I am a proud owner of Dali IKON 6
Thu, Nov 29 2007, 11:01AM
I have taken the plunge. Yes, I am a proud owner of a Dali IKON now!
I was in the search of a good floorstander with an engaging sound thats open, warm, natural and uniform across the audible range. The budget I had was GBP 800-1000. Given the fact that by the time European product reach our market they are a lot costlier, effective budget was even lesser and the search was difficult.
In the final race there were 3 contenders. B&W DM 603 S3, MA SR-06, Dali IKON 6 and DynAudio Audience 62. They were all similarly priced in my market and competion was tough. What made matters all the more difficult was the fact that I could never have got an opportunity to audition them all at one place.
Based on my listening to them over 2 months at different places with different amps and other factors, my shortlist was limited to Dali IKON 6 and DynAudio Audience 62. Luckily for me there was one dealer that would have them both and I could audition them together. So the d-day was inching closer. I went prepared, slightly biased in favor of the IKONs. As it would prove later, the bias was justified.
There were the IKONs and the Audiences placed next to each other, in configuration with some Onkyos, Primares, Cayins and McCormack. Impressive! As I let the guy take over and do his thing, he began with the Onkyos (which were setup for a multichannel configuration). I listened to some tracks that I had heard 100s of time; Elton John - Sacrifice, Eagles - Hotel California, Cindy Lauper - Girls just wanna have fun, Justin - Sexy back, Peter Gabriel - Passion, Dire Straits - Brother in Arms etc. Contest was close. Little difference. Initially it seemed DynAudio was better sounding; warm and more involving. But that was when vocals were prominent (EJ-Sacrifice). Conclusion 1 - DynAudios were cleaner and better soundstage, warmer sound.
But, ss soon as we played CL-GJWHF, difference became apparent. IKON sound was a lot more involving. The music wasn't quite. Instruments could be heard individually rather than as one as it seemed to be the case with DynAudios. DynAudios better for Jazz, Dalis for Rock, I immediately asked myself. The answer was soon to be found.
I gave myself a second and thought, could the lack of dynamicity be due to the Onkyos? "Difficult-to-drive" sprang in my mind. I asked the demo guy to change the amp. Which he asked. I pointed to a McCormack pre-power combo kept there. I said that should do. He changed the amp, and all at a sudden I wanted to start the demo all over again as we discovered what was missing. Despite being in the pure direct mode, Onkyo sound lacked body and fullness. And it wasn't an entry level. It was an Integra 9001!
Now that there was "sufficient power" at disposal, I started the demo again, with not hardware being - Primare CD21, McCormack Power Drive DNA-1 pre-power and IKONs/Audiences.
The more we listened, the more IKON proved to be more involving of the two. Though I must admit, when it came to sheer thump and cleanliness of the sound, the Audience clearly beat the IKON on more than one occassion. But I am one of those guys who do not like the bass extremely tight. For my it should hit the chest, let the heart feel it and release (and I am not talking about the boom that lingers there for 50 microseconds). I found Audience to be too tight for my taste, and at places (only at a few places) a bit boxier in comparison to (i emphasize in comparison to) the IKON.
That was it. I heard some tracks from Dire Starits, Peter Gabriel and found Dali to be a better perfromer almost everywhere. Highs were smoother (thanks to ribbon tweeters), lows were pleasing. Towards the end I felt if it were only for Jazz/Country, the Audience couldn't have been a bad deal at all, but since I have a varied taste in music Dali IKON seemed to be a much better candidate to me. A much more warmer and involving performer.
Other facts that went into IKON's favor were: Paper/Wood cones for mid/woofer drivers, Soft dome/ribbon hybrid tweeter, separate mid and low frequency drivers, larger cabinet (more volume of air to move), larger front port etc.
DynAudio Audience 62 are capable speakers, but they couldn't be a match to Dali IKON 6. Hearing them at different places may have one confused about choosing one over the other, but an A/B test would bring out the difference almost immediately.
I bought my pair of IKON 6 there and then.
And by now, its in my drawing room and I have already had one listening session with it.