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DALI LEKTOR 8 Floorstanding Speaker Review

by February 18, 2009
DALI LEKTOR 8 Floorstanding Speakers

DALI LEKTOR 8 Floorstanding Speakers

  • Product Name: LEKTOR 8
  • Manufacturer: DALI
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: February 18, 2009 11:55
  • MSRP: $ 1800/pair

Frequency range+/- 3dB [Hz]:

38.5Hz - 27kHz

Sensitivity (2,83 V/1 m) [dB]:


Nominal impedance[ohms]:


Maximum SPL[dB]:


Recommended amplifier power [Watts]:

40 - 180

Crossover frequencies:

600 / 3500

Crossover principles:


High frequency driver:

Soft textile dome

Enclosure type:

Bass reflex

Bass reflex tuning frequency [Hz]:


Connection input(s):

Single wire

Magnetic shielding:

Semi magnetic shielded

Loudspeaker dimensions including base and grille:

251 X 1059 X 370

Loudspeaker weight including base and grille [kg]:


Accessories included:

Rubber "bumpers"
Spikes M8


  • Looks
  • Plenty of bass
  • Wide soundstage
  • Great for larger rooms
  • Excellent off axis response


  • Bass can be overdone at times
  • No real option for non-carpeted floors
  • Imaging could be tighter


DALI LECTOR 8 Build Quality

Dali_grillon.JPGDALI may not exactly be a household name in speakers - at least not in America - but they should. My first experience with DALI's were at the Audioholics bookshelf shootout. At an $1800 price point for a pair of bookshelves in the MENTOR 1's, I felt sure I'd never see a pair of DALI's in for review. The next time I ran into DALI was at CEDIA 2008. They had a similarly priced pair of floorstanders just released. Believe me when I say I couldn't wait to get a pair in for review. Two of my companions couldn't stop talking about how good they sounded on the show floor. Me? I tend to reserve judgment. Well, it's judgment time and as always I promise to be tough but fair.

First Impressions and Build Quality

To be honest, before I even opened the box I was a bit biased against the look of the LEKTORs. Why? At $1800 a pair, I couldn't believe they would even consider a vinyl wrap. At this price point, I expect much more.

Boy, was I wrong.

Dali_screw.JPGI've seen a lot of vinyl wraps in my day and I can say without reservation that this is the best. The review pair of LEKTORs was in the light walnut finish rather than the all black option. As much as I like a speaker that "disappears" into a room, I find that black, in general, is harder to keep clean and generally bores me. The woodgrain finishes tend to not show off dust as much and definitely make more of a statement. The LEKTOR 8's are one of the better looking speakers I've had in my room - at least from the front. The black front baffle is nicely rounded and is matte enough to absorb most light. The grill is a little oddly shaped until you realize that it can be reversed so to cover or reveal the tweeter. For those that believe that grills make an audible difference… well, they probably still think it makes an audible difference when covering the woofers. DALI was smart enough to put their logo on both the top (near the tweeter) and bottom (small chrome plate) so that no matter your grill preference, you'll know who made your speakers. What you don't know is that the DALI and LEKTOR logos are everywhere - even in places you can't see them: Back of the woofers/tweeter, under the metal plate around the tweeter, even on the screws!

The fit and finish around the front and sides is nearly impeccable. The corners of the main cabinet are a bit sharp but the front corners are covered with the black front baffle so it isn't an issue. There is a small gap between the front baffle and the main cabinet but it would take very little convincing to make me believe this was an intentional design choice and not some sort of fit and finish issue. The metal accents on the front aren't heavy handed and give the speaker the contemporary but not gaudy look I'd expect of a Danish speaker manufacturer. The metal side pegs double as holders for the binding posts. When I was trying to dissemble the speakers, I discovered that they really don't seem to serve any purpose other than that.

Dali_grilloff.JPGThe real standouts in the looks department are the woofers. The LEKTOR 8's sport two 8" woofers and a 5" midrange. They are also the color of old bricks or dried blood (your pick). This is the first time I've seen deep red woofers in a speaker - especially one made to be seen in the home. At first, I was a bit put off by the color - red just seemed weird to me. But the longer I've lived with them the more I've appreciated them. The coated paper with wood fiber reinforcement material isn't as reflective as your aluminum or some of the other woofer designs I've seen in the past so they tend to blend better. They certainly are different which, if nothing else, will get people's attention. Still, in a darkened room with the lights low and the grills off, they don't stand out as much as I'd like. Now, understand, this is purely an aesthetic opinion and has nothing to do with performance.

The 28mm (1.1 inch) tweeter is soft domed and black. The metal surround plate goes a long way toward making this stand out. The speaker grill is a bit flimsy for my taste and I was often concerned about breaking it during removal. The chrome posts, however, held snugly and there was never any fear of accidental removal. The problem was that the grill was very thin and the posts held it very firmly making for some tense moments. The thin frame was by design according to DALI to reduce reflections and diffraction from the frame.

Dali_corner.JPGMy only real aesthetic concern is with the back of the speaker. While the front and sides are nearly impeccable, the back looks much more like those speakers you remember your parents buying from Sears 30 years ago. The raised outer lip, the less than perfect vinyl wrap meetings… it just isn't on the same level as the rest of the speaker. That being said, it's in the back. Who really cares? I certainly wouldn't.

Dali_feet.JPGThere are two ports on the speaker, one in the front near the bottom and one about midway up the height in the back. The bottom of the cabinet sports threaded inserts for carpet spikes (provided by DALI). The spikes have a HUGE tightening nut which makes leveling these speakers considerably easier than just about any non-outrigger equipped speaker I've reviewed. Unfortunately, the only provisions for non-carpeted floors are little sticky rubber rounds that I doubt would last a single move. If you are going to go this route, be absolutely certain of your speaker placement before you install them as they are sure to come loose with any adjustments. I'd get a small square of carpet or maybe a thick towel to set them on at first until you are sure of the orientation, location, and toe-in before installing the rubber pads. After that, I'd leave them where they were or consider some sturdier aftermarket feet.

The binding posts in the back were different than any I've experienced before. At first I was convinced that they were five-way binding posts in look only. While most five-way have a plastic cap on top that is removable for use with banana plugs, it didn't look like the DALI's did. I would have sworn on a stack that the center post was solid with red or black paint on the top. When DALI informed me that there was in fact a plastic cap on top, I went back and checked. With some difficulty, I found out (much to my chagrin) that they were right. The cap is actually under the binding post nut (a bit of a divergence from the norm) which has to be completely removed to gain access. Even then, the tolerances are so tight on the plastic cap that it looks like paint. This presents a very clean look even if it did flummox me for a bit.

Dali_grillpost.JPGThis is the point where I share the pictures of the disassembled DALIs and I talk about the crossover, driver, and cabinet design. The LEKTORs were the first speaker since the SVS SBS-01's (one of my earliest speaker reviews with Audioholics) that I couldn't get apart. I certainly wasn't going to take a prybar to them or anything. I did a knock test and the top definitely seemed more inert than the bottom which was a bit more echoey. They are definitely heavy, so unless they've lined the bottom with lead, they do have quite a bit of MDF at work here. When I couldn't get them apart I requested some pictures from DALI. Unfortunately, they didn't seem inclined to take actual pictures and instead send a few technical drawings. That wasn't going to do so I decided to just give up…

Wait a minute…

Dali_Inside.JPGFrom the technical drawings, I figured out how to disassemble (no disassemble #5) the speakers. Score one for me. The front baffle is thicker than the other walls (according to the documents they sent) and I measured it to be an inch thick! MDF construction all the way around with the tweeter and 5" midrange in an enclosed box. The two 8" drivers have the rest of the cabinet (including the space behind the tweeter/mid box) along with the two ports. The ports are flared on the exterior but not the interior. A layer of polyfil is glued/stapled to the inside of the larger cabinet and pretty much fills up the tweeter/mid box. The tweeter sports a very large magnet and is mounted to a well braced plastic plate. There is a single brace just below the bottom woofer and above the front port. This explains the more hollow sound at the bottom of the cabinet which could use some more bracing. The woofers sport stamped metal baskets (I was hoping for cast) and fairly large magnet structures. The specs say the drivers are semi-magnetically shielded which I supposed means you can place them semi-close to your computer or CRT. The crossover component parts were a bit of a disappointment (aside from the ceramic resistors) as DALI employed iron core inductors instead of air cores, and electrolytic capacitors with no poly bypass capacitors. I couldn’t help to wonder how much better these speakers could have been with some higher quality component usage in the crossover.

Dali_crossover.JPG Dail_driver.JPG


LEKTOR Setup and Measurements

Dali_back.JPGWhen the speakers arrived I noticed that the boxes were labeled L and R. This usually indicates a Left and Right speaker and it is something I've experienced before. Many speakers with side firing or offset tweeters will specify a side. The problem is that the DALI LEKTOR 8's don't have any sort of physical requirement that would suggest such a distinction is necessary or warranted. So I did something that I usually would never do - I contacted the manufacturer. As a rule, I try to keep my reviews as bias-free as possible. This means I don't read other reviews (or user comments), I don't talk to marketing reps, and I spend as little time as possible in contact with the manufacturers. I know other reviewers like to brag about how they talked to the cabinet designer or crossover builder but to me that just adds bias. It is like going into a listening test and having someone tell you what you are about to hear (remember all that backwards masking stuff where you couldn't hear the satanic messages until they told you what you were supposed to hear?). Of course you hear what they point out - that's simple psychology. But when I have questions that I can't answer, sometimes contacting the manufacturer is the only option. My solution was to do my listening tests, comparisons, and measurements before contacting DALI. In the end, my precautions were unnecessary as DALI answered my questions simply and succinctly without trying to sway my review.

From DALI - Each DALI speaker (no samples) is tested in an isolation chamber on 14 separate parameters, including polarity, frequency, SPL, "rub & buzz", impedance, etc. Pairs of speakers are tested together, with the output curves matched to a standard, and to each other. Each speaker must fall within close tolerances of each other and the test standard. Any speaker failing this performance test is reworked. If it fails a second time, the cabinet is crushed and discarded. So, the L&R indicates a "matched pair" in terms of testing, on a broad array of variables. If the consumer inverts the speakers, it will have no effect upon sonic performance. The L&R simply shows they were built and tested together. In some cases, DALI has produced asymmetrical designs, which must be positioned as indicated (drivers are mounted off-center). In those cases, L&R positioning is critical. In the case of LEKTOR 8, the speakers are symmetrical and indifferent to L&R placement.

Exactly as I thought. It is nice to know that the speakers are tested together and that QC is tight (at least, that's what they claim and we have every reason so far to believe them). If they are going to "skimp" on veneers (I use the term lightly as the finish on the LEKTOR's is excellent), than I expect them to bring their 'A' game in other departments.

Placement with the DALI LEKTOR 8's was fairly straightforward. The LEKTOR's have a very wide soundstage and their sweet spot was fairly huge (more on this in the listening tests below). This makes the DALI's very placement forgiving which actually makes for a very fine-tunable listening experience. As you can see below from the measurements, on axis the DALI's have a bit more high-end energy while off axis they measure a bit flatter. According to DALI this is by design as the speakers are meant to be listened to off-axis with placement parallel to the front wall. However, if you prefer one sound over the other, all you need do is adjust the positioning. I ended up with a slight toe-in as I felt it solidified the center imaging a bit. Pointing the speaker directly at me was a bit fatiguing but not overly so. I know there are many out there that would still like that orientation. Especially since the large soundstage didn't seem to diminish much in that orientation like other speakers.

Dali_port.JPGThe large adjustment nuts on the carpet spikes made leveling the speakers easier than other spikes I've used, though of course not as easy as an outrigger setup. The spikes were a little short, however, and I had to have them only barely in the threaded inserts to have enough room for the spike to penetrate my medium pile carpet. A longer spike would have helped this. For this review, the DALI LEKTOR 8's were powered either by a Denon AVR-2307CI or by the Emotiva RSP-1/RPA-1 combo. All critical listening tests were done with the Emotiva combo. Analogue cabling was Blue Jeans with digital supplied by Impact Acoustics. The Denon DVD-3910 provided source material for the critical listening tests.

Measurements & Testing

For laboratory measurements I used the Sencore SP395A FFT Audio Analyzer and a Sherbourn 2/75B amp, I measured the DALI LEKTOR 8's in-room on- and off-axis frequency response with 1/12th octave resolution


DALI LEKTOR 8 1 Meter Frequency Response (1/12th Octave) On Axis
Note - this is NOT a 1 watt measurement

Our measurements indicate the LEKTOR 8’s tweeter response is set a tad too high as indicated by the rising frequency response at the tweeter crossover point. We noticed the same phenomenon when we tested the MENTOR 1’s but DALI explained this is deliberately done for a more uniform off axis power response. We suggest little to no toe-in to prevent listening fatigue.


DALI LEKTOR 8 1/2 Meter Frequency Response (1/12th Octave)
Pink - On axis, Orange - 15 degrees off axis, Yellow - 30 degrees off axis

The LEKTOR 8’s frequency response looks best around 30 degrees off axis exhibiting a very linear response throughout the entire frequency spectrum. Its quite unusual for a speaker to have such a flat response this far off axis but it seems to serve the system well for those that like very articulate if not a lively top end response.


DALI LEKTOR 8 Impedance

The Sencore consistently measures impedance one ohm low. The impedance measurement indicates a tuning frequency around 40Hz as specified by DALI. Given the moderately high efficiency rating and fairly benign impedance profile, this speaker shouldn’t be too difficult for any decent multi-channel receiver to drive.

LEKTOR 8 Listening and Conclusion

Starting off, I wanted to see how the LEKTOR 8's handled bass. Grabbing my trusty Rives Test CD II, I played a few test tones to see what they could do. As expected, they provided sufficiently low bass in copious amounts. The specs of the LEKTORs claim a -3dB point of 38.5Hz and I believe this is right on. The 40Hz tone came though much clearer and with more force than the 31.5Hz. At the lower tones, some port/driver noise could be discerned but only at higher volumes. Even the least sound other than the low tone would have masked it.

My next step was to do my usual comparison. I will say that I was tempted to compare them to the Salk SongTower QWTs but refrained. The planned floorstanding speaker shootout is just around the corner and I didn't want to do that comparison so close to the date. Instead, I did what I normally do, compared the DALIs to the RBH TK-5CTs. The TK-5CTs (cousins of the EMP EF30t speakers) have been and probably always will be my reference budget floorstanding speakers. At an MSRP of just over half the asking price of the DALIs, the comparison should be fairly quick.

It wasn't.

Dali_top.JPGSometimes I have a hard time with comparisons because the two speakers sound so similar that it takes a while to pick out the subtle differences. Not this time. The DALIs and the TKs were night and day. The problem was I couldn't decide if the differences indicated a quality difference or if they were just… different. The TKs had a more delicate touch to the presentation of the music (something that I'm not used to saying about them) while the DALIs were much more forceful in their presentation. I've never thought of the TKs as a small speaker (of course, they are compared to many floorstanders - DALIs included) but the DALIs made them sound tiny.

The problem (if you can call it that) is that neither of speakers sounded bad - just different. The DALIs were in your face. They are big and bassy and demanded to be heard. The soundstage was huge and the imaging was fairly solid. The TKs were lighter, more laid back, and generally sounded more articulate. The highs seemed a bit better defined though I suspect this was due more to the lack of bass in comparison with the DALIs. The DALIs definitely sounded bigger and fuller than the TKs - something that I would expect from a speaker 2x's the price. Overall, the comparison seemed to reveal that the DALIs and the TKs were excellent examples of speakers at their price point. It was sort of like comparing a Honda and an Acura. They are both excellent cars at their price point. No way to ding either one.

CD: Bang & Olufsen Vol. XIII – The Sound of Perfection
I used this CD during the comparison with the TKs. It has a lot of different styles of music and a good mix of male and female vocals. While some of the recordings aren't really of the highest fidelity, they all offer something to listen for. I had a bit of a problem with this album as the amount of bass seemed to overtake everything else. When I forced myself to pay attention, however, all the higher end information was definitely there. The bass was just quite a bit stronger than I was used to but also punchy and tight without being overbearing. Kick drums and bass guitars had a lifelike quality with no real hint of reverb. At lower volumes, the bass really disappeared (which to some extent is to be expected) and the soundstage became quite a bit more flat and recessed. The central image was still well defined, however, and the soundstage still retained its width (inexplicably). Overall the presentation was very forward and wide. The vocals were well anchored in the center of the soundstage.

CD: Rusted Root – When I Woke
rustedroot.jpgI've often used this album during reviews because of the mix of male and female vocals, fast and slow tempo, and gratuitous use of percussion instruments. There really are very few albums that can put a pair of speakers through their paces like When I Woke. Each of the percussive instruments was well defined and left and right separation was excellent. Again, I couldn't help but notice the wide soundstage. Compared to other speakers, I felt the LEKTORs were excellent at enveloping you with the music. I'm sure their off-axis response was part of this. Imaging was good if not as rock solid as I've heard in the past. The central image (mostly consisting of the vocalist) was very good but not as three dimensional as competitors at this price point.

CD: Yello – the eye
yello.jpgFocusing in on the imaging aspect, I couldn't help but grab Yello the eye. I immediately noticed the width of the soundstage (again) but also the left and right separation. Sounds and effects bounced between the main speakers effortlessly and to great effect. Female vocals were rich and lush without being overdone. Left and right pans were well realized and the LEKTORs did an excellent job of energizing the space. The central image was definitely present but not very defined. The wide soundstage made it seem like the image took up entire front of the room (between the speakers). Other speaker offerings seemed to do better with locating it a one point between the speakers. I believe in a larger room (I sit about 9 feet from each of the speakers), this might tighten up a bit. The midrange in general seemed full and well balanced with the high end. Bass heavy passages (of which there are a few in this eletronica album) were a bit overdone though not in an unpleasant way. There was enough tactile bass to let you know it was there but not so much that it was distracting. The highs were well done if not quite as extended as I've heard in the past.

CD: Sonic Youth - SisterDali_sonic.jpg
After a while you get tired of hearing the same test albums over and over again. Rather than trying out a new album, I decided to delve into the stuff I hadn't heard in years. Out comes Sonic Youth's Sister. Not the most accessible album by any means, Sonic Youth recorded this album years ago forgoing the newly emerging digital technology (that's how old it is) and recorded it all on tubes. I know, how very esoteric of them. Still, it gives the album a very unique sound and the LEKTORs represented it well. This album is not overly bassy and I found I enjoyed the DALIs a bit more with this offering than some of the newer albums I had used for testing. The guitar was grungy and gritty, the high-hat tight and controlled, the vocals well presented and clear. Some of the softer tracks were ethereal and airy. All in all, this was a great album for the DALIs and I enjoyed revisiting this classic.


Dali_woofer.JPGThe DALI LEKTOR 8's are an excellent speaker. They are a bit bassy for my taste but they aren't overly so. The highs are very well articulated and clear with a smooth as silk midrange. The aesthetics of the Lecktor 8's is impeccable and the walnut finish is simply stunning. The LEKTORs would be right at home in a medium to large room and present a very easy load to amplifiers. The excellent off axis response makes placement a breeze. The real strength of these speakers is the soundstage. Wider than your room (or so it seems), the DALI Lekors wrap the music around you even in a two channel setup. For the price, the DALI's definitely represent a top tier offering. When you pay the asking price of the LEKTORs, you expect a level of performance. The DALI's give you that, plus some!

DALI LEKTOR 8 Floorstanding Speakers


2150 West 6th Ave.
Unit N
Broomfield, CO 80020


At DALI, we are driven by a raw passion for music and its honest reproduction in the domestic environment. The development and refinement of new technologies to increase the realism of the home entertainment experience is the main objective in our quest to create what we believe to be the best loudspeakers in the world!

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
About the author:
author portrait

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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