Dali Spektor 2 review: incredible sound from affordable speakers

Beginners and audiophiles alike will struggle to find better speakers for the money

T3 Platinum Award
Dali Spektor 2 speaker on wooden sideboard
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Dali Spektor 2 speakers offer a beautiful, ear-opening listening experience at a very fair price.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Incredibly precise, balanced sound

  • +

    Very forgiving placement

  • +

    Superb value

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Design may be too plain for some

In this Dali Spektor 2 review, we're looking at easily the best-sounding speakers you can buy for their price. Sorry for the spoilers, but there's no point beating about the bush: you won't find anything to beat audio quality of these for the same money.

It makes the Dali Spektor 2 the ideal first speakers for someone just getting into hi-fi, and looking for the best turntable speakers for an affordable price. And they're absolutely among the best bookshelf speakers, because you need to just about double the price to see a major increase in quality. They’re an absolute delight, sounding far better than their price and compact dimensions would suggest.

Given their passive nature you’ll need a suitable amp to drive them, but once it’s set up, your ears will thank you. A more-than-viable solution for passionate audiophiles and casual listeners alike, the Dali Spektor 2 shine across the board, letting us confidently recommend them as the best passive speakers for most people. 

With the high praise out the way, it’s time to dive into what makes these little powerhouses tick.

Dali Spektor 2 review: price and release date

Originally released in 2017, the Dali Spektor 2 can be yours today for a price of £229/$230/AU$539 for the pair, which is substantially cheaper than competitive active speakers such as the Q Acoustics M20 HD or Ruark’s MR1 MK2.

If you’ve already got an amplifier to drive the Spektor 2 speakers, then you’re sorted, but if not, its cheaper price will be offset by the cost of a new amp. For this review we paired them up with Denon’s formidably impressive AVR-X2700H 8K receiver/amplifier, but you’ll get beautiful performance out of a cheaper dedicated amplifier like the £199/$225/AU$499 Cambridge Audio AXA25.

Either way, other passive speakers that sound as good can easily set you back £500/$500 or more on their own, and for that price you can both a Spektor 2 and high-quality budget amp. That's audiophile-grade sound, perfect for something like one of the best record players, for less than £500/$500. In the enthusiast hi-fi world, that’s a steal.

Dali Spektor 2 speaker on wooden sideboard

(Image credit: Future)

Dali Spektor 2 review: features

Being a passive set of speakers, you won’t find connectivity options beyond standard speaker wire here. That means no Bluetooth, optical-in, AUX connectors or any other fancy gubbins. And because they’ll be powered by an amp, they won’t even need to be plugged into any power sockets. For seasoned listeners, this is all stating the obvious of course, but it’s worth pointing out, as the Spektor 2’s price tag means that for lots of people looking at them, they'll be the first passive speaker for people starting out on their hi-fi journey.

There are still some features that are worth pointing out, and they’re related to Dali’s audio design choices. The Spektor 2’s low-loss drivers are made from the company’s signature lightweight wood fibre material that’s also found in its higher-end speakers. The embedded wood fibres provide an uneven structure, which Dali states will help minimise resonance, capturing accurate details from your audio source. 

The tweeter also stands out, thanks to its ultra-lightweight weaved fabric material which weighs less than half the industry standard. If you were to touch it, you’d barely know it was there, though we wouldn’t recommend it, for fear of damaging its delicate structure.

On paper, these design features should help ensure that the Spektor 2 speakers provide clear, detailed, precise and well-balanced audio. And their performance lives up to that.

Dali Spektor 2 speaker on wooden sideboard

(Image credit: Future)

Dali Spektor 2 review: sound quality

If the Spektor 2’s listening experience could be summed up in one word, it would be ‘precise’. The biggest thing you’ll notice if this is your first pair of ‘proper’ speakers is that everything is perfectly balanced. Having thrown a mix of genres their way, from melodic trance to funky jazz, and vocal-heavy ballads, everything just sounds… right.

At no point will you miss a lyric thanks to an overpowering bass drum, or the muddying complications of a lead guitar. Highs, mids and lows are presented in perfect harmony, and the longer you listen, the more details will jump out at you. 

Despite having no dedicated sub, the bass performance is impressive too, delivering just the right amount to keep things crisp. If you prefer your bass on the overpowering side though (and that’s perfectly fine), then you might benefit from a dedicated sub, or a pair of speakers with a little more low-end oomph (the Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 are a good option). If you want to hear your tracks in perfect clarity and accuracy though, then the Spektor 2 will not disappoint.

Given their relatively small size, they can easily fill a large room with more volume than you’re ever likely to need, keeping things tight with no distortion or fuzz as you crank things up. Their directionality is impressive too, and you’ll enjoy them even if you’re sitting off to the side. Testing them out above and below ear level was surprising too, as they still manage to envelop you even without perfect positioning.

All of this makes the Spektor 2 an ideal choice for those looking for superb audio quality without faffing around with meticulous room planning  and positioning. You can still do all those things of course, but it’s nice that your ears will be treated regardless.

Dali Spektor 2 speaker on wooden sideboard

(Image credit: Future)

Dali Spektor 2 review: design & usability

If there’s one main area in which the Spektor 2 speakers might disappoint some people, it’s their overall look. If you’re used to more mainstream products like those from Sonos or general Bluetooth speakers, the Spektor 2 setup might seem a little old fashioned. With their simple straight lines, wood veneer, and plain front grilles, they’re certainly not as visually striking as some modernised speakers like those you’ll find from KEF.

Looks are completely subjective though, and we rather like their classy, mid-century minimal-ish design. If you’re not worried about curious children and/or pets from tampering with those precious delicate wood fibre cones and tweeters, we’d recommend removing the grilles to show off the beautiful components underneath, which adds a welcome dash of visual excitement to proceedings.

Dali Spektor 2 review: verdict

For the money, you’ll struggle to find many other speakers that sound like this good. The Spektor 2 setup punches far above its price tag, and the standout audio performance won’t disappoint. Even with the price of a budget amp thrown in, Dali’s offering remains an incredible bargain for those looking for a superb audio experience, and we’d happily recommend them as one of the best passive speakers around, especially for people who are just dipping their toes in the audio world.

If you’d rather not faff around with an amp and would prefer the convenience of an all-in-on system then passive speakers like these won’t be for you, and there’s zero shame in that. If you’re on the fence about a more refined, hands-on audio experience though, then this is the best entry point. You won’t be disappointed.

Dali Spektor 2 review: also consider

If you want a pair of bookshelf speakers that do have Bluetooth and other connectivity options included – plus a built-in amp, so that they're ready to play right from the box – then we'd recommend either the Ruark MR1 Mk2 or Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless, both mentioned above.

The Ruark are a little smaller, and have a slightly more stylish design – they're also the closest in price. Here's our full Ruark MR1 Mk2 review.

The Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless are also plainer looking, like the Dali, though some extra curves that you might appreciate. They're closer to the Dali for sound quality, though this means they're another step up in terms of price (and are larger too). Here's our full Q Acoustics M20 HD Wireless review.

But if what you want is other options for passive speakers – you can try Wharfedale's Diamond range for even cheaper options that are worth listening to. If you want something that's a real step up, then the aforementioned Bowers & Wilkins 606 S2 are our choice – they cost a lot more, but that's what it takes to hear a major improvement over the Spektor 2. They're that good.

Esat Dedezade is a freelance writer with a penchant for all things tech, lifestyle and gaming, having worked for numerous online and print tech publications for over 10 years. Previously the editor of Microsoft News Centre Europe and deputy features editor at Stuff, he writes for GQ, Wired, Metro, Stuff, TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Decrypt, and more, with countless trade shows under his belt to boot. Special skills of note include the power to instantly summon the perfect gif for any given situation, a vast and frightening familiarity with the strangest and most obscure corners of Reddit, and the ability to befriend any cat that happens to cross his path.