REVIEW: DALI Rubicon 8 Home Theater | Sound & Vision

Tom Norton of Sound & Vision Magazine enjoys the DALI Rubicon 8 Home Theater System

Seldom do home theater systems provide both cinematic and musical pleasure. With the DALI Rubicon 8 speaker system, you get sweeping film scores and exciting special effects, as well as sublime sound for your favorite bands. Featuring DALI's proprietary SMC and wood fiber cone driver technology, the Rubicon series offers up stellar midrange clarity and resolution. Its unique bass reflex porting system ensures thunderous response and deep pitch perfect bass. With DALI's remarkable hybrid tweeter system, you get soaring highs and crystal clear detail. The Rubicon 8 main speakers have a retail price of $7995 per pair. The matching Rubicon LCR surrounds are just $1695 each. While performance like this doesn't come cheap, the built in Denmark quality means a lifetime pleasure and high pride of ownership. Find a DALI Retailer near you to experience Rubicon.

Released shortly after this review was published, DALI has completed the Rubicon range. The new Rubicon Vokal center channel speaker ($2495) features the same technologies making it an excellent match. Bringing out the deepest bass effects of your favorite movies, the new K14 subwoofer ($1495) rounds out the system.

DALI Rubicon 8 theater speakers including vokal
DALI Rubicon 8 theater speakers including vokal

What they had to say about music:

I am immediately impressed by the Rubicon 8’s crisp, tight bass. Close-miked Kodo drums hit hard. Their bass echo reverberates deeply into the recording space. The bass drum on “The Longships” from Enya’s Watermark are more distant and subtle, but just as intense—if not more so. And the snarling drums punctuating several of the cuts on the soundtrack from Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. It clearly showed why the music made a significant contribution to the film.

Well-recorded voices are clear and open, with no hint of boxiness, nasality, or smothering of detail. The male singing group Fairfield Four is an audiophile favorite, and the Rubicons remind me why. I’ve never heard their album Standing in the Safety Zone sounding better. Their voices are more immediate and in the room. The same is true for another old audiophile favorite, Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat, where the Rubicon 8s clearly reveal small differences in the recording perspective and quality from cut to cut.

The top end sparkled with life on recordings that offer it. None more so than another old favorite of mine, La Folia De La Spagna. It's a bizarre combination of medieval-style chamber music punctuated by chirping birds, church bells, race cars... It’s as if Spike Jonze and company stumbled into a 1300 A.D. concert and started to jam with the monks. The Rubicons took it all in stride. Gobs of inner detail and at least one transient that made me leap out of my chair on this familiar (to me) recording.

And now movies....

The explosive music cues in Oblivion, particularly near the opening sequence just before the title hits the screen, will pin you to the wall on the DALIs. The same goes for the entire closing sequence, from the end of the attack on the Scav stronghold to Jack’s flight to the Tet. This movie, with its combination of great music, a spectacular dynamic range, and an audio balance inviting playback levels that will bring over your neighbors, either with pitchforks and torches or popcorn and chips and dips, has never sounded better in my room than it did on the Rubicons.

But the system not only excelled on the big stuff. In the opening scenes on the ship in Prometheus, as David makes his rounds while the other crew members are still in stasis, there’s a wealth of fine sonic detail. Noodling with a basketball, seeing and hearing the dreams of a shipmate as she sleeps, watching a scene from Lawrence of Arabia, the groaning of the engines as the ship slows, and much more. The Rubicons excelled at all of it.

Most of all, I was impressed by how the DALIs handled film music. From those music cues in Oblivion to the sweep of the music score in the new live-action Cinderella. My new listening space offers a big, theater-sized, live, and majestic quality with such scores, and the Rubicons took full advantage of this.

Summing up the Rubicon 8 home theater

There’s a lot of competition for loudspeakers at or below the prices commanded by the DALI Rubicons. I’d never recommend that anyone purchase an expensive speaker package based on a review alone. No speaker speaks to everyone’s taste... The Rubicon LCR does get the job done in impressive fashion, and the Rubicon 8 is truly special.

Read the full review.