Dali Specktor Review / Wharfedale Shootout


     I recently bought a pair of Dali Specktor 2s, Wharfedale Diamond 220s and Wharfedale Dentons and spent about two weeks comparing all three of them. In the past I have been very happy with Wharfedale having owned the Diamond 210s (Happily still on my desk at the office), Diamond 10.7s (Sold) and Reva 4s (Currently in my theater setup, but looking to replace). I wanted desktop monitors for a new room in my house that I would use for listening to music, mixing down old recordings, drinking whiskey... A sort of man cave.  They needed to be cheap and relatively small.  In retrospect I wish I had thrown in a KEF product (Always wanted to hear them) and maybe ELAC (Due to all the hype), but overall I am very happy with my end choice. 

The Shootout:

    The Diamond 220s were a pretty balanced speaker top to bottom, but lacked excitement for me. The highs extended well past the Dentons, but not as high as the Specktors. This was not an issue for me because I already own the 210s and am very happy with them (Though I do sometimes like to crank up the 15khz+ range to add presence.)  It was the bottom end especially that disappointed me with the 220s. I have never liked their plinth port design (Also Featured on the Reva 4 which I also own, but is absent on my 210s). It just sucks the life out of the bass of the speaker. It may make placement easier in a room, but what you are left with is a speaker with a lack in punch and presence in the low end. They have no authority. Kick drums are found bouncing around the room in every direction rather than slapping you in the chest.  Not for me. 

    The Dentons were very warm and subtle. The bass was strong and very present. Mid range was excellent, and overall they were very smooth and warm from top to bottom. They thrive with certain recordings and definitely prefer more natural analog material. Their notorious "Veiled" top end isn't so much veiled.  The high details are certainly there, but you just have to find them. They are slightly subdued.  I also must mention that to my surprise the Dentons did not image well. There was no wide sound stage to be found here. They were closed up and revealed no exciting center activity.  All in all these speakers happen to be extremely well tamed and neutral, which for some professional and amateur engineers might be perfect. But I like to hear every detail in my recordings. I want every tiny mistake to be mine to find and correct, not the person down the road that happens to pick up a pair of the last speakers on my list and get a glimpse of what is really behind the "Veil".

    The Specktors are an exciting speaker. Their new tweeter that features an unusually thin and lightweight soft dome material was what originally drew me to them. I read about their new "Thin and light" approach on their website and thought "This sounds like a great design strategy. I need this.". Their woofer design also had me sold before I even submitted my order. I read that they are crafted from a mix of fine grained paper and wood fibre pulp. "F***, sign me up." I thought. I like my highs to be detailed, extended and transparent. Thin and light sounds like the way to get there. I like my lows to be warm and full and natural. Paper/Wood fibers sounds like the way to get there too. I was excited.

     When they arrived they were pretty much what I expected. The cabinets were unimpressive, which for me is usually a big problem. I consider myself a decent craftsmen and build furniture from time to time. I always appreciate a beautifully finished real wood veneer (like my old Monitor audio Silver 6s), but I was not aiming towards beauty for this room, so they were fine.

     As soon as I hooked them up I was impressed. I drive them through a modest Teac UD-301 and Adcom GFA-535ii straight from my Mac and they sing beautifully. Full and present bottom end with a real good punch. Crisp, clean and incredibly transparent highs. Great imaging. Honest and humble mid range. I am very happy with their performance. But I feel that their greatest strength, especially as this price point, is their ability to bring you right into the music. Their is no veil, there is no space whatsoever between you and the music. The vocals are right there. You can reach out and touch them. They are dead center and sound as if you might feel the wind from their breath. I believe it is this accuracy at the highest of highs of our very limited hearing spectrum that brings these vocal and instrumental details to the forefront. I and I believe that "thin and lightweight" were the building blocks of that strength.
10000_hz_legend
I recently heard the Spektors. I'm afraid the only thing I was impressed by was how bright they were and how easy it was to listen to them at low volume, and not at moderate volume.

I also didn't find the frequency range particularly smooth. 

I'd never trade a pair of Monitor Audio for them. 
It might be the low level capabilities that make them work for me.  I have them on my desk on either side of my computer, so they are very close to me.  Carpeted 12x12 room.  Very primitive setup.  I can’t imagine they would sound nearly as full or even image as well 10 feet away and 10 feet apart in my living room.  Anway, opinions are why we’re here.  They’re killing it for me.  Radiohead to Miles to Zappa to LCD Soundsystem.  Great performance to my ears.  

Also want to note that I did not swap them with the Monitor Audio Silver 6’s, that is a different room in my house.  The Monitor Audios were swapped for a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.7s (Big mistake, but worth the education and experience.  The 10.7s have a big boomy warm sound that I loved, but were not accurate and did not reach high), then those were swapped for a pair of Martin Logan ESLs (Excellent speakers, but I quickly found myself missing box speakers.  I am just not an ESL guy.), then those were swapped for the Wharfedale Reva 4’s (Great top end and imaging, but lacking temendously in the low end for such a large speaker.)
@erik_squires What is your current system?
Got a couple of questions for both of you guys, where are you located in the US or Europe?

We have been a Dali dealer in the States for years and there are very few Dali dealers.  

We haven't heard the Specktor line as we work with generally more expensive products and don't usually sell that many speakers in that price range. The Zensor series was very well received.

We tend to lean towards what 1000 hz said, usually Dali speakers are very musical. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
@10000_hz_legend 

What is your current system?


I listen to a pair of MA mini floor standers in the bedroom, but my main speakers are one's I built myself. You can too from the design here:

https://speakermakersjourney.blogspot.com/2017/12/snr-1-two-way-high-end-diy-monitor.html

Along with a Mytek Brooklyn and a pair of ICEpower monoblocks. 

Best,

E
@audiotroy I am in New Jersey.  I would to check out you’re spot.  Where abouts?
@erik_squires The link you posted claims $1,000 to build the cabinet.  I could build it out of solid Cocobolo for $500.  What gives?


@10000_hz_legend

I didn’t claim anything, I suggested a price to get an experienced craftsman to make it for you if you could not do so yourself.

As you know, you don’t ask a plumber to install pipes and charge you for the pipes alone.  However, if you are going to start selling cabinets for the same price that the materials cost you, I really think you should get your name out there. 

Best,

E
@erik_squires

Bloody hell...  Apologies Erik.  I just skimmed through your link real quick last night.  Didn't realize the $1k was for a custom built cabinet assembled and finished.  I drunkenly stumbled through it and assumed that it was the DIY build cost. 

I don't think I'm a fan of Ribbon tweeters.  At least I haven't met one that I liked yet.  Also, are the MA's you have in the bedroom the Silver 6's by any chance?
@10000_hz_legend

I had the previous generation of Silver bookshelves, with the ceramic woofer but not the dimples.

No, what I am using in the bedroom are the Radius 200. I originally bought them for surrounds.

AMT’s don’t really sound like ribbons though. Eyes closed, I could not tell the difference with a top quality ring or dome.

They don’t have any extra sparkle or air to give them away.

Best,

E