DALI help please! Zensor, Oberon or Opticon?

qwert-e

Active Member
Your wisdom please, fellow AVF’ers :).


I am also looking at Opticon 2 Mk. 2s as what should be a substantial step-up. These are more expensive but still a decent price against list (£540 against £899).
I just bought the Opticon 2 from the same peter tyson 'open box' deal. Then i read a bit more carefully and saw that the speakers have different serial numbers, so are not a matching pair which is one of the features Dali advertises. Do yours have the same issue? I'm wondering whether to cancel, there will always be the niggling doubt as to whether they're sounding as good as they should.
 

ShardsOfMe

Distinguished Member
I just bought the Opticon 2 from the same peter tyson 'open box' deal. Then i read a bit more carefully and saw that the speakers have different serial numbers, so are not a matching pair which is one of the features Dali advertises. Do yours have the same issue? I'm wondering whether to cancel, there will always be the niggling doubt as to whether they're sounding as good as they should.
I saw those on this weekend’s 15% off deal; personally I’d stay well clear (send a cancellation request, Peter Tyson are really responsive and will refund you straight away) as not only are they not a matched pair but they have some damage too. Mine were matched SNs and were immaculate other than this tiny mark on the bottom of one:

12B3ACFD-22C4-470B-A235-A4F5CCD65A98.jpeg


In the end, I returned my pair - even at the crazy £509 price I just wasn’t hearing the value; they weren’t giving me anything drastically better than my Zensor 3s.
 

qwert-e

Active Member
oh wow. the scratches i don't mind but if yours were matched at least then i'm cancelling. I'm currently using wharfedale diamond 9.1 and now that i've finally got them setup properly after many years with stands and a good amp and good room placement they sound fantastic. i tried the zensor 1 in the past and found the high end wasn't as good (and understandably worse bass with the smaller driver/cabinet), so if your zensor 3 (which uses the same tweeter) isn't a big jump from the opticon then it sounds like my £100 wharefedales are a bargain compared to the £899 opticon!

I do want to try some next level speakers but have a niggling doubt i've reached the limit of my ears, the room acoustics (an echo-y 25sqm open plan kitchen livingroom), and the recordings.

I'm also considering the monitor audio silver 100 g6 which looks pig ugly without grills but has noticeably lower bass, the g7 hasn't been reviewed, and the kef ls50 looks great but might not be so good for electronic music or bad recordings from what i understand.

what are you trying next?
 

ShardsOfMe

Distinguished Member
what are you trying next?
I have to be honest, I’m now very wary of looking for the ‘next level’. I sold my Zensor 3s when I bought the Opticons, so when the Opticons were returned I bought some £200 Oberon 3s on here. While very nice, they weren’t the expected improvement on the Zensors either (I would have persisted but the white finish in our neutrals and mango wood room meant a hard “nope” from the wife!). In the end, I picked up some old Missions in a charity shop for £6 (!) on Saturday, and they’re staying put while I have a serious rethink.
 

Hoku

Active Member
The thing to bear in mind when moving up the speaker price range significantly, is that often speakers are designed to work with source components and amplifiers of a similar quality.

Sometimes more expensive speakers can be more exacting, perhaps with lower sensitivity, because they are designed to work with higher quality higher current amplifiers before they begin to sing.

Conversely, entry level speakers are expected to work with lower power entry level amps, so can be designed to flatter them with higher sensitivity.

Case in point, I’ve heard my DALI Rubicons on my own Anthem amp, and a cheap Denon stereo amp. It’s almost hard to tell they were the same speaker. The Denon just doesn’t have the drive and grip needed, so they sound fairly matter of fact. But on the Anthem, they come alive: considerably more drive, dynamics, and punch.

So had you listened to the Opticons on an amplifier with higher current, you may have been surprised what they are capable of.

I have heard your amp with some KEF R3’s, and it sounded dreadful. The bass was flabby and slow. But that’s no disrespect to your amp: it’s just that the R3’s are probably designed to be partnered with a different category of electronics.

Tonally I suspect your Arcam is lovely, it’s just the power supply that may be struggling to provide the oomph the Opticons expect. The Opticon 2’s are 4 ohm speakers, so despite their apparently benign sensitivity (86.5db), they may be fairly tough to drive.
 

ShardsOfMe

Distinguished Member
Tonally I suspect your Arcam is lovely, it’s just the power supply that may be struggling to provide the oomph the Opticons expect. The Opticon 2’s are 4 ohm speakers, so despite their apparently benign sensitivity (86.5db), they may be fairly tough to drive.
The Arcam is rated 2 x 125W at 4ohms so I wouldn’t have thought it would be lacking in oomph? That said, I ran my old Rega Brio for a while and the output from that on less than position one on the dial (like, 1mm to the right) was like the Arcam at a third of the way up 🤔.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. I listened to the Zensor 3 and Opticon's 1 and 2 when my mother auditioned speakers. The Opticons were noticeably better, off a pretty average amp as well.
 

ShardsOfMe

Distinguished Member
Hi. I listened to the Zensor 3 and Opticon's 1 and 2 when my mother auditioned speakers. The Opticons were noticeably better, off a pretty average amp as well.
I tried the 1 - awful - and 3 - great but not substantially better. I’m beginning to think the Arcam has issues, because the guy who bought the 3s from me sent me a message thanking me for letting them go so cheaply and saying he was blown away by them…
 

qwert-e

Active Member
Thanks for the advice folks. I just bought some MA Silver 100 G6 for £275, which are actually more sensitive and higher resistance than the much cheaper diamond 9.1 i'm using so shouldn't be a problem for the amp. With dali I wonder how much extra you're paying for 'made in denmark' rather than made in china like most other brands.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The MAs are not as easy a drive as you might think.

A 4.5 ohms dip, and the claimed 88dB sensitivity will be at least a little optimistic.

The 8” driver should be able to fill the room at a slightly lesser volume setting though.
 

Hoku

Active Member
The Arcam is rated 2 x 125W at 4ohms so I wouldn’t have thought it would be lacking in oomph? That said, I ran my old Rega Brio for a while and the output from that on less than position one on the dial (like, 1mm to the right) was like the Arcam at a third of the way up 🤔.
Watts per channel aren’t really the full story. It’s more about the power supply, current and damping factor.

But you could have just been unlucky. It is part of the art of mixing and matching components: sometimes they just don’t bring out the best of each other. But when two components’ synergy does blend well, you can sometimes have a result that seems more than the sum of it’s parts.

I take your point about DALI being made in Denmark vs China-made speakers prices.

The Opticon series cabinets are not in the same league as the price comparable MA Silver range. Having said that, I personally think it’s worth it for the certain fun factor DALI’s speakers are capable of. And as DALI make their own drivers rather than buying them in, there’s likely a potential saving there that may negate at least some of the additional cost of being made in Europe.

I think your unfortunate system synergy may have coloured your opinion of Opticons a little unjustly. And it is one of the problems of buying good deals blind on the internet vs a decent demo at a dealer where you have more of an opportunity to explore system synergy, your own taste and the experience of the dealer.

I own some speakers that a dealer recommended that at the time of purchase, I’d never even heard of, but they were fantastic in the demo and have kept me smiling for many years since. So I’m grateful for the experience of the dealer, but that does mean you end up paying a little more for that service. I personally think it’s worth it.

Anyway, I hope the MA Silvers float your boat. Give them time, and give your own ears time to adjust to their differences.
 

ShardsOfMe

Distinguished Member
And it is one of the problems of buying good deals blind on the internet vs a decent demo at a dealer where you have more of an opportunity to explore system synergy, your own taste and the experience of the dealer.

Definitely this; I had actually arranged to demo the Opticons at Richer Sounds, but when the Peter Tyson deal came up it would have been unconscionable to go ahead.
 

ooctaviuss

Active Member
NO NO NO. Don’t waste your money. Copper is copper. Go to amazon get 14 avg (4mm) speaker cables. You can find cables with attached banana plugs, then don’t.

My philosophy regarding cables is to buy decent ones, nothing more complicated then this.

This applies RCA cables also. Buy some decent shielded ones. Mono price etc.

Helix has right. Personally I have tested my star-quad connection cable CSSS 4x2,5mm against Kimber 16TC. The result was? Absolutely the same sound!!! But.... the price point is very different. So, now I know there is no darker or bright cables.
 

qwert-e

Active Member
I've had the chance to try out the MA Silver 100 and they do indeed feel like a major step up from the diamonds - instruments sound distinct, top end treble is so clear, new instruments have appeared in songs, and it no longer sounds like the music is coming from two boxes. I finally get what everyone's talking about :) Bad news is the flaws in the recordings are clear too, which isn't so enjoyable.

The treble in particular - i'm hearing the highest frequencies much clearer than before but they're sometimes messy, have to figure out if its the recording, the amp, bluetooth (aptx hd), streaming service (youtube premium 256kbps aac), or speakers!

The bass response seems to vary a lot depending on whether im sitting or standing, i guess there's no way around that without major changes in where i put the speakers?

I'm currently using a nobsound ns15g pro as the amp, costs £80 new and works great, the MA are easier to drive than the wharfedale and i'm glad i didn't go for the opticon for this reason. Now to see if a traditional hifi amp actually sounds better or if i'm just paying for features i don't need. I'm thinking of getting an av receiver so i can do room correction (EQ, early reflections, etc) and see if there's additional benefit, i'm surprised mid price stereo receivers don't have this.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I've had the chance to try out the MA Silver 100 and they do indeed feel like a major step up from the diamonds - instruments sound distinct, top end treble is so clear, new instruments have appeared in songs, and it no longer sounds like the music is coming from two boxes. I finally get what everyone's talking about :) Bad news is the flaws in the recordings are clear too, which isn't so enjoyable.

The treble in particular - i'm hearing the highest frequencies much clearer than before but they're sometimes messy, have to figure out if its the recording, the amp, bluetooth (aptx hd), streaming service (youtube premium 256kbps aac), or speakers!

The bass response seems to vary a lot depending on whether im sitting or standing, i guess there's no way around that without major changes in where i put the speakers?

I'm currently using a nobsound ns15g pro as the amp, costs £80 new and works great, the MA are easier to drive than the wharfedale and i'm glad i didn't go for the opticon for this reason. Now to see if a traditional hifi amp actually sounds better or if i'm just paying for features i don't need. I'm thinking of getting an av receiver so i can do room correction (EQ, early reflections, etc) and see if there's additional benefit, i'm surprised mid price stereo receivers don't have this.

If you’re considering an AV receiver, many might mention it’s not a great idea for stereo.

I’d usually agree. However the Anthem MRX receivers are quite different.

They are very good with stereo even as a base amp, but add ARC room correction and they are excellent indeed.

Room correction is worth it’s price tag even when quite expensive.

But a used MRX will give you excellent stereo and top class room correction very inexpensively.

And, it will sound at least as good as a new stereo amp of a similar price even without ARC.

This is the kind of thing I mean, alas this one only has the zone 2 remote control.


But I’d keep an eye open or any of the MRX receivers; the 310, 510, or even 710 are top bargains at the moment, but even the MRX 300, or 500 are still very good indeed, though they have an earlier version of ARC.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, the Nobsound, despite its amusing name, is not really up to the standard of the Silver 100s.

A decent, but cheap amp. Useful perhaps for very budget desk top speakers, but not for driving the MAs as room speakers.

So I’d say a combination of the YouTube sound quality and the amp will be the culprits for any harshness you hear.
 

qwert-e

Active Member
Ps, the Nobsound, despite its amusing name, is not really up to the standard of the Silver 100s.

A decent, but cheap amp. Useful perhaps for very budget desk top speakers, but not for driving the MAs as room speakers.

So I’d say a combination of the YouTube sound quality and the amp will be the culprits for any harshness you hear.
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking to get a 2nd hand yamaha RX-A1060 with its "YPAO™ R.S.C Multipoint" room correction, which had a similar RRP to the Anthem MRX 310, and similar 2nd hand prices. You think the anthem would give better sound with and without correction?

I've tried a few different nobsound amps, the 15g is their top of the range. I reckon by the time you add a nicer case, more connectors, a well known brand name and the retailer's profit margin these would be selling for £300-£600. Buying direct from the manufacturer and without the extras gives a price difference but not necessarily worse sound. anyway i'll do a comparison.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The Yamahas are great AV amps and YPAO will indeed help out, but yes, imo, and a couple of reviewers on these very pages, the Anthems are simply noticeably better for stereo.


 

qwert-e

Active Member
The reviews do look impressive, shame these are so rare. I'd have to go for the newer 310/510 and finding one which isn't missing a mic/cd/remote seems tough! It makes sense the anthem has better correction since it has a better mic and uses PC processing, but as for the rest of the amp, you'd hope a volume manufacturer like yamaha would be able to make something better for the same price than a specialist? Yamaha also has extra features like changing the EQ based on listening volume which may have more impact in real world use, and has better specs on paper:

Yamaha RX-A1060: 110 W per channel 8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06 % THD, 2-ch driven
Anthem MRX 310: 80W per channel 8 ohms, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0.1% THD, 2-ch driven
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Ps, the Nobsound, despite its amusing name, is not really up to the standard of the Silver 100s.

A decent, but cheap amp. Useful perhaps for very budget desk top speakers, but not for driving the MAs as room speakers.

So I’d say a combination of the YouTube sound quality and the amp will be the culprits for any harshness you hear.
If you have never tried one of these miniature amps they can be quite surprising given a good clean signal from say a Node running Qobuz or a well recorded CD, I hooked up a Fosi Audio BT30D to my old silver 200's and it drove them really well, sounded bloody amazing actually and went quite loud with good punch, it just didn't have anywhere near the same liquid warmth and outright clarity of my PMA1600ne, but for £80 I was rather surprised what it was capable of at a 15th the cost of the Denon. Great for people on a tight budget. But you are right, the silver 100's deserve better.
 

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