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DALI’s IO-12 Wireless Headphones Are Wickedly Expensive: High-End Munich 2023

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 wired connections.

DALI IO-12 Wireless ANC Headphones

The high-end wireless headphone category has made some enormous strides over the past 24 months; new products like the Focal Bathys, Bowers & Wilkins Px8, and Mark Levinson No. 5909 have made of us reconsider using wired headphones because the performance gap below $1,000 has narrowed that dramatically.

DALI will not be the only manufacturer entering the luxury wireless headphone category in 2023 but the new IO-12 will have to be significantly better than any of the aforementioned models to claim the Iron Throne. At $1,499 USD — they better be a mind-blowing aural experience.

Are we being too harsh without having a listen?

DALI’s loudspeakers have earned a spot on our “Best Bookshelf Loudspeaker” list for 3 years and we are huge fans of their products.

But it certainly raised a few eyebrows around here when we discovered the new DALI IO-12 are $1,499 USD. T+A have a new pair of wireless headphones that are even more expensive but we’re not sure the typical DALI customer is going to see $1,499 and just fork it over that easily.

We hope to be proven wrong.

DALI IO-12 Wireless ANC Headphones Parts Exploded


Utilizing the same material found in DALI’s high-end speakers, the DALI IO-12’s are the world’s first headphones to feature DALI’s patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnet system. ​ When using conventional magnets in a speaker design, it is not unusual to experience a phenomenon known as hysteresis. ​

This introduces an unintended resistance to the voice-coil, which can lead to unwanted distortion in the audio signal. DALI’s SMC technology, combined with their signature paper fibre cones, significantly reduces hysteresis, lowering uneven harmonic distortion drastically.

DALI says, “By applying SMC to the IO-12s we have essentially achieved electrostatic levels of midrange clarity.”

Versatile and intuitive, the DALI IO-12 headphones have been designed to be used either wired or wirelessly. Thanks to both aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, and supplied 3.5mm mini-jack and USB-C cables, you can listen to your music from a host of devices including: smartphones, Digital Audio Players (DAPs), PCs, games consoles and more.

When using the supplied USB-C cable, dependent upon source and device, audio can be listened to at up to 24-bit/96kHz Hi-Res quality. 

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Adopting a simple, app-free operation, users can skip tracks, adjust the volume and more using the IO-12’s integrated buttons. Cutting-edge Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) adds even more functionality and ensures — even in noisy environments — an immersive listening experience, where every musical detail is revealed. 

With their comfortable design and long battery-life delivering 35 hours of listening, the DALI IO-12 headphones let you enjoy audio on the go like never before. And, thanks to the high-quality integrated microphones, you can be heard clearly when making hands-free calls or voice-controlling your compatible device. 

The DALI IO-12’s offer two sound profiles for listening to your music. Prefer to listen to your music as the artist intended, or perhaps you’re after a more punchy, bass-focused performance? The IO-12’s tailored ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Bass’ sound modes let you listen to your music just the way you want it.

DALI IO-12 Wireless ANC Headphones Front and Side Earcup

With a foldable design that features a real leather headband and oversized square ear-pads, you’ll be able to enjoy hours of comfortable listening on the go with the new DALI IO-12’s. 

Key Features:

  • World’s First Headphones with DALI’s patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) Magnet System
  • True Hi-Fi Wireless Headphones
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
  • Custom-developed 50mm SMC-based Drivers
  • Large-capacity Battery (Up to 35 Hours of Listening)
  • Detachable Square-shaped Ear-pads
  • Real Leather Ear-pads and Headband
  • Foldable Design
  • Bluetooth with aptX Adaptive Technology
  • USB-C Charging
  • Hi-Res (24Bit/96kHz) USB Audio
  • Voice Assist Support

Included in the Box

  • 1 x DALI IO-12 Headphones
  • 1 x USB-C Cable 
  • 1 x 1.2m Stereo Mini-jack Cable
  • 1 x 3m Stereo Mini-jack Cable
  • 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Mini-jack to 6.35mm Jack Adaptor
  • 1 x Flight Adaptor
  • 1 x Luxury Travel Case

Price & Availability

The DALI IO-12 wireless noise canceling headphones will launch in August 2023 priced at $1,499 (£999 / €999).

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