These award-win­ning ac­tive, wire­less loud­speak­ers are absolutely out­stand­ing value for money!

Australian HIFI - - CONTENTS -

This year has been a very good one for Dali, be­cause this well-known Dan­ish loud­speaker man­u­fac­turer has picked up awards not only for the Dali Zensor 5 AX speak­ers re­viewed here (‘Best Wire­less Speaker 2016-2017’ be­stowed by Sound & Im­age Magazine) but also for its Spek­tor 6 Speak­ers (a ‘Best Value’ award from EISA—the Euro­pean Imag­ing & Sound As­so­ci­a­tion) and its Phan­tom S in-wall speaker se­ries also picked up a ‘Best Prod­uct’ EISA award in the cat­e­gory ‘Home The­atre High-End 2017–2018.’


Ac­tive wire­less loud­speak­ers—speak­ers where the am­pli­fier is built into the speaker it­self, and where there’s wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity so you can stream mu­sic from your phone or de­vice—are the hottest prod­ucts in au­dio right now.

The only prob­lem is that the vast ma­jor­ity of the units sold are no big­ger than a can of soft drink and are de­signed for desk-top use or ‘ca­sual’ mu­sic play­back at pic­nics and such­like. The prob­lem with this be­ing that such units sound ac­cept­able only at low vol­ume lev­els; their sound is al­ways mono­phonic and, de­spite their sound qual­ity of­ten be­ing re­mark­ably good con­sid­er­ing their price and size, it’s still a long, long way away from be­ing high-fidelity.

This lack of fidelity has not gone un­no­ticed by con­sumers, but they’ve also no­ticed the con­ve­nience of such sys­tems and, not un­rea­son­ably, have asked why home hi-fi loud­speak­ers can’t be ac­tive and wire­less. It’s a good ques­tion. One an­swer is that the great ma­jor­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ers of qual­ity loud­speak­ers are not skilled at build­ing ei­ther am­pli­fiers or wire­less in­ter­faces. An­other is that those man­u­fac­tur­ers that could build such speak­ers if they wished pre­fer not to do so be­cause they want to avoid the in­creased com­plex­ity of in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion caused by hav­ing to con­form with all the dif­fer­ent elec­tri­cal stan­dards in each coun­try and the in­creased pos­si­bil­ity of lit­i­ga­tion if a pow­ered prod­uct causes dam­age to some­thing—or some­one. Dis­tribut­ing loud­speak­ers is easy. Dis­tribut­ing mains-pow­ered speak­ers is not.

Dali, how­ever, has de­cided to take the bull by the horns. The Zensor 5 AX is a wire­less, ac­tive ver­sion of Dali’s highly pop­u­lar Zensor 5 pas­sive loud­speaker. It’s an ex­tremely clever strat­egy to use an ex­ist­ing prod­uct be­cause Dali has not had to de­velop a com­pletely new prod­uct—just add power am­pli­fiers and in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity to an ex­ist­ing one. In fact, the right chan­nel speaker of the Dali Zensor 5 AX pair is just an or­di­nary Zensor 5 pas­sive loud­speaker—both the left- and right-chan­nel am­pli­fiers and the Blue­tooth Apt-X re­ceiver, and the dig­i­tal-to-ana­logue con­verter are built into the left-chan­nel loud­speaker.

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