Our Verdict 
Engaging and likable in many ways, but ultimately outgunned by other models in the same price range
For 
Appealingly small
winning way with voices
good dynamics and crisp timing
Against 
Not as happy against a wall as we’d hoped
attention-seeking treble can offend
Reviewed on

There's no direct competition for these Dalis. Yes, there are diminutive floorstanders, and there are £700-a-pair speakers, but no one else combines the tidy, discreet dimensions of the Ikon 5s – just 81cm tall and 15cm wide – with a level of performance that suggests a £700 price-tag.

Is there a market for such a product? Well, it seems that Dali thinks so.

The dimensions will certainly appeal to those for whom space is at a premium. Even with the now-familiar Dali ribbon-and-dome tweeter arrangement in place, the 5s are pleasantly proportioned – and they make a pleasant sound.

Warm vocalsThe whole Ikon range has a superbly communicative midrange, and the 5s are no exception. Vocals are delivered with warmth, realism and endless detail. The 5s use smaller mid range and bass drivers than either the 2s or the 6s; still, the low end is full-bodied, well modulated, and fast.

There's also fine dynamic ability, so even the scale and power of a full orchestra don't present these speakers with any significant problems. The 5s can do very quiet and very loud within a split second, keep track of timing and integration, and never lose sight of the overall picture.

More after the break

Tweeter troubleFor once, though, it's not all good news. That idiosyncratic tweeter arrangement is at its least effective here. Even at its most inoffensive, it's crisp and forthright, and here it doesn't need much encouragement to become over-prominent. Also, for such a temptingly small speaker, the 5s aren't too keen on being used close to a rear wall.

But it's the sheer quality of the other prodigiously gifted speakers in the same price range that finally make the Ikon 5s a bit of an irrelevance. A tidy, dynamic, vocally engaging irrelevance, true – but it seems that competition is lacking for a good reason.