The Dali Opticon 2 MKII bookshelf loudspeaker is a two-way model equipped with a large midbass driver measuring 6.5”. This second generation of the Dali Opticon 2 introduces a new tweeter with a 1” dome to cover a wider area. The bass-reflex enclosure has also been optimized using Dual Flare technology. Thanks to these new elements, this latest production from the Danish manufacturer promises an even more precise restitution of the high frequencies, deeper bass and a more balanced soundstage, all for €1,099 per pair. Is this promise kept?
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: packaging & accessories
The two Dali Opticon 2 MKII bookshelf speakers are delivered in an individual box measuring 46 x 28 x 39cm. The speaker and its fabric acoustic grille are wrapped in a white synthetic cover to protect them from scratches when taken out of the box. The pair of Dali Opticon 2 MKII speakers comes with a setup guide and a set of 8 black rubber pads.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: presentation
Measuring 195 x 351 x 297mm and weighing 7.7kg, the Dali Opticon 2 MKII falls into the large bookshelf speaker category, which contributes to a better bass reproduction. It uses the tried and tested design of its predecessor, with a thick chassis made from several layers of MDF to reduce resonance and coloration. It is entirely assembled by hand in the Danish manufacturer’s workshop. The cabinet benefits from internal bracing to reinforce it in order to virtually eliminate unwanted resonances and therefore 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 2 MKII’s elegant design as it leaves no visible screws or joints once the cabinet is assembled, except those of the midbass driver and the tweeter.
The Dali Opticon 2 MKII speaker has a bass-reflex enclosure with a circular port on the rear panel. For this new iteration, Dali has equipped the port with 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.
1 inch tweeter
One of the major optimizations of the Dali Opticon 2 MKII speaker is the new tweeter that has the same design as the model used in the Dali Rubicon range and the Dali Callisto C connected speaker. It offers significant improvements compared to the tweeter used for the MK1 range, with a softer, lighter dome and a larger diameter (29mm compared to 28mm). This increased diameter provides a wider radiation area for lower distortion and offers better power handling.
The tweeter of the Dali Opticon 2 MKII is associated with a large 6.5” midbass driver that has the same paper and wood fiber cone as the other models in the range. This composition guarantees minimal structural resonances and gives the cones a burgundy color, characteristic of the brand’s speakers. This cone 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.
As usual, the Danish manufacturer has equipped the driver of the Dali Opticon 2 MKII with an SMC (Soft Magnetic Compound) system. 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.
On its rear panel, the Dali Opticon 2 MKII features a pair of screw terminals compatible with cables with a gauge of up to 4mm2, banana plugs and spade connectors. It has a power handling capacity of 30 to 150 watts, with a sensitivity of 86.5 dB. This is relatively low, but its nominal impedance of 4 ohms compensates effectively for this and it is not necessary to provide a high level of power to properly power the drivers.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: key specifications
- 2-way speaker
- Bass-reflex enclosure with Dual Flare technology
- Frequency response: 59Hz to 25kHz
- Sensitivity: 86.5 dB/w/m
- Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
- Max. sound level: 107 dB
- 1 x 6.5” wood fiber cone SMC midbass driver
- 1 x 1” fabric dome tweeter
- Dimensions (w x h x d): 195 x 351 x 297mm
- Weight: 7.7kg
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: listening conditions
For our review, we connected the Dali Opticon 2 MKII compact speaker to the NAD C375 BEE amplifier using Viard Audio Silver HD12 HP cables. Four our source, we used the Volumio Primo Hi-Fi Edition network player to play FLAC and DSD Hi-Res music over the local network, as well as our Qobuz playlists. We also tested the performance of these Dali speakers with audio Blu-ray discs by connecting them to the Reavon UBR-X200 Blu-ray player.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: listening impressions
As usual, the Danish manufacturer provides a dynamic and transparent reproduction with the Dali Opticon 2 MKII. With Madonna’s track Papa Don’t Preach, the hit of the percussion instruments delivered the tempo with energy and a perfect constancy. The drums were full, lively and very nicely highlighted in the soundstage, which was beautifully clear and transparent. At the center of the soundstage, the singer’s voice was crystal clear and communicative. The intonations were accurately and smoothly reproduced.
The dynamic character of the Dali Opticon 2 MKII speaker makes it particularly at ease with electronic music. With the album Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, the sound was smooth, nuanced and intense. The Dali Opticon 2 MKII offered a nice presence in the lows, with direct, tight and very impressive bass for a compact speaker. The lows were reproduced with authority and enough depth to give the sound substance and energy. Naturally, they weren’t as deep as those offered by a floorstanding speaker, but they were in no way frustrating.
The new tweeter allows the Dali Opticon 2 MKII speakers to provide outstanding high-frequency performance. With various flamenco-inspired tracks by the duo Strunz & Farah, the instruments expressed themselves with agility and rose very high, without ever showing the slightest sign of sibilance. The sound benefited from a bright soundstage in which multiple details were rendered with finesse and transparency. We were able to clearly hear each nuance and each plucked string. The listening experience was both captivating and exhilarating.
Overall, the Dali Opticon 2 MKII bookshelf speaker displayed a very good tonal balance. With the track Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango, each timbre was well reproduced, with tight and lively lows, rich and textured mids, and crystal clear highs. Each element was in its place and always distinct. The artist’s voice was also very well embodied and stood out nicely, with natural texture. The sound had an undeniable sense of rhythm, offering a joyful and uplifting listening experience.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: compared to…
Monitor Audio Silver 100: available for €999, the Monitor Audio Silver 100 speakers are equipped with a 7.8” midbass driver and a tweeter with a gold covered aluminum and magnesium alloy dome. They have a very appealing dynamic character and transparency when and offer slightly fuller and deeper lows, but can lack smoothness in the high frequencies compared to the Dali speakers. The Dali Opticon 2 MKII manages to maintain greater control during the most direct attacks. The soundstage of the Dali model is also a little more spacious and less prone to the sweet spot effect.
Sonus Faber Lumina II: sold for €1,099, these speakers from the famous Italian manufacturer Sonus Faber are two-way models equipped with a 6” midbass driver and a 1” fabric dome tweeter. Like the Dali Opticon 2 MKII, they provide a spacious soundstage and great softness in the high frequencies. However, the bass is a little more pronounced with the Danish speakers. That said, the front-firing laminar port integrated in the base of the Sonus Faber Lumina II facilitates their placement by reducing the necessary space from the rear wall.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: who are they for?
The Dali Opticon 2 MKIIs are for music lovers looking for a pair of bookshelf speakers with an energetic, dynamic reproduction that can adapt to many musical styles. It’s not the most compact model on the market, but that’s of considerable benefit in the lower end of the spectrum, which is reproduced with more authority and is more convincing. Thanks to this, the Dali Opticon 2 MKII is just as suitable for listening to music in an office or bedroom as it is for a living room of up to 30m2.
Dali Opticon 2 MKII: conclusion
With the Dali Opticon 2 MKII, the Danish manufacturer manages to improve and enhance the qualities that made the first Opticon speaker successful. The new 29mm tweeter provides more smoothness and softness for a more pleasant listening experience. The midbass driver is as dynamic and energetic as ever. It manages to provide impressive lows that are never frustrating for compact speakers. The sound is full of vitality, transparency and clarity. The restitution is always joyful, well-paced and very pleasant. Finally, despite its low sensitivity, this Danish speaker is easily powered by any amplifier with a minimum power of 50W. As such, we can consider a perfect match for amplifiers such as the Advance Acoustic X-i75, Cambridge Audio AX R100 D and Atoll IN50 Signature.
- The dynamic and energetic sound
- The transparent and clear soundstage
- The presence in the lows
We would have liked:
- Nothing more at this price point!