B&W DM601 S2 to Opticon 2 Mk2 - no longer confused

pgirardot

Standard Member
hello, I've been thinking about upgrading my beloved DM601 S2 for some time now, after hearing the MA Bronze 2 in my flat, which sounded slightly clearer and more precise bass, I thought I would get them - then talking on a FB group someone told me it was "stupid" as it wouldn't be a real upgrade, and convinced me to go for a step or two higher.
After recently reading a lot of reviews on Dali speakers, i took the bullet and bought the Opticon 2 mk2 (i tried the oberon 3 in the shop as well, the opticon did sound better in many aspects).

I spent my morning doing A/B test between the old and new speakers, here is how the Opticon compare to the DM601:
  • more bass presence overall (which liked)
  • more bass punch and deeper bass for sure
  • much better stereo image (not toed in)
  • the DM sound brighter overall eg. more to the front, especially vocals come forward, they are not harsh though

After listening to the full album Zero 7's "when it falls", i am honestly confused. Do the opticon sound better? possibly, but is it worth 5 times the DM, i don't know if it's money well spent (also i stupidly picked a tobacco oak finish which doesnt fit the rest of the room..).

Should I keep the opticon? I cannot make up my mind at this stage, i really think the DM601 are amazing speakers. I wish i could demo the MA br2 at the same time, i really have a great memory of it.
 
Last edited:

Orobas

Well-known Member
hello, I've been thinking about upgrading my beloved DM601 S2 for some time now, after hearing the MA Bronze 2 in my flat, which sounded slightly clearer and more precise bass, I thought I would get them - then talking on a FB group someone told me it was "stupid" as it wouldn't be a real upgrade, and convinced me to go for a step or two higher.
After recently reading a lot of reviews on Dali speakers, i took the bullet and bought the Opticon 2 mk2 (i tried the oberon 3 in the shop as well, the opticon did sound better in many aspects).

I spent my morning doing A/B test between the old and new speakers, here is how the Opticon compare to the DM601:
  • more bass presence overall (which liked)
  • more bass punch and deeper bass for sure
  • much better stereo image (not toed in)
  • the DM sound brighter overall eg. more to the front, especially vocals come forward, they are not harsh though

After listening to the full album Zero 7's "when it falls", i am honestly confused. Do the opticon sound better? possibly, but is it worth 5 times the DM, i don't know if it's money well spent (also i stupidly picked a tobacco oak finish which doesnt fit the rest of the room..).

Should I keep the opticon? I cannot make up my mind at this stage, i really think the DM601 are amazing speakers. I wish i could demo the MA br2 at the same time, i really have a great memory of it.
Welcome to the world of upgrades lol!

The question here is not .... IS it worth 5 times the price.... the question is.. does the sound warrant a change from that of your 601's

The Dali's are a much more modern speaker and as such their sound and voicing will have been improved upon with the advancements in cad technology and tuning/components.. Music has also change alot since the days of the 601 and the way it is mastered and recorded can leave, at times, much in way of critisism and also wow's in the clarity. plus with all the sampling and pc work ... it's a whole different kettle of fish.

So we once again come back to the main question ... do you prefer the Dali to the ageing B&W's sound :)
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Worth noting that the Zero 7 album is not a great one for auditioning speakers, it has a limited dynamic range that will make it sound average on most systems.


The other thing is that most speaker will take 50-100 hours of playing at moderate levels to sound their best. If you are not at this point then may be worth just putting them on in the background to loosen up the mechanical parts and re-assessing in a week or so.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The most important part of listening to new speakers is time.

You’ve spent years listening to the B&Ws.

Your brain is very much used to all the cues, overt and subliminal, that they provide with your music.

The new speakers, any new speakers, take a considerable time to become as familiar.

A comparison between the two makes no sense until you’re accustomed to the new speakers and the things they do differently. Until then you’ll only be hearing differences rather than hearing the Opticons.

Give your self plenty of hours over a good few weeks listening to music and not the speakers.

The Opticons are the superior speakers. I doubt very much you’ll want to return to the 602s.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, the MA would be a sideways move. At best.

I owned the 601s for 13 years. They are great speakers in all respects, but the Opticons are in a different league.

What amplifier and source are you using?

Pps, if you can, keep hold of them on loan for as long as you can. If you decide to keep them, then you can get a better finish than the current one.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You have to give your brain time to get use to the new speakers and they will sound better as they get more hours on them. Certainly an upgrade on the 601s. However I agree with @Ugg10 about the poor dynamics of the album you're testing with. Probably sounds awful in the higher registers.
 

FRFT

Active Member
If the MA bronze sound better to you, then they are an upgrade, no matter what anyone else says.

If you aren't blown away by the Dali and you're feeling a bit doubtful about the spend then I'd consider sending them back.

Ask yourself this: if you send the Dalis back, will you be said they're gone or will you be glad they're gone?

Sometimes it takes hearing some other speakers to remind us that we do actually like the ones we already have

Keep listening, play different content and see how it goes. Keep us updated
 

nomore landings

Active Member
Ps, the MA would be a sideways move. At best.

I owned the 601s for 13 years. They are great speakers in all respects, but the Opticons are in a different league.

What amplifier and source are you using?

Pps, if you can, keep hold of them on loan for as long as you can. If you decide to keep them, then you can get a better finish than the current one.
Agreed. I also happily owned dm601s3s for a decade and am now a Dali convert. A different league, but might lead to upgrades upstream!
 

pgirardot

Standard Member
hello, thanks a lot for all the comments - it's definitely not an easy decision.

Maybe my post wasn't clear: the Dali definitely sound better, in every regard, i guess i was expecting more of a WOW this is fxxxing mind blowing when doing the A/B test, and it was more of a "ok this is nice". I really like the Dali so far (3rd day now).

I listen to 50% jazz (mainly bebop), then a mix of classical, rock and indie/electronic. @Ugg10 @gibbsy Though Zero 7 does not have the biggest dynamic range, it does have a lot of elements to test speakers in my opinion: 3 different vocals (male and female), layered vocals, synth, acoustic and electronic drums, string arrangements, amazing bass lines played both on e-bass and synth, electronic high ends/effects that pan from R to L. Overall the mix of acoustic and electronic is great. But you are right, the production is probably too middle of the road (in a good way!) to only use this album only - which I did not, just happens to be the one easy to play -> and I know it well so within 30 seconds of a track I know what to listen to, the bass coming in, a fill on the drums or the vocal coming in. It makes no sense for me to play Pink Floyd as I never listen to it, so wouldn't know what to listen to.

But here is what I tested (listened attentively, placed in the sweet spot) or heard (walking around or typing this message!) so far:
Vinyl: SBTRK (10/10), Caribou's Our love (9/10), Jeff Buckley's Grace (6/10, very disappointed here but gonna blame the pressing)
CD: Maiden Voyage, Tony William's trio, Zero 7's first two albums, Norah Jones's Come away with me. I admit I own most of the above in Vinyl but having the ability to skip etc makes it easier to find section/tracks to test
Spotify (very high quality which is 320kbits equivalent): Hiatus Kaiyote's choose your weapon, and tested my Audiophile playlists, which consists of a mix of genres, from D'angelo's Spanish joint, Radioheads 15 steps, James Blake's overgrown album, Nils Frahm's My friend the forest), Trentemoller's The Forest, a few Mulgrew miller tracks, Adderley's One for Daddy-O, Roy Hargrove's Strasbourg st denis and more random tracks.
Then classical music but not listening in details (mainly DAB radio)

I feel the DM are more flattering, when the Dali will reveal more, it's actually more shocking on my self produced tracks, where some surprisingly balanced (I master myself, to amateur quality), when some really sound creap. I feel the Dali will excel in more recent music (listening to Moonchild for instance), where the frequency spectrum is extremely analyzed to make it sound good on every speaker, when older/acoustic music (so far Radiohead and Jeff buckley) may be hit and miss.

My biggest problem now is the color of the speakers, that tobacco oak is just looking weird in my flat and it bothers me, and returning them is a pain (heavy to carry (i have a broken wrist), and the black color is 300+ euros more expensive.
 

pgirardot

Standard Member
please disregard my comment on Radiohead, listening to In Rainbows in vinyl now and it sounds absolutely glorious as it should.
 

pgirardot

Standard Member
OK so i am keeping the Opticon (I sold the DM601 just now).
Maybe they are loosening up, or more likely my ears are getting used to them - but i listened to Norah Jone's Come away with me full album, a mix of quiet, medium and loud listening - it sounded amazing (and that was the CD, I should do a comparison vs the vinyl which i also have..)

Thanks a lot for helping me mature (in the space of one day)
 

nomore landings

Active Member
As others have said, 50-100 hours and also ears will appreciate all those subtle harmonics and faster bass. Great album which I used to use for demos. Have the SACD and her close mic vocals are a thing of beauty. Happy listening.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Brains don’t like change, even for the better. Until the better becomes the usual. 👍

I’m glad you’re enjoying them. The experience is only likely to improve.
 

Hoku

Active Member
I think the DALI’s like anything with a solid rhythm like funk or even some 70’s disco.

Try Stevie Wonder, Sir Duke. Sounds astonishing on my Rubicon 2’s. That should put a smile on your face.

Edit - would the shop you purchased them from swap them out for an alternative finish? White maybe?
 

pgirardot

Standard Member
@Hoku - i will do tomorrow (though it will be on Spotify as I don't have any of Stevie's work in CD or vinyl.
 

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