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Future-Fi at IFA 2018: DALI Callisto 2C loudspeakers

  • DALI. Not the surrealist painter but Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. The Scandinavian loudspeaker company wears the A-word proudly but at IFA 2018 I stepped over their brand new range of passive loudspeakers – the Oberon – to take a closer look at the Callisto 2C (€2800/pair): a 2.5-way active whose amplifiers and drivers were developed simultaneously.

    On the inside, a DSP crossover splits the incoming audio signal between Class D amplifiers that drive a wood fibre mid-bass driver and soft-dome / ribbon tweeters.

    And just because we can feed the Callisto the traditional way – connecting a DAC or pre-amplifier to the rear-facing analogue inputs – doesn’t mean we have to. DALI’s modular Sound Hub (€600) carries the digital signal from any of its hard-wired digital inputs (2 x TOSLINK, 1 x coaxial, aptX Bluetooth) to the loudspeaker wirelessly.

    According to DALI’s Lars Jørgensen, this proprietary 5GHz wireless transmission protocol operates with digital audio at 24bit/96kHz and keeps the digital signal as I2S between Sound Hub and loudspeaker. That’s for die-hard audiophiles to ponder.

    For those who just want to play music, the Sound Hub is modular with a BluOS board occupying one of two ‘upgrade’ slots. That gives listeners Bluesound-like streaming from both smartphone and desktop apps: Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, vTuner Radio and Roon Readiness.

    And with the Sound Hub in play we get the coolest feature of all: drag a finger across the top of the loudspeaker to control the pair’s volume; double tap it to play/pause.

    From the floor of the Messe Berlin, Jørgensen takes us deeper on DALI’s digital actives:

    The 2C are available in black or white finishes and for those who simply must have a floorstander, DALI offer the Callisto 6C (€3600/pair).

    Further information: DALI

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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