Bigger isn’t always better, as the Lektor 3s prove
Dynamic, likeable speakers with unambiguous midrange
Lack outright low-end control
treble can be peaky
If you have to follow some highly successful siblings into the spotlight, you can't really win.
If you prove to be a shining star, it's no more than anyone expects. And if you don't, it's two-fold failure. Just ask Stephen Baldwin. Sure, he can act a bit – but he's no Alec or Billy, is he?
The Dali Lektor 3s find themselves in this unenviable position. Fresh out of blocks behind the diminutive Lektor 1s (five stars in September 2008) and fractionally less diminutive Lektor 2s (five stars in February 2009), the 3s are the biggest standmounter in the Lektor range.
Otherwise, it's Lektor business as usual: wood-fibre bass driver, soft-dome tweeter, twin forward-firing reflex ports and divisive silver accents as a design flourish.
A very different soundWhere the Lektor 3s break pretty decisively with their two smaller brothers is in terms of sound.
More after the break
There's the same sweetly emotive midrange when the Lektor 3s are playing Elvis Costello's I Dreamed Of My Old Lover, every arch inflection retrieved verbatim, and there's the same boundless enthusiasm.
Usefully dynamic and well capable of filling a room with sound, the Lektor 3s are as likeable and jaunty as a happy dog, able to see the merit in virtually anything you might care to play through them.
But on either side of the brilliantly explicit midrange there are issues.
Bass lacks controlA run through Massive Attack's Spying Glass exposes a lack of rigour in the low frequencies that hampers punch quite significantly.
'Cuddly' is a nice friendly adjective, but it's not one we'd imagine Dali wants applied to the 3s' bass reproduction – yet there's no better word for it.
A lack of bottom-end tautness and body means bass-lines wallow when they should snap.
There's another problem – although not as major – at the opposite end of the frequency range: the Lektor 3s are a little peaky at the very top of the high frequencies, and that relative lack of refinement is shown up cruelly.
It's not really fair to compare the Lektor 3s to Stephen Baldwin – they're more talented than that – but our expectations were high after the 1s and 2s, and the 3s are therefore something of a disappointment.
Not a disaster by any means, you understand – just not quite the excellence we'd hoped for.