Dali Zensor 5 review

Many more good points than bad, but the Dalis have credible opposition Tested at £549

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    Full-scale sound from dinky cabinets

  • +

    dynamic, detailed and balanced


  • -

    Could describe low frequencies more rigorously

  • -

    can lack excitement

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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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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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