Wharfedale Emerald 97 Floorstanding Speakers

Emerald 97

3-way 125 W tower

User Reviews (69)

Showing 1-10 of 69  
Mitch   AudioPhile [Sep 04, 2017]

Like many in here, I've been on the endless search for "the" speakers. Many have crossed my path over the years and most have been a disappointment. I picked these EM 97's used and sans grills based on the many positive reviews and beautiful cabinetry. Once I got them home, I was initially impressed but soon the luster wore off and they sat unused, part of my "for sale" collection of speakers.

Fast forward to today. In a fit of boredom and frustration I pulled these (as well as others) out and gave them one last listen before I put them up for sale. What I heard is not what I remembered and I'm so happy that I gave them one last reprise.
These speakers do everything right, to my ears. They are detailed, open and spacious sounding. A huge, expansive soundstage with a nice bottom end considering their size and driver compliment. They are connected to my Cayin A-50T tube amp and they are probably my best, most pleasing sounding speakers. The frequency response is even across the entire range and they are just plain fun to listen to. There may be other speakers that do particular things better than these but as a whole, given their price, these are a true bargain.
These can be picked up for probably $100-200 a pair and well worth a listen.

What am I comparing them too? Polk LSi's, Snell Eii, Focal 816V, Quad 22L2, Klipsch Forte's, pretty good company. While I realize hearing is subjective and everyone's electronics/listen environment differ, these Wharfedales really have earned a spot on my keepers list. My brain tells me I should like my more expensive speakers better, but my ears disagree.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tougas_r   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 29, 2009]
Strength:

Clarity,throughout the whole sound spectrum.Very solid cabinets with a baffle seperating the woofer from the mid and tweeter.Very tight bass.

I stole these!Evidentally not too many people have heard of Wharfedale.When I saw the Ebay listing and they were only 10 miles from my house,I knew I could pick them up for a good price and not have to hassle with a huge shipping charge.I couldn't believe it when the auction ended and I saw that I had won them for so little.I'd heard good things about them but had never listened to them.I was completely floored by the sound.I have a nice Denon receiver and what I thought was a really nice pair of Infinity speakers but these put them to shame.Unbelievable warmth and clarity,I have never heard anything so clear.When I turn up the volume,they just get LOUDER!The highs don't get "tinny"and the lows don't break up.The only thing that made me happier was when I sold the old Infinity speakers for $110.00 and realized that my upgrade had only cost me $25.00!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
B Gregory   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2004]
Strength:

Beautiful build quality...Warm High end Audiophile quality sound!!

Weakness:

None at this price level!!

These are amazing! You unpack these and are immediately excited about the beauty of the real cherry wood finish. But the sound is even more beautiful.I recently upgraded to a pair of Emerald 99s.Most of my listening is 2 channel stereo.Both the 97s and 99s represent the very best bang for the buck value I have ever encountered! My Cherry Wood Emerald 97s are in absolutely MINT condition and can be purchased if anyone is interested!Email.... thebiggerthebetter@adelphia.net

Similar Products Used: jbl s310s,dcm timeframe..
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
martinsmythe   AudioPhile [Jan 27, 2004]
Strength:

Value - impressive quality for the money Midrange - Vocal and instrument clarity Eye candy - a beautifully finished cabinet

Weakness:

Placement critical, slightly directional. Getting hard to find, what a shame...

This is for the Emerald 99s. I happened across these fine speakers on ebay. I had been looking to upgrade, and these caught my eye. Did my homework, read the reviews and took the plunge. I must say that I am pleasantly surprised, and even more impressed that I was able to steal these for $200.00 The finish is rosewood, very pretty and real wood, construction and details are excellent. Gold plated binding posts with bi-wire capability (another surprise). These speakers deserve the best source you can provide, and love high current amps. Sound reproduction is effortless, clarity is outstanding, frequency response is very good. I have found that bi-wiring these puppies will open up the high end considerably for those who prefer electric music with an edge, but for primarily acoustic I prefer the smoother, mellow effect of single cables. The midrange performance of the 99s are incredible either way, vocals will reach right out and grab you. Bass response is very good, not earth shattering but sufficient for you 2 channel enthusiasts.I will say that placement is critical for the Emeralds, don't hesitate to experiment with creating the soundstage you prefer. I listen to most of my music CD direct, that is, bypass mode thru the pre-amp, no tone controls. These speakers will make you love a well mastered recording, or on the flip side, wonder just what the recording engineer was thinking.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ed   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 03, 2003]
Strength:

mids and highs with great presence

Weakness:

size, but I moved into a large house and was able to "give away" the Bose.

This is for the Emerald 99's. Got these from ubid in 2 days! Cost was $300.00 including shipping! I have these pups bi-wired into a Denon 3803, passing thru a stage 2 power conditioner plugged into a hospital grade outlet. Yes, one needs decent and clean power because garbage in turns into garbage out. Oh, on the wife factor. She yelled to get those d... things out of her family room when she first saw the size. But, I had a some of her favorite CD's and after a couple hours she had a satisfied look on her face (nirvana, I think). She turn and exclaimed, sweet mother of jesus, oh my dear god, I am hearing things I have never heard before. Neither had I, but the wife has been claiming she was tone deaf until she heard these speakers. The best bang for the buck I have ever spent. Mids and highs are great and I got the sub for the lows one needs for movie soundtracks. Have I heard better? Sure, for a couple of thou! And yes, I have spent my fair share of time in listening rooms going over numerous speaker brands. Break-in period was 50 hours just like advertised and only getting better.............

Similar Products Used: Bose, AR's, Infinity, Pioneer, Sony, Wharfedale
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
nick4433   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 20, 2003]
Strength:

Excellent mids and highs with tight bass response and not too tall or bulky for a tower. Excellent build quality rivalling speakers 4-6 times its cost.

Weakness:

I don't know if this is a weakness per se but you dedfintely need a sub but I also needed a sub with my Klipsch RF-IIIs.

I take the reviews here rather seriously as I believe this is the place where people give honest opinions about value for money. Hence I decided to invest $265 into a pair of speakers I had not auditioned before but $265 was not a big risk anyway and I thought they could be sold on ebay at a 20% loss. Well they are definitely not going anywhere. I replaced my Klipsch RF3s with Diamond 7.2s because i felt the Klipsch was totally unmusical. My first impressions were that the speakers definitely lacked Bass and that they needed time to break in. I gave them a good 100 hours of break-in and now they are indespinsible. What stuck me was the clarity in the mids and highs. Pardon the cliche but I was definitely hearing things that I hadn't heard before. The low end had definitely improved. While I agree with Wharfedale's statement about placing these speakers anywhere I do believe that placing them appropriately definitely improves stereo imaging and bass response. The clarity of vocals on these speakers is amazing. I listen to a lot of vocal jazz and classical music and this speaker is made for jazz and classical music. Instruments come across in all their purity at you. The bass is nice and tight as intended for jazz and similar genre of music. Lastly for all the rap or similar fans, you would definitely need a sub with these speakers and you'd defintely need one for movies. My sub now blends with these towers better than with my Diamond 7.2s. Anyway, I would defintely recommend these speakers to anybody. Finally a word about the build quality. IMPRESSIVE! I have these in Cherry and the trim and finish is A-1. How in hell can they sell these speakers with the finish and components and cabinets that cheap?

Similar Products Used: Klipsch RF-3s, Diamond 7.2s.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Brian97   Casual Listener [Aug 01, 2003]
Strength:

- So Cheap. - Great sound - Well build

Weakness:

- Grill ( who care, I would take it out) - Stand installation is hard - Poor manual. - Come with 4 sharp pin under the stand, but it would scracth my hard wood floor.

Just got it for 2 days. The finish is good, I chose Walnut colore because people said it's rare only 600 pair were produced. However, It's not very beautiful color. I would suggest you choose Cherry or Black. The connector on the back is well build, very high quality. The speaker is very solid, heavy, and well build. The only thing I don't like is the installation of the stand is hard, the screws are not allign well. The manual is poor writen. and the grill is cheap. However, for the price I paid, I am happy with it. The sound is clear, bass is enough for my small room. Even with my cheap JVC RX-7030VBK it sounds great. In addition, my JVC only support 8~16 Ohm, but it drive well with EM 97 which is 6 Ohm. Moreover, let's see after 50 hours breaking in.

Similar Products Used: Bose 301, Bose 601. NAD, Carve, Pioneer, HK.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Steve   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 28, 2003]
Strength:

I run a modest recording studio here in Mesa, so I'm pretty picky about my speakers. I'm extremely pleased with these. Beautifully smooth sound; very even from top to bottom. I'm hearing detail in the midrange I've never heard before in other mid-level audio speakers. (Not quite as accurate as the Dynaudios I monitor with in my studio, but still very nice; extremely listenable.) Placement is crucial, however, to get the most from them. Especially as regards the bass; it varies tremendously with regards to the speakers proximity to the wall.

Weakness:

The speaker's only real weakness is in creating that 'punchy' bass or kick drum sound which some recordings have. I have an old pair of Jensens that produced punchy, tight bass that you could feel in your chest; but they didn't come close to the midrange beauty of these 99s. However, for most of my listening, and even for home theater, I find these speakers more then adequate. (Hardcore home theater types will probably desire a subwoofer to recreate the lowest rumbles and explosions in movies). Also, they definitely prefer an amp/receiver with high power output. And not a problem for me at all, but they are large, and so some people may find them a little too prominent in a room. I think their finish is beautiful.

This review is for the Emerald 99s. Great speakers for the money. Beautiful sounding, beautiful looking. If you can find them on Ubid or Ebay, or anywhere, for under $500, I would say grab 'em. Unless you're looking for speakers with mega-punchy bass output, these speakers will satisfy.

Similar Products Used: Jensens, Infinity, Tannoy, Paradigm Studios, Monitor, Aura 600s(also a wonderful speaker for the money, but now discontinued, so very hard to find)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Jack Slade   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2003]
Strength:

Wonderful warm sound....Beautifully crafted cabinets!

Weakness:

At this price?? You must be kidding!!

After reading the glowing reviews on the Emerald 97, I decided to purchase a pair. The Cherry wood veneer is beautiful.Simply put, They sound AMAZING with wonderfully well crafted cabinets!MADE IN CHINA?? Believe me, you would never know!!I am so pleased with these that I am purchasing a second pair. My only problem is choosing which Veneer(Walnut or Lt Oak?) I would appreciate any feed back at octopus83@yahoo.com

Similar Products Used: JBL, DCM, Polk audio,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
samandjam   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 04, 2003]
Strength:

Build Quality. Sound. Price!!!!! A true giant killer!

Weakness:

That I don't have two more!

I have been tormented for over a year now through the whole process of picking a main speaker set for my home system. I feel like I have been everywhere and listened to everything from $300 a pair to $2000 a pair speakers and was never satisfied with anything including the likes of B and W, Klipsch, Polk, etc, etc. So maybe it was out of desperation that I got onto Ebay one day, found these speakers, read reviews, and purchased them, unauditioned (Gasp!!). I thought, "What the heck", if they are no good I can use them a secondary pair or a big set of surrounds. Well, let me tell you I have been shocked! What I noticed when I first unpacked them was the beautiful fit and finish of the cabinets. I have heard that these are made in China but I looked everywhere, on the boxes they came in, the literature that came with them, and the speakers themselves and only found references to Wharfedale in the U.K. Whether they were made in China, the U.K., or Planet Bizarro does not seem to have affected the quality of the manufacturing/woodworking that went into them. I purchased them in a light oak finish. I am assuming that what is outside is a veneer but it sure feels like solid wood. These babies are about 50 lbs each. There is a gorgeous grain that gives them the ability to enhance a room rather than detract from it like many of the awkward boxes I have seen all over the market. The only speakers I have seen that are as aesthetically pleasing are B and W's and of course we are talking about a different price range (and for me, tax bracket) altogether. They have very nice rounded corners and the joints are gorgeous. Well, I figured, cheap clip connectors or something?, WRONG. A nice solid set of bi-wire/bi-amp 5 way posts on them in an attractive gold finish. I bi-wired them with 12 gauge speaker wire I purchased for $65 bucks a spool for 250 feet at Home Depot after almost getting suckered into buying a $200 set of wires from a big name high-end store. I bare wire connected them and found a rock solid connection after screwing them in. The only thing I am not crazy about are the flimsy, speaker grills, but I have found that cheap grills seem to be the same with most speakers. After all, these are so pretty you may just want to keep the grills off. Well, the sound must be sub-par right? Well.........No Way! My personal preference is to listen at moderate volume with a critical ear to quality rather than needing a pair of airplane engines running in my house. So far I have listened to jazz (Miles Davis-Kind Of Blue), Classic Rock (Pink Floyd-Meddle), Hard Rock (Tool), Latin (Buena Vista Social Club), and Classical (Bach played by Christopher Hogwood) with them to see if I could catch them doing something wrong. Well, I keep listening and can't find anything to complain about. I prefer my sound a bit on the sweet side with an emphasis on the treble (cymbals, etc). The tweeters are awesome with nice detail and clarity without sounding hissy. The mid range has a nice presence and vocals and piano come out clearly with an attractive, natural sound. And of course we come to everyone's concern, bass. With this speaker I have found the bass to have the right amount of punch and tightness without sounding over-stressed. It is very musical and saturates my room with nice low frequencies without overwhelming the treble and mid-range. Of course this has as much do with your amplifier, speaker placement, and personal tastes as much as anything else with speakers. If you want truly earthmoving bass for home theater (i.e. 30 hertz and below I would definitely say you would need to add a subwoofer (look at Cambridge Soundworks Newton 500 or 1000 series...a bit pricey but worth it). Now let me get on my soapbox. Break these in slowly. The manual says it takes about 50 hours of use at moderate sound levels to do it properly. If you listen to a wide range of music like I do expose them early on. Enjoy!

Similar Products Used: Klipsch, Polk, B and W.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 69  

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