Dali Spek­tor 2 £199

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Some bud­get speak­ers use fancy de­sign or ob­scure fea­tures to grab your at­ten­tion. Not so the Spek­tor 2s. These speak­ers have earned their place in these pages by sheer con­ven­tional bril­liance.

There’s ev­ery­thing we would ex­pect from a typ­i­cal £200 box here, from two-way driver con­fig­u­ra­tion and ported bass tun­ing right the way through to the 25mm dome tweeter and 13cm driver.

Pre­cise and en­er­getic

But the stats only tell you so much. Let them run in over a cou­ple of days and feed them with a good sys­tem – we used Marantz’s CD6006 UK Edi­tion CD player and Rega’s Brio am­pli­fier as well as a Denon D-M41 mi­cro sys­tem – and these speak­ers sparkle.

Mounted on solid stands and look­ing smart in their Wal­nut fin­ish (Black Ash is also avail­able), the 2s de­liver a breadth of ta­lent few sim­i­larly priced al­ter­na­tives can match.

Play Aretha Franklin’s Nat­u­ral Woman and the Spek­tors ex­cel with its dis­tinc­tive and pow­er­ful vo­cals. They’re de­liv­ered with nu­ance and pas­sion; each word is crisply de­fined with no room for doubt as to the emo­tion be­hind the lyrics. We like the co­he­sive way these speak­ers han­dle the in­stru­men­tal back­drop too, de­liv­er­ing the mu­sic with fi­nesse, pre­ci­sion and en­ergy. Mov­ing onto Tchaikovsky’s 1812

Over­ture proves the Spek­tors ca­pa­ble of high vol­ume lev­els and a de­cent de­gree of com­po­sure when pushed hard. There’s a pleas­ing level of res­o­lu­tion here along with the abil­ity to or­gan­ise that in­for­ma­tion into an in­volv­ing and mu­si­cal whole.

The way these speak­ers han­dle dy­nam­ics is im­pres­sive; they’re fluid and ex­pres­sive, ren­der­ing both large-scale swings and low-level sub­tleties with equal verve. The re­sult is that these Dalis have the abil­ity to draw the listener into the mu­sic in a way that eludes even the best of their ri­vals.

Q Acous­tics comes close with the re­fined and en­er­getic 3010i from its re­vamped 3000 se­ries – a di­rect price ri­val – but even those lack the scale and dy­namic reach of the Dalis.

Ton­ally, the Spek­tor 2s have a full-bodied yet bal­anced pre­sen­ta­tion. This means they’re easy to part­ner and less fussy about rough or overly ag­gres­sive record­ings.

If you’re look­ing to get the best speak­ers you can buy for less than £200, noth­ing else at this price will give you such a well-judged blend of de­tail and out­right en­ter­tain­ment.

Unas­sum­ing yet wildly tal­ented, these are still the best bud­get speak­ers around

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