Here it is: the first review of a built-in speaker. The reason we built our Custom Install wall. We kick off with a big boy: the DALI Phantom 280S. A gigantic built-in speaker of 1.5 meters high and 0.5 meters wide. Is bigger better? We’re gonna hear it… and measure it…
DALI showed its 280S at the High End Munich last year. The year before, there were some drawings on a wall. We were fascinated back then, because, man… what a giant! Who buys something like that? And then the price: 6000 euros per pair. Serious money. And how do you get it built in?
You can do it!
Fact is, yeah… the DALI Phantom 280S is big. Very big. And with about 40KG no light, handy speaker. But once built in – which is remarkably easy – it’s not that bad. Especially if you put the fronts on it. Then they’re pretty much gone. After all: no large cabinets in the living room anymore. However, in our case the supplied white fronts – you can paint them – do not work, because our wall is… black. Like most walls that have a projection screen on them. A direct choice for black would have been nice. But we understand from DALI that the fronts are directly oversprayable. So, uh… not an issue in itself.
Still: although we are talking about a big configuration with a hybrid tweeter (ribbon + 29mm soft dome), two 8-inch mid/woofers (SMC) and two 10-inch passive radiators, it doesn’t look obtrusive at all. Of course it’s impressive – most visitors are like: wow… they’re big – but compare it to floorstanders 1.5 meters high. That’s a lot more conspicuous. And it’s a lot more in the way.
To round off the configuration: the units are made in an extremely solid construction. This to counteract resonances, of course. The cabinet is a mixture of high quality aluminium, steel and MDF. Everything is tightly finished in black. The front is framed with brushed aluminium. Nice!
We’ve prepared our wall for the DALI Phantoms. We picked up the biggest built-in speakers we know and prepared the hole. That’s easy. If you haven’t done so yet, there is a template that you can stick to the wall and then make the cuts. The installation depth is about 10cm. That’s not so bad. In fact, that’s very shallow.
The Phantom 280S already has a backbox. That’s a kind of ‘cabinet’ on the back that closes the speaker and thus prevents energy loss. This is convenient, because if you have an open space behind the wall, it would mean that the speaker’s energy is lost behind the wall. And that’s at the expense of playback. So you won’t have any trouble with the Phantom 280S.
Fixing the DALI Phantom in the wall is done with ten clamps. These clamps secure themselves to the sides and top and bottom. DALI supplies an Allen key. Must be… don’t turn hard, because you might break the Allen bolt. We simply pulled on the speaker (behind the rim) to check that everything is securely fastened. No movement = good.
The finish of the Phantom 280S is particularly good. We don’t see half a job on both the front and the back. The units have a neat finishing edge and the back-box is also neatly fitted. Of course not with gold screws, but the point is: DALI has thought of the details with this Phantom. The fronts / covers are fixed to the front with magnets. Nice and easy work .