When you get an invitation to listen to a new (semi) top model from a major manufacturer, it’s hard to say no. Even in busy times. Not only is it always fascinating to experience how boundaries are pushed back: it is also just nice to catch up…. although everyone is very quiet when the new DALI EPIKORE 11 is doing its magic.
Danish loudspeaker company DALI introduced the DALI KORE at last year’s High End Munich. A monster of a speaker costing around 100,000 Euro per pair. Such a flagship may be for the happy few; however, it is often necessary to create a halo-model in order to push boundaries. The new technology developed for that top-model then trickles down into (sort of) affordable series.
DALI EPIKORE 11
The new DALI Epikore 11 is a case in point. Yes, they cost 20,000 Euro each … but this is DALI’s first attempt to get the new technology developed for the KORE into a cheaper model. Think of the newly developed Hybrid tweeter with the new ribbon and 25mm soft dome without ferro fluid. Or SMC 2.0 used in the dynamic units. This should be – if we remembered correctly – 2.5 times less magnetic than the already very good SMC first used in the Epicon.
We could go on like this for a while. Think of the special 4.5-way construction that should compensate for ground reflections. Or the very ingenious bass reflex construction that keeps the DALI EPIKORE 11 from sounding like a bass reflex…
Low loss… and SMC
The common thread throughout the – sometimes very nerdy 🙂 – presentation is ‘low loss…’. The strive for less loss can be found in the drivers, the filter, the speaker terminals…. Well… everywhere.
SMC – Soft Magnetic Compound – plays a leading role in this. Very simply explained, instead of iron, DALI uses SMC in the magnet construction behind the dynamic units. (See photo above from the DALI website. This is the part under that copper cap)
Iron can of course be magnetized and can create “eddy currents” that cause delay and thus distortion. This is incredibly short sighted because there are other effects at play. DALI is convinced that SMC is a solution to many of these problems.
In the EPIKORE 11, the Danes apply SMC in even more places. Consider the crossover. Because the effect is also measurable and audible there, they say. It reduces losses – less loss – and that is reason enough to apply SMC.
We were able to listen very briefly to the new DALI EPIKORE 11. DALI Benelux connected these new high-end speakers to a NAD M66 and two M23 power amplifiers (bridge mode). We have to say: it sounds impressively good!
What immediately stands out is a couple of things:
- Not a shred of harshness
- Very tight and controlled bass (it does not sound like a bass reflex)
- Much insight into the music
Thomas Holm Petersen (product specialist) fortunately did not play audiophile music during the demos. Yes: Roger Waters passed by, but a bizarre track by Heilung (Asja, Drif) was also played. Frightening Viking music. But very nice!
We can’t really draw a conclusion. What we can say: the DALI EPIKORE 11 is not a ‘Christmas tree, spectacle, ‘look how impressive I am’ kind of speaker. It is a sophisticated machine that fills a sizeable room with music with great ease. Not obtrusively. Not bombastic… but very sophisticated. Respectfully.
And what we can say: the “big players” in this price range should be afraid. And yes… we think that is wonderful to see!