Dali Spek­tor 2 £200

When you have a cache of tal­ent that ri­vals view with envy, win­ning comes nat­u­rally

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Group Test: Standmounters -

In re­cent years, Dali, Q Acous­tics and Mon­i­tor Au­dio have all had What Hi-fi? Award-win­ners in the bud­get speaker cat­e­gory, so there was an air of an­tic­i­pa­tion when we brought new prod­ucts from all three brands to­gether in our test rooms. Acous­tic En­ergy also has its share of re­view plau­dits – which the four-star AE100S have gen­er­ously added to here.

The AE100S may not have the ab­so­lute trans­parency of some of their ri­vals but they are hugely en­joy­able, en­thu­si­as­tic, room-friendly speak­ers ideal for smaller spa­ces close to a wall.

Not sur­pris­ingly for phys­i­cally small speak­ers, all of the prod­ucts in this test find their op­ti­mal bal­ance not far from a rear wall. That’s some­thing to bear in mind if you plan to show off your speak­ers on stands in the mid­dle of a room.

Even if tucked away, the four-star Mon­i­tor Au­dio Mon­i­tor 100s make them­selves known with their dis­tinct bright-orange driver. If it’s a larger-scale sound you’re af­ter, these clear, ar­tic­u­late, spa­cious per­form­ers are fine al­ter­na­tives to the Acous­tic En­er­gys. But a lack of warmth, re­fine­ment and rhyth­mic dex­ter­ity com­pared with the Q Acous­tics 3010is and Dali Spek­tor 2s leave them a star short of top marks.

The real stars of the show

It’s not sur­pris­ing to see the cur­rent Award hold­ers, the Dalis, and the ba­bies in Q Acous­tics’ lat­est range both hold­ing onto their five stars. Q Acous­tics has fre­quently been top of the bud­get speaker mar­ket with its 2000 and 3000 ranges, so it’s busi­ness as usual for the com­pany here. The 3010is, as you’d ex­pect, usurp their pre­de­ces­sors.

Their ex­tra dol­lops of clar­ity and re­fine­ment build on the line’s legacy of even-handed and re­fined per­for­mances. And they still set the bench­mark in their cat­e­gory for co­he­sive­ness.

In the end it’s the Dalis, though, that el­bow them­selves to the front. Bound­less agility, rig­or­ous at­ten­tion to de­tail and irrepressible en­thu­si­asm are pow­er­ful al­lies, and the Dalis have them all on side. And noth­ing much against them.

“Bound­less agility, at­ten­tion to de­tail and irrepressible en­thu­si­asm are pow­er­ful al­lies”

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