• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 138 55.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 83 33.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 12 4.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 14 5.7%

  • Total voters
    247

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,850
Likes
243,415
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review, detailed measurements and listening tests of Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs $599 a pair.
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker Review.jpg

I don't know if it is visible in the picture but there is a very thick frame with drivers and baffle recessed around half an inch. This makes it a bit odd looking and probably doesn't do much for sonics. The grill nicely counteracts the former, giving a vintage yet elegant look to the speaker:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker grill vintage Review.jpg

Back panel causes a bit of culture shock with very modern binding posts:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker back panel vintage Review.jpg

Surprised to see two ports instead of a single larger one.

Speaker itself is quite heavy for its size and the walnut veneer gives it a quality feel you don't usually find in this price range.

Note that there is an "85th" anniversary version of the same speaker which uses a different tweeter. Wonder if every 5 years they are going to produce a different version!

As usual, I measured the speaker using Klippel Near-field scanner to produce anechoic frequency response measurements. Owner requested that I measure without its grill and since I do that with other speakers, that is what you are going to see. The "acoustic center" was selected to be that of the tweeter (doesn't make much difference in far field listening anyway). Temperature was on the cooler side at around 60 degrees F.

Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker Measurements
As usual, we start with our suite of frequency response measurements:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker frequency response measurement.png

Well, that is not nice. On-axis response has pronounced peaks and dips which should have been visible in the most rudimentary measurements of the speaker. Lack of any kind of beam control (i.e. waveguide) means off-axis response as reflected in early window response looks bad as well. We see some of the issues by measuring the radiating surfaces themselves:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker driver port frequency response measurement.png


Back to off-axis response, here is the detailed breakdown of each reflection and their sum:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker early window frequency response measurement.png


So no wonder the composite, predicted in-room response in a statistical average room looks quite wrong/colored:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker predicted in-room frequency response meas...png

Ideal response would be a straight, sloping down line.

Our directivity measurements reflects what I already noted:

Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker horizontal beam width response measurement.png


Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker horizontal directivity response measurement.png


Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker Vertical directivity response measurement.png


Distortion is not bad at 86 dBSPL considering the small woofer but gets really bad at 96 dBSPL:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker relative THD Distortion response measurem...png

Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker THD Distortion response measurement.png


I could easily hear the issues at 96 dBSPL even with my hearing protection on during frequency sweeps. So no question they are audible.

Spec says 6 ohm impedance but in reality, it dips quite low to near half of that:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker impedance and phase response measurement.png


CSD/waterfall graph predictably shows a number of resonances:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker CSD Waterfall response measurement.png


Finally, here is the step response for fans of that graph:
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker Step response measurement.png


EDIT: question was raised as to whether response gets better with the grill on. Since the impact of that is only in higher frequencies, I performed a non-anechoic measurement showing the difference (second attempt, original graph was mislabeled):
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Bookshelf Speaker frequency response with and without grill...png


Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary Speaker Listening Tests
I measured a speaker on one day and listened to it a couple of days. By then I had forgotten how it measured. First impression was that of brightness and wide spatial qualities. The latter is one benefit of not having a waveguide and having the larger beamwidth of tweeter (with the price being worse off-axis response). The brightness was mostly due to the hump around 5 to 6 kHz. I pulled that down which provided some relief. Sound was still not right so I went down the rabbit hole of creating 6 filters which balanced things out but still, I was not at all a fan of my the overall speaker. My standard reference clips simply didn't sound enjoyable, hence the reason I am not sharing the EQ I developed.

Wanting to make sure it was not my mood on this day, I switched the Wharfedale out and connected my Revel Salon 2. Oh my gosh. The fidelity was so much better that it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I forget how good my own speakers sound like in the midst of testing so many other speakers! :) Knowing someone would complain that the Salon 2 costs 20 times more, I next tested the Revel M16. The M16 produced very similar tonality to Salon 2 which is to say the sound was much warmer than Denton and so much better balanced. I could sit there and listen to it for hours. The M16 costs $900 so more money than Wharfedale but still, if you are going to buy a speaker, get a proper one.

Note: our company, Madrona Digital is a dealer for Harman speakers including Revel line. So feel free to read bias into above comparisons.

Conclusions
With its grill, the Denton does it what it says it wants to do on the looks: giving you a vintage feel. Company claims all modern technology was used to get much better performance: "The original Denton was known for its warm, rich sound and the 80th Anniversary Edition manages to retain the original character while giving a more detailed, seamless performance." If the original was really warm, this version fails to deliver on that both in objective and subjective testing. Unless you want to use it for decoration, it is a failed attempt at producing a performant speaker.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

Attachments

  • Wharfedale Denton Frquency Response.zip
    60.7 KB · Views: 75
Last edited:

Petevid

Active Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2019
Messages
102
Likes
132
I read this review with anticipation, a review of a speaker I once owned. However I was really surprised by the results. For me the one thing this speaker wasn’t was ‘bright’ hence why, I had always assumed, it was described as ’warm’ . It was too warm a sound for me which caused me to move it on.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,850
Likes
243,415
Location
Seattle Area
I read this review with anticipation, a review of a speaker I once owned. However I was really surprised by the results. For me the one thing this speaker wasn’t was ‘bright’ hence why, I had always assumed, it was described as ’warm’ . It was too warm a sound for me which caused me to move it on.
The response is very room dependent. You may also have had more bass enhancement than I do (I test speakers away from walls).

Forgot to reserve a Post for the Specifications. Here they are:

Specifications:​

Speaker Type:2-way vented-box/standmount
Enclosure Type:Bass reflex
Transducer Complement:2-way
Bass Driver:5"(125mm) black woven Kevlar cone
Treble Driver:1"(25mm) soft dome
Sensitivity (2.0V @ 1m):86dB
Recommended Amplifier Power:20-100W
Nominal Impedance:
Frequency Response(+/-3dB):44Hz ~ 24kHz
Bass Extension(-6dB):40Hz
Dimensions (HxWXD):12.6" x 7.8" x 10.8"
Net Weight:17.4 lbs.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

radix

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
1,433
Likes
1,400
That's too bad. I was hoping the Linton pixie dust would have filtered down.
 

DanielT

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
4,894
Likes
4,877
Location
Sweden - Слава Україні
Thanks for the test Amir. :DIt was a rather sad result.:(

It also goes to show that just because one manufacturer has a good pair of speakers in a retro vintage series, in this case I'm thinking of the very popular Wharfedale Linton 85th Heritage that measures well, others in the same series don't automatically have to be.:oops:
 

VintageFlanker

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
5,052
Likes
20,273
Location
Paris
Thanks, @amirm. That EIR is definitely a deal breaker to me... o_O
Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs $599 a pair.
To my knowledge, this has been discontinued for a while. The actual Denton is the 85th Anniversary, released back in 2019, before the (very good) Linton 85th :
1000025460.jpg

I hope it would do better...
 
Last edited:

Maiky76

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
456
Likes
3,849
Location
French, living in China
Here is my take on the EQ.

Please report your findings, positive or negative!
The following EQs are “anechoic” EQs to get the speaker right before room integration. If you able to implement these EQs you must add EQ at LF for room integration, that is usually not optional… see hints there: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...helf-speaker-review.11144/page-26#post-800725

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 3.2
With Sub: 5.7

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Directivity error
  • Uneven response
  • Resonances
Wharfedale Denton No EQ Spinorama.png

Directivity:

Better stay at tweeter height
Horizontally, better toe-in the speakers by 5/15deg and have the axis crossing in front of the listening location, might help dosing the upper range.
Wharfedale Denton LW data.png

Wharfedale Denton 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png
EQ design:

I have generated two EQs. The APO config files are attached.
  • The first one, labelled, LW is targeted at making the LW flat
  • The second, labelled Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment, no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.
Score EQ LW: 5.0
with sub: 7.2

Score EQ Score: 5.8
with sub: 8.0

Code:
Wharfedale Denton APO EQ LW 96000Hz
January302024-163436

Preamp: -3.1 dB

Filter 1: HPQ PK Fc 43.68,    0.00,    1.35
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 115.04,    -2.42,    1.98
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 794.78,    -3.55,    3.49
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1192.18,    2.14,    1.01
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1834.61,    -1.16,    2.90
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5471.87,    -2.38,    2.86
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 9063.92,    -1.33,    2.88
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 12769.69,    1.67,    2.46

Wharfedale Denton APO EQ Score 96000Hz
January302024-163437

Preamp: -3 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 43.68,    0.00,    1.35
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 113.95,    -2.27,    1.47
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 811.92,    -3.99,    2.38
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1168.28,    2.91,    0.99
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2384.07,    -1.11,    3.38
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5136.84,    -3.50,    1.60
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 9356.34,    -1.48,    1.93
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 12273.21,    1.79,    4.56
Wharfedale Denton EQ Design.png

Spinorama EQ LW
Wharfedale Denton LW EQ Spinorama.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Wharfedale Denton Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Wharfedale Denton Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal
Wharfedale Denton Regression.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Nice improvements
Wharfedale Denton Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Wharfedale Denton APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
    439 bytes · Views: 43
  • Wharfedale Denton APO EQ LW 96000Hz.txt
    438 bytes · Views: 71
  • Wharfedale Denton 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Wharfedale Denton 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    265.9 KB · Views: 42
  • Wharfedale Denton 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Wharfedale Denton 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    363.4 KB · Views: 34
  • Wharfedale Denton 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Wharfedale Denton 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    363.4 KB · Views: 37
  • Wharfedale Denton Normalized Directivity data.png
    Wharfedale Denton Normalized Directivity data.png
    508.4 KB · Views: 43
  • Wharfedale Denton Raw Directivity data.png
    Wharfedale Denton Raw Directivity data.png
    688.5 KB · Views: 39
  • Wharfedale Denton Reflexion data.png
    Wharfedale Denton Reflexion data.png
    310 KB · Views: 42
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,850
Likes
243,415
Location
Seattle Area

kongkong

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2023
Messages
50
Likes
75
Budget old school BBC style monitor
I can feel warm sound with only Amir's data :p
 

VintageFlanker

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
5,052
Likes
20,273
Location
Paris
It is being sold on Amazon so that usually indicates the product is current.
It's indeed sold out on both Amazon and Wharfedale store. ;)

Seems to be discounted at Audio Affair (UK) for 349£ :
But even at that price, I'd definitely go for something else...
 
Last edited:

pierre

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
966
Likes
3,083
Location
Switzerland
The speaker has a non flat DI which means EQ will not work well. If you optimise for a flat PIR you will compromise the ON and LW. The reverse is also true.

Score is 3.1 and would be 5.7 with a perfect subwoofer.
if you optimise for a flat LW: score is 4.7
If you optimise for a flat PIR: score is 5.9 and jump to 7.9 with a perfect subwoofer.

First EQ optimise for a flat LW:
filters_lw.png

Second EQ optimise the score (aka flat PIR):
filters_score.png

First EQ
Code:
EQ for Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary computed from ASR data
Preference Score 3.14 with EQ 4.70
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.26
Dated: 2024-01-30-09:26:00


Preamp: -1.7 dB


Filter  1: ON PK Fc   130 Hz Gain -1.53 dB Q 1.58
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   344 Hz Gain +1.74 dB Q 1.03
Filter  3: ON PK Fc   356 Hz Gain -1.74 dB Q 3.00
Filter  4: ON PK Fc   792 Hz Gain -3.38 dB Q 2.58
Filter  5: ON PK Fc  1121 Hz Gain +2.27 dB Q 1.87
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  5732 Hz Gain -2.44 dB Q 1.69
Filter  7: ON PK Fc 12736 Hz Gain +1.23 dB Q 2.99

and second EQ:
Code:
EQ for Wharfedale Denton 80th Anniversary computed from ASR data
Preference Score 3.14 with EQ 5.87
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.26
Dated: 2024-01-30-09:31:35

Preamp: -2.7 dB

Filter  1: ON PK Fc    46 Hz Gain +3.00 dB Q 0.38
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   113 Hz Gain -2.95 dB Q 1.31
Filter  3: ON PK Fc   522 Hz Gain +0.82 dB Q 2.93
Filter  4: ON PK Fc   820 Hz Gain -3.95 dB Q 2.11
Filter  5: ON PK Fc  1083 Hz Gain +2.89 dB Q 1.56
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  5165 Hz Gain -4.50 dB Q 1.24
Filter  7: ON PK Fc  9319 Hz Gain -2.42 dB Q 2.14

The radar plot shows nice relative improvements:
spider2.jpg
 
Last edited:

Waxx

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
2,028
Likes
8,083
Location
Wodecq, Hainaut, Belgium
I know this speaker, and it's not that bad as measurements suggest in reality (in a typical room close against a wall). But it's certainly not the most accurate low distortion speaker arround neighter. The Linton is a much better stpeaker.

But I think for the price they go here (750€/pair payed the owner of the pair i know) it's quiet ok in the actual market for a wooden "more desined for looks" speaker. It's an old design, with a retangular cabinet (no rounded corners) so there will be baffle step diffraction that mess up the sound (visible in the graphs). But it's a good looking (to many people's standard), subjective nice sounding easy to listen to speaker for a not so demanding listener i think. Not for critical listening or so. A bit like Harbeth speakers, with the same kind of technical "wrongs" but the same kind of end result that just work in certain circumstances.
 

DSJR

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
3,502
Likes
4,662
Location
Suffolk Coastal, UK
Well that's a shame (well, it IS a retro speaker!!!) As suggested, it's been replaced a while and the tweeter looks kind of different, so hopefully a bit better integrated - directivity won't be that modern though but that's not the point.

Here's it's ancestor from 1969 or so which I have in storage. Two way chipboard box with simple crossover, cast bass-mid chassis, large surround but small magnet, cone-dome purple plastic-diaphragm tweeter tweeter (I kid you not) and a 'nice' if slightly 'foggy' kind of sound which is harmless enough! I sat them on sorbothane 'feet' which helped decouple them from the desk. Back in 1971, a school-pal's Dad had the first proper stereo 'HiFi' system I ever heard. Garrard SP25III/AT66, Metrosound ST20 amp (I have one of these too but it needs attention) and this speaker. many 'prog' albums of the time I first heard through this system and it wasn't bad at all I remember.

Denton.JPG


DSCF2059.JPG
 
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,850
Likes
243,415
Location
Seattle Area
Didn’t, you know who, measure this line of Wharfedale and it performed better with the grille (it removes the effect of the baffle Being recessed)?
I don't trust his assessment but yes, I did see that but post measuring this sample.
 

holbob

Active Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
295
Likes
520
Location
Lincoln, UK
Never has a speaker company had such a variance of quality between their various models, regardless of price. The Linton and Diamond 12 series are excellent.
 

AndreaT

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
615
Likes
1,193
Location
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
A loud pass in my book. When these speakers were current in the 1960’s, most people had experienced only AM radio quality reproduced sound, a 4-inch full band speaker with no bass below 100 Hz and no treble. It must have sound sensational. Having conquered the important lower and higher octaves in the past sixty years from source, electronics and loudspeakers, not to mention SINAD and acoustic power, it is not surprising how disappointing they sound to the discerning ears. Thank you Amir for showing us one of the most luminous advantage of historical progress.
 
Top Bottom