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Speaker reviews are easy to write when the speakers sound good, which means this DALI Rubicon 6 review was a breeze. At least once I puzzled out the motivation for the curious branding convention (more on that later). What I won’t make you wait to learn is that these speakers sound absolutely fantastic. And since it bugs some people to read about great products before discovering just how much they cost, know that a pair of these exquisite Danish-made beauties cost $5,499.
No, these speakers aren’t for every budget.
Design and specs
The Rubicon 6's are floor-standers that measure just short of 3 feet 4 inches tall, just shy of 8 inches across, and a hair under 15 inches deep. The drivers are all located in the upper half of the enclosure: two 6.5-inch (165mm) wood-fiber cone woofers, each with its own port on the back the cabinet; a 29mm soft dome tweeter; and a 17 x 45mm ribbon tweeter. One woofer handles frequencies below 800Hz and the other reproduces frequencies ranging from 800Hz to 2,600Hz, where the soft dome tweeter kicks in. The ribbon tweeter at the very top takes over at frequencies of 14,400Hz and up.
DALI claims an overall frequency response of 38Hz to 34kHz. I can tell you the former is likely true, but my ears stopped hearing the sine wave sweep well south of 20kHz. There were no dogs near the lab, and my measuring equipment stops at around the limit of human hearing (20kHz), so you’ll need to take the company’s word that they can render stuff that we can’t hear and that isn’t present in any responsibly mixed audio stream.
DALI talks prominently in its literature about the soft magnetic compound used in place of iron to form the speakers magnet cores. This supposedly cuts down on hysteresis and the resulting distortion, which is kind of a thing in the industry right now. The hysteresis we’re talking about in this case is the tendency of compounds to magnetize more quickly than they demagnetize. In a speaker core, this means some slight resistance on the backslide.
Whether eliminating hysteresis cures anything we can actually hear, I can’t tell you. The graphs DALI provided say it makes a difference. All I know is that the speakers sound amazing.
The speakers are bi-wired, meaning there are two sets of terminals in each cabinet. One set is for the woofers and the other is for the tweeters. You can remove the bridge that marries the two for normal usage, and run two sets of wires from the amp to drive the woofers and tweeters separately. Some people say they can hear a difference in the sound with bi-wiring. I didn’t.
I haven’t been mysterious at all about the sound of the Rubicon 6, which required zero EQ on my part to get them where I wanted them. The bass was just right for my taste, the mids well-defined without being harsh, and the high-end smooth and bright without being shrill. In other words, they’re good speakers.
I tested the Rubicon 6 using the previously reviewed NAD Masters M10 for amplification. That amp provides a solid 100 watts that took the Rubicon 6 to the limit of the volume I feel comfortable testing with. Within that gamut, I noticed no distortion, and practically no coloring beyond that which human perception induces when the volume rises.
I could go on all day here, but the fact is, I liked the speakers very much and have no real complaints. They did make me wonder, however, just how much more bass the Rubicon 8, with their third 6.5-inch woofer, might deliver. That might be a consideration if huge thump is your thing.
Note that any speaker that’s not specifically isolated will suffer (or benefit, as the case may be) from acoustically coupling with the surface it’s sitting on. Though our lab is in a very solid building with linoleum (or the modern equivalent) over cement floors, there was a very, very nice effect that broadened the bass just the right amount to my ears.
I’m not sure the folks in the office next door appreciated it, but I was brief and no one knocked on the wall. Your mileage will vary and you can always decouple to various degrees using carpet samples, towels, foam, spikes, or something expensive with “isolation” in the title if you prefer.
What’s in a name?
Note that we’ve used DALI’s preferred style—all caps—in presenting the company’s name. We generally do that only if the name is an acronym, and in this case, DALI stands for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries.Why a Danish company has named its product after a river best known for the Roman emperor who crossed it in 49 BC is over my head.
But I digress. When it comes to speakers, you shouldn’t really care how it’s done, or what name is on the box, as long as it sounds good. What DALI has put together sounds really good. I’d put them in my living room in a heartbeat—if I had five and half large to spend on speakers, that is.