GeekDad Review: Dali IO-6 Wireless Headphones With ANC

If you’re going to be stuck indoors and listening to music for entertainment, you could do a lot worse than to listen using Dali’s new IO-6 wireless headphones with ANC. These are premium headphones made by a company that specializes in audiophile-grade speakers—in fact, it refers to these headphones as “a pair of small loudspeakers mounted to your head”—and they’re priced to reflect that.

Dali IO-6 headphones in Caramel White. (photo by Brad Moon)

First Impressions

I had high expectations from these headphones. The Danish audio company puts out some pretty amazing looking speakers. Many come close in price to my monthly mortgage payment, and some are the price of a nice used car. I’ve never had the opportunity to hear them in action, but everything I’ve read says Dali speakers are very well received by the audiophile music crowd.

The IO-6 headphones are Dali’s first wireless headphones, and based on the company’s speakers—and the $499 price tag—I had high expectations.

From the moment I cracked the box of the review unit, those expectations were not just met but exceeded.

Battery life is up to 30 hours, charging is by USB-C. (photo by Brad Moon)

The design of the headphones incorporates some plastic, but it’s matte finish, tightly assembled, and doesn’t feel at all cheap. The band is metal, and well-padded. The ear cups are memory foam with soft, synthetic leather. They rotate 90 degrees and also pivot for a perfect fit. My Caramel White sample looked luxurious, a mix of caramel leather, a cream white, and silver. The effect reminded me of the interior of a luxury car. They don’t just look stunning visually, they are comfortable to wear as well.

Included in the box is a padded, a zippered cloth travel case (also top-notch in quality) along with a USB-C cable, a 3.5mm audio cable, and a flight power adapter.

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Audio performance was nothing short of spectacular. These headphones deliver satisfyingly deep bass, rich mid-range, and crisp treble. The tuning is fairly neutral—perhaps a little on the warm stage—and listening to music with them is an experience. I was particularly impressed by the soundstage and the level of detail they delivered.

For example, I was listening to “Regatta de Blanc” by The Police, sitting in my office, late at night, with minimal lighting. Just losing myself in the music. The volume was on the loud side… The detail of the initial percussion was great, and Sting’s bass was thumping. There’s a lot of shouting. About 53 seconds in, Sting says something in the background. On most headphones, it’s more or less lost in the mix. With the Dali IO-6s, that voice came through so crystal clear and so perfectly positioned that I nearly jumped out of my skin thinking someone had snuck up behind me.

Stream digital music over USB from a PC or Mac. (screen capture by Brad Moon)

These are equipped with active noise cancellation, a feature that performed as advertised. Unlike many headphones I’ve tried with ANC, having the feature activated didn’t noticeably change the sound signature (many get a lot “bassier” with ANC), and it also doesn’t cut into the 30-hour battery life. If you don’t want to connect wirelessly (using Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC, aptX, and aptX HD support), you can plug in a 3.5mm audio cable. Or you can plug into the USB charge port, which does double duty to stream music digitally from a PC or Mac.

The right ear cup is equipped with audio controls and a dedicated push-button for cycling through the ANC modes.

Dali IO-6 Key Specs

• Closed back, over-ear headphones
• Custom 50mm free edge paper fiber cone full-range driver
• Frequency range 10-20,000 Hz
• Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm audio jack
• Supports AAC, aptX, aptX HD
• Memory foam earpads covered with synthetic leather, 90-degree rotation
• On-ear controls
• Microphone for voice calls, voice assistant
• Active noise cancellation
• USB-C charging + USB connection support for digital audio streaming
• Playback up to 30 hours
• Weight 11.5 ounces
• IP53 certified
• Travel case included, with USB-C cable, 3.5mm cable and flight adapter
• Available in Caramel White or Iron Black


Even the travel case is luxurious. (photo by Brad Moon)

I’ll say up front that $499 is a lot to pay for a set of headphones. However, when you consider Apple’s Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones go for $350, the premium doesn’t seem quite so significant. The Dali IO-6 headphones offer spectacular audio over Bluetooth, with up to 30-hour battery life—even with ANC active. They worked wired as well, including the option of digital streaming over USB-C from a computer. Add in the luxurious comfort, solid build, and premium styling, and there is a lot to love about these headphones.

Disclosure: Dali provided headphones for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.

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This post was last modified on May 15, 2020 12:28 pm

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