Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Floorstanding Speakers

DALI is Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation: Has it Really Been That Long?

DALI is celebrating its 40th Anniversary and we decided to take a trip down memory lane and look forward into the future.

DALI is Celebrating their 40th Anniversary

Indeed it has and may the next 120 years be just as sweet for DALI which offers some of the best affordable high-end loudspeakers in the industry. If you have never had the opportunity to listen to any of their loudspeakers, you might be surprised to discover that they are competitive with almost anything in the market.

The Danish manufacturer is also the second largest manufacturer of loudspeaker cabinets in Europe and certainly one of the top five across the globe.

DALI doesn’t always come across as a “glitzy” high-end brand because their advertising is less than aggressive in its messaging and you are unlikely to see them use famous influencers to promote themselves.

This is a company with a very deep pool of engineers and focus on building state-of-the-art drivers internally which enables them to offer more for less. Even the screws that secure the drivers and tweeter to the cabinet are machined and finished internally to always have enough inventory to meet demand.

DALI has also become a very strong player in the CI category with its Phantom Series; my plan for 2024 is to invest in a 5.1 Phantom system for the living room and hope to make it the foundation for numerous home theater reviews to come.

Some History…

At the Munich High End Show in May 2023, Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries (DALI) unveiled two ground-breaking additions to its product portfolio: the EPIKORE 11 loudspeaker and the revolutionary IO-12 headphones. Both products incorporate DALI’s proprietary cutting-edge SMC technology; setting a new standard for both wired and wireless audio experiences.

2023 commemorates a remarkable 40-year journey since DALI’s humble beginnings in a Danish cellar. Over the last four decades, DALI has risen to prominence as one of the world’s most loved and well-known speaker brands, consistently delivering innovation year after year. 

2023 is set to be another year marked by innovation and expansion for DALI. The company continues to push boundaries in the pursuit of audio excellence, promising further innovations with the launch of home cinema speakers.

How did DALI begin?

Denmark has a long history when it comes to a love of high-fidelity audio. In 1915, shortly after the commercialisation of early phonograph recordings allowed people to buy music to play in their own homes, Danish engineer, entrepreneur, and future honorary member of the Audio Engineering Society, Peter L. Jensen, introduced the concept of moving-coil dynamic loudspeakers to the world.

In 1983 Danish retailer, Hi-Fi Klubben – building upon learnings from their manufacture of NAD speakers a few years earlier in the cellar of their founder Peter Lyngdorf’s home –founded the DALI brand. Motivated by an undying passion for music, together with the desire to offer consumers affordable, high-quality loudspeakers, their efforts led to the first DALI loudspeaker, the DALI 2. Delivering outstanding performance in a compact design, with a price tag that was half that of its competitors, the DALI 2 was a remarkable loudspeaker that served as a gateway to the exciting world of hi-fi for many consumers.

Initially, the fledgling DALI operated out of two locations in Denmark: Ry and Skanderborg. However, by 1986, the success of the first model range paved the way for the establishment of a new dedicated factory right at the heart of DALI’s current location in Nørager, Denmark. What began in the confines of a cellar had now transformed into a global phenomenon.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Peter Lyngdorf breaking ground at DALI HQ in 1986
1986: A historical moment: Peter Lyngdorf gets to work on the new DALI HQ in Nørager, Denmark.

Today, DALI speakers are sold in more than 70 countries, providing enjoyment to audio enthusiasts worldwide.

THE DALI TIMELINE

1983: DALI is founded

DALI emerged from Scandinavia’s premier audio retail chain, Hi-Fi Klubben, driven by a growing public demand for loudspeaker options spanning various sizes, shapes, performance levels, and price ranges. Founder Peter Lyngdorf imbued DALI with a clear mission: to craft best-in-class loudspeakers across every category.

1986: DALI 2

The innovative DALI 2 speaker delivered a performance on par with its pricier competitors at around half the cost. This marked the inception of a value-driven philosophy that still resonates in contemporary successors, such as the DALI OBERON 3. The DALI 2 became the inaugural speaker to grace the US market and was swiftly followed by the DALI 6, which introduced the renowned soft dome tweeter, further solidifying the brand’s reputation.

1986: The DALI HQ is born

Peter Lyngdorf approved the building of the DALI Headquarters in Nørager, Denmark which remain the base of operations today.

DALI HQ from the air. Nørager, Denmark.
DALI HQ from the air. Nørager, Denmark.

1986: DALI 40 hits the headlines

“The DALI 40 was quite something when it launched”, comments DALI CEO Larrs Worre. A speaker with good drivers, a well-built cabinet, featuring ultra-low resonance. 

The DALI 40 also had a patented bass system with a quartet of eight-inch drivers (two of which were inside the cabinet) forming an L-coupling system that cancelled out all the resulting reaction forces and vibrations, enabling the speaker to go deeper into the bass frequencies compared to almost any other competitor. The DALI 40 instantly became famous within both the industry and audiophile market.

DALI 40 Loudspeakers
DALI 40 Loudspeakers

1990: DALI goes global

Whilst DALI had been supplying its range of speakers to a relatively small number of hi-fi enthusiasts beyond Denmark in the 1980s, it wasn’t until 1990 that the company established a dedicated team solely focused on exporting products to international markets. A series of ground-breaking innovations in the loudspeaker domain bolstered DALI’s reputation and served to increase its appeal among global customers. 

Consequently, dedicated export divisions were established, and in 2001, DALI opened its inaugural overseas sales office in Germany. This was followed by a UK sales office in 2005. By 2006, DALI had successfully expanded its presence to 50 countries worldwide.

1991: DALI SKYLINE

The DALI SKYLINE loudspeakers created a significant impact on the global stage by blending a uniquely refreshing design together with state-of-the-art performance. 

This radical redesign, coupled with the innovative fusion of a ribbon tweeter and electro-dynamic drivers, earned the DALI SKYLINE widespread acclaim and respect across the globe.

DALI SKYLINE Loudspeakers
DALI SKYLINE Loudspeakers

1992: DALI MENUET

An immediate hit with critics – and still available worldwide more than 30 years after its debut – the MENUET remains the ideal choice for smaller rooms. 

Although it’s one of the smallest offerings in DALI’s loudspeaker line-up (measuring just 25cm x 15cm x 23cm), the MENUET packs a punch beyond its size, delivering high-end audio quality together with a premium finish in a compact form factor.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The compact DALI MENUET loudspeaker
The compact DALI MENUET loudspeaker

1996: DALI MEGALINE

The iconic DALI MEGALINE loudspeaker – a full-range line-source system – stands as one of DALI’s most awe-inspiring creations. Its stunning design featured an impressive array of 6 dipole ribbon tweeters and 24 customized bass/mid drivers, delivering exceptional clarity with minimal distortion and ample dynamic headroom. 

Originally conceived as an engineering showcase, it quickly transitioned into production to meet the enthusiastic demand of audio aficionados seeking unparalleled quality coupled with head-turning aesthetics.

DALI MEGALINE loudspeakers
DALI MEGALINE loudspeakers

1997: DALI GRAND Series

The GRAND series marked the inception of DALI’s commitment to minimizing dynamic distortion in loudspeaker drivers. Through a comprehensive overhaul of the magnet and voice coil design, DALI achieved a reduction in distortion whilst attaining a higher level of control. 

Furthermore, the DALI Grand Series elevated the look of a loudspeaker to new heights, with cabinets that showcased the very pinnacle of Scandinavian furniture craftsmanship.

2002: DALI EUPHONIA

The DALI Euphonia was the pioneering loudspeaker that introduced the combination of a soft-dome and a magnetostatic tweeter. This innovative fusion of technologies laid the foundation for the initial version of the DALI hybrid tweeter, which remains an integral part of DALI’s loudspeaker range to this day.

2005: DALI IKON

The aptly named IKON remains a point of reference for audiophiles and loudspeaker enthusiasts to this day. 

Marking a significant breakthrough for DALI on the international stage, the IKON redefined musical realism at its £899 price point, effortlessly delivering a natural, powerful, and dynamic musicality with all genres of audio. Garnering numerous accolades from the global press, the IKON stands as one of DALI’s most renowned speaker lines.

2007: DALI establishes own quality-control facility in China

Originally established as a quality-control facility for externally sourced components, the landmark Ningbo factory swiftly transformed into a production hub for DALI-manufactured components. 

The facility has played a pivotal role in acquainting a new generation of audio enthusiasts with the authentic DALI Hi-Fi sound. DALI retains complete ownership and in-house management of all production processes at this factory, which also serves as the headquarters for distributing DALI products in the Chinese market.

DALI Driver Production
DALI Driver Production

2011: DALI FAZON F5

Balancing aesthetics and audio excellence, the FAZON F5 epitomized DALI’s bold approach to design. 

This distinctive speaker, with its striking appearance and integrated stand, squarely targeted a design-conscious audience. In celebration of DALI’s 30th anniversary, a limited run of FAZON F5 speakers was crafted, showcasing custom artwork on their side panels.

DALI FAZON F5 (2013 Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Models)
DALI FAZON F5 (2013 Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Models)

2012: DALI EPICON introduces SMC technology

With the EPICON series, DALI took yet another bold step into the future of sound. The EPICON series featured the world premiere of DALI’s proprietary Linear Drive Magnet System, which was the result of more than 25 years of dedicated work to eliminate distortion. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The use of SMC (Soft Magnetic Composite) eliminated odd order harmonic distortion and gave the EPICON series a midrange transparency like no other speaker. The SMC-drivers were manufactured by DALI in Denmark.

DALI Epicon 8 Woofer
DALI Epicon 8 Woofer

2013: DALI KUBIK FREE

With the KUBIK FREE, DALI introduced its first full-range speaker. Setting new standards in the active category, ushering Hi-Fi audio into the active lifestyle segment. 

Emphasizing flexibility and connectivity, the KUBIK FREE seamlessly played music from any device, whether as a standalone unit or part of a complete stereo system, offering both wired and wireless options.

DALI KUBIK FREE Speaker
DALI KUBIK FREE Speaker

2014: DALI RUBICON

The RUBICON series showcased DALI’s bespoke SMC technology alongside an oversized tweeter. Acknowledged by reviewers as an instant classic, the RUBICON 2 stand-mount speaker provided an unparalleled combination of scale and speed within its price range.

DALI RUBICON Loudspeaker
DALI RUBICON Loudspeaker

2015: DALI OPTICON

Integrating SMC technology inherited from DALI’s EPICON series of loudspeakers, the OPTICON range made its debut at London’s iconic Hospital Club, accompanied by a live global concert stream. The complete presentation and streaming experience can be viewed here.

2016: DALI KATCH

Drawing on years of speaker know-how and audio expertise, DALI designed a truly best-in-class Bluetooth speaker with the KATCH. 

With its stylish looks, and featuring a double-sided multi-driver lay-out, the KATCH delivers a clean and powerful bass from a shallow enclosure thanks to its innovative vibration cancelling bass system. An instant award winner, the KATCH appeals to both audio and movie lovers, and is still a top seller today in the form of the current G2 update.

DALI KATCH G2 portable Bluetooth Speaker Colors
DALI KATCH G2

2018: DALI OBERON

The OBERON series brought DALI’s proprietary SMC technology to an entry-level range of speakers, offering both stand-mount and floor-standing models. In a 5.1 system configuration, it can be combined with either the OBERON VOKAL or the new (2023) OBERON GRAND VOKAL. This versatile family of speakers also includes the OBERON ONWALL speaker, below.

DALI OBERON ONWALL Speaker

2019: DALI KATCH ONE

Proof of DALI’s capability to thrive in a competitive market, the KATCH ONE emerged as an award-winning music speaker and TV soundbar that harmonised design aesthetics and style with unique vibration cancelling and sound image widening technology.

These innovations allowed the KATCH ONE to be versatile – capable of both standing freely or being wall-mounted – whilst offering a unique aesthetic that appealed to both design enthusiasts and audiophiles.

Dali Katch One Soundbar in ivory white with remote
DALI Katch One

2019: DALI IO-4 and IO-6

Offering the unmistakable DALI signature sound at an accessible price point, the IO-4 and IO-6 wireless headphones provide high-quality aptX HD Bluetooth connectivity and immersive noise cancellation, alongside an industry-leading 30-hour battery life. 

Designed for supreme comfort, the IO-6 headphones went on to receive the prestigious 2020-21 EISA Award for Best Headphones, with the review panel saying they were ‘nothing less than a sensational debut [with] a superbly powerful yet open and informative sound.’

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

DALI IO-6 Headphones in Iron Black folded
DALI IO-6

2020: DALI EQUI 

Combining stunning sound quality with wireless convenience, the DALI EQUI family of products enables the creation of a fully wireless active speaker system. Versatile in its capabilities, EQUI provides solutions for various use cases, including two-channel stereo and multi-channel surround configurations (extending up to 7.1 channels). 

The EQUI speaker family encompasses OBERON C, RUBICON C, and the CALLISTO C. The innovative EQUI SOUND HUB offers a host of connectivity options, accommodating both analogue and digital wired inputs, as well as wireless sources including Bluetooth and BluOS.

DALI EQUI SOUND HUB
DALI EQUI SOUND HUB

2022: DALI KORE

The DALI KORE is a new flagship for DALI, setting standards far beyond the price tag and shaking up the high-end speaker market with a fusion of technology, sound quality, and construction excellence, never before witnessed at this level. The KORE introduces second generation SMC technology alongside the innovative Evo-K hybrid tweeter. Every element of the KORE speaker is entirely new, meticulously crafted from the ground up. 

‘The DALI KORE represents for DALI a design, electroacoustic, engineering, manufacturing and musical rebirth.’, said DALI CEO Lars Worre at launch.

DALI KORE Flagship Floorstanding Loudspeakers
DALI KORE Loudspeakers

2023: IO-12 AND EPIKORE 11

Munich High-End saw the grand reveal of the IO-12 headphones and EPIKORE 11 speaker. Both products were important firsts for DALI.

Building upon DALI’s four decades of award-winning audio expertise, the DALI IO-12 headphones offer stunning Hi-Fi quality sound, together with sumptuous levels of comfort. A wireless noise-cancelling pair of headphones with the performance of a wired high-end headphones, the IO-12 utilise the same material found in DALI’s high-end speakers, and are the world’s first headphones to feature DALI’s patented SMC technology.

Setting new standards for low-distortion loudspeaker design, the EPIKORE 11 are the natural evolution of the acclaimed DALI EPICON series and inherit several new technologies from the DALI KORE flagship speaker.

Combining ultimate audio realism with luxurious craftmanship to create a truly exceptional musical experience, the curved, real-wood veneer cabinets house four powerful 8-inch bass drivers, a highly dynamic 6-1⁄2-inch midrange (each utilising DALI’s unique SMC Gen-2 technology) as well as DALI’s signature EVO-K Hybrid Tweeter Module.

Related: Find our latest coverage about DALI.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ORT

    September 14, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    DALI makes some gorgeous speakers. When I started this hobby I was told that speakers were the most important part of the picture that is audio. The frame if you will, that holds it all together.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      September 14, 2023 at 5:24 pm

      ORT,

      I agree. They are also very well engineered. The company is much larger than people know and OEM cabinets for a lot of people.

      I recently had the opportunity to hear the Phantom CI speakers in a home and left very impressed. I suspect that DALI, Theory Audio Design, Q Acoustics and Magnepan (with a few stragglers) are going to be my long-term rides even when I’m done with all of this.

      The in-wall/in-ceiling category is maturing rapidly and there is a part of me that doesn’t want to see loudspeakers in most rooms any more. If I can click on an app, send a track to an amplifier driving DALI or TAD CI speakers and not even notice anything but the sound coming from the ceiling or wall — that’s a win. Both financially and domestically.

      IW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

New Products

Andover Audio SpeakEasy 4 Powered Speakers White with Spinstand

New Products

At $399, the Andover Audio SpeakEasy 4 powered bookshelf speakers include wireless Bluetooth, HDMI-ARC and a built-in phono preamp.

Theory Audio Design DLC 2024 Theory Audio Design DLC 2024

Amplifiers

Specifically designed for use with Theory loudspeakers, new controllers offer a cosmetic refresh, Dante network audio with AES67 compatibility, and an all-new 8-channel amplifier.

LG B4 OLED TV (2024) LG B4 OLED TV (2024)

HDTV 4K & 8K TV

LG's entry level 4K OLED TV is available now in 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch models, starting at $1,699 MSRP.

Orchard Audio Starkrimson Mono Ultra Premium Amplifier Pair Orchard Audio Starkrimson Mono Ultra Premium Amplifier Pair

Amplifiers

Using GaN technology, Starkrimson Mono Ultra Premium power amplifier boasts 250-watts of power at 8 ohms, 500-watts at 4 ohms.

Audio-Technica AT-ART1000 Direct Power Stereo MC Cartridge Audio-Technica AT-ART1000 Direct Power Stereo MC Cartridge

New Products

At $5,499, the AT-ART1000X Direct Power Stereo Moving Coil Phono Cartridge improves upon the AT-ART1000 with improvements in design and materials.

xMEMS Harding Wireless Earbuds inside charging case xMEMS Harding Wireless Earbuds inside charging case

Earbuds & In-Ear Headphones

xMEMS introduces two proof of concept true wireless earbuds using solid-state MEMS micro speaker technology.

You May Also Like

Floorstanding Speakers

Reporting from Munich, we got the scoop on dozens of new high-end audio products coming out in 2024

Floorstanding Speakers

Made in Denmark, the DALI RUBIKORE loudspeaker series includes five new models designed for stereo or home theater listening.

Articles

In 2024, our favorite mid-tier budget friendly floorstanding loudspeakers are from Q Acoustics, DALI, Magnepan, Wharfedale and Zu Audio.

In-Wall Speakers

The outdoor CI market is hot and rather wet apparently. The DALI PHANTOM E-60 and E-80 WR in-ceiling speakers will be available from March,...

Articles

Just what can one buy in 2024 for $4,500? The DALI Oberon 5 and NAD C 3050 make some serious music together on the...

Bookshelf Speakers

Lenbrook Americas is having one of the best holiday sales we have seen so far. Up to 25% on select PSB Speakers, Bluesound NODE,...

New Products

The world's first headphones featuring DALI's patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) technology. With 50mm custom drivers, active noise cancellation, aptX Adaptive Bluetooth and USB-C/3.5mm...

Articles

The best bookshelf or stand-mounted speakers below $1,000? We have 11 options that have impressed us enormously.

Advertisement

ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.



SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers