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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Middle of the road efficiency
The Dali Oberon 5 is a beautiful looking, beautiful sounding, and remarkably space-conscious floor speaker.
When I first got my hands on the Dali Oberon 5 floor speakers, I wanted them to sound great. They are some of the more refined looking floor speakers in my opinion, and they don’t occupy an overwhelming amount of space, making them a great option for apartments too. Lucky for me, and perhaps lucky for you as well, the Oberon 5’s don’t just sound okay, they sound fantastic. Despite their small footprint, these speakers produce a commanding sound stage with exquisite detail across their entire range.
They are also not excessively difficult to drive—their 88dB sensitivity and a 6-ohm nominal impedance mean that most amplifiers won’t have trouble bringing these speakers to life. Pair them with a more prestigious amplifier and you will get a proportionally better experience, but it’s nice to have the entry point be so accessible.
The world of Hi-Fi isn’t known for being the most approachable. It’s also known for being able to effortlessly gobble up whatever budget you care to put aside for it. The Dali Oberon 5 certainly isn’t the least amount of money you can spend on a pair of speakers, but it’s also miles away from the spendier choices. Let’s look at the choices Dali has made with the Oberon 5 and see if they effectively simplify these decisions for the potential buyer.
The Dali Oberon 5 gets high marks for its elegant floor-standing design. The model we tested came in the Light Oak trim, but depending upon the room you place them in you might instead choose Black Ash, Dark Walnut, or White. I can’t speak directly to these trims, but if they’re anything like the one I reviewed, you’re in for a treat.
The speakers themselves measure just 32.6x6.3x11.1 inches (HWD) and sit atop a pair of very sturdy metal feet. Compare these dimensions with that of another popular floor-standing speaker like the Klipsch RP-5000F, which measures 36.1x8.2x14.4 inches, to get a sense of how small they are. The RP-5000F are already not the largest floor speakers to begin with, and the Oberon 5’s are significantly smaller in every dimension. In practical terms, this means that a lot of people who didn’t think they had space in their room for a nice pair of floor speakers might still be in luck.
They sound amazing when listening to music, but they also deliver some earth-shattering bass during moments of dramatic tension in television shows and films.
The cabinets feel very dense and rigid, which will likely be your first experience of when first removing them from the box. They were constructed from high-density machined MDF board, and draped in vinyl on the outside for the finish. If you were to crack them open, you’d notice a series of bracings across the interior of the cabinet, which are probably contributing to their solid, dense feeling.
The speakers themselves are comprised of two 5.25-inch wood fiber SMC based woofers and a 29mm lightweight soft dome tweeter. This is of course covered by the gray front grille, covering roughly the top two-thirds of the speaker. Around the back of the Oberon 5, you’ll find a bass-reflex port positioned on the bottom third of the tower, and at the very bottom, the single wire, banana-plug friendly connection inputs.
The Dali Oberon 5 performs an admirable feat: it delivers crisp, clear sound reproduction while still maintaining a large, full sound. If you were worried that down-sizing your floor speaker would mean weaker bass response and a “smaller” sound, boy, have I got news for you. My main concern throughout testing these speakers in my home was whether my neighbors were going to call the cops. They sound amazing when listening to music, but they also deliver some earth-shattering bass during moments of dramatic tension in television shows and films.
For music testing, I started out with Nils Frahm’s album Screws. It’s a solo piano album recorded using a single condenser microphone, and it leaves in every little imperfection you don’t normally hear in a final recording. You can make out the sound of the hammers hitting the strings, errant creeks as the musician’s foot presses and releases the sustain pedal—at least you with a decent pair of speakers or headphones you can. The Oberon 5 had no problem bringing all these details right to the front, delivering a warm, intimate listening experience that felt like a live performance.
The Oberon 5 isn’t just for listening to delicate piano music on pensive quiet mornings, of course, so next, I went in the opposite direction and listened to Oliver’s slow, punchy electronic music track Mechanical, and Joe Hertz’ I Owe You. Both of these have very tight, precise bass, and the Oberon 5 handled them effortlessly.
If you intend to use the Oberon 5 in your home theater setup, I can definitely speak to how happy I was with its performance in this role as well. The biggest issue you might come up against is that a lot of movies and shows have a tremendous amount of dynamic range compared to most music today, so the difference between whispers and explosions is going to be extremely pronounced. This is wonderful for an accurate, immersive listening experience and terrible for, say, trying to keep it down because someone in your home is sleeping.
The Dali Oberon 5 can typically be found as a pair anywhere from $1099-$1199. There’s no way around it, this is not cheap for its category, and Dali faces very tough competition here. I suppose this shouldn’t be incredibly surprising, as these speakers also outperform most of their competition.
Nonetheless, many people will be just as satisfied with the sound and design of one of the Oberon 5’s direct rivals, like the Klipsch RP-5000F or Q Acoustic 3050i. These speakers also sound great and are available for hundreds of dollars less, but they also take up far more space than the Oberon 5.
Those with smaller budgets and larger rooms might also consider the Klipsch RP-5000F (see on Amazon)—a great sounding floor speaker in its own right. The RP-5000F is significantly deeper and taller than the Oberon 5, but they can be found online for nearly half as much.
Additionally, the RP-5000F are significantly more sensitive, at 96dB @ 2.83V / 1m compared to the Oberon 5’s more average 88dB. This means that you will need significantly less power to drive the Klipsch speakers—a big potential benefit depending upon your amplifier. This isn’t unique to the RP-5000F either. Power efficiency has been a constant refrain throughout Klipsch’s history
In Dali’s defense, the Oberon 5’s are smaller, offer more clarity overall, and can be bought in a number of sophisticated-looking trims. It’s not an easy fight though, and definitely a lot for buyers to think about.
A small triumph of a floor-standing speaker.
The Dali Oberon 5 is, inch-for-inch, the best floor speaker I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. The Danish manufacturer has done an incredible job of pairing a beautiful design and impressive sound with a space-friendly package. That having been said, the price is steep and some might not be willing to take their budgets up to meet Dali, especially with a highly competitive field.