Danish speaker manufacturer DALI has announced that it will begin shipping the world’s first headphones to use the company’s patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) technology. The DALI IO-12 will be fitted with the company’s own 50mm custom drivers, Active Noise Cancellation, a 35-hour battery life, aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec, USB-C, and 3.5mm wired connections.
DALI has been making speakers for the past four decades. I recently had an interview with the company’s CEO Lars Worre. DALI says its new headphones have been engineered to deliver wireless audiophile-quality sound and luxury levels of comfort.
These IO-12 use the same Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnet system used in DALI’s high-end speakers. The company says its SMC technology and paper fiber cones significantly reduce hysteresis, translating to low levels of uneven harmonic distortion. The company says the result is a crystal-clear sound and ultra-low distortion.
The custom drivers used in the IO-12 have a voice coil with the same shape and form as the one used in DALI’s loudspeaker drivers. The result is lower distortion and a voice coil with much better structural integrity.
The IO-12 driver diaphragm uses technology from DALI’s proprietary paper fiber diaphragm material, which has mass, rigidity and damping, making it ideal for wide-frequency reproduction with minimal distortion and energy storage.
The new DALI IO-12 headphones can be used wired or wirelessly, plus there’s support for SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Adaptive audio codecs. The headphones ship with cables that enable them to be used with devices that have a 3.5mm jack or USB-C interface.
This versatility means the IO-12 can be used to listen to music from smartphones, Digital Audio Players (DAPs), PCs and even gaming consoles. When using the supplied USB-C cable, the headphones can handle audio at resolutions up to 24-bit / 96kHz resolution.
The 3.5mm cable that ships with the headphones can be used in passive analog mode, which means the DALI IO-12 will work even when there’s no charge left in the built-in batteries. When used in this passive mode, the IO-12 have an internal passive filter that ensures the headphones deliver the same sound quality as wireless listening in active mode.
There are two listening profiles built into the DALI IO-12. The first is the Hi-Fi mode, which provides an unprocessed audio signal with a sound just as the artist intended when the music was recorded in the studio. The second profile is Bass mode, delivering a punchier sound with a deeper performance more suited to rock music.
Unlike many wireless headphones, DALI hasn’t developed an app for use with the IO-12 headphones. Instead of using an app, users can skip tracks, pause music, and adjust volume levels by pressing the IO-12’s integrated buttons. There’s no mention in the press release that announced the new headphones to say how firmware might be updated.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is also included with the IO-12 for reducing unwanted sound for a more immersive listening experience in noisy situations like aircraft, trains or cars. DALI says the headphones can play for up to 35 hours on a single charge. Integrated microphones are also included for making hands-free phone calls or summoning a voice assistant to control a compatible device.
These new DALI headphones feature a genuine leather headband and are fitted with oversized and square ear pads for long, comfortable listening sessions.
Pricing & Availability: The DALI IO-12 will launch later this month with a price tag of $1,299 / £999 / €999.
More info: dali-speakers.com
- DALI’s patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnet system.
- True Hi-Fi wireless headphones.
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).
- Transparency mode.
- Custom 50mm SMC-based drivers.
- 35-hour battery life.
- Leather ear pads and headband.
- Bluetooth Audio Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive.
- Charging: USB-C.
- Hi-Res (up to 24Bit/96kHz) USB audio.
- Support for voice assistants.