What Hi-Fi? Group-Test Winner Is One of the Biggest Values in Audio: A Surround-Sound Dynamo, Dali Zensor 1 Bookshelf Loudspeaker Features In-House-Designed Drivers and Large Sweet Spot
The merits warranted the Dali Zensor 1 bookshelf loudspeaker attest to how incredibly well this seemingly welterweight contender holds up in both dedicated stereo and, especially, home-theater surround systems. A recipient of a five-star review from What Hi-Fi? that later went on to win the magazine's highly competitive group test in the affordable bookshelf-speaker segment, Zensor 1 has also drawn accolades from Stereophile and several other audiophile outlets from around the world. At its sub-$350 price, there are few better overall values in the entire audio market.
Dali's longtime focus on wide dispersion for excellent room integration and enlarged sweet spots, linear impedance for matching with practically any amplifier, and low-mechanical loss construction to eradicate any need for frequency correction automatically distinguish Zensor 1. As do the Danish company's in-house-designed drivers. A 5.25-inch wood fiber-cone woofer – complete with four-layer voice coils for stellar control and rigid metal baskets for excellent transient capabilities – joins an ultra-low-mass, one-inch soft-dome tweeter with a vented voice coil to provide astute detail, spot-on timing, taut bass, and refreshing openness. Each complements inside-and-out engineering that adheres to a form-follows-function philosophy.
On the outside of Zensor 1, rounded edges reduce diffraction to minimize distortion. Internal braces eliminate structural resonance. Inside, acoustic damping material strategically placed inside both optimizes timing and produces increased midrange attack as well as accurate low-end responsiveness. For the crowning touch, solid aluminum accents supplement the high-gloss front baffle. All told, Zensor 1 could represent the best $350 you spend this year. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"Bass is taut, and clean, sparkly highs meet a clear and communicative midrange. Dynamic insight usually makes or breaks speakers at this level, but the Dalis do not stumble."
– What Hi-Fi?, five-star review
"The Zensor 1's flaws are minimal, and its strengths compete with bookshelf speakers costing twice as much, or more."
Seamless Room Integration and Wide Dispersion
Dali makes it easy to integrate your loudspeakers into any room. The driver materials and geometry applied in Zensor Series have been selected to achieve a wide dispersion pattern. You will experience a well-integrated sound, even when listening significantly off-axis. Optimizing the audio signal for off-axis distribution also results in the signal reaching your ear directly and the signal reflected off the room surfaces, leading to a coherent balance. This means a consistent sound quality across a much wider listening area. At the same time, it offers greater freedom and flexibility in positioning the loudspeakers. An added benefit is hugely reduced harmonic distortion and diffractions causing frequency distortion. This is also the reason why Dali speakers are not designed for toeing-in.
Soft-Dome Tweeters for High Accuracy
Zensor Series tweeters render high frequencies with high accuracy. This means very short excursions, but at high speed – or rathe, with high acceleration. In other words, it features a low moving mass and a strong motor. The tweeter is based on an ultra-lightweight weaved fabric. Compared to most soft-dome tweeters on the market, the material is less than half the weight. It can play even the lowest parts of the high-frequency range without any breakups. This is crucial when handling the all important hand-over from the woofer to the tweeter. Not having to push either the woofer or tweeter beyond what they do best results in a seamless transition and preservation of detail in the midrange frequencies.
Construction Emphasizes Low Mechanical Loss
The primary function of any loudspeaker is to convert the electrical signal from the amplifier into a realistic audio experience. Any distortion or coloration of the original signal by drivers or enclosures degrades the sound. Clarity in an audio signal is obtained by low loss of information in combination with creating a smooth, seamless reproduction in both the time and frequency domain. By using only Dali-designed and custom-built drivers, the need for frequency correction in the crossover is eliminated. This enables the design of an exact crossover out of quality components that ensures the signal loss remains close to zero. Another fundamental is the lowering of mechanical distortion to make sure the connected amplifier will not be exposed to a larger-than-necessary challenge, causing loss of detail in the signal even before it has the chance to reach the loudspeaker. Through very low mechanical loss, the most fragile sound details, even at low listening levels, are preserved.