Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Bookshelf Speakers

Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Bookshelf Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

  • Woofer: 5" Kevlar
  • Tweeter: 1" soft dome
  • Aluminum-alloy tweeter surround
  • High power 'rare-earth' magnet
  • Low-velocity port tubes

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 11  
[Jan 12, 2010]
psound
Audio Enthusiast

I once used a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 75th anniv. Edition with Rotel RCD02 cd player & Exposure 2010S integrated amp. Now it has been replaced by Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom.

Comparison between Diamond 9.1 & F1 Custom:
I found the Diamond to have more extended high freq. than the F1 Custom. However, the Diamond has more colouration, the sound is nice and warm, but not in a good sense, these “nice & warm” things seem to be fabricated, as opposed to an honest and realistic sound. In other words, to me this loudspeaker really has its own colour, which are nice & warm, thus accuracy is definitely not a strong point here.
Is it because the designer aimed to create a loudspeaker that would appeal to everyone? Initially this diamond appealed to me, that’s why I bought it in the first place. But after 2.5 months of quite intensive listening (6 days a week, 2 to 3 hours per day), I come to these opinion.
The Diamond’s imaging is also significantly less vivid compared to the F1 Custom.
I also noticed some upper bass emphasize with the Diamond, where the upper bass sounds too thick. This improper thickness seems to have negative impact on detail and transparency, as bass and mid definition is another weak point here. The F1 Custom might seems to have weaker bass than the Diamond, but it actually can play low notes far better. This is obvious with piano repro in many recordings, where the F1 Custom still able to present some low notes with good definition and impact, but the Diamond fail by a considerable margin. For drums repro, the F1 Custom has good transient attack and realism, from the cymbal, snare to the kick drum, while the Diamond can’t help to present bloomy, unnatural bass without solid image. But for even lower notes, both speakers do not have such extension, it’s normal due to their small size.
F1 Custom throws big and stable soundstage, the width may exceed physical boundaries with some recordings.

So for a speaker under USD500 (or 300 pound), I find the F1 Custom is really good, with the following characteristics:
1. Minimum colouration : honest sound, realistic reproduction from the sonic & music point of view
2. Neutral tonal balance: not warm but also not cool, sounds like the frequency response from top to bottom is quite linear (maybe anybody has measurement data to correct or confirm my hearing on this?)
3. Detail, transparent and focus, but not drawing attention to itself, the attention is on the music, enable me to deeply listen to the music.
4. Quite revealing of recording material quality/character

Before purchased the F1 Custom I auditioned several speakers: PSB Alpha B1, Paradigm Atom, Usher S512, B&W 686 & Epos ELS8. IMHO, I consider the F1 Custom to be better, overall, than the others, eventhough the comparison were not “apple to apple” as different electronics were used in each auditioned. Compared to the F1 Custom, I noticed that the PSB produces deeper soundstage, but less natural mid and high freq. The Paradigm sound is detail and has good clarity, but the midband timbre is not satisfactory to me. The Usher has more holographic imaging, but the mid sometimes has shouty character, and the high has forward character. The B&W has bigger bass, but presenting music with not enough life and soul (the problem is similar with ELS8). The Epos has more extended HF, but I’m not attracted to its rather thin midrange character. I suppose personal taste also had some contribution to my choosing the F1 Custom.

As for the Diamond, I don’t belief it has a strong position against the other speakers mentioned above. It’s quite strange that the Diamond receives so many good to very good reviews anywhere, including What HiFi magazine, UK, who gave it 5stars (F1 Custom also got 5stars review. But in a group test of 5 or 6 speakers, among which are the Diamond and the F1 Custom, What HiFi chose F1 Custom as the winner). The Diamond is more like a 3stars performer to me, I would not recommend it.

Prices (US retail price): the F1 Custom is USD140, the PSB USD 280, and the others are above USD300 (the Usher is above USD400).

I belief the F1 Custom is an underrated performer, partly due to its low price, where some recommendations I read is just to use it in a mini hi-fi system. Actually it strongly competes against USD 250 – 450 (150 – 300 pound) loudspeakers with a real chance of winning. For anybody who’s looking for under USD500 loudspeaker and interested in the Diamond, I seriously advise you to re-consider your interest, give both the F1 Custom and the Diamond (along with the other speakers mentioned above) a thorough audition before make any decision.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Dec 10, 2008]
gvm0116
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

highs, mids and lows are so detailed it's like being inside the studio. you can never go wrong with it. great for movies but even greater for music.

Weakness:

don't have enough time to listen to it as im out of my room for most of the day.

Wharfedales are not that known here in the Philippines, especially down south. When I went to scout for a new system to replace my pricey good for movies but pathetic in music Sony DAV sc-8, one of the better stores in Cebu city recommended to be the 9.1 over the Bose 201's and 301's partly due to the built quality, materials used and price. But on top of it all, I was fully convinced of the sound quality it delivers especially in music mode. I told the salesman that I was willing to pay anywhere up to Php15,000 for my front speakers (I was to purchase my centre and surrounds later). He told me to look beyond the brand as I had my sights fixed at the Bose 301's at first then introduced me to the curvey black 9.1's. It was love at first sound! Hitherto, I am so impressed how these small speakers deliver rich, warm yet clear sound that is so pleasing to the ears.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 22, 2008]
al2098
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Relative lack of coloration in the mid-range. Vocals are GOOD - and that's rare at this price point.
Silky top end - Wharfedale used a great tweeter for a budget speaker!
Good bass for the size.
Build quality of the drivers and cabinet
Bi-wire capability.
Attractive appearance with contoured sides
Inexpensive - $250 USD a pair from many online sellers

Weakness:

Wharefedale does not seem to have an active distributor in the US. The product is hard to find in a store to audition. The line probably deserves better US distribution and marketing.

I wanted a set of inexpensive speakers for a second system in my home office. I have never bought a speakers without auditioning many brands, but I gambled and bought the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s based on various reviews. My gamble paid off, because Wharfedale got this one right! 9.1s are sold in many places for $250USD per pair, and they are nothing short of amazing for that price.

Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s sound like far more expensive speakers. They deliver an open treble without sounding harsh. The mid range has very little coloration. Bass is quite solid for a 5" woofer in a small cabinet. The test that accompanied Stereophiles review noted output down to 40 hz. Bottom line, Wharfedale has managed to avoid the pitfalls that render most inexpensive speakers unlistenable.

The build quality is great. Solid, curved cabinets, Kevlar woofer with rubber surround, good quality terminals with bi-wiring capability. Yes, it's a vinyl laminate, but it looks pretty good in Cherry.

The Diamonds are good enough that they warrant being used with decent amplification and good cables. They definitely sound much better when bi-wired. I got good results with DH Labs Q-10 in an internally bi-wired configuration. If you don't want to spend the extra dollars for two runs, at least replace the jumpers that are supplied with quality speaker wire to realize just how good these inexpensive speakers can sound.

Customer Service

Have not needed service, so I can't comment.

Similar Products Used:

Meadowlark, Pinnacle, and have auditioned PSB, Totem, Dynaudio, Focal, Klipsch, Monitor, and B&W.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 17, 2008]
Alan
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Fluid top end. Refined and natural presentation. Solid, clean bass. Great fit and finish. Good instruction manual.

Weakness:

A bit inefficient, but not really that difficult to drive.

Wharfedale's Diamond 9.1 is a remarkable product for it's price in that it avoids the pitfalls that make most small budget loudspeakers unlistenable. The bass is quite surprising for a 5" woofer - solid and fast - without the "boomy" quality that is so common with entry level speakers. Highs are remarkably smooth. My first reaction was that the highs were rolled off, but as I listened more, I noticed convincing reproductions of triangle, piccolo, cymbals The professional reviewers were correct in saying Wharfedale designed a terrific dome tweeter for the latest Diamond series.

The build quality is great for an small bookslef speaker. The speakers can be bi-wired and have quality terminals. Yes, the cabinet is vinyl, but it looks and feels far more lilke wood than the typical vinyl speaker.

At the price I shouldn't complain, but the speakers are not especially efficient, so they do ned a decent amplifier.

Similar Products Used:

Meadowlark, Pinnacle, Pook, Tannnoy, and other bookshelves

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 14, 2008]
kanompia
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

1. Compare the price and quality it's best speaker in the same price range.
2. Smoothness and sound stage.
3. Lovely for any kind of music.

Weakness:

Spend too much time listen to it.

This is lovely speaker, how much I enjoy listen to Wharfedale Diamond.
I listen to it night and day. The sound is lovely, soft, smooth and enjoyable.
I’m using Luxman (L-2,L-5,L-580, C-02+M-02) , NAD 502 CD player and a pair of Wharfedale Diamond. This speaker bring the life to all kind of music especially when play it with Luxman. Because Luxman’s sound is soft and thin but Wharfedale Diamond make it a little bit bigger and that little bigger make music so sweet and lovely. Do not hesitate to buy it, I recommend.

Similar Products Used:

Mission, KEF

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 21, 2008]
nucleartape
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Warmth, clarity, musicality, completely discolored, balanced, range. Positioning is important, but the front-firing bass ports eliminate the need to be a specific distance from a wall.

They don't draw incredible amounts of power- I have them bi-wired (an absolute must) to a modest Onkyo TX-8200 series.

Little power is lost via the binding posts (gold-plated).

I think they're very good looking in the cherry finish, especially for a speaker at this price point.

Wall-mountable.

Weakness:

Not real wood- the finish does look quite handsome, however. If they were wooden cabinets, the warmth would be even greater.

You absolutely must have hi-fi or near hi-fi equipment "upstream".

Exposes flaws in recordings.

As with all Wharfedale equipment, cheap plastic grilles.

The Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 bookshelf speakers are absolutely incredible. I purchased them on Ebay after researching the Wharfedale brand. This is my first pair of true hi-fi speakers and I'm impressed beyond words.
Lows- For a 5'' driver, these put out bass that is not only deep, but tight as well. Strong bass drum causes slight distortion (that may be because these speakers have less than 5 hours of playing time) but any bass with a fluid transition is sublime. Outkast's "I Like The Way You Move" has one of the lowest bass lines in modern music, and the 9.1's can accurately reproduce it, even at low volumes. Bass has not been "boomy" yet.

Mids- The Kevlar cone has self-dampening properties and the tapered shape of the speakers help to reduce resonance to an inaudible volume. All instruments shine through, and the brass sections in Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Frank Sinatra's "The Best Is Yet to Come" are not harsh. Vocals are incredible- male and female voices. The musicality of the Diamond 9.1's is astonishing.

Highs- The 25mm tex-dome tweeter is loud enough to reproduce cymbals in any song without becoming harsh. My old speakers were the Klipsch SB-1s, which had the Tractrix horn- loud and clear, but fatiguing to the ear. The tweeter on the Diamonds is rich and smooth, while being powerful enough so that you do not need to maximize the treble on your amp.

These speakers would be an excellent addition to any home theater setup or shelf system, so long as the room is sufficiently small. The room in which I have mine is 10' x 12', or about the size of a small bedroom, office, or dormitory.

With the 9.1s, there is absolutely no need to spend the extra money for the 9.2s or the PacEvo 8s or PacEvo 10s.

A wonderful speaker, even at $350 USD retail.

Similar Products Used:

Nothing under $600 USD compares.

Bowers-Wilkins DM600 S3

At the same price point, the put the Polk RTi 4/6 to shame.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 28, 2007]
etteoh
Audio Enthusiast

Have you ever been in a spot when you had X amount of dollars (and X refers to a sensible amount that will not send the other half screaming louder than your ancillaries) to spend setting up a budget yet enjoyable system? Most of us had been there, done that. Very few were successful. Some were not satisfied with what they took back home and others had to sell their brand new Sonus Fabers after they lost their hearing capabilities from being over-exposed to the Spouse’s 180dB “Some Cash Ridiculously Expensed Alerting Module” – S.C.R.E.A.M for short :)

Fortunately, that is pretty much a thing of the past today, not because the spouse has changed but rather good sounding gears no longer cost an arm, leg and both ears. Take Wharfedale’s multi-award winning Diamond 9.1 speakers for instance. This rather small, diminutive pair of speakers speaks, or should I say sings for themselves.

I had the luxury of acquiring the 75th Anniversary Limited Edition 9.1s for only $270 from a nice chap who had just done less than 10 hours on them. Let’s just say his other half gave him a bonus cheque fat enough (and importantly, permission) to get himself a pair of mouth watering Dynaudios. I shall not delve into that further because we’re not here to discuss the Countours and Audiences now are we?

For those familiar with the 9.1s (who isn’t?) the Diamond 75 (supposedly their assigned name to distinguish them from the regular 9.1s) is cosmetically different. Wharfedale wanted to make a statement with these award winning mini monitors and a very bold statement they made indeed. I have to hand it to them for a job so remarkably well done. Just looking at the 75s, you cannot help but wonder if they (Wharfedale) made any profit at all pricing these small wonders the way they did. For starters, they come wrapped in a high quality real walnut veneer finish, champagne trimmed! The quality is so evident (from both touch and visual) that many testify it resembles the finish of the company’s flagship, Airedale! Wharfedale wasn’t kidding when they said the Diamond 75s are built to the highest standards.

Peep over to the back and you’ll find two very solid pairs of gold plated binding posts nicely mounted (controversially in a good way) to ensure bi-wiring is easily achieved. Roll your eyes up a little and my oh my, even the serial number plating is so well put together. Coming back to the front, the magnetic grille with vintage grille-cloth is simply eye-catching. Some might disagree but I personally found them to be rather unique and something out of the ordinary…something different from the usual suspect, that darn ol’ mundane black grille-cloth that we all grew so accustomed to seeing. Still, I won’t deny, as pretty as the grilles are, it’s a matter of taste. Wait, the surprises don’t stop there…owners of the 75s are also supplied with a laminated authentication certificate! “In ya’ face!” said Wharfedale to its rivals. As a whole, Wharfedale’s definitely upped the ante with the Diamond 75 and easily collect 5-stars for looks and build quality. Coming back to what matters most…the sound. I had at my disposal two different setups that I could toy the 75s with. First showdown, the 75s, sitting on 24” ATS stands went straight into the Exposure 2010 S integrated amp with Exposure’s very own 2010 S CD player as source. Cables were van den Hul’s The First interconnects and Magnum Hybrid speaker cables. Both ancillaries were powered by DH Labs’ Power Plus AC cords. The second setup is comprised of the award winning Cambridge Audio Azur 640A V2 integrated amplifier and also its award winning partner in crime, the Azur 640C V2 CD player. Cables were made up of DH Labs’ Silver Sonic BL-1 Series II interconnects and van den Hul’s CS-122 Hybrid speaker cables. Similarly both the Azurs were powered by DH Labs’ Power Plus AC cords. But we’re going to the kick off with the Exposures…

Playing Monty Alexander’s Sweet Georgia Brown, the piano pieces had significant impact and you could feel the vibes falling into place. This is a significantly difficult track to play accurately and budget stand mounts are expected not to do well in this area but the 75s managed to exert a degree of accuracy that I would expect coming only from speakers costing three or four times the price.

Moving on to a jazzy piece, Diana Krall’s Temptation took a turn for the bad as the track sounded a tad dull and slow but we must not forget that the 75s hardly had 10 hours worth of playback time prior to this so I wasn’t expecting anything magical. I am sure that given time, the drivers will loosen up, the soundstage will open and the dullness will fade away into oblivion. Otherwise they would not have been handed multiple awards if this was the way they actually sounded.

So how do the 75s do a classical piano piece? To my amazement, Beethoven’s piano sonatas, Opus 57 Appassionata and Opus 111, The last great piano sonata, both played by Carol Rosenberger sounded full and dynamic, falling short only on the lower registers. The 75s aren’t floorstanders so this was expected. A good sub will be able to address this shortfall. The mids remain clear and concise throughout but ambience took a slight hit. Pace isn’t quite there also (rock fans, look elsewhere) but again, the 75s aren’t fully burned in and I will reiterate that these will no longer be an issue once they do the time…or should I say hours. No, you rock fans still need to look elsewhere, sorry.

Throwing an easier and upbeat piece at it, the 75s handled Carmen Cuesta-Loeb’s Paralelo a lot better than it did Diana Krall. You could hear Carmen’s voice filling the room despite its size. The last I remember, only the Concertinos and its likes were that fulfilling. So should I sell the Sonus Fabers? Definitely not! Yoo hoo, reality check: The 75s don’t equal the Italian margue. Buying a pair and then expecting it to rival a Concertino is just like trashing your regular family sedan in a straight line speed test against an Enzo. Go figure. But for what they’re worth, they sure provide a one hell of a listening pleasure.

What about pairing the 75s on lesser equipment? Well I have the Cambridge Audio Azur 640s at hand but I should remind you while they aren’t as luscious as the Exposures (lust factor too), they’re certainly no pushovers. With the 640C V2 CD player feeding detailed notes into the 640A V2 amp, the 75s were driven with ease playing the same tracks and more often than not, I found it very difficult distinguishing if the 75s were still driven by the Exposures or not. Yes, the Azur 640s are that good. Look up a review on them and you’ll see why they were handed multiple awards. It also tells you the 75s aren’t the fussy type and bodes well with different range of equipment although due to their warm nature, I still think they would suit a solid state setup better than vacuum tube one.

In summary, I am blown away by how much I enjoyed listening to the Diamond 75s. My feet wouldn’t stop tapping and I found myself drawn towards the music more than listening for details. Shouldn’t enjoying music be like this? It has been a long time since I have listened to a budget box that had the build, looks, qualities and character of a premium variant except for carrying the same price tag. The curvy 75s are extremely handsome and your other half would definitely be more than happy to let them stand in the living room. So if you still have that X amount of dollars and your spouse says OK to a budget setup, treat her and yourself to a pair of 75s. You won’t be disappointed. I know I’m not because for the money, they're unbeatable!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 14, 2006]
brad.lian
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Warm, natural, detailed, good sound stage, good for movies, excellent for music

Weakness:

None at this price

Brand new in Johor Bahru near Singapore for a steal 190 USD a pair. Running on Denon AVR 1906 + Wharfedale CS centre and 2 pairs of Wahrfedale 9.1. mains and surround with wharfedale award winning SW150 subs, QED silver anni biwire cables.

Really detailed and warm. Considering the price I paid ,I thought, these speakers probably cost $500–$600/pair. They're well worth it, despite the number of worthy contenders in that price range.

For movies, its excellent if you're looking for detailed and depth in your movies. Wahrfedale SW150 gives it more low frequecny that can rock your room. A lil lack of dynamics as its a standmount for movies. Get a floor stander if you want more dynamics.
For Music
The Diamond 9.1 had two attributes that floored me:
1) Extraordinary resolution of detail in the midrange, with no trace of coloration. Low-level dynamic articulations in this region were subtle and linear, and the speaker's ability to render soundstage cues, ambience, and hall sound were what I would expect from a speaker costing $2000/pair or more.

2) A refined, delicate, and detailed presentation of high-frequency articulation, with no trace of either hardness or softness and with a perfect replication of transients.

Wharfedale has a winner with the Diamond 9.1, a diminutive and attractive satellite speaker that does almost everything right and is a superb value. In its midrange and high-frequency resolution it behaved more like a speaker with a four-figure price tag. What more can one ask of an affordable speaker? Well done!

Similar Products Used:

AE Aegies 3
Wharfedale Evo 30 Needs space to run
BMW 602 S3 treble a lil over the top. Mayb its just my ears...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 14, 2006]
Andyman1
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Style, Sound, Build and deffinately looks !!!

Weakness:

None at this price.

After having a pair of old Celestion Ditton 15`s for some time, i decided to change for some smaller stand mount speakers with a bit of style. These little Wharfedales have it in abundance, so i decided to give them a try.
It`s amazing how they can get such good sound out of such a small speaker, my Celestions are 4 times the size and these outclassed them in every way, and i really had my doubts at first. I`m running these speakers on a Cambridge A5 Amp along with a Nad C521 BEE cd player, and the sound is powerfull punchy and very detailed. These are certainly speakers for long term listening not being too harsh or boring either !!!. having not used these for long i can only assume the sound will get even better. Give them a try if your intersted in small speakers but don`t want small unatural sound.

Similar Products Used:

Tannoy MX 2

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 30, 2005]
olahpeter
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

nice warm, yet detailed sound looks good good voice reproduction

Weakness:

if any than they don't sound that good at higher volume levels

I was searching for a budget bookshelf speaker and after reading the rave reviews in defferent hi-fi magazines and user forums I decided to give them a try. I can say that these speakers didin't dissapoint me at. At least not for their price. Besides I think that they are one of the most beautiful looking speakers. The overall sound characteristic of the Diamonds is quite warm so there's no treble harshness at all. Therefore their well suited for bright sounding amplification. Of course there are more detailing speakers but you can listen to these speakers for hours without getting annoyed. The Diamonds are suited best for normal room volume, thats when they sound the best. I wouldn't recommend them for those who want party speakers because their sound isn't that good anymore when played too loud but I consider that as normal for speakers at this size.

Similar Products Used:

Mordaunt-Short MS 904 Mission M33

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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