The name DALI ( Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) spells out the storyline here. DALI is very much in the Danish league of audiophile speakers. The small country is a virtual hotbed of high performance audio design and thinking; companies such as Bang & Olufsen, Dynaudio, Gamut, Jamo, Peerless, Scan-Speak, and Vifa are all based in Denmark. That said, DALI may not be a familiar name on this side of the pond, but they’ve been around since 1983.
The IKON 6’s Hybrid Tweeter Module features a 1.75-inch ribbon tweeter and a 1-inch dome tweeter. Ribbon tweeters are rare in the Ikon’s price class or even speakers that sell for double the Ikon’s MSRP. The ribbon handles extreme high frequencies to 30kHz; that’s well beyond the range of most dome tweeters. A pair of 6.5-inch “wood fiber cone” woofers handle all midrange and bass frequencies (“wood fiber” may sound low tech, but I know a lot of experienced listeners who swear by the natural, unforced sound for which this material is known).
DALI claims the IKON 6 presents an “Amplifier Friendly” load, meaning it’s easy to drive, even for moderately powerful receivers and small integrated amps. Oh, and I have to cite the speaker’s lavishly finished speaker binding posts; they’re really gorgeous solid-metal, gold-plated affairs that can accept burly, heavy-gauge speaker cables.
The IKON 6 is a smallish tower speaker, with clean, even understated hard-edged styling. Not only are the Ikon’s handcrafted in DALI’s factory in Denmark, but each speaker is also signed by the person who built and tested it.
Don’t worry, the IKON 6’s ribbon/ dome tweeter combination doesn’t sound overly bright or aggressive, not in the slightest. It’s more that the sound in general, and upper mids and highs in particular, is very clear and clean, and as we upped the volume the Ikon 6 kept its cool. Bass was just as resolved as the treble and in the end, the IKON 6’s top-to-bottom consistency made for a highly musical, (read natural) sound.
Roseanne Cash’s 10 Song Demo CD [Capitol] instantly told me the Ikon 6 was a very fine speaker. The DALIs made Cash’s voice sound remarkably real and made it easy to tell that the reverberation on the record was probably digitally created. The “spaces” between the guitars, bass, piano and drums were also vivid, so that I never had any sense of the speaker superimposing its own sound over Cash’s heartfelt music. And that’s the point after all—to let the musician’s emotions come through unfettered. That’s a tall order for a collection of wood, metal, and plastic to convey with utmost fidelity, but the Ikon 6 came closer than most.
CDs with naturally recorded depth and ambiance, like Jon Hassell’s Fascinoma CD [Water Lilly Acoustics] really shined over the IKON 6. Hassell’s muted trumpet was heard filling the recording venue’s gorgeous acoustic space (it was Christ the King Chapel, in Santa Barbara, California). There was something almost magical about the breathy sound of Ronu Majumdar’s Bansuri (flute) filling that Chapel. Each instrument’s dynamic “signature” was faithfully presented, and even when I turned down the volume for late night listening the IKON 6 didn’t lose much.
Ah, but can these Danish beauties rock out? Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped CD [Geffen] settled that question in a hurry. The IKON 6’s dished out Thurston Moore’s nasty guitar distortion with gusto, and the band’s fierce sound came through loud and clear.
DALI’s IKON 6 marries sonic transparency and refinement with the ability to kick out the jams. OK, not on the “ba da bing” level of some of the bigger $2K bruisers, but the little Dane is a fighter. Then again, if your room is small to moderately sized, say under 250 square feet, the Ikon 6 is sized just right.