DALI Opticon 1 MK2 Review: Play loud without any distortion
In recent years, consumers have become accustomed to the hierarchy of manufacturers for miniature bookshelf speakers as the rear satellites in home theater systems, and today they are not often viewed by consumers as the primary stereo pair.
However, you and I know very well that it is in their small monitors that the DALI developers put a significant part of the work when creating new series of speakers, and it would be unfair to deprive them of the chance to prove themselves within the framework of a good two-channel system. Moreover, this is not the cheapest product line of the manufacturer.
The DALI Opticon 1 mk2 bookshelf speakers are really small in size – only 261 x 152 x 231 mm, but the weight of each speaker at 4.5 kilograms, coupled with a compact body and high build quality, gives the impression of a solid structure. Like all models in the Opticon line, these speakers are manufactured in Denmark on DALI factory located near the town of Aalborg.
The main innovation of the second generation of Opticon monitors is the tweeter borrowed from the Calisto series, equipped with a 29mm silk dome, a ventilated magnet system and a loading chamber filled with special porous sound-absorbing material. The increased diameter of the diaphragm allows you to expand the directional pattern of the high-frequency link and simplify its coordination with the main mid / low frequency driver. The latter has not changed in size (120 mm) and is equipped with a varnished cellulose diffuser with the inclusion of wood fibers. The magnetic system is traditionally equipped with a core made of a proprietary magnetized alloy called SMC (Soft Magnetic Compound), which are tiny metal balls coated with a special chemical compound for better adhesion to each other. As we know, this solution provides a uniform magnetic field and increases the thermal stability of the system at high volume levels. The magnets and moving system are mounted on a cast aluminum basket, which in turn is secured via anti-vibration pads to the front panel. The suspension is made of soft and flexible rubber and provides sufficient linear travel for the diffuser. The crossover filter is tuned to a frequency of 2 kHz, the system sensitivity is 86 dB, and the nominal impedance is 4 ohms.
The bass reflex of the monitors has a proprietary Dual Flare profile and is brought out to the rear panel, and it emits at an angle towards the terminals for connecting speaker cables – this is done in order to give it room for work when placing the speakers on the wall. Its tuning frequency is 61.5 Hz. The DALI Opticon 1 mk2 enclosure is made of medium density fiberboard and finished with vinyl in various colors, with a choice of three options – satin white, satin black and tobacco oak.
This time the audition was organized in the DALI brand area of the Dr.Head salon on Novy Arbat. And although the acoustic conditions were slightly different from those when testing the older models of the line, the system consisted of the same electronic components – an integrated amplifier Cambridge Audio CXA61 and the Cambridge Audio CXN network player connected to it digitally. The commutation was performed with interconnect and speaker cables from QED.
Taking into account the small size of the monitors and, above all, the main speaker, we did not expect any feats in the low frequency region from the DALI Opticon 1 mk2. It’s hard to count on serious bass punch from a 120mm driver.
Nevertheless, the monitors managed to give us a pleasant surprise. The fact is that very often correctly designed small bookshelf speakers are able to correctly and without distortion reproduce the maximum bass available to them in ordinary living quarters. This is achieved, firstly, due to the high location of the woofer in relation to the floor, which minimizes reflections, and secondly, due to the significantly increased overload capacity of such speakers in recent years. As they say, less is more.
Without encroaching on the Mariana depths of the low-frequency range, kids honestly and cheerfully work out the frequency band available to them. As a result, the subjective bass quality on the respective tracks is always high. The monitors weren’t embarrassed by the booming kick on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Dani California or Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog, nor by the monstrous electronic bass on the latest Infected Mushroom album. What can we say about jazz or chamber classics, which traditionally sounded airy and spacious – more expensive monitors will envy the DALI Opticon 1 mk2’s ability to draw a scene. Of course, one should not count on full sounding of large rooms with the help of “ones”, but in a small typical room they will be able to satisfy most of the needs of even a very demanding music lover.
DALI Opticon 1 mk2 is the true concentration of all DALI technologies in a compact format. If you don’t have a large listening room, but want to get the most out of it, then these miniature monitors are perfect. It is only desirable to provide them with good racks and an amplifier.