dali io 12 wireless headphones part

DALI’s IO-12 Wireless Headphones Are Wickedly Expensive: High-End Munich 2023

Over the past 24 months, the high-end wireless headphone category has made huge strides; new products like the Focal Bathys, Bowers & Wilkins Px8, and Mark Levinson #5909 made us reconsider using wired headphones because the sub-$1,000 performance gap has narrowed that gap dramatically.

DALI won’t be the only manufacturer to enter the luxury wireless headphone category in 2023, but the new IO-12s need to be significantly better than any of the aforementioned models to qualify for the Iron Throne. For $1499, they should be a mind-blowing rumor.

Are we too harsh for not listening?

DALI loudspeakers have earned a spot on our Best Bookshelf Loudspeakers list for 3 years and we are big fans of their products.

But it certainly came as a surprise when we discovered that the new DALI IO-12 costs $1,499. T+A has a new pair of wireless headphones that cost even more, but we’re not sure the typical DALI customer will see $1,499 and shell out that easily.

We hope we are wrong.

Disassembled parts of DALI IO-12 ANC wireless headphones


Using the same material as high-quality DALI speakers, the DALI IO-12 headphones are the world’s first headphones with the patented DALI Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnetic system. When conventional magnets are used in speaker design, it is not uncommon for a phenomenon known as hysteresis to occur.​

This creates unintended resistance to the voice coil, which can lead to unwanted distortion of the audio signal. DALI SMC technology combined with proprietary paper fiber cones significantly reduces hysteresis, dramatically reducing uneven harmonic distortion.

DALI says, “By applying SMC to the IO-12, we’ve essentially reached an electrostatic level of midrange purity.”

Versatile and intuitive, the DALI IO-12 headphones are designed for both wired and wireless use. Thank you both Adaptive Bluetooth with aptX and the included 3.5mm mini-jack to USB-C cables, you can listen to music from a variety of devices, including smartphones, digital audio players (DAPs), PCs, game consoles, and more.

When using the supplied USB-C cable, depending on the source and device, audio can be heard in Hi-Res quality up to 24bit/96kHz.

Also read: The Best Headphone Stands For Your Desktop

Applying a simple operation without apps, users can skip tracks, adjust the volume and more with the built-in buttons of the IO-12. Advanced Active noise cancellation (ANC) adds even more functionality and provides – even in noisy environments – an immersive listening experience where every musical detail is revealed.

With user-friendly design and long battery life 35 hours of listening, the DALI IO-12 headphones let you enjoy sound on the go like never before. And with high-quality built-in microphones, you’ll be heard clearly when you’re making hands-free calls or operating your compatible device with your voice.

Offer DALI IO-12 two sound profiles to listen to your music. Prefer to listen to your music the way the artist intended, or perhaps you need a more punchy, bass-focused performance? Custom Hi-Fi and Bass IO-12 sound modes let you listen to music exactly the way you want it.

DALI IO-12 Wireless ANC Headphones Front and Side Earcup

Featuring a foldable design with genuine leather headband and large square ear cups, you can enjoy hours of comfortable listening on the go with the new DALI IO-12.

Key Feature:

  • World’s first headphones with DALI’s patented soft magnetic material (SMC) magnet system
  • True Hi-Fi Wireless Headphones
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
  • Specially designed 50mm drivers based on SMC
  • Large capacity battery (up to 35 hours of listening time)
  • Detachable square-shaped ear pads
  • Genuine leather ear pads and headband
  • Folding design
  • Bluetooth with aptX adaptive technology
  • USB-C charging
  • Hi-Res (24bit/96kHz) USB Audio
  • Voice assistant support


  • 1 x DALI IO-12 headphones
  • 1 x USB-C cable
  • 1 x 1.2 m stereo mini plug cable
  • 1 x 3 m stereo mini-jack cable
  • 1 x 3.5mm stereo mini-jack to 6.35mm adapter
  • 1 x flight adapter
  • 1 x luxury travel case

Price and availability

The DALI IO-12 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones will be available in August 2023 at a price of $1499 (£999 / €999).

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