Wharfedale Opal 90 Floorstanding Speakers

Opal 90

165mm Bass/Mid 2 x 165mm Bass 165mm ABR 25mm Soft Dome Tweeter

User Reviews (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10  
Mark C.   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 02, 2001]
Strength:

Sound quality, soundstage, and value

Weakness:

flimsy grille (not a big deal), wimpy post hardware (not a big deal, either)

This is an update to my review from 10 months ago. After a considerable break-in period and some mild tweaking of equalization settings, I am very happy with this purchase. The speakers are excellent but still depend on a good source to sound their best. Of course, speakers are not intended to improve source quality. So, if I sounded "harsh" in my previous review, it was prematurely based on speakers that needed some break-in time to reach their full potential. Now that they have, I can recommend them without hesitation. Also, my previous comments about Made in China were mainly based on false advertising by Wharfedale. The quality of these speakers is not a factor and, in fact, is very good.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Matt   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 12, 2000]
Strength:

small footprint, clean accurate sound, awesome price!

Weakness:

grills are a little flimsy

Excellent speakers! Great clean natural sound, tweeters are warm and easy to listen to, the soundstage is HUGE. If you are looking for huge base - look elswhere or buy a sub. Great music reproduction for all types except rap (see: buy a sub!). DTS and Dolby Digital are awesome with these guys if you have a sub to help. And I agree the craftsmanship is not up to par with speakers costing $800-900/pair, but they look good and they sound excellent. I am using a Kenwood VR309, bose 201's for surround and a DCM SW10 powered sub.

Go buy a pair at UBid, you won't be dissapointed. These are unbeatable speakers at even twice the price you can get them for at ubid (mine were $275/pair/delivered.

Also, the customer support for Wharfedale America
http://www.iagamerica.com/wharfedale/index.htm is Awesome! Before i bought them I called the support guys - no hold time! They were knowledgeable, helpful, and after letting them know what kind of system i was setting up, recommended the Opal 90's to me - even before i was actually a customer, and according the support person that i talked to they PRE-SHIP replacement parts/speakers with a paid shipping lable, Awesome.

I knocked one star off of the overall rating because of the flimsy grills and a break-in period that was a little long. Otherwise 5 stars all the way.

Similar Products Used: bose 900's, paradigm towers, klipsch, yamaha,
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ken Hilliard   Audiophile [Mar 27, 2001]

For all of the people who think that "Good Reviews" are posted by "Wharfedale employees" or "Ubid employees". I assure you that I am not employed by either company. ANYONE who wishes to ask me any questions about the Opal 90's feel free to e-mail me. I will do my best to answer any and all questions you may have on these above average (for the price) speakers.

Thomas_Krone@webtv.net

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Ken Hilliard   Audiophile [Apr 17, 2001]

As Mark C pointed out in his rather harsh review of the Opal 90's They are made in China. But only the speakers made after May 2000. I found this out from speaking with the factory before I purchased my Opal 90's.
So if this turns anyone off to the brand I am sorry. I can't speak to any quality issues that may or may not have arisen after the production facility was moved. But (For the price) My Pre-Move Opal's are built well. (See my other reviews for more in depth information)

As to Mark C's comments. He is more than entitled to his review and opinions regarding this product. Yes the mid range is somwhat "In your face" (But can be fixed. See my other reviews) The adjustable tweeter is not a joke. (If you set up your speakers per the manufacturers recommendations) If you do not set up the speakers in a triangle with your seating position this feature is less effective. I have my speakers 8 feet apart and eight feet from the sweet spot, slightly toe'd in so the mid range and woofers are pointed about 6 inches outboard of my head (so the radiation in a straight line will intersect as if the sweet spot was about 6ins. to one foot behind my head) Then the tweeters are rotated so the radiation (In a straight line) intersects about one foot in front of my head.
Not having the tweeters pointing directly at your head seems to help with horizontal dispersion and imaging. Not having the mid range pointing directly at your head seems to soften the "in your face" nature of it without giving up any detail. This I am convinced is a result of the D'appolito arraingement of the upper drivers (I have heard this trait on other such speakers and while it is great for movies. It is much less desirable (To my ears) for music. I run my speakers full range with a sub woofer even for music My sub (as i have it set) only works below 70 Hz and gives the bass of the opal's a nice lower octave boost without being boomy or overpowering. These speakers can be very satisfying to listen to if you take care and time in setting them up and most importantly do not overdrive them. Mine start to fall apart (Sonically) at about 80- 100 watts continuous power. (They start to sound strained and harsh)
If my made in England Opal 90's are the same as the made in China Opal 90's then my recommendation still stands. Whole heartedly recomended.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Ken Hilliard   Audiophile [Dec 27, 2000]
Strength:

Smoothness, Tight Articulate Bass, Bang for the Buck.

Weakness:

Cheap Grilles, Cheap looking plastic fronts, Generic looks.

After some more time with the Opal's The only thing I have done is to use an equalizer to reduce some of the up front quality. This is very much recommended for anyone with this problem. The speakers are much more enjoyable now. (and they were not bad to begin with) Everything I said in my earlier review still rings true. I replaced Magnepan MG 1c's with these speakers due to the low price and my willingness to give other manufacturers a chance. (the wife also wanted something a little smaller than the Maggies) The Opal's are "BETTER" in the areas of Dynamic's, Bass, and are very close in the treble. The only area where the Maggies beat the opals hands down is the midrange. Again Wholeheartedly recommended.

Similar Products Used: See my other review above.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Matt   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 12, 2000]
Strength:

small footprint, clean accurate sound, awesome price!

Weakness:

grills are a little flimsy

Excellent speakers! Great clean natural sound, tweeters are warm and easy to listen to, the soundstage is HUGE. If you are looking for huge base - look elswhere or buy a sub. Great music reproduction for all types except rap (see: buy a sub!). DTS and Dolby Digital are awesome with these guys if you have a sub to help. And I agree the craftsmanship is not up to par with speakers costing $800-900/pair, but they look good and they sound excellent. I am using a Kenwood VR309, bose 201's for surround and a DCM SW10 powered sub.

Go buy a pair at UBid, you won't be dissapointed. These are unbeatable speakers at even twice the price you can get them for at ubid (mine were $275/pair/delivered.

Also, the customer support for Wharfedale America
http://www.iagamerica.com/wharfedale/index.htm is Awesome! Before i bought them I called the support guys - no hold time! They were knowledgeable, helpful, and after letting them know what kind of system i was setting up, recommended the Opal 90's to me - even before i was actually a customer, and according the support person that i talked to they PRE-SHIP replacement parts/speakers with a paid shipping lable, Awesome.

I knocked one star off of the overall rating because of the flimsy grills and a break-in period that was a little long. Otherwise 5 stars all the way.

Similar Products Used: bose 900's, paradigm towers, klipsch, yamaha,
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ken   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 22, 2000]
Strength:

Tight Bass, Mid range and treble clarity.

Weakness:

Cheap grilles, Mid range is a little too upfront in the sound stage, Even with the grilles off they look a little generic.

The cabnet could stand to be a little more robust. The grilles are cheap. but overall the sound you get form the opal's is adequate The mid range is a little too out front in the soundstage, and there is a little bit of beaminess with some recordings. I admit that my room is not the best for stereo reproduction (Too short and too wide) But even here they sound smooth and detailed at lower wattages. The Bass is taught and punchy and the mid Range enables you to hear subtle details in your recordings that you won't hear with lesser quality speakers. The Tweeters are smooth, detailed and never call attention to themselves. (A good thing since I hate "Bright" tweeters.) For someone with a desire for above average speakers that won't break your bank account and also won't take up much floor space, while at the same time having decent looks and quality. The Wharfedale Opal 90's are wholeheartedly recommended.

Similar Products Used: Infinity SM125, Bose 501 Series II, Advent Towers.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Cyrill   Audiophile [Nov 03, 2000]
Strength:

Price, sound, style

Weakness:

Parts (foot, posts, terminals).

Very good speaker. First, they did not sound good at all, but either break-in was longer than suggested or my ears got used to them after a month. As it was pointed out, those speakers are VERY unforgiving of poor recording. I can no longer listen to some of my older CDs. No more $3 Mozart collections for me.

I compared Opals with my old JBL LX-55 from 1990 and realised how much "extra" the old ones used to add. Using my Yamaha's DSP modes is no longer overpowering (much less coloration and echo) and even movies sound clearer. It is possible now to listen to non-Dolby TV shows through the 5.1 speaker setup. Dolby 5.1 sounds much better too.

I guess, it is a matter of opinion, which approach is better for a speaker: to beautify or not. I would probably want something different if I were building a simple stereo system.

I would agree with others that midrange is a bit too upfront. Especially with older recordings: high notes from a bass guitar on some earlier King Crimson albums, for example, sound uncomfortably boomy at times. I have bi-wired Opals to A and B speaker terminals and when I set impedance to 8om instead of 4om, some of the boominess was gone. Recent good quality recordings do not seem to have that problem.

Opals seem to deliver decent bass for small driver speakers, but that's what subs are for.

They look very nice and I thought grills actually are very nice. Just be careful with them. Those are not your student dorm speakers.

Overall, great speakers for the money.

Similar Products Used: JBL LX-55
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JP Pulley   Audio Enthusiast [May 31, 2000]
Strength:

Super Clear, Fills the room with music

Weakness:

Grill is flimsy

I have owned these speakers for about 3 months. I picked these speakers up at ubid (like a majority of people did) for $130.00 a piece, around $300.00 delivered. If your looking for a boomy bass these are not the speakers for you. If you want a great clear crisp sounding speaker then for money these are great.
I felt previously that I had way too much bass and not enough high end. I decided to go with a speaker that was more clear and let my cerwin 12" sub handle the bass. combining the 2 deffinatly gives you the bass these speakers may lack.
At first listen I was a little aprehensive about them, then I started noticing differences. I could here the echo effect added to the snare drum wich I went unnoticed with my previous speakers. These speakers fill the room with music. When you close your eyes and listen its hard to determin where the sound is coming from. Admittingly they sound better with music, but still sound better with dvd's then my other speakers did.
If your looking for great sounding speakers thats not going to cost you 2000-3000 a pair the I highly recomend the Wharfdale opal 90's. For the price they just cant be beat.

Similar Products Used: Yamaha 3 way 12"
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Mark C.   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 02, 2000]
Strength:

Room-filling sound, small footprint

Weakness:

Questionable build quality (made in China), flimsy grille and plastic caps on binding posts are already stripped

I advise caution on these speakers as i feel i overpaid for questionable "Made in China" British speakers. Total cost from UBID was $336 (144 each + 48 P&H) with the exorbitant shipping charges, twice what UPS actally charges them. They are sounding better every day BUT the midrange driver that sits on top is very in-your-face. The tweeter pales in comparison and the rotating feature of the tweeter is a joke in my opinion. The bass is good BUT the overall sound of this pair is VERY dependent on the quality of the source. They do not hide poor recording quality. Time will tell if this turns out to be a good deal. I wouldn't pay over $250 total for the pair!!!

Similar Products Used: AR, Bose, Aura Systems
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 10  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com