If you’re looking for the best sub-thousand-pound floorstander, thanks to the Dali Oberon 5, you now have a choice. That’s something we haven’t had for much of the last decade, where the answer has been predictable – the current generation Q Acoustics floorstander.
In the company’s current range, that’s the 3050i speakers. These are well-built, beautifully balanced speakers that have destroyed every rival that has come in their way.
But that stops now. In the Oberon 5, Dali has delivered a brilliant alternative, one that might even be a better buy – despite a £50 price premium and substantial size deficit.
There are no magic ingredients here, there’s no cutting edge technology to explain the Oberon 5s’ unusually talented nature.
Just careful engineering and steady refinements of design ideas that Dali has pursued across its ranges for years, but in this case honed to get the best performance at the price.
Dali Oberon 5 Design with Elegant Floor-standing
The Dali Oberon 5 gets high marks for its elegant floor-standing design.
The model we tested came in the Light Oak trim, but depending upon the room you place them in you might instead choose Black Ash, Dark Walnut, or White.
I can’t speak directly to these trims, but if they’re anything like the one I reviewed, you’re in for a treat.
The speakers themselves measure just 32.6×6.3×11.1 inches (HWD) and sit atop a pair of very sturdy metal feet.
Compare these dimensions with that of another popular floor-standing speaker like the Klipsch RP-5000F, which measures 36.1×8.2×14.4 inches, to get a sense of how small they are.
The RP-5000F are already not the largest floor speakers, to begin with, and the Oberon 5’s are significantly smaller in every dimension.
In practical terms, this means that a lot of people who didn’t think they had space in their room for a nice pair of floor speakers might still be in luck.
The cabinets feel very dense and rigid, which will likely be your first experience of when first removing them from the box.
They were constructed from high-density machined MDF board, and draped in vinyl on the outside for the finish.
If you were to crack them open, you’d notice a series of bracings across the interior of the cabinet, which are probably contributing to their solid, dense feeling.
The speakers themselves are comprised of two 5.25-inch wood fiber SMC-based woofers and a 29mm lightweight soft dome tweeter.
This is of course covered by the gray front grille, covering roughly the top two-thirds of the speaker.
Around the back of the Oberon 5, you’ll find a bass-reflex port positioned on the bottom third of the tower, and at the very bottom, the single wire, banana-plug friendly connection inputs.
Compatibility of Oberon 5s
Like most Dalis we’ve tried, these speakers don’t have a fussy nature.
When it comes to positioning, the Oberon 5s like to be a little away from the back wall and firing straight ahead, rather than angled towards the listening position.
The tweeter’s dispersion characteristics mean that the speakers will still produce a focused and layered soundstage when positioned this way.
As for partnering electronics, you’ll get out what you put in.
The Oberons will sound perfectly acceptable with good budget electronics such as the Marantz PM6006UK amplifier and partnering CD player, but feed them with something more ambitious, such as the Rega Elex-R (£950) or even Moon’s 240i (£1990), and they shine accordingly.
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Amazing Audio and Crisp Reproduction
The Dali Oberon 5 performs an admirable feat: it delivers crisp, clear sound reproduction while still maintaining a large, full sound.
If you were worried that down-sizing your floor speaker would mean weaker bass response and a “smaller” sound, boy, have I got news for you.
My main concern throughout testing these speakers in my home was whether my neighbors were going to call the cops.
They sound amazing when listening to music, but they also deliver some earth-shattering bass during moments of dramatic tension in television shows and films.
For music testing, I started out with Nils Frahm’s album Screws. It’s a solo piano album recorded using a single condenser microphone, and it leaves in every little imperfection you don’t normally hear in a final recording.
You can make out the sound of the hammers hitting the strings, errant creeks as the musician’s foot presses and releases the sustain pedal—at least you with a decent pair of speakers or headphones you can.
The Oberon 5 had no problem bringing all these details right to the front, delivering a warm, intimate listening experience that felt like a live performance.
The Oberon 5 isn’t just for listening to delicate piano music on pensive quiet mornings, of course, so next, I went in the opposite direction and listened to Oliver’s slow, punchy electronic music track Mechanical, and Joe Hertz’ I Owe You.
Both of these have very tight, precise bass, and the Oberon 5 handled them effortlessly.
If you intend to use the Oberon 5 in your home theater setup, I can definitely speak to how happy I was with its performance in this role as well.
The biggest issue you might come up against is that a lot of movies and shows have a tremendous amount of dynamic range compared to most music today, so the difference between whispers and explosions is going to be extremely pronounced.
This is wonderful for an accurate, immersive listening experience and terrible for, say, trying to keep it down because someone in your home is sleeping.
Oberon 5s Price: Quite High
The Dali Oberon 5 can typically be found as a pair anywhere from $1099-$1199. There’s no way around it, this is not cheap for its category, and Dali faces very tough competition here.
I suppose this shouldn’t be incredibly surprising, as these speakers also outperform most of their competition.
Nonetheless, many people will be just as satisfied with the sound and design of one of the Oberon 5’s direct rivals, like the Klipsch RP-5000F or Q Acoustic 3050i.
These speakers also sound great and are available for hundreds of dollars less, but they also take up far more space than the Oberon 5.
Having a choice is great, and being able to choose between the Q Acoustics 3050is and Dali Oberon 5s really is a win-win situation.
Both are superb. If you have a large room, the Q Acoustics edge it, while in most other circumstances the Dalis’ greater sense of fun gets our vote.
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