Dali Oberon 1 is the smallest model in DALI’s bang for the buck series, Oberon. Even though we are in the budget class, we can still afford a midwoofer with the characteristic wood fiber cone. And (a tiny bit of) the special SMC material is used in the magnet system.
The cabinet seems quite heavy and solid, and although the wood finish is not genuine, the result with black painted front and walnut on all other surfaces is neat. The biding posts on the back are cheap, but fully functional. And the possibility of bi-wiring will not be missed.
The sound quality
Whether it is due to the wooden diaphragm, the magnetic material or something else entirely, is not known. But the sound from DALI Oberon 1 is extra clean! The midrange reproduction is significantly better than on any of the other participants. Voices sound nuanced and detailed in a way that I would think should cost at least twice as much.
The perspective is beautiful with good width and depth. It is even possible to sense the location of the walls and place instruments in the depth perspective – if the rest of the electronics and the recording allow it. It is far better than what one can expect for the price.
The individual dubbing tracks on Disturbed’s version of The Sound of Silence can not only be felt (which they cannot on all the participants), they stand out razor sharp!
The bass reproduction is really nice compared to the fact that Oberon 1 is the physically smallest in the test. But with such a small unit in a mini-cabinet, the power is limited. The treble is fine and well-resolved, but it is the midrange that is the star. Large orchestra together with solo singing at high volume, however, it is impossible to escape well. The power at the bottom is lacking and it all sounds like pressure. But it is still possible to separate the individual instruments, which is actually well done.
DALI Oberon 1 is the second most expensive model in the test, but you get full value for money in the form of a very nuanced and accurate music reproduction. The sensitivity is the lowest in the test, so forget about playing loud. Oberon 1 is also available in an active version with a built-in amplifier. But the passive is actually even better.