IKON speakers employ DALI’s signature hybrid tweeter modules and proprietary wood pulp/paper fiber woofers, with front-ported speakers offering extraordinary performance at a very accessible price.
I installed a pair of IKON 6 columns ($1595/pair) as the front left/right pair, the $595 IKON Vokal 2 as the center channel, and a pair of IKON 1 bookshelf speakers ($795/pair) as surrounds in my review system. Later, I added the powerful and beautifully made $995 IKON Sub to round out the system.
DALI’s hybrid tweeters and woodpulp woofers are a match made in heaven. Combining a 1-inch dome tweeter and small ribbon super-tweeter in close proximity, the hybrid tweeter module gives exceptionally smooth, extended high-frequency response. The woofers impart warmth without sacrificing dynamics or clarity.
The sonic result—open and airy treble, intimate but startling midrange clarity, effortless dynamics, good bass punch, and with the IKON Sub, wallshaking power. As a stand-alone system the IKON 6 offers impressive bass performance— amazingly deep for a loudspeaker its size, with a smooth low-end rolloff that implies bigger bass capability than the speaker really has. Adding the IKON Sub improved the sonic foundation, but not its tunefulness. Less-than-precise pitch definition makes the IKON Sub more a LFE home-theater device than a musical instrument.
Compact size prevents the IKON Vokal 2 and the IKON 1 models from delivering really deep bass. They share all the positive characteristics of the IKON 6—open, extended treble; warm, clear mids, and punchy bottom end. In surround mode, the front three speakers presented a huge, seamless sonic wall. With the IKON 6’s in stereo mode, imaging was deeper, more three-dimensional, but in both cases music was deeply involving. The IKON 1s also excelled as two-channel desktop hi-fi system using a Red Rose Music Spirit integrated amp.
The only thing the IKON system lacks is some weight and authority in the lower midrange/upper bass. Gary Karr’s double bass, for example, had a lighter, cello-like tonality through the IKONs, a forgivable departure from absolute accuracy considering all they do right. As one colleague observed, “The little guys come so close to sounding like the big-buck DALI Helicons that it’s downright scary.” The IKON system is excellent by any measure, but at under $4000 total is an outrageous bargain. The sub is decent, but the weak link in the system. Those who value low-frequency musicality should consider subwoofers from other makers. There are plenty of good ones at this price. Action movie fans will be delighted, however.
With high-def 50-inch plasma displays approaching the $2000 price point, and excellent A/V receivers available for $1000, you can create home entertainment systems approaching state-of-the-art for well under $10,000. The trend bodes well for everyone.