What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 4 Oct 2011, 4:14pm

DALI Zensor 5

Tested at £549
80100
4

Many more good points than bad, but the Dalis have credible opposition

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For

  • Full-scale sound from dinky cabinets
  • dynamic, detailed and balanced

Against

  • Could describe low frequencies more rigorously
  • can lack excitement

Compact, partially shiny and (in the context of many rivals, at least) fairly sophisticated lookers, the Dali Zensor 5s are at the top end of the price spectrum in this class. And if we were giving prizes for the most interesting plinth arrangement, they’d be a shoo-in.

With a decent running-in period under their belts, the Zensor 5s serve up the sort of effortless scale and reach that seems frankly unlikely for pocket-sized floorstanders housing a 25mm soft-dome tweeter, a pair of 13cm wood-fibre mid/bass drivers and a forward-firing reflex port.

Usefully relaxed about room position, but undoubtedly happiest when out in a little free space, the Dalis deliver Elbow’s Fugitive Motel with a nicely judged combination of drive and attention to detail.

The soundstage they present is broad and coherent, and the intimately textured vocals are unshakeably centred.

Lack certainty in the bass
The top of the frequency range is clean and detailed, and integration from the highest sounds to the lowest is smoothly achieved. Sudden dynamic shifts present no problems, and tonally the Dalis sound balanced and unified.

As we've observed before, though, the Zensor 5s have some difficulty conveying bass information with real certainty, opting instead to slur somewhat the leading edges of notes.

This slightly mars otherwise-commendable timing and robs recordings of the last iota of attack and excitement, and makes complex, layered recordings slightly harder to follow than they should be.

This is no deal-breaker – they’re excellent speakers – but it does leave the door open to some accomplished rivals from the likes of Tannoy, Mission and Monitor Audio.

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