I like the simplicity of the bookshelf speakers, especially the standard 2-way 2-driver configuration. Although the low-frequency power is less comparing with the floor-standing speaker, it can still highlight the texture of the mid-high frequency. The lightweight cabinet is easy to move for convenient placement. If you want to listen to it seriously, it can be equipped with a special stand. If you want to listen easily, you can put it on the bookshelf or the table. The amiability of bookshelf speakers makes it easier to get closer to our lives. And the Dali Menuet SE bookshelf speakers are a perfect choice.
I think that a person who loves music should always have a pair of bookshelf speakers at home, either in the bedroom or in the living room. With a simple small system, you can have a private conversation with music in this most private space.
Brief History of Dali Royal Menuet
If you are looking for a pair of speakers like this, Dali, who prides itself as the Voice of Denmark, has a small speaker that fits these requirements very well. This pair of speakers is very small and lightweight and looks very inconspicuous. But it caused heated discussions in the 90s and became one of the most sought-after small speakers. It is the legendary Dali Royal Menuet.
Royal Menuet, launched in 1994, was only a member of Dali’s Royal series at that time. The series also has a larger bookshelf speaker Scepter, a small floor-standing speaker Tower, and a centre speaker Vocal. That was the age when the public did not know the home theatre, and even DVDs hadn’t even appeared.
At first, I didn’t expect that a pair of Royal Menuets, designed initially as surround channels, can become popular because of their superior sound quality. Dali also followed the market needs and launched successive generations of Menuets. This pair of small speakers became legendary.
Design of Menuet SE
Dali launched Menuet SE in 2020. Based on the original Menuet, some changes have been made to make the appearance more charming and sound better. I have heard and written Menuet, what about this special edition? The more I think about it, the more curious I am. Why is this special edition special?
According to Dali, the cabinets and monomers of Dali Menuet SE and Menuet are the same. They still use 28mm silk soft-dome tweeter and 4.5-inch wood fibre diaphragm for mid-bass. The shape and size of the cabinet have not changed at all, and the specifications are also the same. The difference lies in the speaker outlook and crossover.
Menuet SE’s speaker adopts a more advanced walnut veneer. As we know, natural solid wood veneers have naturally generated patterns on them. Whether it is annual rings or tree bumps, what patterns will appear on each tree are randomly generated by nature and obtained from the hand of God.
The skins of each pair of Menuet SE bookshelf speakers are carefully compared manually to ensure symmetry and consistency. Therefore, each pair of Menuet SE is a unique masterpiece. In addition, in order to make Menuet SE look more refined, Dali also added a steel grilled bright surface coating. The previous Royal Menuet was low-key and elegant, but the latest Menuet SE is elegant and eye-catching.
Another significant change is the crossover. After repeated listening tests by the engineers, Dali carefully selected the most advanced Mundorf capacitors to bring a more transparent sound. The crossover circuit board also strengthens the electrical isolation so that the interference between the components on the crossover is minimized.
A silver-plated oxygen-free copper wire replaces all the internal wiring. The wire itself also has the characteristics of a low dielectric coefficient, which minimizes internal resistance and distortion.
The speaker’s binding post of Menuet SE bookshelf speaker adopts the same terminal as Dali flagship series Epicon. Dali is telling you this Menuet SE is small but not simple from the selection of capacitors, internal wires and terminals.
The sound of Menuet SE is very pleasing, energetic, rich in colour and details. It has the characteristics of those high-quality bookshelf speakers. A small bookshelf speaker like Dali Menuet SE is afraid of two things. One is the lack of bass, which causes the treble to be too loud. The other is that the bass might be too booming. Menuet SE has no such problems at all.
Its sound is full of colours, quick response, lively and energetic. It also has an ideal mid-frequency thickness and low-frequency volume, which balances the lively and unrestrained treble. And its open sound stage, so that the music is not confined between the two small boxes. After a bit of placement adjusting, the speaker disappears like magic, leaving only the music unfolding in front of you.
Not only is it friendly in positioning, but it is also friendly to the drive of the amplifier. I tried Linear Acoustic LAV-60 MK2 and Denon PMA-A110. These are not very expensive amplifiers. It is easy to drive Menuet SE. As for the tone characteristics of the amplifier itself, Menuet SE can also be highlighted.
The gloss of Dali Menuet SE is really beautiful. Listening to Tartini’s The last violin sonatas. These songs are written for violin and cello. The violin’s sound is clear and smooth, The rhyme is rich, and each note shines with a warm and bright lustre. The sound of the piano is not irritating and harsh, and it is very clear when it expresses fast tones. The accompaniment of the cello hummed quietly.
To express the rhyme of the piano, Menuet SE is also outstanding. Listening to Jorge Federico Osorio playing Brahms’ Intermezzi. The op. 117 and op. 118 are really beautiful. Simple melody, simple harmony, no superb technical requirements, but everywhere charming fragrance.
The balanced beauty of Osorio’s performance is just like Menuet SE speaker. The volume of Denon PMA-A110 was turned on to about 75%, and the quietness and depth laid out by Osorio, like a black hole, one could not help being sucked in.
Menuet SE expresses the fluttering end rhyme of the piano, expresses the deep exploration of the bass chords, expresses that behind every note of the piano. It is based on the complex mechanical structure that creates the warmth of wood, the elasticity of felt, and the metal. The string vibration, the music composed of those sounds, is so organic and natural.
Menuet SE easily disappears in front of you, making you not feel the presence of speakers. You will feel that way more when playing vocals. Listening to the collection of French songs produced by Anne Sofie von Otter. Otter’s singing is three-dimensional and embossed, and the details of the words and the sound are apparent, but there is no slight noise. Once this music-related information is sufficient and you hear more, it is a beautiful replay, bringing you to the full touch of music.
Hearing the song “La vie en rose“, the double bass accompaniment in the back was played with a single puck, bringing out a deep, plump, and a little rough sound. Small speakers such as Menuet SE can show this. You don’t have to worry about its lack of bass. It can give you more than you can imagine.
Its speed is fast enough, playing those lively and joyous jazz music, Menuet SE speaker can show those overflowing enthusiasm. For example, in Eddie Graham Trio’s S’Wonderful Jazz album. The first song is Gershwin’s famous song “‘S Wonderful”. Eddie Graham has a wide range of adaptations, using a faster tempo and more improvisation, showing a more joyful atmosphere.
Listening to the drums, the bouncing texture is fascinating. You can hear how many details there is at the moment when the sticks touch the drum surface. The series of speeding snare drums resembled a waterfall flowing down, and the crackling sound of the cymbal striking was terrific. It also showed how delicate the way Menuet SE described the sound.
Dali Menuet SE bookshelf speaker can sing loudly. All Dali speakers can sing loudly. Even if it is as small as it is, it is no problem. However, its most beautiful temperament is when the volume is low, the balanced beauty exuded at that time is particularly charming. When I was listening, I played a little loudly. First, Menuet SE can support the big scene. Whether you want symphony, a movie soundtrack or rock music, it’s all capable of playing these.
When I wrote the review of Menuet, I said, “It has an amazing aura beyond the size.” This time, I wanted to do the same.
If you love music like me, you have to spend time immersed in music every day, then listen to my advice, find a pair of high-quality bookshelf speakers, set up a simple small system, and place it on the one you don’t want to be disturbed. In the private space, between you and the music, find the peaceful place that belongs to you. Dali Menuet SE is the secret path to that.
Dali Menuet SE Specs
- Frequency Range (+/-3 dB) [Hz]: 59 – 25,000
- Sensitivity (2,83 V/1 m) [dB]: 86.0
- Nominal Impedance [ohms]: 4
- Maximum SPL [dB]: 105
- Recommended Amplifier Power [W]: 20 – 100
- Crossover Frequency [Hz]: 3,000
- High frequency driver, Quantity: 1 x 28 mm
- High frequency driver, Diaphragm type: Soft Textile Dome
- Low frequency driver, Quantity: 1 x 4 1/2″
- Low frequency driver, Diaphragm type: Wood Fibre Cone
- Enclosure type: Bass Reflex
- Bass Reflex Tuning Frequency [Hz]: 63.0
- Connection Input: Single Wire
- Magnetic Shielding: No
- Recommended Placement: On-Wall / Shelf / stand
- Recommended Distance From Wall [cm]: > 2
- Dimensions With Base (HxWxD) [mm]: 250 x 150 x 230
- Weight [kg]: 4.0