• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

DALI Oberon Vokal Center Speaker Review

Rate this center speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 6.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 52 31.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 91 55.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 6.1%

  • Total voters
    163

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,867
Likes
243,661
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review, listening tests, EQ and detailed measurements of the DALI Oberon Vokal center home theater speaker. It is on kind loan from the member and is on sale for $US 480.
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 center speaker review.jpg

The word "cute" comes to mind given the rather compact size and look of the Oberon Vokal. What is unusual is a front port. Center speakers usually don't have one. Back panel showcases pride in country of design with manufacturing in China:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 center speaker back panel home theater review.jpg


Measurements were performed on Klippel Near-field Scanner. Temperatures are on the cooler side at 58 degrees F. Grill was removed for testing and tweeter was the reference axis.

DALI Oberon Vokal Measurements
As usual, we start with our group of speaker frequency response measurements:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Frequency Response Measurement.png

As noted, at macro level, response is more of less flat but detailed view shows a resonance around 700 Hz and general boost in that area. On positive side, sensitivity is unusually high at 90 dBSPL. Typical speaker I test is around 85 to 86. Bass extension is also impressive for such a small speaker. Both of these are likely due to use of port and dual woofers.

Near-field measurements show the reason for resonances:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 CSD Near-field frequency Response Measurement.png

The front port lets out some and the woofer is creating some on its own.

Early window is decent especially if you can absorb floor reflections:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 early window Frequency Response Measurement.png


Predicted in-room response is again, not too bad although it does hint at some brightness:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Predicted in-room Frequency Response Measurement.png


MTM configuration (dual woofers) causes beaming/narrowing of the response when the wavelength of sound starts to approximate the distance between the two woofers:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Horizontal beamwidth Response Measurement.png

DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Horizontal directivity Response Measurement.png


Vertically it is fine:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Vertical directivity Response Measurement.png


Positive of dual woofers is much better bass handling or said inversely, lower distortion at the same loudness level:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 Relative Distortion Response Measurement.png


DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 THD Distortion Response Measurement.png


Waterfall shows the obvious: effect of resonance:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 CSD Waterfall Response Measurement.png

Step response for those interested in it:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 CSD Step Response Measurement.png



DALI Oberon Vokal Speaker Listening Tests and EQ
First impression was that of extra detail/openness at the expense of lower treble brightness. I could see one liking the speaker a lot in short term listening. While I am fan of such spatiality in headphones, in speakers I don't like the brightness/edginess so decided to EQ that out:
DALI Oberon Vokal Anechoic CEA2034 EQ Equalizer Parametric Measurement.png


The extra treble is in the shape of a plateau which I tried to emulate quickly using two filters. That added the necessary warmth I wanted without detracting too much from the spatial qualities. Speaker has extended bass which managed to trigger a room mode I have at 105 Hz, resulting in somewhat boomy sound on some tracks. So I dialed in a bit of reduction there while maintaining most of the bass response.

Once there, the sound was quite enjoyable. There is something about high sensitivity speakers where you are able to able to get a dynamic sound with a lot of detail with relatively little power. Such was the case here with Dali. Whether imagined or it is due to low distortion, I really liked the clarity of said detail.

On tracks with sub-bass, the speaker produced them at very low level with audible distortion but not remotely like a lot of small speakers do.

I was once again impressed with how these MTM speakers are able to pump out a lot of power which is the likely reason they continue to get built that way. On their narrow directivity, that was a thing when I sat in front of the speaker. At my normal seating, I was not hearing it a lot. And what I heard could be a good thing in reducing a bit of that brightness.

Conclusions
The Oberon Vokal puts a twist on the typical MTM formula in center speakers by including a port and pumping up the sensitivity. The front port does let out some resonance but with some EQ, you can deal with that. Once there, the sound is quite satisfying given the deep bass, low distortion and good dynamics.

I am going to recommend the Dali Oberon Vokal with EQ. Without EQ, you may still like it if you are a fan of highly detailed sound and get lucky with some bass boost from your room.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Attachments

  • DALI Oberon Vokal.zip
    60.6 KB · Views: 56

rammster

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
51
Likes
40
Thanks to the sender member and Amir.
I am surprised to see good results from inexpensive model range. It is lowest model in range, if I remember correctly.
Can we extrapolate these results to Oberon bookshelves and floorstanding ones?
 

Weeb Labs

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
618
Likes
1,453
Location
Ireland
Directivity matching is quite impressive, given the absence of a tweeter waveguide.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,867
Likes
243,661
Location
Seattle Area
Can we extrapolate these results to Oberon bookshelves and floorstanding ones?
Since they are not MTM, we would need to measure them.

Forgot to reserve a post for Specifications. Here they are:

IMG_0534.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sweetchaos

Major Contributor
The Curator
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
3,946
Likes
12,230
Location
BC, Canada
I found 21 passive center channel speakers that were announced in 2023. Link to my thread.

Most of those are MTM centers, which just goes to show what speaker manufacturers are making these days! :facepalm:

Of those, the center channels that are not MTM, of most interest are:

ManufacturerModelPrice USDDesignTypeWoofer SizeMidrange SizeMfg
KefR2 Meta1.4k/each3-way
coaxial
centerDual 5.25"5"Link
KefR6 Meta2k/each3-way
coaxial
centerDual 6.5"5"Link
PhilharmonicHT Center1.2k/each3-way
center
Dual 6.5"4"Link

Excluding overpriced 3-ways...

I would like to see any of these centers measured! :D
 

sam_adams

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
1,043
Likes
2,610
Resonances from the port indicate that it's probably too small–high air velocity—or it may be that the end inside the enclosure is unflanged/unflared. It might also be a the choice of material is too flimsy. Definitely would have to see the inside to confirm, though.
 

Newman

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
3,605
Likes
4,481
I feel conflicted when Amir gives a 'happy panther' to a speaker with classic horizontal MTM failings, and it shows in the measurements.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,867
Likes
243,661
Location
Seattle Area
I feel conflicted when Amir gives a 'happy panther' to a speaker with classic horizontal MTM failings, and it shows in the measurements.
I debated not doing it but ultimately sitting on-axis from this speaker, it really sounds good with that bit of EQ.
 

Newman

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
3,605
Likes
4,481
So do an awful lot of speakers with bad directivity...
 

chook

New Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
4
Likes
3
Location
Seattle Area
Thank you for the detailed review Amir! Appreciate the great work you do.
Happy to see it measures decently for the budget. Interestingly I thought it was a bit boomy next to the wall so had the port stuffed which I guess took care of the resonance as well.
 

FeddyLost

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
752
Likes
544
Looks like some damping and thicker walls was saved to more expensive model range.
But their centers all are of different design which is strange to me.
 

thewas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
6,939
Likes
17,119
Considering its the 2nd cheapest series from Dali and a 2-way MTM it performs not as poor as I would have thought, nice to see also that their own made drivers are performing quite decently.
 

Triliza

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
481
Likes
579
Location
Europe
Voted fine, a decent choice if you have already Dali's for main speakers and want to stay on budget. Haven't checked, but I suppose this will be cheaper in Europe.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,867
Likes
243,661
Location
Seattle Area
Looks like some damping and thicker walls was saved to more expensive model range.
It is quite light so likely you are right.
 

alex-z

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
919
Likes
1,702
Location
Canada
Considering it costs $170 more than a Polk S30 I am a little disappointed they didn't include a modest waveguide like the Revel C25 and move the port to the rear.
 

Haskil

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 29, 2019
Messages
341
Likes
600
Location
Gisors, Normandie, France
I debated not doing it but ultimately sitting on-axis from this speaker, it really sounds good with that bit of EQ.
And we can anyway put this speaker upright vertically...
 

AaronJ

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2021
Messages
310
Likes
558
I’m sure I am not the only one who has noticed the trend of recommending speakers and headphones but only with EQ. I think this is a bit misleading because probably most people don’t use EQ. Perhaps it might be better to not recommend a product based on the measurements, but summarize that it took well to EQ? People can then look back to the review for the specifics.
 
Top Bottom