As one of the last manufacturers without headphones in the range, DALI seemed to have forgotten the portable hi-fi lovers for a long time. That’s where the Danes now change with the DALI IO series of headphones. We are testing the DALI IO-6, an over-ear wireless headphone with active noise reduction.
DALI places the DALI IO-6 with a price of 399 euro directly in the higher segment wireless headphones. If you want to make a name for yourself as a manufacturer, then you have to come from a good home, with competitors such as Sony (WH-1000MX3) Bowers & Wilkins (PX Wireless) and Sennheiser (Momentum Wireless). Sound quality, noise cancelling, design and build quality must be of a very high level. The Danes have convincingly succeeded in doing so.
At the latest
The DALI IO-6 is a beautiful headphone. DALI sent us the “caramel white” version, a creamy white headphone with cognac brown headband and ear cushions and metallic accents. Perhaps not the undersigned’s first choice, there is also a black version, but it does look luxurious and stylish in this colour scheme.
Besides the headphones and some accessories (USB-C cable, airplane adapter and mini jack cable) DALI also supplies a carrying bag. This sturdy carrying case is made of dark denim fabric and has space on the inside to store not only the headphones but also the accessories safely. No more cables lying around; everything neatly stored behind a net that can be closed with Velcro. An embroidered DALI logo and the slogan “In admiration of music” complete the package. Very neat. Time to set it up and an extensive listening session!
It’s nice, the first impression is immediately good. We can hold them off for a couple of hours without it getting annoying. Good, because the first hours of play he’s allowed on the train. After a train journey of a few hours, the DALI IO-6 is still very comfortable, no pressure points or overly warm ears. He also stays put, even a sprint to get the connection, down the stairs, up the stairs and hup the next train, is no problem. What is noticeable is that even without the noise reduction on the DALI, a lot of ambient noise is retained. The auricles close well and despite (or thanks to?) the fact that they are made of artificial leather, perspiration is kept to a minimum.
For those who regularly travel by public transport or plane, or work in an office garden (strength!) noise reduction is a very pleasant function. Once you get used to it, you don’t want to live without it anymore. Noise reduction is unfortunately at the expense of sound quality, but with good noise reduction algorithms the influence is limited. DALI’s engineers have clearly done their best to find a good balance between effective noise reduction and sound quality. We hear that the noise reduction has been switched on, especially in the bass the effect is audible. But not disturbing and certainly in comparison with noise-cancellation in a noisy environment, the choice is easily made.
This applies in particular to relatively constant forms of ambient noise such as thumping engines in an aircraft or a blowing air conditioner. Walking or cycling it’s a different story, the wind is not properly blocked. In fact, it’s passed on amplified and that disturbs. Sony does that better, they have a separate setting that effectively blocks wind noise while cycling or walking. The question is of course whether it is wise to participate in traffic with noise reduction on. Moreover, the IO-6 is not a sports headphone, so it is not designed for running and other sports. It is a hi-fi headphone for music lovers and that becomes clear during a real listening session in a quiet environment.