With the new Dali Spektor family offers a nice range of speakers for the home cinema lover who want something ‘good’ but do not want to spend a huge amount of money.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal
Dali serves all groups of consumers quite well, starting from the Zensor budget speakers to the breathtaking Epicons. But there is still space for a line of very affordable speakers among the accessible Zensor family and the high-quality Opticon speakers. The Spektor speaker series now consists of four loudspeakers: two bookshelf speakers (Spektor 1 and 2), a floor stand (Spektor 6) and a center (Spektor Vokal).
This means you have fewer building blocks than with higher loudspeaker lines to build a surround setup, but especially if you have a small or medium-sized living room you will find everything you need. In this review we look at the Spektor 1, 6 and Vokal, further supported by the Dali E-9F subwoofer. Because this is Homecine Magazine, the emphasis is on surround use.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal: solid
The Spektor speakers do not belong in the budget class at home, which you also notice at the price tag and fortunately also at the finish. They are not designer speakers with rounded corners, nor can you count on expensive gloss paints. However, Dali has just built the Spektors very well. Not exciting, but sustainable and neutral. The speakers are only available in black or walnut brown, where we find the walnut edition slightly more exciting. The black edition looks a little heavy.
But in a real home cinema you still look with dim light, so perhaps the color in this case makes little difference. In any case, you do not have modern color versions such as white or a light type of wood. The Spektors gets a little more class by a kind of leather pattern on the front. From a distance you can not really see it, but close by the speakers look somewhat retro.
Along the front and sides the Spektor 1, 6 and Vokal look great, the back is slightly more primitive. You can not bi-wiren, which is not so unusual in this category. The connections at the back of the speaker are again solid and can also handle thicker cables and banana plugs.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal: placement is important
If we are looking at the back, you will find a bass port at both the Spektor 1 and the Spektor 6, an exit through which low tones can escape from the enclosure. This is more common with speakers and provides a deeper, more impressive bass response – although it will be more discreet and more rumbling. We know from our stereo test of the Spektor 6 that thanks to this exit at the back of these large floor stands we have to stand a bit further away from the wall.
In our listening room we even found 80 to 100 cm no problem. If the loudspeakers are too close and your room is rather small, the basses will sound really fuzzy and dominant. Of course you have one big advantage in a home cinema setup: via the receiver you may be able to tune in at the speaker level if the room measurement did not already provide that. The Spektor 1 is less affected by this strong presence in the low, but if you mount these small speakers on the wall as surround channels or put them in a cupboard you can consider mute the bass port.
Just like with other Dali speakers, you have to place the Spektors in parallel with the walls. People who like their interior find that fun. Most other speakers need to be turned a bit so that they radiate optimally to your sitting position. Now it is true that for a pure home cinema setup this is slightly less relevant.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal: small except for the 6
Both the Spektor 1 and the Spektor Vokal are relatively small speakers. For rear channels, however, the 1 with its x is adequate enough, especially if you also have a subwoofer in your setup. Are you concerned that the room is too big for the Spektor 1 (or the rean channels are far from your viewing position), then there is the larger Spektor 2 bookshelf speaker.
The Vokal is 15 cm high, 20 cm deep and 43.5 cm wide. This is enough space for two 4½ inch woofers – with the characteristic red-brown cone – with a dome tweeter in the middle.
The Spektor 6 is again a relatively large floor stand of almost one meter high. He is not exactly slim, a real presence next to your TV. Remove the grille (careful, because the fastening system is fragile) so that you can admire those drivers and the dispersion pattern around the dome tweeter.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal: listening
For this test we used a Denon AVR-X6300H as a receiver for a 5.1 setup. That is a relatively high model and if you are going for a 5.1 set-up in a medium-sized room, a cheaper receiver will certainly also be able to serve. If you want to stay with Denon, the AVR-X2500 might even be feasible.
Because of this burly low production of the Spektor 6 we found it interesting to carry out an experiment: to play a few clips from our DTS test disc with and without a subwoofer, each time with adjusted settings. It turned out that the absence of a sub was noticeable, but if you accept a slightly more woolly layer that does not dive extremely deep, it still sounds ok. In other words: in a small living room you can use the Spektor 6 as left and right channel without subwoofer. That’s pretty nice when you’re dealing with a partner who does not feel like an unsubtle subwoofer that marred the room.
That being said, the E-9F that we used for our test is a compact sub that performs quite well. Dali is not the big name in terms of subwoofers, but the Danes can actually do something about it.
After completing the test cycle with the DTS test disc, we switch to the reissue of ‘Jaws’ on Blu-ray. In 2012 this classic was re-released in a digital remaster, with a new 7.1 soundtrack in DTS MA HD. Already in the first minutes you get the famous threatening Jaws-theme of John Williams served, here beautiful in surround. The center channel will get some work if you turn up the volume, partly because of the horns in the soundtrack.
The Vokal is doing pretty well. Voices may be slightly more crunchy, but the Dali center delivers a full sound. Not bad, given that the Vokal is quite small. Also striking: the integration between the Spektor speakers is fine, so you definitely get a seamless sound image in front of a 5.1 setup. We notice that for example in the famous scene in ‘House of Flying Daggers’ when the rebellious dancer plays the graceful echo game in the room filled with Chinese drums. This scene is full of delightful sound effects that move through the room. It would then be very noticeable if, for example, there were time differences. Remarkable here is that the small Spektor 1s can handle the best, even if we have the volume high.
Dali Spektor 6, Spektor 1 and Spektor Vokal: conclusion
With the Spektor family you can build a fairly good home cinema setup for a relatively low price. For 5.0 you are still under 1,000 euros. It is actually surprising how good they sound for films, something that in our test setup is mainly thanks to the excellent Spektor 6. You also do not need the ultimate in amplification to make the Spektors sing, and that is certainly the case if you leave some budget for a subwoofer at level, like the E-9F that we tested. They may not look very exciting, the speakers are well and properly constructed. A bargain.