July 26, 2018 – Back in January of this year during CES, DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) introduced a new line of wireless, active speakers called CALLISTO. That wasn’t the only exciting news for them as Lenbrook International became their North American distribution partner beginning the next month of February. But that still wasn’t all. DALI became the first (but not last) line of speaker manufacturers to incorporate into their new loudspeaker line, Bluesound and the BluOS enabled, multi-room system, developed under the Lenbrook brand.
I was invited to audition the new CALLISTO speakers in Manhattan hosted at an amazing venue, the CI showroom of Gilmore’s Sound Advice on the west side. On-hand were Thomas Knudsen from DALI along with Stephen Baker and Jim Price of Lenbrook.
Two models of the CALLISTO line were on display including the stand-mounted, monitor-sized 2C, and the full floorstanding speaker in the 6C. The 6C is what we heard, but more on that in a minute.
The speakers are fed (up to 24 bit/96 kHz) by the DALI Sound Hub, essentially the brains of the system. The Hub component is a modular design meaning two open rear slots are available, for this demonstration a slot was occupied by the BluOS module giving the system access to the platform’s high-resolution audio and multiroom capability. Thomas did hint that the other slot could support a future HDMI port, meaning among other things, surround sound. The DALI Hub does supports up to 10 speakers wirelessly within the same room. The connection between Hub and speakers is done through either a 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bandwidth, insuring a robust connection.
The Hub has multiple input options including RCA, optical, coaxial and an auxiliary line, all detected automatically. DALI also incorporated Bluetooth, including Apt-X and Apt-X HD. It also boasts a sub out, sending anything below 100 Hz to your subwoofer. Line level Pre-Outs allows the HUB to be used as a preamplifier in your system. A USB port will allow connection of say, Google Chromecast.
Stylish, the Hub is clean and smart looking in black with a glass top, A round LED display centered on the front gives volume and input. The Hub is also supplied with a Bluetooth-enabled remote control meaning you can hide the Hub out of sight.
The CALLISTO speakers are clean and simply designed, but that may be deceptive. The top of the speaker has a touch-sensitive sound level control, sliding your finger across adjusts the volume, including tapping for mute.
About half way down the speaker is a horizontal LED line display of the volume and signal indicator, a truly neat and techie feature.
Two 6 1/2″ low-mass, wood fiber woofers compliment a hybrid tweeter design – a dome tweeter is combined with a ribbon tweeter. Each speaker boasts a 250-watt Class D amplifier.
Although we didn’t hear the 3-way, monitor 2C, the design is identical to the 6C – smaller volume however and one less 6 1/2″ woofer, that’s it. The hybrid tweeters are the same.
Thomas went on to explain the concept behind CALLISTO – not only is the wireless technology convenient, but DALI’s commitment to sound quality – by the inclusion of BluOS and Hi-Res capability, the CALLISTO sounded fantastic. It’s always very difficult to assess speakers in unfamiliar surroundings, the 6C had tremendous promise.
We heard several varying tracks, all played from a tablet using the BluOS app. I found the music rich and detailed – highs were clean and textural, while the low end was full. I would think, the fact that DALI has included the amplification, that they can determine precisely how they want their speakers to sound. The DALI Hub with the NAD M50.2 Digital Music Player providing the music source.
DALI Sound Hub and BluOS module are $4750 MSRP U.S. for the CALLISTO 2C and $5750 for the CALLISTO 6C. I’m looking forward to hearing a pair in my listening space, soon!