A little over a month ago, I gave my first impressions and discussed the setup of DALI’s OBERON 7 C active floorstanding speaker system, a wireless version of DALI’s sensational OBERON passive speakers. I loved the passive versions when I did that review, so I was pretty excited to hear what their wireless counterparts could do.
Well…spoiler alert…I loved the OBERON 7C system just as much as I loved their passive brethren. Again the sound was big and immersive and clicked with any genre I threw at it. If you’re looking for a full-sized, bonafide hi-fi system that’s a cinch to set up, then you should love it too.
Read on for my complete breakdown of the OBERON 7C system, and if you want a detailed overview of unboxing and setup, check out my Quick Review/First Impressions post.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer sent us the OBERON 7C in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. We will return this system once the review is complete.
From a looks standpoint, at least from the front, there isn’t much to separate the wireless OBERONs from the passive versions. Both have the same clean Scandinavian design, accented by tweed grills and DALI’s distinctive wood fiber cones.
I do wish the grilles were magnetic for a cleaner baffle and ease of removal, but it’s not the end of the world. I rarely keep the grills on my speakers anyway. The 7C is a two-way design with two 7″ bass/mid drivers and a single 29mm soft dome tweeter.
My review units came in a rich Dark Walnut finish with a black baffle, but you can also get them in White, Black Ash, or Light Oak.
When you turn the speakers around to the back, the difference between the OBERON C and the passive OBERONs becomes more apparent. The wireless models replace five-way binding posts with a control panel and power cable, which is interesting for a wireless speaker.
I say interesting because while these speakers don’t use speaker wire to get a signal, you must still plug each tower into an outlet for power. At first, this may seem like a direct tradeoff between a power wire and a speaker wire, but the power cables stay out of the way much better than speaker cable running back to an amp.
Also on the rear of the speakers is the same large flared port used on the non-powered OBERONs. They do a great job of managing turbulence on both versions, as port chuff is basically non-existent except when you push the low end really hard. Even then, it’s minimal.
The OBERON 7Cs are much lighter than they look, and there seems to be a little bit more noise than usual when performing the “knock” test, but it’s not readily apparent when listening. All in all, it’s a blessing when putting them in place.
Inside the cabinet, there’s a wireless streaming interface, a digital signal processing (DSP) circuit, and a pair of 50-Watt Class D power amplifiers – one for the two bass/midrange drivers and one for the tweeter.
The full OBERON 7 C system consists of the speaker pair ($2499) and a wireless preamp that directs music to the speakers. There are two “preamps” to choose from. One is the Sound Hub Compact ($449), a space-saving form-factor designed to be tucked away near a TV. You can even hang it on the wall if desired.
It has several connections for wired devices, like HDMI ARC for a TV set, digital inputs for a CD player or external streamer, and a set of RCA line inputs for a wide variety of audio gear. You can even plug in a subwoofer if you want to. AptX HD Bluetooth is available as a wireless source.
The other option is the DALI Sound Hub ($899), a larger unit that adds a front panel display and controls, plus expansion slots for the optional BluOS module ($499).
With that module installed, you can control the Sound Hub with your smartphone and stream many network sources (like TIDAL or Spotify) to it via Wi-Fi. I received the Sound Hub with a pre-installed BluOS module for testing.
Both versions have auto signal detection on all inputs, which is a great feature to have. This means your Smart Hub will automatically turn on and select the proper input upon a source’s playback. I love this because you can start the music with a single press of the play button.
Pro Tip: It isn’t widely advertised, but the Sound Hub with the BluOS module is compatible with Tidal Connect so that you can control playback directly from the TIDAL iOS or Android apps.
The system is quite easy to set up, taking only a few minutes to get up and running, especially if you use an external source. It may take a little longer to install the BluOS app and get that going if you have the network streaming module installed.
Initially, I did have an issue with sound dropouts, but after speaking to a company rep, I determined the cause of the problem.
Basically, my router was interfering with the Sound Hub’s ability to find a clear channel. Turning my router off for a moment and reconnecting the speakers allowed the Sound Hub to grab an open channel. From there, the dropouts were gone.
The Sound Hub works on either the 5.2 GHz or 5.8 GHz wireless bands. It also selects the specific channel automatically, so if your router works in the same wireless spectrum, you may have to try the same trick.
BTW, the Sound Hub Compact has a channel setting option, so you can manually select a clear channel if need be.
That said, Router-Sound Hub maneuvering aside, the 30-bit low latency signal seemed to be flawless. The speakers receive an uncompressed I2S audio stream at 24 bit/96 kHz resolution from the Wireless Preamp (the remaining six bits are used for feed-forward error correction plus other functions), and I was impressed because the signal was crystal clear. I couldn’t hear any signs of a wireless connection.
Listening to the Dali OBERON 7C with Sound Hub
One great thing about Dali speakers is how simple they are to place. They have one of the largest sweet spots of any speaker I have encountered, making placement darn near foolproof.
I placed them about three feet from the sidewalls and about four feet from the front wall in my room. They were about 6 feet apart and about 8 feet from the listening position. As I always do with Dali speakers, I followed their well-known guidance of facing the speakers straight ahead with no toe-in.
With the connection and placement squared away, I played some music from Tidal Connect.
I was greeted immediately with the same fantastic scale and wide holographic soundstage that drew me to the passive OBERON 5s. However, this time there was even more weight and authority since these speakers were larger.
Like the OBERON 5s, the 7C’s played anything put through them effortlessly and with verve.
The speakers disappeared, and music just flowed. I was amazed at how engaging they were. These speakers drew me in and didn’t let go.
Dali speakers aren’t known to be boring, and the OBERON 7Cs followed suit, with a warm yet balanced presentation. Mids are rich and vibrant, and the bass is extended and tight. The treble is extraordinarily smooth but not at the expense of treble air.
The internal DSP really seems to create an exquisite tonal balance. If I had any complaint, it would be slight thinness in the upper bass, which presents itself on heavy bass passages.
Overall, I love the tuning because it makes these speakers so easy to listen to. They are like chameleons, changing to whatever is needed to bring a particular piece of music alive.
Listening to Angus and Julia Stone’s “Draw Your Swords,” I was astonished at how the male vocal just jumped out of the mix right in front of me. It was so focused and well-defined I felt like he was in the room. The midrange is just about perfect on these speakers.
This song also displayed the OBERON 7Cs depth and layering, placing the female vocalist precisely to the lead singer’s left.
On a more upbeat song like Route 94’s “My Love,” the OBERON’s showed their penchant for getting down. They again presented an immaculate vocal, but this time I heard how they drove the rhythm with their deep but tight bass presentation. They weren’t the fastest, but they still kept up nicely with the dance track. If you want a room-shaking rumble, then you’ll need a sub.
The DALI OBERON 7C is an excellent example of what a good active speaker system has to offer. It’s effortless to set up, has a big and refined sound, plus it’s pretty flexible, especially with the Sound Hub/BluOS combination. For those who want a no muss, no fuss hi-fi system that can do it all, you need to hear the OBERON 7C.
Where To Buy
DALI OBERON 7 C FLOORSTANDING SPEAKER (PAIR)
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.