Lenbrook: DALI, NAD, Bluesound

Lenbrook of Canada has several modern hi-fi brands under its "umbrella," and I had the chance to check out some of the latest wares from DALI, NAD, and Bluesound in room 729 at AXPONA.

Thomas Knudsen, a friendly Dane representing Danish company DALI, which is an initialism that stands for "Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries" gave me the details on a couple of their current floorstanding speakers—and shared a bit about the other demo setup equipment.

The DALI Rubicon 8C active speaker—the passive version of which JA reviewed in March 2015—stands out for having two tweeters: one ribbon tweeter covering the 13–15kHz frequency range; the other uses an "oversized" doped-cloth dome that extends deeper into the upper midrange than a tweeter usually does. There's no crossover between them; they share a 250W amplifier. The 3.5-way has three active woofers that share one 250W amp. Their diaphragms are made of coated cloth with wood fiber added for stiffness—and to give an uneven surface to prevent standing waves, Knudsen said.

A DALI Sound Hub preamp/streamer (above) also served as the wireless connection point for those speakers. Its wireless connection uses a 5.8GHz protocol, running in parallel to your home wi-fi to minimize/avoid the noise of other network traffic.

The DALI Oberon 9 speaker ($2500/pair), a passive model, was powered by an NAD C399 Hybrid Digital DAC amplifier ($2000, above) rated at 180Wpc (continuous) into 4 or 8 ohms. This integrated amp with a 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC and Hypex HybridDigital nCore amp circuitry is the series flagship and the first to offer NAD's modular approach (MDC2) for upgrades. An optional Bluesound BluOS-D module/card can be added—as it was here—for an extra $550. The source? A Bluesound Node network streamer box ($599). The system was shown on a Pangea Audio Vulcan rack ($199).

A listen to Marian Hill's "Differently"—a track I heard in many an AXPONA demo—and Portishead's "Glory Box" from Live at Roseland revealed razor-sharp edges, high-degree detail, and remarkably deep, clean bass. Playback sounded lively, alive.

windansea's picture

unusual to see a dome paired with a ribbon. Thank you for linking to the JA review of the passive model.
How did this compare to the maggie LRS + bass module?

Julie Mullins's picture

Thank you for commenting, windansea. Yes, it does seem be an unusual approach. Glad you liked JA's review of the passive version.

How did this compare to the maggie LRS + bass module?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to listen to the Maggie LRS and bass module—though I was aware it was being demo'd. We each had our assigned rooms to cover, and there wasn't enough time to check out all the exhibits besides. I would be interested in hearing it sometime though.