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Dali Spektor 1 Review (Bookshelf Speaker)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Dali Spektor 1 bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $249 from Amazon including Prime shipping.

With the grill, the Spektor 1 looks like a $30 speaker but take it off and it has some style to it:

Dali Spektor 1 Review Bookshelf Speaker.jpg


As soon as I took the grill off, I became concerned about all the "scratches" I thought I was seeing on the woofer. Hoped it was dust so tried to blow them off but they would not come off. Nor did they do so when I gently touched them. Later I read that the material for the cone uses wood fibers and company pictures have the same look. Kind of unsightly and makes the speaker look old so there better be technical benefits to it (core material is paper or wood pulp).

The rear port is "agricultural" as the derogatory British term for some cars go:

Dali Spektor 1 Review back panel binding posts port Bookshelf Speaker.jpg


The only highlight is the "design and engineered by Dali in Denmark." Speakers weigh next to nothing and are quite small. You can put them under your arm and carry them.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%.

Reference axis was the tweeter center. Grill was not used.

Dali Spektor 1 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:
Dali Spektor 1 Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


And flaws we have. There are chaotic peaks between 1000 and 2000 Hz and too much tweeter energy above 5 kHz. Some of the former is due to resonances in the enclosure/port peaking through at the wrong moment (frequency):

Dali Spektor 1 driver and port Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


You want enclosure resonances to be at a different frequency than smack middle of the crossover range where woofer energy is reducing. That way it won't significantly impact the frequency response. We don't have this and the peak is quite high. That doesn't seem to be the only problem. If we look at the 3-D radiation pattern around 1200 Hz we see many radiating surfaces:

Dali Spektor 1 Baloon 3d Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Enclosure is singing along together with the woofer, tweeter and port.

The off-axis response is more tamed which is good:

Dali Spektor 1 Early Window Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


As noted, avoid floor bounce by using a thick carpet as I use. It not only helps with the dip around 2000 Hz, but also will reduce the exaggerated treble energy (blue line).

Predicted in-room response is what we already know:

Dali Spektor 1 Predicted In-room Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Distortion is very respectable for size at 86 dBSPL but naturally can't do much at 96:


Dali Spektor 1 THD Distortion vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Dali Spektor 1 Distortion vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Impedance is 5.1 ohm minimum which is slightly better than many other modern speakers that sink to 4 ohm territory:

Dali Spektor 1 impedance and phase vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Note that you need fair amount of power to drive these speakers as sensitivity is as low as 80 dB. I had to crank up my level from reference by 5 dB to measure these at my target SPL. Small means inefficient in speakers, not the other way around.

Horizontal beamwidth is not very smooth which is a shame as in this configuration with a small woofer, they should be able to do better:

Dali Spektor 1 beam width vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Dali Spektor 1 horizontal directivity vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Be sure to not use tall stands as you want to keep the tweet height at your level of your ears or lower:

Dali Spektor 1 Vertical directivity vs Frequency Response Measurements Bookshelf Speaker.png


Otherwise you fall in that blue/green ditch around 2 kHz.

Dali Spektor 1 Listening Tests and Equalization
This is a repeat of other speakers with "showroom sound" of exaggerated highs. First impressions are positive with more detail and airiness of the sound. It is not until you EQ that and listen for a few minutest that you realize there is excess brightness:

Dali Spektor 1 equalization eq.png


First filter is for my room. Usually it is not necessary with bass deficient small speakers but here, there is a boost that was aggravating that some, resulting in both boominess and lack of bass! Just a bit of filtering made the sound lighter on its feet. The main filters are at 1200 Hz to deal with the cabinet resonance and peaking in response. And a quick and dirty shelving filter to taste to bring the highs down. With this in place the sound was good but I just could not get in the groove of it. It is partially the problem with listening to a single speaker in a big room that doesn't have any deep bass.

Good news here was dynamics. I could turn this little speaker up very high with no sign of heavy distortion. Two of them would do wonders to fill even a large space. So maybe there is something to that wood fiber!

Conclusions
The Spektor 1 objective response is not pretty with a broad and messy peak around 1 kHz and exaggerated highs. Subjectively though, I could not dislike it even without EQ. Its limits are farther than what I typically hear in small speakers. With EQ it becomes more pleasant but I personally could not warm up to them. I would save and buy a larger speaker with more bass.

As noted, I am not a big fan of Dali Spektor 1 but you may interpret its performance differently. So while I won't recommend them, I don't have strong reasons to object to someone buying them either.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Attachments

  • Dali Spektor 1 Frequency Response.zip
    901.2 KB · Views: 94

Koeitje

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I'm guessing the wood fiber have a smoother cone break-up than some more rigid materials? It still can't reach high SPL's, but it is good enough for your listening test.

Anyway, seems these need a stupid amount of amplifier power.
 

MZKM

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Good news here was dynamics. I could turn this little speaker up very high with no sign of heavy distortion
Company states 103dB peaks and 100W power handling, which both agree given the rated 83dB sensitivity (actually closer to 82dB).
I'm surprised a 4" woofer can handle that much.
 

abdo123

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I have a question, why does your distortion target (distortion graph in dB) stays the same when the output level increases by 10 dB?

I mean it's quite bizarre to expect a Speaker's distortion to go lower when its output is becoming louder.

I think it would be easier to see if the distortion is increasing linearily or not if the target increases with the output signal as well.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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I have a question, why does your distortion target (distortion graph in dB) stays the same when the output level increases by 10 dB?
The idea is keeping the threshold of hearing for distortion the same and examining it at two different power levels. If I raised the 96 dB one by 10 dB as you suggest, then it will only shows level of non-linearity (where you are in the curve) and not a statement about audibility.
 

dfuller

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Not terrible, but... not great, either. Looks like their fellow Danes (Dynaudio) have better results.
 

abdo123

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The idea is keeping the threshold of hearing for distortion the same and examining it at two different power levels. If I raised the 96 dB one by 10 dB as you suggest, then it will only shows level of non-linearity (where you are in the curve) and not a statement about audibility.

the distortion target @86 dB is ~1.5% (fair) while it is 0.5% @ 96 dB.

I don't see how the target currently correlates to audibility either, as our sensitivity to distortion declines as the fundamental signal increases not vice versa.

Just something to consider in the future perhaps.
 

q3cpma

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Too bad, I had some hope for it. It should be "less worse" at 20~30° off-axis, seeing the horizontal curves and obvious 6~9 kHz diffraction and knowing that Dali recommends no toe-in.
Directivity isn't that horrible, but it should be perfect when you're dealing with such a small woofer, really.
 

thewas

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Not terrible, but... not great, either. Looks like their fellow Danes (Dynaudio) have better results.
Keep in mind though that is the cheapest series of Dali and there is no direct competitor from Dynaudio from price class point of view, but for their next and significantly better Opticon series (Emit for Dynaudio).
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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I don't see how the target currently correlates to audibility either, as our sensitivity to distortion declines as the fundamental signal increases not vice versa.
Again, it is two different standards: one conservative and one less so. What you suggested makes them both the same which wouldn't serve the same purpose. It is like having 1 part in a million lead spec for water versus 2.
 

Helicopter

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Thanks Amir. I didn't expect this to be good, but now know. The 82dB sensitivity and 5.1 ohm minimum impedance are both surprises. Not that they matter much with this poor FR.
 

napilopez

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Thanks Amir.

For those not in the know, it's worth noting that Dali designs all its speakers to be listened off-axis -- the assumption is that the speakers will be positioned pointing straight forward, which is about 15-30 degrees off axis in most listening setups.

I don't mean that in just a vague sense as with many hifi speakers designed with living room listening in mind. They are rather explicitly say that toe in is not allowed lol. From the Spector 1's manual (also for several other speakers of theirs):

"The speakers are designed to meet our wide dispersion principle, so they should NOT be angled towards the listening position, but be positioned parallel with the rear wall, see Figure 2. By parallel positioning, the distortion in the main listening area will be lowered and the room integration will be improved. The wide dispersion principle will ensure that sound is spread evenly within a large area in the listening room."

Not sure what they mean by lowering "distortion in the main listening area" and I suspect they'd still sound a bit bright with no toe in anyway, since the on-axis sound is still getting reflected around the room, but interrsting

Though I don't think this means the speaker should be measured off axis, and there are some clear issues even if you pick, say 20 degrees off axis as a reference, it's worth keeping that in mind when evaluating measurements of Dali speakers.
 

batfunk

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alteco-c1-background.png

I use similar speakers, Dali Alteco, as Atmos ones(they are very popular on HT forums) . Great finish, Great off axis réponse, no bass(cut at 120 hz with Audissey). Perfect for Atmos use But...
I can't push them to 70 db on manual calibration with my avr Denon x4500h on 5.1.4 setup in my small room(4.5* 3.5*2.5 m), their sensitivity is way too low.
A pity...
 
Last edited:

Angsty

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ASR has reviewed better speakers of this size and/or price point. Good to know that there are better options to recommend.
 

AlexanderM

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Thank you for reviewing these Amir!! I was hoping for a better outcome but it just means there are better options.
 

Maiky76

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Dali Spektor 1 bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $249 from Amazon including Prime shipping.

With the grill, the Spektor 1 looks like a $30 speaker but take it off and it has some style to it:

View attachment 142060

As soon as I took the grill off, I became concerned about all the "scratches" I thought I was seeing on the woofer. Hoped it was dust so tried to blow them off but they would not come off. Nor did they do so when I gently touched them. Later I read that the material for the cone uses wood fibers and company pictures have the same look. Kind of unsightly and makes the speaker look old so there better be technical benefits to it (core material is paper or wood pulp).

The rear port is "agricultural" as the derogatory British term for some cars go:

View attachment 142062

The only highlight is the "design and engineered by Dali in Denmark." Speakers weigh next to nothing and are quite small. You can put them under your arm and carry them.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%.

Reference axis was the tweeter center. Grill was not used.

Dali Spektor 1 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:
View attachment 142066

And flaws we have. There are chaotic peaks between 1000 and 2000 Hz and too much tweeter energy above 5 kHz. Some of the former is due to resonances in the enclosure/port peaking through at the wrong moment (frequency):

View attachment 142069

You want enclosure resonances to be at a different frequency than smack middle of the crossover range where woofer energy is reducing. That way it won't significantly impact the frequency response. We don't have this and the peak is quite high. That doesn't seem to be the only problem. If we look at the 3-D radiation pattern around 1200 Hz we see many radiating surfaces:

View attachment 142071

Enclosure is singing along together with the woofer, tweeter and port.

The off-axis response is more tamed which is good:

View attachment 142072

As noted, avoid floor bounce by using a thick carpet as I use. It not only helps with the dip around 2000 Hz, but also will reduce the exaggerated treble energy (blue line).

Predicted in-room response is what we already know:

View attachment 142073

Distortion is very respectable for size at 86 dBSPL but naturally can't do much at 96:


View attachment 142074

View attachment 142075

Impedance is 5.1 ohm minimum which is slightly better than many other modern speakers that sink to 4 ohm territory:

View attachment 142076

Note that you need fair amount of power to drive these speakers as sensitivity is as low as 80 dB. I had to crank up my level from reference by 5 dB to measure these at my target SPL. Small means inefficient in speakers, not the other way around.

Horizontal beamwidth is not very smooth which is a shame as in this configuration with a small woofer, they should be able to do better:

View attachment 142077

View attachment 142078

Be sure to not use tall stands as you want to keep the tweet height at your level of your ears or lower:

View attachment 142079

Otherwise you fall in that blue/green ditch around 2 kHz.

Dali Spektor 1 Listening Tests and Equalization
This is a repeat of other speakers with "showroom sound" of exaggerated highs. First impressions are positive with more detail and airiness of the sound. It is not until you EQ that and listen for a few minutest that you realize there is excess brightness:

View attachment 142080

First filter is for my room. Usually it is not necessary with bass deficient small speakers but here, there is a boost that was aggravating that some, resulting in both boominess and lack of bass! Just a bit of filtering made the sound lighter on its feet. The main filters are at 1200 Hz to deal with the cabinet resonance and peaking in response. And a quick and dirty shelving filter to taste to bring the highs down. With this in place the sound was good but I just could not get in the groove of it. It is partially the problem with listening to a single speaker in a big room that doesn't have any deep bass.

Good news here was dynamics. I could turn this little speaker up very high with no sign of heavy distortion. Two of them would do wonders to fill even a large space. So maybe there is something to that wood fiber!

Conclusions
The Spektor 1 objective response is not pretty with a broad and messy peak around 1 kHz and exaggerated highs. Subjectively though, I could not dislike it even without EQ. Its limits are farther than what I typically hear in small speakers. With EQ it becomes more pleasant but I personally could not warm up to them. I would save and buy a larger speaker with more bass.

As noted, I am not a big fan of Dali Spektor 1 but you may interpret its performance differently. So while I won't recommend them, I don't have strong reasons to object to someone buying them either.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

These EQ are anechoic EQ to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725


The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 3.0
With Sub: 5.7

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Ascending reesponse
  • lots of resonances
  • Port!
  • poor Directivity
Dali Spektor 1 No EQ Spinorama.png


Directivity:
Better stay at tweeter height
Horizontally, better toe-in the speakers by 10/20deg and have the axis crossing in front of the listening location, might help dosing the upper range.
Dali Spektor 1 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

Dali Spektor 1 LW bbetter data.png



EQ design:
I have generated one EQ. The APO config files is attached.
  • The First EQ is Amirm's for reference
  • The LW EW is basically identical
  • The second, labelled Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment.

Score EQ Amirm: 4.1
with sub: 7.6

Score EQ Score: 5.3
with sub: 7.9

Code:
Dali Spektor 1 APO EQ Score 2 96000Hz
July192021-122329

Preamp: -2.3 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 55.58,    0.00,    1.25
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 113.02,    -1.95,    1.60
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 361.50,    1.47,    2.27
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1267.74,    -1.97,    2.51
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1847.30,    -2.15,    5.83
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3640.13,    1.37,    0.86
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 7477.37,    -2.48,    1.05
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 15270.95,    -3.92,    1.45

Dali Spektor 1 EQ Design.png


Spinorama EQ Amirm
Dali Spektor 1 Amirm EQ Spinorama.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Dali Spektor 1 Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Dali Spektor 1 Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal flat on after EQ
Dali Spektor 1 Regression - Tonal.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Dali Spektor 1 Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Dali Spektor 1 APO EQ Score 2 96000Hz.txt
    437 bytes · Views: 45
  • Dali Spektor 1 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    285.4 KB · Views: 66
  • Dali Spektor 1 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    424.6 KB · Views: 45
  • Dali Spektor 1 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    433.8 KB · Views: 67
  • Dali Spektor 1 LW bbetter data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 LW bbetter data.png
    643.7 KB · Views: 68
  • Dali Spektor 1 Normalized Directivity data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 Normalized Directivity data.png
    941.8 KB · Views: 44
  • Dali Spektor 1 Raw Directivity data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 Raw Directivity data.png
    1.3 MB · Views: 36
  • Dali Spektor 1 Reflexion data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 Reflexion data.png
    500.3 KB · Views: 38
  • Dali Spektor 1 LW data.png
    Dali Spektor 1 LW data.png
    470.8 KB · Views: 73
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