Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Daedalus DA-2.1 Home Theater Speakers



The Center 2.1 has the same woofer and two tweeters but adds a second midrange. These are not arranged in a D'Appolito array as you might expect, rather the center woofer has a vertically arranged mid and tweeter to both the left and right. The internal-reflection-damping shape is achieved in the center simply by angling the front baffle back. This speaker is meant to be stand mounted from the floor, under the TV, or inverted and hung from the ceiling with the proper hardware. It’s a little too large in my opinion to simply be placed on top of a large rear projection TV. Rear projectors are shrinking or disappearing altogether these days anyway.

Grilles attach via magnets, but I left them off for the entire review period because I think speakers look and sound better without them.

As I wrote in my review of the DA-1s, building speakers and especially their cabinets is a labor of love for Daedalus’ founder Lou Hinkley. A guitar player himself, he started his company as ‘Daedalus Cabinets’ which makes enclosures for guitar amplifiers. I mention this because I’ve got a new theory about musicians and recorded music: Musicians naturally have a good ear for music recordings but often have cheap stereos.

Undoubtedly this is due in part to what they can afford. But I’ve encountered enough musicians who scoff at the notion of expensive home hifi to know that there is something more going on. Here it is: Musicians ears are trained by listening to live music. When they listen to the studio monitor or whatever passes for a home stereo at their house, they and their ears know that they are not getting the live music experience, but it recalls for them the live music experience that they just had earlier that day. I’ve noticed the same effect in myself; my ears are trained by listening to vinyl such that I can enjoy CDs more, without getting caught up in their shortcomings. Anyway, Mr. Hinkley is one of those musicians who does appreciate home high fidelity playback, and he uses his memory of what live music sounds like to voice his speakers.













And, the enclosures for these speakers are extraordinary. The quick and dirty check that anyone can do for cabinet resonances is to knock on them. If you knock on cheap speakers, you hear the box, the resonance of the cabinet. Knock on the side of these Daedalus DA-2.1s and they sound solid, because they are solid. No resonance of any kind is evident. Hit them hard and you will hurt your knuckles.

Speaker Comparisons

Jumping ahead a little here, after some time with the Daedalus’ I told my local hifi shop (Stereotypes Audio in Portland, Oregon) that I was considering buying the 2.1’s. This hasn’t been finalized yet, more on that later. When they heard about this, they wanted me to try some Focal Electra 1027 Be’s. In short, the Focal 1027 Be’s are fussy about setup, but once that is done they are very enjoyable speakers, with excellent detail in the midrange, but somewhat complex bass.  Even with the best setup I could manage in my room, there still seemed to be a narrow range in the mid-bass that was muddled. The tweeter on the other hand was a different story.