Dali Helicon 400 versus MS Performance 6

G

gallium

Guest
I'm currently tossing up between the Dali Helicon 400 and the Mordaunt-Short Performance 6 for a new pair of fronts. They're about the same price range, and both seem to be getting great reviews. I'll pair them up with a matching center when budget permits.

From what I've read (I always take reviews with a grain of salt), the MS is very articulate and clean, but can be a bit dry sounding, and the Dali can get a bit bloomy if not positioned carefully in an appropriately sized room.

Has anyone had the pleasure of auditioning both, and if so, which did you perfer? Also, in this price range, are there any other fronts (no bigger than the above two, please!) that you would highly recommend?
 
M

Mentally

Guest
What amp do you have?
At these levels it is critical to match the speakers with your amp. Furthermore, your amp must be good enough for them.
I personally prefer the Dali speakers, great soundstage, highs and lows. One of my favourite speakers.
Other options you should try out:
JMlab Electra 1027 Be
Nola Viper 2
Proac Response D25
Triangle Stratos Australe
Revel Performa F32
B&W 803

The list is long and you should go out and start listening to speakers. At these price levels you can insist on a demo in your own home.
 
G

gallium

Guest
Mentally said:
What amp do you have?
At these levels it is critical to match the speakers with your amp. Furthermore, your amp must be good enough for them.
I personally prefer the Dali speakers, great soundstage, highs and lows. One of my favourite speakers.
Other options you should try out:
JMlab Electra 1027 Be
Nola Viper 2
Proac Response D25
Triangle Stratos Australe
Revel Performa F32
B&W 803

The list is long and you should go out and start listening to speakers. At these price levels you can insist on a demo in your own home.

Thanks for your help! I currently have a Marantz SR7500 and was initially planning on getting the MA6100 monoblocks to drive these, but am very open to other suggestions.

I've also heard great things about the Australian made Osborn speakers, which exclusively use Focal drivers and inverted dome tweeters. My only concern is that, should I wish to upgrade in future, the brand isn't well known and they may be hard to sell. Has anyone heard of Osborn speakers in the UK?
 

russraff

Member
I've also heard great things about the Australian made Osborn speakers, which exclusively use Focal drivers and inverted dome tweeters.

If you like the sound of focal drivers, then you may as well stay with JMLabs as they are part of the same company that make Focal drivers to start with. Especially if you are concerned with residual values.

I would also suggest that the Marantz 7500 is nowhere near the quality you would want for speakers in this class, even if you use a poweramp arangement. The pre-amp stage in the 7500 is just not up to the task. I think that you are correct in using a poweramp/monoblock arrangement, but I would be tempted to use a better processor, like a Rotel 1098 or similar class.
 
G

gallium

Guest
Thanks russraff.

Wow, I'm kind of shocked you think I'd need to spend around $5K AUD (excluding monoblocks) on a integrated amp to be able to get the most out of these range of speakers. That really changes my budget calculations.

Would you consider a Marantz SR9600 to have a reasonable processor, somewhat in the same class as the Rotel you mentioned? The reason I would want to stick with Marantz is that I am fortunate enough to be able to get them cheap, and have grown accustomed to the Marantz sound. I'm sure I'd love the Rotel though, especially with a couple of Krell monos, but I'd need to sell the house for those, and even after doing so, I probably couldn't afford the interconnects. :D

A tough question, but in your option, what would be the cheapest gear that could drive the Dalis with reasonable authority, without sounding like nails on a blackboard?
 

russraff

Member
If it is the Dali's you want (and presming you have heard them) the nthere are a couple of factors, here. Firstly these are expensive speakers that demand electronics that are instep with them, performance wise as is true of all the speakers on this thread. If you hook up a low/mid range AV receiver to them then you will in all probability be resticting the speaker's performance.
I would also question the receiver's ability to power the Dali's as those speakers are rated as 4ohm models. Such a rating demands a great deal from an amp, and I am not confident, looking at some test results on HCC online, that the Marantz can cope. The 9600 is the best receiver Marantz currently offers, save the older SR range, and seems to be in step with what you want. If you can get them cheap, then the value/performance ratio makes the choice even easier. You could always biamp the Dali's for even more grip, if you are running a 5.1 system. The pre-amp stage will benefit you, too, from getting the 9600 especially with such classy speakers.
 

russraff

Member
Well, power handling is a reasonably unimportant stat, especially at this level, as your amp will be producing huge volumes before the speaker gives out. Unless you are using a low power amp in which case you are likely to blow your new spangly speakers.

Anyway, they have a powerhandling of 300W and I found an american site with them at $4500 a pair..
 
M

Mentally

Guest
IF you intend to go for such expensive speakers I highly recommend going for an appopriate amp (seperates\integrated) and not for a reciever. IMO, the amp should cost about 1/2 or 2/3 of the speakers' price. If you can't afford it than I suggest going for cheaper speakers. Cutting the speakers' budget in 1/3 will still get you great speakers a lot of people will kill for.
 
G

gallium

Guest
Thanks for all your help and insight.

Here in Australia, the Dali Helicon 400s and MS Performance 6 are around neck and neck cost wise, at around $8500 AUD a pair.

Apart from the Dalis, I have never auditioned speakers with ribbon tweeters before. From what I heard, they sounded really airy, smooth and light on their feet with a deep, clean bass and really wonderful midrange. The cabinets also look superb in the piano gloss finishes (the photos make them look pretty average compared to real life).

I'm really not sure what the pitfalls of ribbon tweeters are, as many high-end models seem to be going for dome / inverted dome aluminum, titanium or even beryllium tweeters rather than ribbons. Do these provide a better 'pinpoint' accuracy of instruments and a more accurate soundstage as compared to ribbons?

As was suggested, I had a look at some reviews of the JMLabs Electra 1027 Be and there is nothing but praise (they have a great WAF too!), though I have not yet managed to find them for audition here in Australia. (still trying!)

I'm currently crunching numbers to see how much I can spare for a decent kit to drive these. The electronics are what I'm struggling with at the moment, since I don't have a great knowledge of the higher-end brands. The Rotel 1098 looks the part (although haven't heard it yet) but I can get the Marantz 9600 _way_ cheaper. Should I also be looking at Arcam, NAD or Denon kit?

Ultimately, I'd add a center and bookshelf rears to work up to a 5.1 system. It seems that monos are the way to go, as I can purchase additional speakers & monos over time.

There's simply too many excellent choices at this price point! The hardest part is finding a stockist who has them on display and is willing to audition them at home, with various amps. Buying high grade speakers / amps in Australia is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack when blindfolded. :)
 
M

Mentally

Guest
IMO the Marantz 9600 will be to weak for such speakers (not talking about the power to drive them but in quality).
The Rotel RSP 1098 should be a good match.
Ignore what other companies produce their tweeters from. Each company has put millions of dollars in research in order to find the right tweeter for her and if Dali decided to go with ribbon tweeters then trust them.

I recommend try many amps before you buy. Don't go just for the Rotel.
The search for the ultimate setup is part of the fun.
 

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