A meeting with the big cheese at DALI HQ

What better way to spend a Wednesday than visiting DALI in wet and windy Denmark? By DALI I mean Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries, of course, rather than the playful, generously moustachioed and inconveniently deceased Spanish surrealist.

Ryanair is the only airline bold enough to fly directly to Aarhus from a London airport so, having endured 90 minutes of the stewardesses’ unblinking hostility interrupted only by a) the chance to buy some scratch-cards, b) the chance to buy smokeless cigarettes, c) three separate opportunities to buy something to eat and d) a bout of pins and needles brought on by my inability to comfortably fit my apparently freakishly tall 6’0” frame into the sliver of space between my seat and the seat in front, I’m delivered onto Danish soil. From Aarhus airport it’s less than an hour’s drive to Nørager and DALI HQ.

Regular readers (and those who care to search this website) will know that What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision has, to a lesser or greater extent, admired much of DALI’s output over the last few years.

The Lektor series, the Ikon series, the Mentor series, the Fazon and Mirage style-orientated multichannel packages, have all been well received. And meeting CEO Lars Worre left me in no doubt that DALI has the determination and the expertise to build on these many successes.

The main point of my visit is to be introduced to the second incarnation of the best-selling and Award-winning Ikon series. As it’s a range that received either four- or five-star recommendations from this magazine, I venture the idea that perhaps a loudspeaker series that ain’t broke doesn’t need any fixing. Lars doesn’t agree, and unleashes a five-star metaphor to illustrate his point: don’t magnify the cheese.

Apparently Dali received a degree of criticism regarding the Ikons’ rather revealing nature which, as Lars sees it, is valid. “If you’re eating a nice meal, it should be enough to enjoy all the flavours. There’s no need to magnify the cheese in order to enjoy the taste." Which is a proposition that has never really occurred to me before.

Dali Ikon 1 Mk2

In an aesthetic sense at least, the Ikon mk2 range is completely successful inasmuch as it makes the outgoing speakers look a little bit dated without tearing up the design principles.

The addition of a glossy-white cabinet alongside the black ash and light oak vinyl finishes is welcome, and the baffle looks better for being in soft black rather than grey too. As far as performance goes, we’ll be reviewing a pair (either the Ikon 2 mk2s or the Ikon 6 mk2s, probably) in the September issue, so thankfully we don’t have too long to wait to find out.

Dali Ikon 6 Mk2

It would be remiss of me to finish this blog without at least mentioning my extraordinary evening under the spell of Chartreuse. Apparently Café le Coq in Aarhus sells a disproportionate amount of the herby liqueur, to the extent that a Chartreuse bigwig had come all the way to Denmark to find out why.

His presence dictated a celebratory menu at le Coq on the night I was there, and after a menu spiked at every turn by potent green alcohol (Chartreuse mayonnaise, anyone? Carrots poached in Chartreuse? Chartreuse ice-cream?) I became briefly convinced I was going blind. I’m ok now, though.

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.