Dali Oberon 5 £699
There are no magic ingredients here, no cutting-edge technology to explain the Oberon 5s’ unusually talented nature. Just careful engineering and steady refinements of design ideas that Dali has pursued across its ranges for years. The Oberon 5s are compact two-way towers, standing just 83cm tall and just over 16cm wide. There are a pair of 13cm mid/bass drivers and a larger-than-usual 29mm soft dome tweeter. The mid/bass drivers use the company’s favoured wood fibre/fine-grain paper pulp cone, claimed to deliver the drive unit holy grail of high rigidity with low resonance.
When it comes to positioning, the Oberon 5s like to be a little away from the back wall and firing straight ahead, rather than angled towards the listening position, but they’re not too fussy and shouldn’t present any issues for a good, price-compatible amplifier.
Once run in, these speakers reveal themselves as terrific performers. They’re responsive, musical but, most of all, fun. They sound right at home among the complex rhythms and dense production of Radiohead’s In Rainbows. But they bring out the emotion too, highlighting the haunting nature of Videotape or the uplifting change of gear in 15 Step’s instrumental break. The Oberons have the dynamic subtlety, rhythmic precision and sheer transparency to make the most of such things and really draw the listener in.
A fine dynamic reach
They’re detailed too, revealing low-level instrumental strands with ease, but also managing to arrange that information in a composed and organised way. The leading edges of notes are well defined, but not highlighted unnaturally. The sound simply flows in an organic and convincing manner.
Particularly striking is the treble, which is crisp and biting without ever becoming brittle or shrill. It also blends seamlessly with the speaker’s expressive midrange performance. The Oberons sound great with voices, squeezing the last drop of emotional impact from Nina Simone’s heart-breaking Strange Fruit. We move onto Prokofiev’s Romeo And
Juliet where the Dalis show-off their fine dynamic reach and ability to render low-level shifts with skill. Despite being compact, those twin mid/bass drivers still deliver plenty in the way of low-frequency punch and authority, and go loud enough in all but the very largest of domestic settings.
In that case you may need to consider larger, more powerful alternatives; for everyone else, there’s nothing not to like about the Oberon 5s.
The Oberon 5s use wood fibre/ paper pulp cones to deliver rigidity and low resonance