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Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Review (Speaker)

pierre

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That is a lot of parametric EQ being applied to the response of this loudspeaker, some of it with relatively high Q values. Considering that the loudspeaker seems to have a wide built-in dip, about 2dB in magnitude centered on 2kHz and covering two octaves, I'd expect that a single parametric EQ filter in that region could suffice to bring up the energy to be relatively flat on axis. Wouldn't many of the other small peaks and dips be caused to a large extent by sound diffraction effects. I am concerned that EQing individual peaks and dips resulting from diffraction effects is not entirely a good idea.

Hello,

for this speaker you can decrease the Q to 4 and get similar results:

Code:
          SPK auEQ
-----------------
NBD  ON 0.39 0.39
NBD  LW 0.30 0.30
NBD PIR 0.28 0.25
SM  PIR 0.80 0.93
SM   SP 0.86 0.94
LFX       51   51
LFQ     0.43 0.43
-----------------
Score    5.4  5.8
-----------------
with
Code:
EQ for Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 computed from ASR data
Preference Score 5.4 with EQ 5.8
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.11
Dated: 2021-09-23-06:07:46

Preamp: -2.6 dB

Filter  1: ON PK Fc  1743 Hz Gain +2.29 dB Q 3.15
Filter  2: ON PK Fc  2453 Hz Gain +0.82 dB Q 4.00
Filter  3: ON PK Fc 14143 Hz Gain +0.50 dB Q 1.97
Filter  4: ON PK Fc 10225 Hz Gain +0.50 dB Q 4.00
Filter  5: ON PK Fc  2744 Hz Gain +0.50 dB Q 4.00
Filter  6: ON PK Fc   398 Hz Gain -0.72 dB Q 0.20
Filter  7: ON PK Fc  4538 Hz Gain -0.94 dB Q 1.67
Filter  8: ON PK Fc  1210 Hz Gain +0.75 dB Q 4.00
Filter  9: ON PK Fc  1635 Hz Gain +0.50 dB Q 4.00

filters0.png

Looking at the result on the PIR: you could probably get the same result with increasing the max DB around 2kHz. Here the EQ lower the
bass-midrange by 1 dB then plug the 2khz and down a bit the next bump at 4-5kHz.

What would be useful is to have the phase data too. Where the speaker is not min phase (group delay not flatish) then EQ with IIR is
not useful. So usually I expect IIR to not be efficient across crossover areas.

Last, the EQ is produced but an atomiser which naturally tries to optimise for small defects too.

I cannot test most of this EQs since I do not have the speakers, I was happy with the result with a few I have access to (JBL M2, Focal Solo 6 etc). Customer feedback is welcome!

The current max Q == 6 has been chosen because it is my limit to detect an audible change and also because likely variation model to model
are larger than the precision of the measurement.

filters4.png
 

bluefuzz

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I find interesting that after many decades of sound reproduction, the frequency ranges are still not firmly agreed on, seams to depend on what you read, who you talk to. I'm not pointing a mistake, just odd that there is no consensus. Personnally, I've always referred to the 2K region as being in the mids, maybe upper mids, but not lower treble as mentioned in this review.
Bass is 20 - 200 Hz, midrange is 200 - 2000 Hz and treble is 2000 - 20000 Hz. That's as good a definition as any and easiest to remember ... ;-)

You can subdivide each range as low, middle, upper, ie. low bass 20 - 50 Hz, mid bass 50 - 100 Hz, upper bass 100 - 200 Hz etc.
 

akarma

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I have zero experience with this Wharfedale model, with previous Wharfedale Diamond models I have tried I felt they were not resolving speakers subjectively.
The same experience was with Diamond 8.2 and 10.2 i had.
 

bennybbbx

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 bookshelf speaker. It was kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me. It costs US $399 for a pair.

The look and feel of the 12.1 is definitely above the budget category:

View attachment 154893

The back is rather pedestrian but more beefy than other speakers in its class:

View attachment 154894

Overall a good look for the speaker.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Using computational acoustics, far-field response is computed and that is what I present. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of about 1%. Clean high frequency response is responsible for ease of measurement in this regard.

Reference axis is approximately the center of the tweeter. Grill was not used.

Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

View attachment 154895

The all important on-axis response (black) is almost flat which is great. There is a bit of a valley around 2 to 3 kHz which unfortunately gets deeper off axis making directivity rather poor there. We can see it better in early window reflections:

View attachment 154896

It takes a rather severe penalty there. Lack of a waveguide causes the woofer beamwidth to be narrower than tweeter's around the crossover frequencies. Fortunately you can use a thick rug to absorb the floor reflections like I have. And high ceilings help too with the ceiling bounce.

Putting the two together we get the expected results which is good:

View attachment 154897

Near-field measurements show that this is one of the rarer designs that keeps the internal port and cabinet resonances at bay:

View attachment 154898

We routinely see these resonances being higher in frequency and competing with the tweeter/woofer response. Not here. The port does its thing to extend low frequencies and that is it. As it should be.

Back to directivity, we see its measure better here:

View attachment 154899

We see the beam width narrowing (woofer) then widening (tweeter). One benefit here though is that beam width is 20 or so degrees wider in each direction than is typical of these speakers. There is on going discussion as to trade off here.

Here is our color 3-D map of the same:

View attachment 154900

There is that narrowing of the high frequencies (same beaming but now applied to tweeter) and I wonder if this makes the speaker less bright to my ears.

Here is vertical with a bit more allowance for height than normal:
View attachment 154901

And our 3-D directivity at three frequencies:

View attachment 154902

Someone talked me into expanding my distortion measurements down to 76 dBSPL which is making the presentation hard but here it is anyway:

View attachment 154903

During measurements I did not hear much distortion above deep bass which indicates good power handling. Here is the same as a percentage:


View attachment 154905

Edit: forgot to post the impedance:

View attachment 154937

Wharfedale 12.1 Listening Tests
I powered the speakers in my usual far field setup and started to listen. One track, then two, then three. I am not hearing much to complain about! Yet we had that directivity error and some lower treble dip. Brought out the EQ to fill those in:

View attachment 154909

This made the vocals, especially that of females, to stand out more which I liked. And added a bit of resolution to them as is typical of this type of boost. On some tracks I thought there was a bit extra brightness but overall, I liked it better with EQ than without.

Power handling was excellent. Speaker simply doesn't do what it can't do, i.e. deep bass. As a result even with a single speaker, I could fill it with a ton of watts and it kept getting louder until I got scared before it did! There was some amount of tactile bass which was surprising and welcome

At this point I was puzzled that we had some flaws in measurements yet I am not able to put my finger on anything. So I pulled out my Revel M106 speaker and played it. The M106 was definitely a step up with much better resolution when it came to delicate details. It was clearly a better experience. That speaker is four times the price though so I changed it out for Revel M16. The M16 has a boosted upper bass and this was quite audible, creating a warmer, albeit slightly muddy sound without correction for my room mode which it activates. The M16 retails for double the price but you can get it for less discounted. Still, I didn't feel that it provided much of any advantage over Wharfedale 12.1 in this quick comparison.

Conclusions
Technical we have some technical flaws in the midst of good performance otherwise in the 12.1. Objectively this stands out a lot but in listening tests in my room at least with floor absorption and high ceilings, I was not able to identify it. Indeed I was stomped in trying to find much of any fault with the speaker. Directivity errors though mean that speaker sound will more room dependent so your experience may vary somewhat from mine. Still, I think Wharfedale has done a very good job here.

Overall, I am going to recommend the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1. You could almost push me to give it the highest honors had it not been due to directivity errors. It provides a quandary with respect to audibility of such flaws versus some other trade offs.

-----------
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/

thank you, that you do measure at 76 db too. that post measure also with lower as 86 db was written from more i read. I also have written that it is usefull. that it fit better you can post

70 db 76 db side by side.
86 db 96 db
and

or change it complete to

70 80
90 100
 

Xyrium

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Wow, this is crazy fantastic, especially for this price. A steal. The most impressive thing to me is the lack of visible resonances, especially below 1kHz -- from the port or otherwise. That's often where budget speakers fail badly.

The directivity error really isn't that bad either; horizontally, hardly any worse than the Genelec 8030C, if at all; it's just accentuated futher by the verticals, so i might boost this region a little above flat.

Fun to be here before @MZKM so I'ma bet that preference score with sub comes in around 7.5. Maybe higher.

Edit: on second thought I think it's probably between a 7-7.5. Wide directivity will probably hurt it a bit in the formula.

Edit 2: looking back at some older measurements I'm going back with my gut of a 7.5-ish sub score. Based on the trends of other bookshelf speakers that probably means a sans-sub score of around 5ish. *Plays jeopardy music*

Agreed. That's exactly what I do to the 8030c's...I bump 2k with a reasonably high Q notch on the DAC's EQ.

These are up there with the DBR's as reference bargains from the measurements, would love to hear them in my room.
 

Reed

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Finally some [American] measurements of the Evo models.
Too bad it’s not the 3-way 4.2.
I’d like to know about the 4.2 as well. Ive seen a few measurements on it but you really have to search and it’s not the tests that we see here. The 4.1 test should give us a hint though.
 

Xyrium

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Finally some [American] measurements of the Evo models.
Too bad it’s not the 3-way 4.2.
A 4.2 review would be amazing. A good score there might get them in consideration for removing my subs and going with just satellites for the setup which currently flanks my desk.
 

JohnG

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I wonder if the 12.4 would do a bit better in terms of directivity with the crossover dropping from 2.6 to 2.1 kHz.
 

MarkWinston

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I wonder if the 12.4 would do a bit better in terms of directivity with the crossover dropping from 2.6 to 2.1 kHz.
Ones with the '6 and half inch' woofers like the 12.2 and 12.4 have a lower crossover at 2khz and 2.1khz respectively. I dont know what will a lower crossover translate to though
 

Namesbuck

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Thank you for the review @amirm . I bought these when they first came out and have really enjoyed them. Listening to my HD560s most of the day and then relaxing to these in the evenings always brings a laid back sense of relaxation compared to the the more forward Sennheisers. I was afraid to scroll down through your review, out of fear that I had made a bad investment, so I'm glad to hear you like them.
 

MarkWinston

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So now that we know the on and off axis response of this speaker, the best position is to have the tweeter at ear height and be directly on the horizontal axis?
 

Hiten

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A 4.2 review would be amazing. A good score there might get them in consideration for removing my subs and going with just satellites for the setup which currently flanks my desk.
For Evo 4.2 The company has specs of 54hz. I am no expert but a 6.5 inch driver will not be able to replace the sub.

If for Wharfedale 12.2, the crossover point and mid driver is different and if deliberate BBC dip is implemented is also not known we can not surely say it has same somewhat linear response and dispersion as 12.1.

offtopic : Don't know why typical old school 3 ways (Dome tweeter, +/- 3 inch mid and +/- 12 inch woofer) became out of favour for audiophiles ? Isn't atleast in theory they have good chance to have comparatively good low end extension ? Even Modern towers with Tweeter+mid and separate designed multiple low end drivers are not common (and are expensive) but mostly around here I see Tweeter and similar multiple drivers for mid and subwoofer duty.
Regards
 

witwald

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So it has a baked in BBC dip?
That dip is an interesting one. It looks like it is caused by some unusual behaviour in the tweeter crossover. There appears to be a quite noticeable dip in the high-pass filtered acoustic response of the tweeter in the 1.5kHz to 3kHz region (approximately 1 octave wide). See the picture below, where I've highlighted the region in question.

The dip seems centered at or around 2kHz, which more or less corresponds with location of the approximately 2dB dip in the summed output of the woofer and tweeter.

I'm left wondering what might have caused that unusual behaviour in the filtering of the tweeter's response, as it seems to largely be the cause the dip in the summed response. It would be interesting to know the crossover topology used on the high-pass and low-pass filters, as well as the component values. It could well be that, with some very minor component adjustments, a much better integration between the woofer and tweeter outputs could be achieved.

1632552924516.png
of
 

bluefuzz

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Don't know why typical old school 3 ways (Dome tweeter, +/- 3 inch mid and +/- 12 inch woofer) became out of favour for audiophiles ?
Big and clumsy. Low WAF. Relatively expensive to produce - a lot more expensive coils and caps in a 3-way crossover - which is difficult to sell at an equivalent profit to a 2-way. Small 2-ways + subwoofer(s) are easier to make sound good in typical rooms.

Judging by the popularity of Troels Gravesen's many '3-way classic' designs audiophiles still favour the format, but I have a feeling they are often relegated to 'man-caves' or the recently (or soon to be) divorced ...
 

uwotm8

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Honestly was never impressed with most hyped Wharfediamonds - 8.1 and 9.1, "cheap" and dull sound, I'd call it "anti-Focal" signature. Not annoying and unexciting. However, I was impressed by 9.x series woofer chassis, such a hi-endish thin cast spider, maybe you can't get better in terms of airyness for any price.

Anyway for $400 I'd get KEF Q150 just for its look (not even mentioning they do sound better and overall are way more interesting).
 
Last edited:

TheBatsEar

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Judging by the popularity of Troels Gravesen's many '3-way classic' designs audiophiles still favour the format, but I have a feeling they are often relegated to 'man-caves' or the recently (or soon to be) divorced ...
Harsh, but probably true.:D
 

MarkWinston

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Honestly was never impressed with most hyped Wharfediamonds - 8.1 and 9.1, "cheap" and dull sound, I'd call it "anti-Focal" signature. Not annoying and unexciting. However, I was impressed by 9.x series woofer chassis, such a hi-endish thin cast spider, maybe you can't get better in terms of airyness for any price.

Anyway for $400 I'd get KEF Q150 just for its look (not even mentioning they do sound better and overall are way more interesting).
If you like a coloured sound, yeah.
 

richard12511

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Bass is 20 - 200 Hz, midrange is 200 - 2000 Hz and treble is 2000 - 20000 Hz. That's as good a definition as any and easiest to remember ... ;-)

You can subdivide each range as low, middle, upper, ie. low bass 20 - 50 Hz, mid bass 50 - 100 Hz, upper bass 100 - 200 Hz etc.

I like that breakdown. Super easy to remember. I usually go by REW's breakdown.
 
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