The Evidence system is an early line of home theater speakers form the Danish manufacturer Dali. Known for excellent fir and finish and fine woods these are beautiful speakers and were popular in their day.
I first saw the various Dali speaker lines last January at the CES show in Las Vegas. While I didn't have time to do more then quickly look at the speakers themselves and listen rather briefly to the newest addition, the high-end Euphonia series, I decided I would enjoy the opportunity to evaluate their speakers for myself and my readers. Luckily, the opportunity to review the Evidence speaker series presented itself and I jumped on it. A few weeks later, several good-sized boxes arrived at my doorstep.
Dali is a speaker company based in Denmark. It was started in 1983 by Peter Lyngdorf to produce what they felt would be the ultimate no-compromise loudspeaker. Today, some 20 years later, they are definitely well on their way to becoming one of the larger speaker manufacturers and now produce 60 different speaker models which retail in 40 countries worldwide. Although they have grown over the years, they remain committed to producing no-compromise loudspeakers, now in various levels of price, performance and design.
Unique Features - After opening the various boxes, I found myself staring at some very beautiful speakers. In fact, they are the first I have seen at their price to use real wood veneer instead of some synthetic version. This, coupled with the black gloss panels on the top of the speakers, creates a very classy-looking speaker that would fit in a great number of settings.
In addition to their outward appearance, these speakers contain some other rather impressive features. The speakers all have heavy 5-way binding posts to allow the connection of any standard speaker wire to them without a great deal of effort. In fact, they actually contain two of these posts, which allow all the speakers, not just the main floor standing ones, as is often times the case, to be either bi-wired or bi-amped.
Installation/Setup/Ease of Use - Setting up the Dali Evidence speakers takes almost no effort. They are very easy to put together, basically installing the carpet spikes and placing them in the right spot. Two things that need consideration are the choice to bi-wire or bi-amplify, which takes different speaker connections, and what type of mounting you will need for the surround speakers. Presently, Dali doesn't make speaker stands, so you will have to look elsewhere if you don't want to mount the speakers on the wall or put them on bookshelves or other A/V cabinetry.
Once the major placement is complete, about the only thing that might need done during the course of use is to toe them in slightly. Basically, to create a place in the room that sounds the best, you might decide that you wish to slightly turn the speakers towards your listening position to enhance your listening experience. However, only time and your own preference will tell if this is right for you and your environment.
Read The Final Tale on Page 2
Final Take Once everything was finally set up in my listening/viewing room (sounds impressive, doesn't it?), I got down to work, or play, depending how you look at it. First, I needed to break them in, to get them to settle down after they were uncrated. After about 100 hours of playing music through them, they lost their edge and I was able to begin evaluating and enjoying them.
At this point, I put in one of my favourite musical discs, Aimee Mann's Lost In Space on the Mobile Fidelity record label. A female vocalist is one of the hardest things for a speaker to reproduce. However, while these speakers didn't do the most amazing job I have ever heard, given their price and their inherent features, they did far better than anything I have heard to date.
I will admit that with the ability to bi-wire the surround speakers, I had the urge to see just how well the surround channels would work and what a difference it would make. Using my Emma Shapplin's Etternia DVD-Audio on DTS record label, I can tell you that in my system the difference between bi-wiring and not was not huge, but definitely notable. More importantly, the surround speakers did an impressive job reproducing the sometimes difficult music the disc contains. In fact, they did a better job than some speakers costing quite a bit more.
Last, but certainly not least, I put in the Superbit version of Heavy Metal 2000. Okay I totally admit, it isn't one of the most impressive movies I have ever seen, but the music is pretty good and the surround effects are one way of showing off a system. The bottom line is that the entire Evidence series speaker system came together admirably. The system sounded great and the floor standing speakers, center channel and surround speakers worked together to create an impressive experience. A subwoofer is needed because the speakers don't pack enough bottom-end punch for home theater on their own.
On that note, the Evidence series speaker line does not contain a dedicated subwoofer. Instead, Dali has several models of subwoofers to complement the line. The one that I had the opportunity to use was the SWA-15, the largest of these subs. It was a great mate to the Evidence speaker series, not overwhelming it, but adding the punch needed in many movies and the subtle depth required for musical passages. In fact, its design and performance would lead me to recommend it on its own, even if it wasn't a part of my Evidence review system.
Ultimately, the decision of what speakers are right for you is something you will have to find out for yourself. However, the Evidence series is worth considering should you find yourself in the market for a surround sound speaker system. Given their fairly modest price, good performance and impressive features, they are in a class by themselves.
Dali Evidence 370 Frequency Response: 46Hz -- 27kHz 1/2" Soft Dome Tweeter 6 1/2" Bass Driver 370H x 210W x 262D mm Weight: 7.8kg MSRP: $999/pair
Dali Evidence 870 Frequency Response: 35Hz -- 29kHz 1" Soft Dome Tweeter 5" Midrange Driver (2) 8" Bass Driver 1046H x 244W x 367D mm Weight: 28.6kg MSRP: $2,440
Dali Evidence C70 Frequency Response:50Hz -- 22kHz 1" Soft Dome Tweeter (2) 61/2" Bass Driver 160H x 500W x 268D mm Weight: 8.2kg MSRP: $710
Dali SWA-15 Active Subwoofer Frequency Response Down to 23Hz 15" Woofer with double magnet and long stroke RCA and loudspeaker inputs Adjustable crossover and phase controls 350 Watt Class D Amplifier MSRP: $1,440