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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

SenorChang

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Needs to be three-way which raises costs in this category that is very cost sensitive.
Dali’s Opticon Mk 2 Vokal is actually just a single 6.5 woofer and hybrid tweeter. Opticon is their next range up from Oberon. Should make for an interesting test.
 

MarcT

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What is a hybrid tweeter?
1703205194375.jpeg


1703206387566.jpeg
 
Last edited:

beagleman

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I just can't really get by the fact that MTM creates such poor horizontal directivity. I think other types of speaker would be better suited to a centre channel.

I do not think it is quite the issue some make it out to be.
At a proper distance the angle is far less severe and ends up being a mild/moderate tonality change.
I do not use an MTM now, but in the past did, and never once said, "Wow I cant hear the dialog or can not understand it"

I have owned MTM, 2.5 way and true 3 way centers, and simply found the difference not that much an issue in actual usage.
 
Last edited:

Robbo99999

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Needs to be three-way which raises costs in this category that is very cost sensitive.
Couldn't you just use a good quality bookshelf speaker that has good horizontal directivity and passable vertical directivity. You'd choose one that has the kind of SPL output that you require whilst keeping distortion under control. It would be maybe twice taller than this MTM (when the MTM is lying on it's side) though. Speakers would be crossed over to subs anyway, so should help the SPL capabilities of the bookshelf.
 

Robbo99999

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I do not think it is quite the issue some make it out to be.
At a proper distance the angle is far less severe and ends up being a mild/moderate tonality change.
I do not use an MTM now, but in the past did, and never once said, "Wow I cant hear the dialog or can not understand it"

I have owned MTM, 2.5 way and true 3 way centers, and simply found the difference not that much an issue in actual usage.
I understand, but we're trying to optimise all parameters rather than being subjectively just OK, and that horizontal directivity is for sure a weakness.
 

ocinn

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Why do mtm center speakers still exist in 2023 apart from to mislead suckers who think they need one.


Maybe I’m crazy, but I would take a stereo L+R and no center over a MTM center with 10deg of horizontal dispersion every day of the week.

is the center image going to fall apart off axis? Yes.

But tonality will be totally acceptable. I’d rather be able to actually hear the dialogue and not have pinpoint imaging accuracy, than have massive cancellations which make speech unintelligible.
 

beagleman

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Why do mtm center speakers still exist in 2023 apart from to mislead suckers who think they need one.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I would take a stereo L+R and no center over a MTM center with 10deg of horizontal dispersion every day of the week.
is the center image going to fall apart off axis? Yes.
But tonality will be totally acceptable. I’d rather be able to actually hear the dialogue and not have pinpoint imaging accuracy, than have massive cancellations which make speech unintelligible.
It does not Fall apart, though. Speech is not unintelligible.

I had all 3 types about a year ago and did an experiment, an MTM a 2.5 way and a true 3 way, and yes I could hear a difference FOR SURE, with the MTM, but hardly any with the 2.5 way, at my distance of about 12 feet from speaker at any position on my 7 foot seating width I can use.

it sounded Pinpoint on my "Ideal" center seat, and still about the same on the left and right flanking sides of my wide couch. I mean yes it changed tonality wise a noticeable bit with the MTM center, but it was never to the extremes you mention.

I do PREFER my better Center speakers without doubt, I agree MTM is FOR SURE not ideal, but its not THAT much worse that is is unusable,.\

The dispersion patterns we see UP CLOSE, are not the same "Room sound" you get when using a cheap MTM center in a room. The room partially helps nullify some of the issues with narrow dispersion. I am NOT cheerleading we all use MTM, but just suggesting some are using Hyperbole to describe how bad they are in actual usage.
 

beagleman

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I understand, but we're trying to optimise all parameters rather than being subjectively just OK, and that horizontal directivity is for sure a weakness.
Should clarify, as this is a pet peeve of mine, and no disrespect intended to anyone thinking MTM is totally unusable.

I find a lot of Hyperbole surrounding some topics, you know the old, its either Fantastic or total crap type of comments.
I was merely trying to paint a slightly more realistic picture of how an MTM actually seem in real usage. They are not totally unusable DESPITE poor measuring dispersion. I agree that is a downside for sure, but it gets over exaggerated IMHO..:)
 

Smitty2k1

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I'd still love to find an "ASR quality" center that isn't absolutely massive in size or prohibitively expensive.
 

AVKS

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I'd still love to find an "ASR quality" center that isn't absolutely massive in size or prohibitively expensive.
A used Revel C32 may be the unicorn that you seek. 3-way center from the prior Performa generation, small sealed cabinet that still extends beyond 100 Hz, real wood veneer (a plus these days IMO), and typically used for around $400.
 

JDS

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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.
View attachment 335889
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:
View attachment 335890

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:
View attachment 335891
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:
View attachment 335892
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:
View attachment 335893

Predicted in-room response is again, not too bad although it does hint at some brightness:
View attachment 335894

MTM configuration (dual woofers) causes beaming/narrowing of the response when the wavelength of sound starts to approximate the distance between the two woofers:
View attachment 335895
View attachment 335896

Vertically it is fine:
View attachment 335897

Positive of dual woofers is much better bass handling or said inversely, lower distortion at the same loudness level:
View attachment 335898

View attachment 335899

Waterfall shows the obvious: effect of resonance:
View attachment 335900
Step response for those interested in it:
View attachment 335901


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:
View attachment 335902

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/
Impressive at the price. I am not sure I would characterize the extra brightness as a flaw, given that this is a center channel speaker, and in home theater setups that is where the dialog tends to go. I intentionally dialed in a bit of this in Dirac for the center channel in my HT setup.
 

Theriverlethe

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Not sure why this gets a recommendation. Horizontal dispersion is the whole point of a center channel. Otherwise, just use stereo.

The in-room response is also mediocre. I’d stick with my SVS Prime Center over this. At least it’s amenable to EQ because of good dispersion.
 

rynberg

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I believe centre speakers are primarily for dialogue. Would the treble brightness you refer to aid speech intelligibility and be deliberate?
It's just stunning that this viewpoint is still believed in 2023. That hasn't been true since the Dolby Pro-Logic days in the early to mid 1990s, almost 30 years. The center channel is the most demanding bed channel since Dolby Digital/DTS came into use in the mid to late 1990s, including a majority of the dialog and a lot of the music and effects. People buying small and inexpensive center channels are wasting their time in my opinion.
 

DonR

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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.
Centre speaker will be hooked into an AVR or pre/pro so undoubtedly will have or at the very least should have room eq applied
 

beagleman

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I'd be very surprised if the majority of people using an AVR didn't use some kind of EQ, the receiver is pretty insistent on it on initial setup. Hifi is likely a different story.
2 channel only Stereo?

I use one of my 3 AVRs as a 2 Channel mode exclusively for music, DUE to the Parametric Eq, Sub out and many other quite useful features.
With some mild eq taken from ASR and a nice sub, it IMHO outperforms many 2 channel only systems with no sub or no EQ.
 

MattHooper

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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.
View attachment 335889
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:
View attachment 335890

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:
View attachment 335891
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:
View attachment 335892
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:
View attachment 335893

Predicted in-room response is again, not too bad although it does hint at some brightness:
View attachment 335894

MTM configuration (dual woofers) causes beaming/narrowing of the response when the wavelength of sound starts to approximate the distance between the two woofers:
View attachment 335895
View attachment 335896

Vertically it is fine:
View attachment 335897

Positive of dual woofers is much better bass handling or said inversely, lower distortion at the same loudness level:
View attachment 335898

View attachment 335899

Waterfall shows the obvious: effect of resonance:
View attachment 335900
Step response for those interested in it:
View attachment 335901


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:
View attachment 335902

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/

Very nice review Amir!

It was informative with regard to measurements, and I felt your subjective impression and overall discussion as to how you rated it added some "real world" context.
 

Theriverlethe

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Should clarify, as this is a pet peeve of mine, and no disrespect intended to anyone thinking MTM is totally unusable.

I find a lot of Hyperbole surrounding some topics, you know the old, its either Fantastic or total crap type of comments.
I was merely trying to paint a slightly more realistic picture of how an MTM actually seem in real usage. They are not totally unusable DESPITE poor measuring dispersion. I agree that is a downside for sure, but it gets over exaggerated IMHO..:)
Of course it's usable, but why buy it at this price point when better offerings from KEF and even SVS are available?
 
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