Posted on 22nd February, 2017


Most of us want great sound in our living rooms. But what we don’t want is the clutter of traditional box speakers.

We’d far prefer to install a concealed, room and family friendly package of speakers with this proviso: they have to deliver ear-pleasing amounts of sound.

Dali’s solution is discreet. Called the Phantom S speaker series this trio of spanking new install speakers comprises the compact S-80, the full-size S-180 and the huge flagship model called the S-280.

The S-80 has a frequency response of 59-25,000 Hz and a sensitivity of about 108dB. The S-180’s response is 49-25,000 Hz and ups the sensitivity by one digit to 109dB.

The flagship S-280’s response is 48-25,000 Hz and a sensitivity of about 112 dB

The three use a hybrid rotatable, dome tweeter working in tandem with a super responsive ribbon tweeter. The dome tweeter is notable for its low resonance frequency, high power handling and outstanding headroom that Dali says delivers high sound pressure levels.

The ribbon part of Dali’s hybrid approach is a magneto-static tweeter built with four bands of conductive material to create the active diaphragm.

The ribbon has a rear chamber reinforced with rigid bracing and this also shields it from stray magnetic fields coming from the woofers it works with. Dali says its ribbon tweeter handles frequencies from 2kHz and above and moreover has superb horizontal dispersion of these frequencies.

DALI Phantom S

Depending on the model, the tweeter rolls in at 2.8 or 3.0 kHz and it’s allowed to work all the way up to its high frequency cut off, said to be well past 20kHz. Dali prefers to do it this way rather than tread the path of rolling the tweeter off in the crossover.

This tweeter is a design feature that allows for vertical or horizontal mounting of the Phantom S models in a stereo pair, or a centre channel and ideally as a package of Phantom S surround sound speakers. Ceiling mounting is yet another option.

Dali developed a dedicated 8-inch bass/midrange driver for its new install models. This woofer has to work in the limited space of a 103mm deep cabinet. So Dali worked hard to extract the most out of it and developed a dedicated aluminium chassis based on the brand’s Rubicon series.

The magnet used with driver is manufactured as flat as possible. Despite this Dali had to allow the magnet system to protrude from the rear of the cabinet to ensure the driver maintained its ideal excursion range.

In the two larger models, the S-180 and S-280, this driver is paired with a 10-inch passive radiator. Getting authentic low frequencies from drivers installed in a shallow cabinet typically requires an integrated bass port, assuming you get the port’s length right and can also control airflow. So Dali went for a passive bass reflex woofer to solve these problems.

Each Phantom S speaker has a slim cabinet that in theory should fit into almost any standard wall. These well finished cabinets use eye-pleasing extruded aluminium frames and magnet mounted, floating front grills increase the Phantom S models’ aesthetic appeal.

The Dali Phantom S series will arrive here in Australia in a couple of months and prices have yet to be announced.

For more information visit the Dali brand page.

Peter Familari's avatar

Peter Familari

One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.

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Tags: dali  advance audio