A Visit to Danish Speaker Manufacturer DALI

DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) was founded in 1983 by Peter Lyngdorf, who is also the founder and owner of high-end audio company Steinway Lyngdorf. The company currently employs 300 people, with the bulk of its manufacturing carried out in a 220,000-square-foot factory located in farm country midway between Aarhus and Aalborg. DALI produced 250,000 speakers in 2018, and exported products to 70 countries.

(As an aside, the World Happiness Report for 2018 ranks Denmark at number three, just below Finland and Norway. And in case you’re wondering, the U.S. was ranked at 18 in the same report, sandwiched between Luxemborg and the U.K.)

While most components for its speakers are made in Denmark, specific parts (speaker grilles, for example) are manufactured in China, where DALI maintains its own factory to ensure quality control. The company is especially proud of the innovations it has developed for its in-house driver production. In certain models, for example, custom wood-fiber cones are employed. In others, the motor magnet system uses SMC (Soft Magnetic Compound), a material that measurably reduces distortion by minimizing the heat and resistance caused by build-up of local magnetic currents in the driver’s voice coil.

Company CEO Lars Worre conducting demos of the company’s Oberon 1 bookshelf ($549/pair) and Opticon 6 tower ($2,199/pair) speakers. A former company engineer, Worre is considerably more hands-on than your average CEO, and provided several in-depth technical presentations during our visit.

White finishes are popular for speakers in Europe — much more so than in the U.S. DALI’s testing facility includes a special room where vinyl cabinet finishes are bathed in ultra-violet light to ensure that yellowing doesn’t occur over time.

Frequency response and other parameters being checked as a speaker rolls off the assembly line.

A finished cabinet of DALI’s flagship Epicon 8 tower ($19,999/pair) is prepped for the insertion of crossover components.

Epicon cabinets get 10 layers of lacquer, with each layer buffed by hand. The result is a deep, lustrous finish that highlights the speaker’s real wood veneer.

A stylish experimental cabinet and grille design for DALI’s Callisto 2 C wireless speakers, currently available only in a black or white vinyl finish.

A technical demo set up by CEO Lars Worre to demonstrate the effects of impedance on driver performance.

Selections from DALI’s flagship speaker lineup (at right): Epicon 8 and 6 towers, Epicon 2 bookshelf, and Epicon Vokal center speaker.

A listening demo with the Epicon 8 towers driven by a vintage DALI Gravity class-A amplifier.