Dali Fazon Sat Speakers and Lektor Sub Subwoofer

Key Features
$2,500 (as tested) dalispeakers.com
• Fazon Sat Satellite Speaker ($450 each) 41?2-in woofer; 11?8-in tweeter; 10 x 51?2 x 51?2 in (wall-mounted); 51?4 lb • Lektor Sub Subwoofer ($850) 10-in woofer; 180-watt amplifier; 14 x 121?4 x 151?2 in; 32 lb

There are two good reasons - in my estimation, at least - why the DALI speaker line never grabbed my attention: 1) the products are rather pricey, and 2) I was concerned that the company name pandered to the artsy pretensions of audiophiles.

Turns out I was wrong on both counts. DALI is not just a marketing-driven appropriation of a Surrealist painter's surname; it's an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. And the company recently introduced a complete 5.1 speaker package for a mere $2,500.

When I saw the Fazon Sat speakers and Lektor Sub subwoofer and heard their respective prices, I was impressed. As a speaker engineer once told me, inexpensive speakers can be more challenging to design than cost-is-no-object models. "With the high-end speakers, if there's a problem, I can usually fix it in the crossover network," he explained. "But I can't afford to put a complicated network in the low-priced stuff. So I have to put more work into the drivers and the enclosure."

DALI definitely put a lot of work into the enclosure for the Fazon Sat. The curved chassis is made from dense cast aluminum that resonates not one bit when tapped with a knuckle. The front baffle is coated with rubberized paint. The magnetic grille has no visible fasteners.

Best, though, is the locking gimbaled mount, which lets you point the speaker up, down, or to either side. A knurled knob locks the speaker into position. The mount connects to a wall plate or short table stand, both of which are included. The wire connections are made through screw terminals built into the plate or stand. Whether you order the DALI Fazon Sat in gloss black or gloss white, the whole package looks simultaneously techy and elegant.

For that reason, DALI mates the Fazon Sat with the Lektor Sub subwoofer. The Lektor Sub can't match the looks of the Fazon Sat, but give it a break - it's a subwoofer. It packs a 10-inch woofer and an amp rated at 180 watts rms.

Five Fazon Sats and one Lektor Sub make up a 5.1 system, and DALI gives you a $600 price break on the whole package compared with buying the speakers separately. I'm especially happy that DALI didn't create a horizontal center speaker, because using five identical speakers delivers better sound. If you're really stuck on the aesthetics of a horizontal center, you can always flip one of the Fazon Sats on its side. To that end, the DALI logo on the grille can be turned 90º to suit horizontal mounting.

SETUP

Whether you wall-mount it or use it on the stand, the Fazon Sat assembles fairly easily. The tiny screw terminals for the speaker cables proved a little cumbersome, and they do limit you to using thin cables, but a minute or 2 of frustration bought me a sleek installation. I loved having the large knurled knob to lock the speaker in position. It's far easier to use than the usual set screws - and more secure, too, I bet. After about 45 minutes of work, I had the center speaker mounted on the wall under my projection screen, the other speakers attached to their stands, and all wires connected.

At first glance, it appears that the Lektor Sub goes in like any other sub: Just put it in the best place for sound, connect a line-level interconnect cable to the LFE input, and let it rip. However, a little experimentation revealed that things weren't so simple. Although the Fazon Sat's bass response is rated to 86 Hz, its 4 1?2-inch woofer can't deliver much volume at that frequency without distorting. I started by setting the subwoofer crossover point in my Denon receiver to 90 Hz, but kept shifting it up to reduce upper bass distortion. I settled on a crossover point of 150 Hz, which allowed the little system to play fairly loud.

However, the high crossover point also meant that some upper bass sounds - including the lowest frequencies of male voices - came out of the subwoofer instead of from the Fazon Sats. Because you can hear where sounds above about 80 Hz are coming from, you'll need to keep the Lektor Sub somewhere near your front speakers. If you place it in the corner, some actors' voices will seem to be coming from the corner.

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