I am glad to read your review! I am about to pull the trigger on a pair of these babies. I am more impressed with the Dali Helicons vs. Focal Electra Be's. Much more balanced sound top to bottom from the Dali. Not to mention they look friggin' awesome too!
I am trying to learn what changes were made from the 800 to 800 MKII? Do you have any more details on the differences? I am eager to know. Thanks for your post.
Im a Dali dealer, and am very familiar with this speaker. The 800MkII has newly re-designed woofers and crossovers making it a much better balanced from top to bottom. Some people used to complain about a tab bit of bloat on the bottom end with the original Helicon line. The combination of these new drivers with reworked motor assemblies and the new crossover creates a much more coherent sound in the new mkII.
Also the lacquer finishing process has been refined to make an even more mirror-like shine. The Dali 800MkII is one of the finest sub $10K speakers currently on the market, and they can be driven with excellent results with tube and solid-state alike. Though IMO a high quality solid-state will control the large woofers better.
How big an improvement is the 800 over the Helicon 400?
Drubin, I have cut and pasted my comments from elswhere to answer your question. Hope this helps:
I have the Helicon 800 Mk2, but had the Helicon 400 before that, so I can really make a comment on the comparison of these two mentioned by some.
I believe they are both superb. The reviews are correct!
The 800 Mk2 is definitely superior in a few ways. Voices sound better and more detailed, bass is deeper, and suprisingly, the depth of the sounstage improved. I thought this might get worse with the larger speaker.
I also found that the 800 Mk2 had improved on the 400's slightly enthusiastic high frequency treble, without compromising the excitement.
Again, both are excellent, and I tried a huge number of speaker brands and types before I went with Helicons.
I wanted to like the Focals too because of all the reviews and I tried them in various combinations but in the end, I found them a little too lean for me. I found the Dali's richer and warmer and more exciting, without losing any detail. I couldnt really comment on which is more accurate or true to life. I just found that the Helicons made the music tickle my emotions more. I think the Focal is a good speaker, but bought the Dali. They will appeal to different listeners and fit better in different systems.
Thanks Mike60. I wonder how much the 400 improved in its Mk II version.
Has anyone compared the Helicon 800 MKII to the Mentor 8?
Mike what components (cables,Preamp, Power Amp,etc) are you running the 800s with?
Lapierre, I am running a Gamut DI150 and Ayre CD player with the Helicon 800 Mk2. I think it's a superb combination. The Gamut is truly special! Cables are still under review, but at the moment, Harmonic Tech interconnects and Chord speaker cables.
Two excellenent choices Mike.
Besides that the Gamut looks very cool with the Ayre.
Keep in touch on the cable quest.
My son currently own the 400MK2 and the 800MK2. The 400s are for sale. Both of the speakers are incredible and the 400s are perfect for a regular sized room. My son has a huge room so he went and bought the 800s and all I can say is wow.
I personally own the MS5 and the 800s are really really close. I am not sure Dali can justify the cost difference in my opinion.
Hey Diamond, I also own the MS5's...... makes you wonder if there will be a Euphonia etc MKII coming down the pike.
I considered the Euphonias, and found them a little more clinical, but they are also really excellent. I chose the Helicons because they just seemed a little warmer and suited my taste and I suspect go better with a larger range of amps. I would take a wild guess and say the Euphonia's might suit tube amplification better? Maybe someone can comment on that.
Interesting. My experience is actually the opposite. The Euphonias are much warmer and rounder than the Helicons (mk1 though not mk11).
Eps, you think the Euphonia warmer and rounder than Helicon? Nobody thinks that, including Dali. The general consensus is the Euphonia is more clinical and less warm.
Mike60, I'm using McIntosh MC2102 w/ the MS5's; 100 tube watts a side with great success. An email response from Dali convinced me to try tubes and I couldn't be happier. I would like to hear the MS5's and the Helicon 800 MKII in a side by side comparison though...on the other hand, maybe not :-( !!
As for a cable recommendation I think both Nordost and Synergistic Research work very well with Dali's. I run Helicon 400's and ran all Nordost cabling and enjoyed it very much. I am now stepping up to the Synergistic Research Tesla Accelerator, and all I can say is WOW.
Zeal, yep. Euphonia MS4 is warmer and rounder than Helicon 400 MkI. That's my experience.
Eps if you experienced the Euphonia MS4 as being warmer than the Helicon 400 MKI, than I think you would feel the difference as compared to the MKII version even more pronounced as Dali apparently got rid of the mid bass hump (warmth?) in the MKI version. Have you made a comparison between the MS4 & the 400 MKII version?
I am sure the Euphonia could sound warmer, depending on the front end, cabling, room etc... Was everything else the same? I didnt experience that. I found the Helicon warmer and slighly more lively than the Euphonia. Some people wouldnt like that, but thats one of the reasons that I bought the Helicon.
Lapierre, regarding cables :
The best cable combination I have tried so far is Nordost Heimdal IC which seems to fill in missing density in singing voices, to my ears, and Chord Epic Super Twin speaker cables which I found to sound open and clean, with a fair amount of very realistic bass. I think it may sound like a strange combination, but it seems to really work for me. BTW, I also changed the CD player for a Gamut CD3.
I had the Helicon 800 (Mk I) and went to the Euphonia MS-4, due to size/WAF issues. The extra money you pay for the Euphonia goes into the cabinet, and the reduced resonance (aka distortion) gives a tightness and focus to the sound and images. I do not find them clinical, just more accurate. The Helicon is a Benz wood body; the Euphonia is a ZYX. Both are eminently musical.
The Euphonia's preciseness may not be too noticeable, unless your system is very resolving. I am using Shunyata Orion biwire speaker cables and all Shunyata Antares interconnects. I've had great results driving them with a Belles 150A Reference, Herron M-150 mono blocks and am now using Genesis M60 monos (which are more powerful at 60 tube watts than either of the 150 watt solid state amps).
Though the drivers are the same between the Helicon Mk I and Euphonia series speakers, the crossover points are different because of the way the two cabinets affect the sound. Because of the cabinet size, the Helicon 800 and MS-5 are slightly more holographic with a deeper soundstage, IMO.
All that said, the Helicons and Euphonias are great values, and I second the comment on their musicality and easy-listenability. They're a great way to get into reference-level speakers without breaking the bank.
Thanks for your excellent response!
Your comments make sense, and I imagine the Euphonias with good tube amplification would sound tremendous. Is it possibly that the Helicons are better suited to solid state than the Euphonias? That would be my guess. I know I am extremely happy with the 800 Mk2 with solid state. I think your comments about a deeper soundstage and a more holographic sound from the larger speakers, Euphonias or Helicons, is absolutely true, based on my experience. You said you thought it was slightly more. My experience was it was significantly more with my set up, room etc, and I was surprised by this difference.
I just pulled the trigger on a pair of Helicon 800 MKII's (Rosenut). Unfortunately they are back ordered until end of May. I have seen the 300's in rosenut and the 400's in cherry, but would really like to see pics of the 800's in rosenut. Anyone have pics of the 800 MKII's in rosenut? I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas... oh my gosh... the pain!!!!
Good move Siberhuskie. You wont regret it. I like mine more and more! Let me know how they work out.
Mine are Cherry. Here is a link:
I picked up a pair of used rosenut 800s MK I in December after first demoing the 400s. Liked the 400s but found the bass and mid on the 800s to be much deeper and rounded out, so it's wasn't really a hard decision. Mike60, I'll send you a pic when I get a chance. Not sure what you listen to, but I listen to everything (rock, electronica/dance, jazz, ambient, reggae/dub, soul/hiphop) and they are plenty dynamic for it all. I'm using AntiCable interconnects and speaker cables, and these have served me well. Other equipment is Butler 2250 amp , Modwright 9SWL pre and a Transporter. Highly recommend the Transporter if you have the desire to go completely digital. I even hooked up the Transporter without a pre and it sounded great through the Dalis, but the Modwright did improve the soundstage and provided some polish on the mids and lows.
Wonder if the 800s has more dedicated midrange versus the 400 which still shares midrange with the lower driver.
Lapierre, the answer to your question is "yes". I found voices in particular sounded slightly more prominent, defined, and spacious vs the 400.
I have a quick question for all you guys, What miltichannel amp would you guys recommend me to drive Dali Helicon 800 mk2? I currently have a pass lab X350 that I was thinking to sell in favor of a muitichannel amp, but I'm affraid to loose the power the X350 has on the dalis? I was thinking of getting a 3 channel amp to match the rest of the speakers, but I don't want to cut corners with the rest of the system. any recommendation? Please help
Armandito, I think you're best off to stick with your Pass and use a bypass for your surround. (Many two-channel preamps have them today). Those Dalis need good, high quality power. You'll need to spend a ton to get comparable power and quality in a MC rig.
What preamp would any body recommend? right now I have also an onkyo SR805 to decode the new mltichannel formats.
The Rowland Capri pre amp is very high performance and it'll work nicely with you Pass amp.
Guys - need your help. I am thinking of going from Dali 800s MK1 to MS4s. What can I expect to gain or loose?
FWIW I just recieved my cj met150 5 channel hybrid amp to drive my Dali mk1 800s,400s & 200.
It replaces a denon 5803 avr, and compliments a cj met1 pre.
I was worried that it would not be a huge improvement from the denon, after all the cj is 5x150 wt into 8ohm and the denon is 7x170 wt. Man was I in for a surprise!
The cj Met150 blows away the denon and completely changes my perception of the 800s vs the 400s. My Primaluna 8 cd player sounds much better also.
With the denon avr I liked the 400s and 200 center better than the 800s, mids were fuller, more pronounced, sub picked up bass. Seemed they were easier to drive, consequently sounded better with a lessor amp.
since adding the met150, all of 3 days, the 800s sound like a completely different speaker, much better than before, bass is suddenly there. Also find myself content with 2 channel. The experts here were spot on when suggesting that mc amp trumps Avr integrated, and 2c amp trumps mc amp.
My point is that the equipment driving the speakers needs to be up to the task for them to sound their best.
I have the mk2 400's with the new mk2 center and the w200 for the rears. i had the mk1 400 but due to a grain defect dali replaced them with the new mk2 for no charge, and that is including my center to match. ( so dali really stands behind their products) but I power them with mcintosh 501's and my pre amp is a shindo montbirson. I have to say the new dalis are really detailed and quick. the bass is controlled and really tight. now imo there is a differance in the vocal where the old 400 were for a lack of a better term warm, the new vs are very detailed. so would i say its better, its kind of a toss up. would you want to lose all the great improvments on the base and controle and quickness to get a warmer vocal? really depends on the listner. myself the more i listen the more i like the new mk2 over the old ones.
the cables that im pairing with them are audience e24, the new version. These cables really shine and i would compair them to the high end siltech (with out the bulk of the cord)