Dali Opticon 6 MKII review: subtlety and refinement

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The Dali Opticon 6 MKII floorstanding speaker is a 2.5 way model equipped with two 6.5” midbass drivers. This second generation of the Dali Opticon 6 speaker also features a new hybrid tweeter that now uses a larger diameter dome tweeter in addition to the ribbon tweeter. The bass-reflex enclosure has also been optimized with Dual Flare technology. Thanks to these new elements, this latest iteration by the Dansih manufacturer promises an even more accurate reproduction of high frequencies, deeper bass, as well as a better balanced soundstage, all for €1,899 per pair. Are these promises kept?

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker features a new tweeter and new enclosure technology to promise an even more precise reproduction of high frequencies, deeper bass, as well as a better balanced soundstage.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: the brand

Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries, better known as DALI, was founded in 1983 by Peter Lyngdorf. This audiophile icon is also behind the brand Lyngdorf Audio and is the co-founder of the Scandinavian chain store Hi-Fi Klubben. DALI’s particularity is to offer balanced, dynamic and faithful loudspeakers for a competitive price. The brand designs the majority of its drivers and loudspeakers itself in its workshops according to strict specifications that are constantly evolving. You can discover the entire production process of Dali’s speakers and drivers in our article covering our tour of the Dali factory located in the Danish town of Nørager.

Dali manufactures the majority of its speakers and drivers in its factory in Nørager, Denmark.

Over the years, Dali has never stopped innovating and now provides a very comprehensive catalog that includes compact speakers, Atmos speakers, center speakers, home theater speakers, floorstanding speakers and in-wall speakers. One of Dali’s greatest strengths has always been its ability to adapt to changing listening habits. It is therefore only natural that the Danish brand began producing portable Bluetooth speakers, soundbars, Bluetooth headphones and wireless speakers. The brand is always looking to improve, as demonstrated by the upgrade of the Dali Opticon 6 to MKII.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: packaging & accessories

The two Dali Opticon 6 MKII floorstanding speakers are each packaged in a separate box with two polystyrene pads on the bottom and top to support and protect them during transport. The speaker and its fabric acoustic grille are wrapped in a white synthetic cover to protect them from scratches when they are taken out of the box. The Opticon 6 MKII comes with a setup guide, as well as metal feet and the appropriate screws and tools to mount them. Eight rubber pads and eight decoupling spikes are also included, allowing you to choose what type of decoupling to use according to the type of flooring.

Each Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker is properly protected and supported inside its own box, which also includes an acoustic grille, as well as aluminum feet and the screws and tools to install them.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: presentation

Design 

Heir to the Dali Opticon 6 floor-standing speaker launched in 2015, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII adopts the same successful design. Its thick cabinet is made from multiple layers of MDF, a medium density wood composite used here to reduce resonance and coloration. It is entirely crafted and assembled by hand in the Danish manufacturer’s workshops. This cabinet benefits from multiple internal braces to strengthen it in order to eliminate unwanted resonances and consequently reduce distortion. The assembly process involves folding, followed by gluing, before pausing for 24 hours to ensure it is perfectly dry. This assembly technique contributes to the Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s elegant design as it leaves no visible screws or joints once the cabinet is assembled.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s MDF cabinet is assembled using a folding technique to produce a screwless and seamless finish.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers rest on four cast aluminum feet that are simply screwed to the base of the baffle. In addition to an undeniable aesthetic appeal, these feet also reinforce the stability of the speakers. They can be fitted with decoupling spikes to reduce vibration transmission, or with rubber feet when the speaker is installed on a delicate floor surface, such as wood flooring. Screws and tools for attaching the feet are included with each Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker.

On the rear panel, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII floorstanding speaker features two circular ports to optimize the bass response. Each port is strategically placed in front of a midbass driver to improve airflow and reduce turbulence. This turbulence management also uses Dual Flare technology, inspired by the airflow management systems used in aerodynamics. The entry and exit flares of the ports are designed to minimize interference depending on the expected airflow, opening diameter and frequency setting. This results in cleaner, more controlled bass.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII floorstanding speaker has a bass-reflex enclosure with two ports that use Dual Flare technology to optimize airflow and reduce turbulence.

Hybrid tweeter

Like its predecessor, the second generation Dali Opticon 6 MKII incorporates a hybrid tweeter combining a dome and a ribbon tweeter. This configuration, often used by the Danish manufacturer on its high-end speakers, combines the best of both technologies: the clarity, smoothness and dynamics of the dome tweeter, with the detail, softness and finesse in the very high frequencies of the ribbon tweeter. The dome model benefits from a new design derived from the tweeter used in the Dali Callisto C speaker. It offers significant improvements over the tweeter used in the MK1 range, with a softer, lighter dome and a larger diameter (29mm vs. 28mm). This increased diameter provides a wider radiation area to provide lower distortion and higher power handling. It ensures the reproduction of frequencies between 2kHz and 14kHz.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s new hybrid tweeter brings clarity, fluidity and energy to the highs.

The 17 x 45mm ribbon tweeter intervenes as early as 10kHz, the frequency at which the dome tweeter slowly begins to fade and become more directional. The ribbon extends the frequency response to 30kHz and adds transparency and depth to the soundstage, thanks to the fundamental reproduction of harmonic frequencies. It is mounted on a cast aluminum faceplate, shared with the dome tweeter, whose design optimizes dispersion control.

From 10Hz to 30kHz, the ribbon tweeter adds transparency and depth to the soundstage thanks to the fundamental reproduction of harmonic frequencies.

SMC drivers

The hybrid tweeter of the Dali Opticon 6 MKII is associated with two large 6.5” midbass drivers whose cone is made from a mixture of paper and wood fibers. This composition guarantees minimal structural resonances and gives the cones a burgundy color, characteristic of the brand’s speakers. Each of the Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s cones is supported by a rubber suspension selected for its mechanical properties, combining flexibility and minimal low frequency damping. The basket of each driver is made of die-cast aluminum to achieve extremely high rigidity and low resonance, while limiting interference with the internal magnetic system.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker features two large 6.5” midbass drivers for great control in the lows.

The magnetic system of the Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s drivers benefits from SMC (Soft Magnetic Compound) technology. This technology uses a magnetic element made of an alloy of multiple compacted magnet granules. This design provides high magnetic conductivity and low electric conductivity, resulting in a drastic reduction of the distortion caused by mechanical loss of the magnetic system. In a traditional iron magnet system, the current in the voice coil modulates the flow inside the air-gap of the magnet. The flow modulation causes distortion and creates difficult working conditions for the voice coil. Using SMC therefore greatly reduces the distortion caused by flow variations generated by the current. The coil is also enclosed in a copper capsule to reduce its inductance and incidentally the distortion/harshness of the high mids.

The SMC technology used in the Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s midbass drivers limits distortion for a more precise and natural sound.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: key specifications

Design

  • 2.5 way floorstanding speaker
  • Bass-reflex enclosure with Dual Flare technology
  • Reinforced MDF cabinet
  • Bi-amplification and bi-wiring compatible terminals

Drivers

  • 2 x 6.5” wood fiber cone SMC midbass drivers
  • 1 x 17x45mm ribbon tweeter
  • 1 x 29mm fabric dome tweeter

Measurements

  • Frequency response: 49Hz to 30kHz
  • Bass-reflex tuning frequency: 43.5Hz
  • Sensitivity: 88dB /w/m
  • Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
  • Max. SPL: 110dB
  • Crossover frequency: 800Hz / 2,200Hz / 14,000Hz
  • Recommended amplifier power: 25W – 200W

Accessories

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Rubber pads
  • M8 decoupling spikes
  • Aluminum feet
  • User manual

General

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 195 x 1001 x 330mm
  • Weight: 19.3kg

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: listening conditions

For our test, we connected the Dali Opticon 6 MKII floorstanding speakers to our reference tube amplifier, the Cayin CS-55A KT88, a model capable of delivering up to 2 x 40 watts using Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP speaker wires. Using the same cables, we then paired them with the Atoll IN200 transistor amplifier that can deliver 2 x 120 watts into 8 ohms. Our source was the Volumio Primo Hi-Fi Edition network player which we used to play FLAC and DSD Hi-Res music shared over the local network, as well as our Qobuz playlists. The player was connected to the amp using NorStone Skye RCA cables.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker is equipped with terminals that are compatible with wide gauge wires, banana plugs and spade connectors.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: listening impressions

From our first listening sessions, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers displayed accurate timbres and a beautiful clarity. With the track So Done by Alicia Keys and Khalid, the soundstage was extensive and incredibly transparent. The artists’ voices were precisely embodied in the center of the stage. They were rich, textured and each intonation was reproduced with great refinement. The hybrid tweeter’s extreme precision allows the vocals to be incredibly accurate and we could easily distinguish each note. When closing our eyes, the duo seemed to be on stage, just in front of us. A real treat given that music venues are all closed at the moment!

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers’ hybrid tweeter reproduces the artists’ voices with great finesse and an undeniable naturalness.

In addition to the voices, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII’s hybrid tweeter also worked wonders with acoustic instruments, as demonstrated with Tamacun by the duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The sound was incredibly dynamic and every strummed and plucked string was nicely highlighted. The rise in the highs was reproduced smoothly, with liveliness and without an ounce of aggressiveness. We could easily perceive the differences in intensity of the guitars. The acoustic message offered by the Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers was full of micro-details and accurate timbres.

On the track Comfortably Numb played by David Gilmour during his 2017 concert in Pompeii, the width and depth of the soundstage enhanced the guitar solo and greatly contributed to the realism of the listening experience. It was smooth, nuanced and intense. Even when the guitar was at its peak, the accompanying cymbals and percussion instruments remained clearly  perceptible and well defined. The tonal balance was very well respected and each register unfolded with great accuracy.

Like other frequencies, the lower end of the spectrum was responsive and energetic. On the track Looking for the Summer by Chris Rea, the bass was tight and was reproduced without any delay. They weren’t abyssal, but benefitted from a beautiful smoothness and a great richness that contributed to the naturalness of the bass on this track. The double midbass driver brought fullness and substance to the music.

The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker’s double midbass driver delivered tight bass that was reproduced without any delay.

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: compared to…

Focal Aria 926: available for €1,790 per pair, this Focal speaker adopts a 3-way design with the use of four drivers: two 6.5” woofers, a 6.5” midrange driver and a 1” inverted dome tweeter. In terms of sound, the Focal Aria 926 is a little more generous in the lows, with more powerful and deeper bass. In contrast, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII is more mellow, notably with greater softness in the high frequencies. The soundstage is also more extensive and benefits from a richer midrange thanks to the use of the Danish manufacturer’s iconic hybrid tweeter. 

Elipson Heritage XLS 15: marketed at €1,999 per pair, this Elipson loudspeaker benefits from a vintage aesthetic inspired by speakers from the 60s and 70s. It uses the same design principles with a three-way layout, a large woofer with a white paper membrane, a bass-reflex enclosure with a frontal port and front-mounted controls. Soundwise, the Elipson Heritage XLS 15 is understandably more generous in the lows due to its 12” driver. The latter provides deeper, better defined and more powerful bass. It is also more suave and warmer, with a very soft and always pleasant sound. However, these Elipson speakers are relatively bulky and require a room of at least 25m2 for their low frequency drivers to properly express themselves. The Dali Opticon 6 MKII speaker has the advantage of being able to be integrated more easily into any living room. 

The Elipson Heritage XLS 15 speaker provides even deeper and more powerful lows thanks to its 12” driver.

Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2: this B&W floorstanding speaker, priced at €1,799 per pair, is a 3-way model from the seventh generation B&W 600 Series Anniversary Edition range that marks the 25th anniversary of the series. It is equipped with two 6.5” paper cone woofers, a 6” Continuum cone midrange driver and a 1” aluminum dome tweeter. This design allows the Bowers & Wilkins 603 S2 to provide even more texture and presence in the lower midrange. It also offers more substance and magnitude in the bass. However, the Dali Opticon 6 MKII is a bit more dynamic and comes through with a more subtle and realistic musical performance. 

Dali Opticon 6 MKII: conclusion 

With the Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers, the Danish manufacturer manages to enhance the qualities that made the first generation Opticon successful. The new hybrid tweeter reproduces the highest frequencies with more fluidity and softness. It also benefits the upper midrange, which gains in detail and subtlety. The sound features nice aeration, with a wide soundstage in which each register is correctly layered. The vocals are always nuanced and well centered. The overall sound benefits from a beautiful dynamic and a wide harmonic palette that is established with unerring balance. Although the Dali Opticon 6 MKII speakers could be deeper, the bass remains adequately tight, responsive and well controlled. Moreover, the Danish design also greatly contributes to the success of these speakers, with a simple and elegant look that allows them to be integrated in many settings. A great achievement that places it among the reference speakers of under €2000 for rooms of up to 20 to 25m2. For larger spaces, the Dali Opticon 8 MKII is a better alternative for those looking for more bass.

What we liked:

  • The magnitude and transparency of the soundstage
  • The smoothness and precision of the highs
  • The tonal balance
  • The understated and elegant design

What we would have liked:

  • Deeper lows 


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