the black model is also in black, as is the walnut version, whereas the Light Oak and, of course, White versions have a white lacquered baffle.
Also redesigned is the loudspeaker grille, which covers a little more than half of the baffle and is based on a specially structured fabric in black or grey frosted finish, depending on the model. Optionally, and this should be mentioned at this point, Dali Speaker A/S also offers a pure white loudspeaker grill. Due to this high-quality covering, and last but not least due to its rounded corners, the speaker grill gives an extremely elegant impression and may well pass for an example of typical Scandinavian design on a high level.
The newly designed stand, based on a slim aluminium frame, also contributes to this, which appears almost graceful, but always guarantees our test candidate Dali OBERON 7 an absolutely secure stand and ensures optimum decoupling, optionally by means of height-adjustable spikes or rubber feet.
The construction of the case is made of CNC-milled MDF boards, which even when viewed closely are flawlessly manufactured and completely covered with high-quality vinyl foil. Of course, a look inside the Dali OBERON 7 would reveal stable struts that prevent sound-damaging vibrations and resonances in the beginning. In addition, the inside of the cabinet, apart from the baffle itself, has been covered with an acoustic damping material.
Wide dispersion characteristics for flexible use, strong acceleration for dynamics
The Dali OBERON 7 is a two-way bass-reflex system, whereby, according to the manufacturer, the company’s philosophy, which has been in place for years, was to reproduce exactly the recorded music signal, no more, no less. Therefore, it is essential to guarantee homogeneous radiation over a wide frequency range and to ensure exact reproduction of the dynamics.
How could it be otherwise? Of course, Dali Speaker A/S relies on low and mid-range drivers, which use the company’s long-established paper cone, enriched with wood fibres, in the characteristic red tone. This material alone ensures that the surface of the membrane has a chaotic structure and thus prevents micro reflections. This is combined with particularly low-loss rubber beads and centering spiders, which support a very precise but also wide movement of the membrane. But this also requires a particularly powerful drive, and for this purpose Dali Speaker A/S has been offering an exclusive, tried and tested drive based on the so-called Dali SMC Technology for years. This technology is used for the first time in the Dali OBERON series in the entry-level class.
The focus here is on a soft magnetic material, a so-called Soft Magnetic Compound, or SMC for short, which is used instead of iron as the material for the pole core. This is a powder that is formed in a complex process by an external specialist in order to be used as a pole core. This ensures that the modulations of the air gap flow do not create a new competing flow in the air gap as soon as current flows through the voice coil windings. Two aluminum rings around the pole core provide a significantly reduced voice coil inductance, which also remains constant over the entire deflection with only very small deviations.
So to put it in a nutshell: Dali SMC technology allows a drive system where distortion is reduced to an absolute minimum by providing “current” or level and frequency independent uniform magnetic conditions to ultimately deliver accurate results every time.
In the Dali OBERON 7 this technology is used in two low-mid drivers, which, and this is another outstanding feature, have a diameter of 180 mm each, which is very generous for this class. According to the manufacturer, this should result in a high sound pressure level being guaranteed even at smaller deflections.
The two drivers are supported by a rear-facing bass reflex system that the developers have coupled directly to the drivers as far as possible, so that the reproduction in the bass range is powerful but also accurate. The rear bass reflex system can be used to vary the tonal character of the bass a little bit according to individual preferences. For example, the manufacturer specifies a recommended distance of at least 20 cm to a maximum of 80 cm. Depending on the conditions in the living room, a little experimentation can lead to optimum results.
For the upper frequency range of the Dali OBERON 7 a 29 mm fabric dome tweeter is responsible, which was especially developed for the Dali OBERON series.
Its membrane is to be made of an extremely light fabric, which at 0.06 mg per mm2 weighs less than half that of comparable materials. As can be seen from the diameter, a comparatively large diaphragm surface is relied upon here as well, in order to achieve a high sound pressure level even at a very small excursion. A smaller excursion ensures that the voice coil can be controlled with extreme precision, while ferrofluid is used for cooling in the magnet system for higher power handling and optimum damping, as well as to support centred voice coil excursion. A magnet with high magnetic flux density should ensure stable operation even over a long period of time. Unwanted reflections are eliminated by a soft felt piece at the top of the pole piece.
Once again, the developers at Dali Speaker A/S tuned the Dali OBERON 7 so that the tweeter comes into play even at comparatively low frequencies, guaranteeing a seamless transition to the midrange. This should also guarantee an airy, harmonious midrange, as the manufacturer himself puts it. A characterization that we can only confirm. The same applies to the fact that the Dali OBERON 7 offers a seamless transition in the low frequency range, since the bass reflex system is also comparatively “high reaching” at 46 Hz.
Technical key data…
Of course we don’t want to do without the bare figures, but we can treat them quite briefly. As described, the Dali OBERON 7 is a floorstanding speaker designed as a two way bass reflex system. With the two 160 mm bass / midrange drivers in combination with the 29 mm fabric dome tweeter and the bass reflex system working towards the rear a frequency range between 36 Hz and 26 kHz can be covered. The crossover network intervenes here at 2.3 kHz and the bass reflex system is tuned to 39.5 Hz. The manufacturer specifies an impedance of 6 Ohm and recommends this speaker system with a sensitivity of 88.5 dB for amplifiers with an output between 30 and 180 Watts.
With dimensions of 1,015 mm in height the Dali OBERON 7 can be described as a very compact floorstanding loudspeaker system. With a depth of only 340 mm and a width of 200 mm it can easily fit into any room and weighs in at 14.8 kg. In our humble estimation one should definitely choose a floorstanding loudspeaker system in this respect, instead of being content with a shelf speaker system, which anyway has to be operated best on a suitable stand, which ultimately takes up just as much space…
Of course, in this price range you can’t expect the connection panel on the back of the Dali OBERON 7 to have more than two screw terminals. However, these are, in the proven way, very solidly constructed and, in addition to bare cable ends, can also safely accommodate pre-convectioned cables with bananas, and bi-amping or bi-wiring is probably not an issue in this league anyway.
From the practice
Already during the extensive test of the Dali OBERON 3 we were fascinated by what an entry-level loudspeaker system is capable of, especially since the aforementioned Dali OBERON 3 is “only” a compact shelf speaker system.
Well, and if the much more compact model is already completely convincing, what can you expect from the flagship of the series?
To put it bluntly, the Dali OBERON 7 conveys all the virtues associated with hi-fi in a truly gripping way.
Once again, the Dali OBERON 7 is a loudspeaker system that offers an essential feature for an entry-level product: the ability to use this speaker with a wide range of electronics, while the Dali OBERON 7 always ensures the best possible performance.
Why is this so important? Well, quite simply, especially beginners “play” mostly with a small, manageable budget. Of course, it would be ideal to give the new speakers a worthy electronics, but in practice this happens rather rarely. Most of the time it means “either or” for customers, i.e. you use what you already have, and that is not always the optimal solution.
So it is all the more important that the new pairing nevertheless brings a clear gain in quality, and the Dali OBERON 7 undoubtedly achieves this on various electronics, even on very cheap amplifiers, as we have explicitly tested.
All the more astonishing then is the increase that goes along with a change in electronics. You can certainly climb the price list piece by piece until you reach the limit of the speakers. Exactly this gives the beginner the possibility to slowly work his way up without having to spend money for the speakers again. This is called value stability, and it can be found in the entry level class as well.
As flexible as the Dali OBERON 7 shows itself to be a playing partner in terms of electronics, it is also flexible in terms of set-up. We have already mentioned one point regarding the bass reflex system. To mention it again, it’s okay to experiment here, but our experience shows that in a medium sized room, a typical living room, a distance of about 30 to 40 cm to the wall is ideal, especially if you allow for the same amount of space left and right. To be honest, this can be realized in almost any living room, so that instead of a random audio solution it is better to go for a fine, inexpensive hi-fi system, especially if, as with the Dali OBERON 7, a very fine, representative floorstanding speaker system adorns the living room.
By the way, the Dali OBERON 7 also meets all the manufacturer’s promises regarding wide dispersion. The so-called sweet spot, i.e. the point in the room where the speakers deliver their optimum performance, is very wide, so you don’t have to sit rigidly in a single spot on the couch to enjoy the best results. It is also not necessary to angle the speakers, which would take up considerably more space.
The Dali OBERON 7 also proves this flexibility in its sound characteristics, so that no special music direction has to be preferred. It can be softly jazzy as well as classical with small or large line-up, folk-bluesy or rocky and electronically rhythm-fixed, the Dali OBERON 7 delivers it to the point, always detailed and vividly presented on a convincing stage.
The fact that this can be done with the appropriate emphasis in the sense of a full-grown floorstanding loudspeaker system will please the customer, but probably not always his neighbours, because the Dali OBERON 7 can really build up pressure, if it is desired.
So what else can we say in conclusion but to express our respect for the development work of the Danish developers, because what they have achieved here at a very reasonable price is remarkable. And to give a clear recommendation for the Dali OBERON 7. The Dali OBERON 7 is a speaker that you recommend to your friends, those you like to visit and enjoy music together!
Lars Worre, CEO and Managing Director of Dali Speaker A/S expressed it this way: “Is the Dali OBERON series the best speaker you can buy? It is the best speaker you can buy for this price!” An assessment he wasn’t so wrong about.
Getting to the Point
Dali Speaker A/S has set very ambitious goals for the new Dali OBERON Series, but can easily achieve them. Especially with an entry-level solution it is all the more remarkable that a loudspeaker system like the Dali OBERON 7 can be realised, which on the one hand can be used extremely flexibly, has impeccable workmanship and a very attractive design, and on the other hand features technologies from much more expensive series, which give it truly audiophile virtues. Our conclusion is that the Dali OBERON 7 is a worthy flagship of the OBERON series, at the same time one of the best floorstanding loudspeaker systems and therefore the new reference in this class. Once again Dali Speaker A/S has raised the bar in this area.
|Dali Speaker A/S has set high standards for the Dali OBERON Series: universal use, impeccable workmanship, attractive sound, and all this at an attractive price, up to the flagship of the series, the Dali OBERON 7.|
|Manufacturer:||Dali Speaker A/S|
|Germany:||Dali Deutschland GmbH|
|Price:||€ 499,- per item|
|The Good||– Very flexible installation|
– Compact floor-standing speaker system
– extremely elegant design
– High quality processing
– Remarkable sound in the entry-level class
– Enormously assertive
– Impeccable price/performance ratio
|The Bad||– No disadvantage apparent|