Even before I sat down to listen to the DALI system, I got a favorable impression of it. I had loaded the Blu-ray Disc of Wall-E and then gone into my bedroom to fold laundry so the annoying Disney commercials that start the disc could play to the empty room they deserve. Listening to the announcer's voice pitching - oh, I can't remember, maybe a six-disc Director's Cut Blu-ray of The Aristocats - I noticed how clear and uncolored the voiceover sounded. Just a few minutes into the movie, I was so enthralled with the Fazon Sat's clarity that I immediately ejected Wall-E and loaded my CD-R of stereo music test tracks so I could get right to some serious listening.
As I played my CD-R, the Fazon Sat started to remind me of some of my all-time favorite minispeakers, particularly NHT's SuperZero of the mid-1990s. The 4½-inch woofer delivered superb vocal clarity, whether the mouth in question belonged to gravelly blues singer R.L. Burnside or wispy bossa/jazz vocalist Astrud Gilberto. The treble wasn't as lush and seductive as I've heard from some of my favorite high-end speakers, but I did note a convincing sense of envelopment when I played my favorite audiophile recordings.
The only anomalies I noticed were a slight sibilance on some female voices (which also came through as a subtle distortion on some high-pitched instruments, such as cymbals) and a bit of boominess on some male voices because of the high crossover point I was using.
Remember Shakti: The Way of Beauty, a DVD uniting jazz guitarist John McLaughlin with tabla master Zakir Hussain and other Indian musicians, proved the perfect showcase for the Fazon Sat. On lesser speakers, this group's music - which has no bass and employs mostly percussive instruments - can sound like chopsticks being drummed on a table. The DALI system's accurate midrange perfectly conveyed the intensely dynamic sounds of the Indian percussion and vocals, the intricate detail of McLaughlin's exotic custom-made acoustic guitar, and the sound of the various voices in the interview section of the disc.
After all my fussing with the subwoofer crossover point, I wasn't expecting a particularly powerful home theater presentation from the Fazon/Lektor system. I'm not sure how, but the system mustered a dazzling performance on the depth-charge scene from U-571. The Lektor actually shook my couch, and it cleanly reproduced the intense bass tones that begin Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Hearing this little sub do its stuff was like watching a Jack Russell terrier chase off a pit bull.
Despite the high crossover point, though, I still occasionally heard some distortion from the Fazon Sats. Just to be on the safe side, I wouldn't recommend this system for serious home theater aficionados who really like to crank it up, and I wouldn't recommend it for rooms larger than about 250 square feet. I doubt it was intended for either of those applications, though.
The DALI Fazon Sat/Lektor Sub combo delivers the performance of a good budget-priced audiophile rig with the design sophistication of the most refined lifestyle systems. It does have some dynamic limitations, but in the proper setting, it'll deliver an extraordinary experience both for the ears and for the eyes.
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