Sometimes only a good floor-standing speaker will do. As much as I love mini-monitors, their sound doesn’t have the scale and weight of a good floorstander.
The only problem is not everyone has the room or the inclination to place a hulking set of tower speakers in their space. Enter the Dali Oberon 5.
It’s unbelievable how small a footprint these speakers have. Of course, the size wouldn’t matter if the sound sucked. Fortunately, that’s not the case. Read on to find out how these speakers excel in both the design and sound departments.
Build and Features
The DALI Oberon 5 is a very stylish and slim floor-standing speaker fitted with 2 of DALI’s signature 5¼” wood fiber SMC based woofers and a 29 mm (1.14 inch) soft dome tweeter. It sells for $1099 a pair on Amazon.com in Black, but they are also available in all White, a combination Black/Dark walnut, and a White/Light Oak combo.
My review sample came in the alluring White/Light oak finish with magnetic grilles draped in a grey Scandinavian fabric. They only measure 32.7 x 6.38 x 11.14 inches (830x162x 283mm), which is less than three feet tall and a little over a half foot wide.
That’s small. These “tower speakers” take up less space than my “mini-monitor” Paradigm Monitor SE Atoms when placed on stands. The Oberon 5’s beautiful built-in aluminum base makes them look like they’re floating above the floor. They will fit into any space or decor with no problem.
This DALI floorstander is a two-way bass-reflex design with a fully-braced and dampened high-density MDF board cabinet. They drape the MDF in high-quality vinyl. The bass port on the back is enormous; I can’t say I’ve seen a port so large relative to the overall size of the speaker.
Below the bass port is a set of clear plastic 5-way binding posts, and they are angled so you can easily insert a pair of banana plugs. They have a nominal impedance of 6 ohms and recommended amplifier power is between 30-150 watts. Any quality integrated amp should be able to make them sing.
DALI aims to make placement as easy as possible by designing their speakers to create a wide dispersion pattern. Because of this, they recommend no toe-in during setup, unlike other manufacturers.
They advise pointing the Oberon 5s straight ahead with a sitting position that is equal distance between them, forming a triangle. They also recommend a 15 to 80 cm distance from the back wall, which equates to between 6 and 30 inches in U.S. measurements.
This is exactly how I set them up in my listening space, about two feet from the back wall, and about six feet from my sitting position. I connected them to my Audiolab 6000A Integrated, conservatively rated at 50w per channel into 8 ohms and 75w per channel into 4 ohms.
The source was an Audiolab 6000N Play Network Streamer playing Tidal Hi-Fi for the most part, but I also tested out some 24-bit tracks from my NAS drive.
DALI first came on my radar when I heard a pair of their flagship Epicon stand-mounts (which are about eight grand a pair) at a show. They were playing Anderson Paak’s “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance,” and If you’re familiar with that song, you know it’s a party jam that makes you want to dance. The Epicons, the serious audiophile speakers they are, had no problem playing fast and dynamic, bringing modern music to life.
This has pretty much been my experience with every DALI I’ve encountered since…the Oberon 5 included. The Oberons don’t aim for clinical detail, even though their resolution is quite good. Instead, they seem to focus on musical enjoyment.
When I finally sat down and listened, no matter what I played through the DALIs, be it house music or Miles Davis, it just sounded good. The diminutive floorstanders play much bigger than you expect, all while maintaining precise control over the complete audioband. The designers behind this product knew what they were doing.
The treble was lively but not overly so, the mids, which may be the Oberons strong point, were beautifully transparent. The bottom end was deep and well-controlled, adding nice weight to their presentation of music.
Soundstage and imaging were excellent. While the focus wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard, it was probably the best I’ve listened to at this price range. What astounded me, however, was the width and depth of the sound even though the speakers weren’t pointed directly at my listening position. To me, this was another sign of skilled engineering. The presentation was very forward; I felt like I was right in front of the stage.
Listening to some of my favorite test tracks, I was astonished at how engaging the music was. When I listened to Jane Bunnett & Maqueque’s “La Flamenca Maria,” a complex track with many instruments and vocalists, I loved the layering and separation of the elements in the song.
The speakers disappeared, and everything seemed to hang in its little bubble. At least three different soloists are singing on the track, and you could hear the placement and stylistic differences of each one.
When the whole group sang together, the blending of the vocals was so clean, and it just seemed to wash over me. The scale of the performance was tremendous.
When I listened to a more upbeat track like “Give Life Back To Music” by Daft Punk, the fast and dynamic presentation took me back to my time with the Epicons. I could tell the DALI house sound made its way down to the Oberon 5s, and I sum it up in two words. Those words are exciting and musical.
I really loved how punchy and immersive the sound was; it just wrapped around me like a warm blanket.
The DALI Oberon 5 is a truly remarkable speaker…I have no idea how they got such a big, musical sound in such a neat and tidy package. They do all the audiophile stuff like soundstage, separating instruments, and, imaging but at the same time they never forget to have fun. If you’re looking for a quality floorstander that is easy to set up, fits any room, and provides top-notch sound, these DALIs fit the bill…They get a perfect 10 out 10 score, which I rarely give! Highly Recommended!