DALI OBERON ON-WALL Review – Up against it

Mark Craven streamlines his listening with DALI’s smart-looking on-wall Oberon speakers. Read our DALI OBERON ON-WALL Review.

DALI OBERON ON-WALL Review
info
PRODUCT: Two-way on-wall loudspeaker
POSITION: The most affordable DALI series to use its SMC driver tech
PEERS: ELAC Debut OW4.2; Monitor Audio Soundframe 3
THERE ARE OCCASIONS when a relatively discreet on-wall speaker is desirable.

You might, for example, be short of space for rear surround speakers in an AV setup, or fancy a stereo pair to match a wall-hung TV. Yet the market isn’t exactly heaving with options. Step forward DALI’s Oberon On-Wall.

This two-way model is part of DALI’s mid-range Oberon series, fleshing out a range that also includes two floorstanders, two bookshelf speakers and a centre. You could assemble a multichannel package from these, using the On-Walls where necessary. Or you could use them on their own.

That’s a tempting price because, firstly, DALI has certainly taken care with design and styling. Naturally, the aesthetic matches the rest of the Oberon range, but I actually find the round-edged ‘rustic fabric’ grilles look better on these more diminutive enclosures. And the speakers’ 12cm depth is shallow enough to really make these look like on-wall speakers, rather than a regular, boxier cabinet masquerading as one.

The On-Walls use a 29mm soft dome tweeter, which is slightly larger than a typical high-frequency driver, and a wood fibre cone midbass driver with DALI’s patented SMC magnet technology, which the company says minimizes distortion.

The rear of the cabinet features a bass port, angling slightly down and designed specifically for on-wall installation. Attachment is via two keyhole fixings. Note that the grilles aren’t magnetic, so if you decide to remove them, the fascia displays four little holes.

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SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVERS: 1 x 29mm soft dome tweeter; 1 x 5.25in wood fibre cone midbass driver ENCLOSURE: Bass reflex (rear downfiring) FREQUENCY RESPONSE (CLAIMED): 55Hz- 26kHz SENSITIVITY (CLAIMED): 86.5dB POWER HANDLING (CLAIMED): 100W DIMENSIONS: 385(h) x 245(w) x 120(d)mm WEIGHT: 4.9kg

FEATURES: Removable fabric grille; keyhole wall-mount

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Warm me up

Compared to DALI’s much costlier Phantom in-wall speakers [see HCC #276], these

Other finish options are walnut, oak and black ash affordable cabinets have a much warmer, hi-fi-style sound. That’s no bad thing, considering the potential applications.

Run as a stereo pair with music, they reveal an exceptional mid-range clarity, which results in lifelike vocals with music and strong instrumentation. Bass punch is admirable, too; the drums in the intro to Slash’s rock’n’roller Ghost (Tidal) have a good leading edge.

Switching to movies/TV yields more of the same. I ran a 2.1 setup with Arendal’s 1961 Subwoofer 1S (see page 58), as the Oberon On-Wall’s low-end reach isn’t really suited to a full-range cinematic experience, and enjoyed the speakers’ rich dialogue delivery and crisp treble.

There’s obviously no toe-in option (unless you have wonky walls), but stereo imaging is aided by impressive detail retrieval and a reasonably good dispersion. The skilful soundscapes of Dunkirk (4K Blu-ray) may lose their surround elements in 2.1, but the system brings out the LCR steering and depth of the soundstage.

Switching again, I used this well-priced pairing as surround channels in a 5.1 pack with Q Acoustics 3010i standmounts for LCR. Different drivers and cabinet design, but the Oberons’ sonic signature isn’t one that’s going to stand out unduly with a variety of speakers. What’s more likely is if you have very forceful, dynamic attacking speakers elsewhere in your setup, these might feel drowned out.

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Robust and nuanced

Overall, this is a fine addition to the on-wall speaker market, and one that doesn’t have a stratospheric price tag. Sound quality is robust and nuanced, and the cabinet design is really quite eye-catching. Recommended

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HCC VERDICT DALI Oberon On-Wall

9 Total Score
Recommended DALI OBERON ON-WALL Review

Supremely stylish and well-made on-wall cabinets from DALI, with an accomplished performance.

DALI OBERON ON-WALL: Price Comparison

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DALI Oberon On-Wall Speakers (Pair) (Dark Walnut)
4 new from £489.00
in stock
& Free shipping
Amazon.co.uk
DALI Oberon On-Wall Speakers (Pair) (White)
3 new from £489.00
in stock
& Free shipping
Amazon.co.uk
DALI Oberon On-Wall Speaker in Dark Walnut (Pair)
5 new from $800.00
in stock
& Free shipping
Amazon.com
Last Amazon price update was: May 27, 2024 1:00 pm
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com (Amazon.in, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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