Following the highly successful and award winning Diamond 9 series was always going to be a difficult task. But Wharfedale engineers were determined to bring the latest Diamind right into line with the standard of performance expected from a stand mount/bookshelf speaker in 2009.
The concept of a curved wall cabinet for strength and reduction of internal standing waves has been maintained and, in the Diamond 10 series, the cabinet walls have been made stronger through a superior method of bonding and curving the panels. This both increases the rigigity of the cabinet structure and, aided by internal bracing, reduces the audible effects of panel resonance.
To make the most of the stonger cabinet the bass unit, with a chassis formed from strong, nylon filled, homopolymer, has been given a massive flange secured to the cabinet with six screws to improve its stability. The front baffle also has a composite panel structure to reduce vibration.
The discerning audiophile will also note the diamond pattern moulded into the surround of the woven Kevlar cone. This is more than just cosmetic as the pattern reduces and damps standing waves in the surround yeilding a cleaner high frequency acoustic roll-off.
This enable the relatively simple crossover to yield a phase perfect integration to the treble unit throughout the whle crossover region, creating a soundstage which is free from the speakers and allowing the drive units to work as a cohesive whole.
Over the treble unit is a metal diffusion grid which, as well as protecting the dome when the speaker is being used without its grille, also irons out high frequency perturbations right up to 30kHz giving a super-smooth response and crystal clear treble detailing.
Equally for low frequency analysis twin reflec ports extend bass to below 45 Hz and have been re-positioned on the rear of the cabinet to reduce the effects of audible distortion.
Other Diamond series attributes remain, like the sturdy bi-wire terminal block, high quality silicon iron and air cored inductors in the crossover, high purity copper internal wiring and an interference free front grille, now affixed without unsightly pegs in the piano-black finish front baffle.
The overall result of the engineering changes is to deliver a tightly focused and spacious stereo image allied to a clean and clear performance throughout the audioble bandwidth. The coherence of the midrange and treble balance provides a highly musical and natural delivery of all types of music that positively encourage exploration of any CD, LP and MP3 collection.
Wharfedale Diamond 10 series loudspeakers draw on the strenghts of the award winning Diamond 9 series and build even more enthusiastic music making and listener enjoyment. It is, as its name suggest, a Diamond amongst speakers.
Warm rich tones, taunt musical bass and airy non-fatiguing highs. The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 are absolutely stunning stand mounts, but they aren't without flaws. I've owned these guys for 6 months and couldn't be happier but I thought I would lay out what these give you, and what they don't.
The WD 10.1 give you an amazingly lush hifi experience which will reward you with lots of inner detail and refinement but they are only $350 and at that price there are certain compromises to be made. The secret is what degree those compromises are implemented of course. So first, these guys get a little out of control at high volumes. They'll keep their composure all the way through reasonable, even healthy, listening levels. However once you take them into party territory they start to get a little disorganized. For reference, I've opened 8 different sets of Klipsch. I never found a volume limit with any Klipsch speaker. The WD 10.1 also lack the complete effortless dynamics of Klipsch. But the trade-off is true hifi sound with superior resolution at anything below neighbor-angering levels.
You can also find slightly more refined tweeters in the price group directly above the Diamonds. The Diamonds do provide a very smooth high end response that slopes slightly downward. And they have great in-room dispersion that allows for a strong and stable sound stage with real depth. But there are speakers available for a few hundred more that offer even greater detail with slightly rising response curves.
And last, they are relatively inefficient and current hogs. 4 ohm stable amps are preferred partners although many mid-priced AV receivers that cross over bass duties to a subwoofer should satisfy the home-theater crowd. But step up the amplifier chain and these Diamonds will reward the investment with heightened levels of realism, greater mid-range depth and stronger low-end impact.
These are the speakers I with I could buy for all of my friends that long for that magical sound of genuine hi-end, high-fidelity but can't imagine dropping two months worth of paychecks. They even look the part with their glossy piano-black baffles and curved cabinets although some of their competitors have nicer looking vinyl.
For $350 you would be hard-pressed to find a speaker that provides a richer sound at this time. But speakers are getting better every year so maybe next near there will be a new budget champ. Until then, you'll just have to excuse me while I go turn down the lights, and turn up the magic.
I had done a ton of research trying to decide on the right bookshelf speaker for my audio setup. I almost picked up some PSB Image B6's, B&W 685's, Energy RC-10's, but after doing so much review research vs. price I decided to pick up the Wharfedale 10.1's. They were $299 and unfortunately they were hard to find, and in the United States there really isn't any place to go to listen to them before you buy. I decided I would just give it a shot anyway. I ordered them from Wild West Electronics online. They were very good to deal with. I spoke with the distributor because they aren't officially out for another month or 2 in the US, and I really wanted to hear them. They sent me their demo pair to listen to until mine came in. They have about 150 hours on them so they are already broken in. The speakers came very well packaged and when I took them out of the box I was pleasantly surprised with how they looked. They are absolutely gorgeous speakers. Pictures online don't really do them justice. I haven't ordered speaker stands yet, even though from what I have read it's the best way to hear these speakers. I will definitely get some at some point but right now I don't have anywhere to put them (moved recently and not fully furnished yet so don't have the right space for them). I hooked them up with wire and banana plugs in which I had from Monoprice.com (highly recommend for great stuff) to my Rotel RSX-972 receiver. I powered everything on and had a nice selection of music waiting to play. The speakers put a huge smile on my face with everything that I played. My list of test music is this:
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Eric Clapton Unplugged
Steve Miller Band
Those were the most significant test albums for my speakers. I have a very wide range of music that I listen to, so I can really get a feel for what these Wharfedales can handle. With every album I put on, the speakers floored me with their sound. The Rotel is a great music receiver. I tried my old NAD 7240PE and they still sounded terrific, but I definitely think the Rotel had the edge. The speakers have a very natural sound throughout the frequency range. I am not a complete audiophile and I don't know all of the terms to use, so I am doing the best I can. The imaging is great and I have not heard any speakers that can stand out and provide a more natural balanced sound for under $1,000. I have not heard all speakers by any means and have not done an A/B test with anything besides my Mirage Omnisats, which just could not compare against the Wharfedales. The speakers can handle an amazing amound of bass for bookshelf speakers. I have read things with the timing on the bass due to the rear ports have been a bit off, but I have not experienced that. I have them placed about 8" away from the wall on a bookshelf currently and they are about 40" off the ground. I will be moving them in the near future and will update on the sound again at that point, but I am very pleased with the sound where they are currently located. The speakers are a bit on the warm side, but not too much which provides a very nice tone that is very easy on the ears. I have found myself on the weekend sitting about 6 feet in front all day long listening to music. I think that is an amazing thing for a $299 pair of speakers to accomplish. I highly recommend these speakers. WhatHiFi has a praising review on the speakers as well. I think that these speakers should be sold more, and some US stores should be carrying them, which I don't understand how they aren't. Wharfedale is one of the most popular speaker brands in Britain, and they are for a reason.