Dali Op­ti­con 2

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FOR Fast, ar­tic­u­late midrange; strong dy­nam­ics; lovely de­sign AGAINST Need care­ful sys­tem­match­ing; bass isn’t punchi­est

“Hav­ing the Dali name on a pair of speak­ers is usu­ally a guar­an­tee of good times. Thank­fully, these Op­ti­con 2 stand­mounts are no ex­cep­tion”

Un­like the job­sworth ac­coun­tant, Dali speak­ers tend to make hav­ing fun their num­ber one pri­or­ity, as many an hour spent tap­ping our feet to 1970s disco tracks through a pair of the Dan­ish com­pany’s speak­ers will at­test.

From the en­try-level Zen­sor 1s, right up to the high-rang­ing Epi­con 8s and the Op­ti­con 1s and 6s, the com­pany’s name on a pair of speak­ers is of­ten a guar­an­tee of good times. Thank­fully, these Op­ti­con 2s – the larger of the two stand­mounts in the com­pany’s mid­sit­ting range – are no ex­cep­tion.

With a name like ‘Op­ti­con’, you may ex­pect them to be all mus­cle and author­ity – but, while these are in­deed at­tributes, Dali makes a point of want­ing the range to be a ‘true’ Dali speaker se­ries. And aren’t they just.

Skip­ping past our 1970s playlist, we opt to play the Silent Shout al­bum by Swedish elec­tro-pop duo The Knife in­stead. The Op­ti­con 2s de­liver the head­rush su­per­nat­u­ral-es­que elec­tro melodies in the ti­tle track su­perbly – their fast, timely and dy­namic midrange com­ing into its own, and mak­ing the han­dling of the track’s en­er­getic polyrhythms and swerv­ing of any mis-steps sound re­mark­ably easy.

Cou­ple that with sweep­ing dy­nam­ics and im­pres­sive scale and it be­comes ap­par­ent that roof-rais­ing vol­ume isn’t nec­es­sary for you to be ma­nip­u­lated into a sit-down rave in your own arm­chair.

The Knife edge

That midrange ar­tic­u­lacy does won­ders for vo­cals, first from The Knife and later the haunt­ingly re­verbed voices of Tim­ber Tim­bre. Ex­pres­sive and open, the Dalis serve up clar­ity and in­sight, prov­ing more than happy to carry any emo­tional weight re­quired.

While there’s a dis­tinct bold­ness to them, it’s tamed with a calm­ing de­gree of sub­tlety and pre­ci­sion. Ev­ery­thing from track-dom­i­nat­ing drums to slight cym­bal taps has a fi­nal­ity and pur­pose in the mix. And de­spite our best ef­forts, they are hard to wrong-foot too.

The seis­mic bassline of The Knife’s track is ag­ile, and with the help of the Dali’s bass port sinks deep as a thump­ing beat breaks above it. How­ever, it’s never quite as hard-hit­ting or pen­e­trat­ing as it is through the Dy­nau­dio Emit M20s. Bring­ing the Dalis closer to a wall helps with bass so­lid­ity and punch, but there is a bal­ance to be struck – adding low-end sub­stance can re­duce the nim­ble­ness that makes them so like­able. Just be pre­pared to ex­per­i­ment a lit­tle with speaker positioning.

Matches the decor

The tre­ble runs a lit­tle en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, es­pe­cially at higher vol­umes – but, al­though the pre­sen­ta­tion is on the bright side, only poor sys­tem-match­ing could cause it to be a prob­lem. For this rea­son, it’s im­por­tant to part­ner the Dalis with smooth, richer-sound­ing kit: the Arcam A19 stereo am­pli­fier, for ex­am­ple.

You needn’t worry about your Op­ti­con 2s match­ing the decor though. They come in a black, white or wal­nut vinyl, which is smart and well ap­plied – even if we pre­fer the glossier, more mod­ern and ex­pen­sive-look­ing paint fin­ish of the Wharfedale Reva-2s.

The 16.5cm mid/bass driver cone is made of pa­per with wood fi­bres added to im­prove stiff­ness, and its ma­hogany tint adds to the aes­thetic in­ter­est. High fre­quen­cies are de­liv­ered by a 28mm soft dome tweeter, rather than the dual rib­bon/dome ar­range­ment of the larger speak­ers in the Op­ti­con range.

Tal­ented en­ter­tain­ers

The Op­ti­con 2s aren’t the most ver­sa­tile stand­mounts on the mar­ket, nor the most son­i­cally com­plete (as a com­par­i­son with the Dy­nau­dio Emit M20s demon­strates), but that doesn’t take away from the fact they are tal­ented, en­ter­tain­ing speak­ers. If care is taken to part­ner these Dalis with the right kit, then these are a great op­tion.

You’d ex­pect mus­cle from the Op­ti­con 2s, but they are also ‘true’ Dali speak­ers

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