DALI unleashes IO-12 headphones

DALI is celebrating its 40 years in the global audio business by launching its IO-12 headphones, which uses the same material found in its high-end loudspeakers and is the world’s first headphone to feature the company’s Soft Magnetic Compound magnet system.

DALI explains: “When using conventional magnets in a speaker, it is not unusual to experience a phenomenon known as hysteresis. This introduces an unintended resistance to the voice-coil, which can lead to unwanted distortion in the audio signal. SMC technology, combined with our signature paper fibre cones, significantly reduces hysteresis, lowering uneven harmonic distortion drastically. The result is a crystal-clear sound with ultra-low distortion, unrivalled depth and musicality.”

The IO-12 driver also incorporates speaker driver techniques. Rather than employing a self-supporting, former-less construction in its voice-coil (typical of many headphone drivers), the IO-12 has a voice-coil former that’s the same shape and style as a normal DALI speaker driver. The result, the company claims, is: “lower distortion through improved voice-coil structural integrity”.

The IO-12 driver diaphragm borrows from DALI’s proprietary paper fibre diaphragm material, offering: “a unique combination of mass, rigidity and damping that’s perfectly tailored to wide-band reproduction with minimal distortion and energy storage.”

The DALI IO-12 has been designed to be used either wired or wirelessly. It supports SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD and aptX Adaptive, and wired operation with the supplied 3.5mm mini-jack and USB-C cables. When using the supplied USB-C wire – dependent upon source and device – audio can be listened to at resolutions up to and including 24-bit/96kHz.

When using the 3.5mm cable in passive analogue mode the IO-12 does not need to be powered on and an internal passive filter is employed to ensure the same sound quality and performance as when using the DSP-based filtering in active mode.

The DALI IO-12 offers two sound profiles for listening to music: Hi-Fi and Bass alongside active noise cancellation. Battery-life is a claimed 35 hours and the headphone features a real leather headband and oversized square ear-pads.

Available to buy now for £1,000, you can find out more about the DALI IO-12 headphones here.