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Wharfedale Diamond 220 Budget Speaker Review

MarkWinston

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That's good to hear. I'm currently debating between the diamond 12 series and the elac dbr62 that received a really good recommendation here. I've heard mostly good things so far, but I was also wondering about the differences between the 12.1 and the 12.2. It's hard to find comparisons online. I tried searching YouTube and Google, but there was only one video that compared all 3 of the new diamonds. So far nothing I've found compare the diamonds to the dbrs.
One thing is for sure, the 12.2 is more neutral than the dbrs from all the measurements Ive seen online. Others are subjective but if neutrality is what you are after, the 12s are the most neutral ones Ive seen in its price point (bar the intentional BBC Dip).
 

thewas

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One thing is for sure, the 12.2 is more neutral than the dbrs from all the measurements Ive seen online.
Could you please share have links to those measurements?
 

MarkWinston

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Could you please share have links to those measurements?
Dont really have it at the top of my head now but I saw a few charts months back before I purchased the 12.2 when reading up on them. Those charts are hidden within written reviews, so its hard for me to link you up here as I cant remember which reviews. All charts mainly showed how linear and neutral they were and that was one of the main reasons I got them. As for youtube, Joe & Tell has an in room measurement if I remember correctly. And Pursuit Perfect System has one too although I dont really know if they are anechoic or in room. Both are really flat. All in all, Ive not come across one measurement of the 12.1 and 12.2 that show otherwise.
 

MarkWinston

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MarkWinston

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When you say Wharfedale, you probably think of a nice-looking brand of affordable hi-fi that makes well-functioning, conservatively designed speakers. However, few people add to the initial impression that Wharfedale has existed for some 90 years (and has been producing speakers all this time) and is now one of the largest manufacturers on the planet under the auspices of the IAG Group. However, this is also associated with a really wide, sometimes a bit confusing portfolio.

It is also because the rough offer of the brand is thickening especially in the most accessible area and most model lines bear the name Diamond. The latest generation is the Diamond 12 series - as usual, trying to define the standards of this affordable price category, for which Wharfedale, with its huge development and production capacity, has indisputable possibilities. It is already a bold marketing slogan "The New Benchmark".

What you will learn then is that the way to improve compared to previous generations has been paved by a highly acclaimed designer specializing in consulting business - Karl-Heinz Fink, who manufactures speakers worth a million or more under his own name, so he probably knows what makes. Not that there is a directly proportional equation between price and quality, but there is definitely a considerable degree of connection.



It came to us as the first Diamond 12.2 model, which is the largest of even three different shelf models in the series. The exterior is unquestionably "Wharfedale" - the cabinet is purely rectangular, has a separate front wall in high gloss and the rest of the walls are covered with cultured-looking vinyl. The overall processing is exemplary, it can be seen that the huge opportunities of the company have their results.

The concept is classic to conservative - Diamond 12.2 are usually large shelves (honest 8.2 kg per piece at a width of 20 cm, a height of 33.5 cm and a depth of 28.5 cm, which gives an internal working volume of 11.8 liters) with a carrying sandwich construction of panels with reinforcements in the right-left and front-rear axis, fitted at the front with one tweeter and one mid-bass speaker.



At the back, you will see a bass reflex exhalation made of high-quality plastic with a slight arch, which reduces the risk of unpleasant sounds. In the lower part, there is typically a set of two pairs of reproterminals - they are arranged vertically and still form an angle of 90 degrees, so they work perfectly.

Wharfedale is paying the most attention to the new 15 cm diameter medium-bass conical diaphragm material - they call it Klarity. The polypropylene base is complemented by synthetic mica fibers and provides higher membrane strength. This is further increased by the ribs stretching from the center to the edge. It is said that the curtain is also newly developed - it is a classic (albeit relatively large) ripple made of a very soft material. The classic ferrite magnet in this inverter is complemented by aluminum shorting rings, which specify the operation of the coil.



When we are at the spool, it is wound on a former made of a combination of resin and glass fibers - this is a very exotic material for this price range. The aim is to prevent the spread of stray currents, which the common Kapton former does not prevent.

But the tweeter is also new - its 2.5 cm wide dome is made of knitted polyester film, the surface of which is treated with a glossy impregnation. The plate is not shaped in any way, and yet there is a small ear canal around the speaker.



Fink also designed an interesting frequency switch - it uses an LKR (Linkwitz-Riley) topology with a slope of 24 dB / octave. The mounted coils are on the air core, which is again a relatively expensive and atypical element in this price. It is also worth mentioning the transient frequency of 2,000 Hz.

Wharfedale gives a frequency range of 50 - 20,000 Hz, a nominal impedance of 8 ohms (although it is said to be a minimum of 4 ohms) and a characteristic sensitivity of 88 dB / 2.83 V / m.



We listened to Diamond 12.2 in both listening rooms - on the one hand they played instead of KEF LS50 Meta / Emotiva ERC-4 / RME ADI-2 DAC FS / Emotiva XSP-1 / Emotiva XPA-DR2 on ZenSati cables, on the other hand they played instead of Fischer & Fischer SN-70 together with Cambridge CXA81 / Teac NT-503 / Cambridge CXC on Dynamique Audio Horizon 2 cables and finally also on OPPO UDP-205 / Métronome DSC1 / Revo SC-2 LN standard / Revo PA 160 MR standard / GMG Power Harmonic Hammer 3000P, where on cables Nordost Heimdall 2 alternated with Xavian Quarta Evoluzione.

Diamond 12.2 aren't that big, so it's no wonder that George Duke's "Follow That You Will" bass ("Follow the Rainbow" | 2010 | epic | 88697779882) had a certain volume limit at the bottom, but for a small room with a baffle position near the wall, the desired fifty Hz is probably actually achieved. It's a softer bass, more relaxed, but decently "monotonous", evaluated through the optics of the basic hi-fi category. In other words, on a small shelf, Wharfedale works very tastefully on - especially higher - bass.



Loreena McKennit's singing in "All Visit" ("The Visit" | 2006 | Quinlan Records | 0774213510426) felt that little Wharfedale was trying to offer an honest fullness of sound, but there was also a calmer, more pleasant company soundtrack, but it wasn't "Just nice." Diamond 12.2 have good clarity, for the money the sound gave a solid legible impression, although overall it was softer.

The clinking on the highs in Clapton's "Next Time You See Her" ("Slowhand" | 2012 | Polydor | 5340724) was reasonable, they also tend to be softer and calmer - which is quite good, because the amplifiers at an adequate and most likely price level (ie below CZK 10,000) tend to sound a bit sharper at centers and highs. However, informativeness was definitely not bad here either, and you will get more information than with regular production in this segment.



Even if you send a highly dynamic recording to Diamond 12.2, such as Bruford's "Some Other Time" ("If Summer Had Its Ghosts" | 1997 | Discipline | 633367970527) and still push the volume a little, the small speakers bravely hold control and sophistication. It's a bit richer and a little softer sound that well supports the sense of size and intensity - of course to the extent that small shelves can offer. It's a sound that won't rock the floor under your feet, but it's definitely no longer anemic and deserves to be fully included among hi-fi experiences.

The resolution meets everything you expect at a given price and adds a little more to the standards - especially the cleanliness isn't really bad anymore, so Micheal Hedges' guitar in "Bensusan" ("Aerial Boundaries" | 1984 | Windham Hill Records | 01934110322) sounded good openness and sonority. Of course, we are not in a sphere where you could expect any delicate nuances, but the basic "storyline" is played with good control and clarity, although you still feel a slightly tighter, smoother style.



The space of the music scene in "Messy Bessie" by Jimmy Smith ("Back at the Chicken Shack" | 2007 | Blue Note | 0946 3 92777 2 8) was smaller, but again compactly organized in its compactness. Diamond 12.2 are nicely arranged and manage exactly what they have, in the world of basic hi-fi they are definitely above standard well.

Ozzy's wilder "I Just Want You" ("Ozzmosis" | 2014 | Qobuz | 24/96) was calmed down, Diamond 12.2 is not entirely for lovers of hard genres, where many may lack more drive and more "flashy", but be sure that you will not listen to music in a more controlled and civilized way in a given price range. There's enough bass to suit smaller spaces, there's good fluency to make the music fun, and even if it's not very wild, you'll get enough music for your money.



With its combination of tradition, financial and technical background, Wharfedale can produce excellent available speakers, and the latest Diamond series and Diamond 12.2 shelves are no exception. Aesthetics and materials are excellent in the context of class, they look modern and you will not regret your money. Technically, Wharfedale then projects into such an affordable level something interesting and this is then reflected in a good, balanced, but mainly very cultivated and pleasant sound, which already has the right dose of "real hi-fi". If you want something small for smaller rooms that fulfills the fundamental desire to "play nicely" and at the same time be budget-friendly, Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 is at the very top of its class and just a third higher price tag will not offer you such a portion of fun .

MEASUREMENT

The frequency response was measured from a distance of 1 m in the axis between the tweeter and the midrange in a closed semi-reversible space with a floor area of about 50 square meters, standard attenuation (bass traps and absorption-diffusion panels Sonitus Acoustics, carpets, large seating areas, large library, ceiling filled with cotton wool, curtains and heavy curtains, ...), although without extensive acoustic modifications.

Measurements can be considered 100% plausible in the band 200 Hz and higher, in the band 10 - 200 Hz the influence of room acoustics can be seen. It was measured using Clio Pocket software and a calibrated microphone, and the speakers were placed in the listening position seen in the accompanying photographs.

The software does not measure the anechoic response, but the frequency response, taking into account the balance of energy over time - not a measured theoretical ideal of what the speakers can do, but how the speakers behaved in specific acoustic conditions.



Frequency response - in axis (red) and at an angle of 30 ° (black)

Diamond 12.2 offers an excellent frequency response (a wide drop around 180 Hz is a product of the "interplay" of room proportions and measuring positions). Especially from 1 kHz onwards, the response is excellent. The band between 50 and about 500 Hz is slightly emphasized, as is the case with smaller and cheaper shelves, to play interestingly. The peak energy at 50 Hz looks like a bass reflex product, the mid-bass energy below the 100 Hz limit decreases relatively quickly. Overall, however, it is a very well-tuned frequency response, not necessarily in the most basic class.



Frequency response - in the axis (red) and vertically at an angle of 30 ° below the axis (yellow) and 30 ° above the axis of the tweeter (green)

If for some reason you can no longer have your ears at the tweeter level, then it is better to place the shelves lower.



Frequency response - bass part (red) and mid-treble part (black)



Frequency response - with grid (red) and without grid (black)

It can be seen that the grid used - quite typically - affects the energy of the treble, especially from 3 kHz to the end of the frequency range. The difference is very significant in some places and it is definitely very good to take it off while listening.



Frequency response - individual converters and bass reflex in the near field



Listening Frequency Response (FFT) - Left Channel (Red) and Right Channel (Black)



Frequency response at the listening position (pulse) - left channel (red) and right channel (black)



Total harmonic distortion (green line)

The harmonic distortion line is surprisingly low, with the exception of an unexpectedly high peak around 500 Hz, which is also in line with the peak in the frequency response.



Distortion of 2nd (yellow) and 3rd (orange) harmonics

This graph shows that the increased distortion of the 2nd harmonic between 300 and 600 Hz, where at 500 Hz it reaches a value of up to 3%, which is strange, because otherwise Diamond 12.2 are very exemplary in this respect.



Waterfall



Impulse response @ 1 m in the tweeter axis



Step response @ 1 m in the tweeter axis



Impedance (red) and electrical phase (black)

The bass reflex tuning is at a surprisingly low 45 Hz, between 150 and 350 Hz the impedance drops slightly below 4 ohms. The only significant resonance at 250 Hz can be seen on the whole curve. The electrical phase confirms this, but like the impedance, it is reasonably demanding (though not completely unpretentious). Diamond 12.2 will also play with basic electronics, but especially if you like to play more loud, it's a good idea to choose a more stable and simply good amplifier.



CSD from the accelerometer output at half the height of the side panel @ 2.83 V

SUITABLE ROOM

SMALL [<- 20m2] [✓] | MEDIUM [-> 20m2 / <- 40m2] [×] | LARGE [-> 40m2] [×]

CZK 10,590
 

MarkWinston

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Diamond 12.1 FR (left and right channels).jpg
Diamond 12.2 (white) VS Evo 4.2 (pink).jpg
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 F.R..jpg
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 vs 11.1 FR.jpg
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 FR.jpg
 

MarkWinston

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These are a few charts that I can find for now, from Joe And Tell and Pursuit Perfect Systems from youtube and a few from the net. There are a few more that I cant seem to relocate but show the same thing. Graphs from all over show the same consistent thing, they are near ruler flat bar the bbc dip, the flattest Ive seen in this price range and even higher. The next flattest speaker that cost a bit more is the Polk R200 (also has the bbc dip), which measures nearly identical to the diamond 12s.
 

Zaki Ghul

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There are really encouraging measurements of this speaker and the newer 12.1. I wonder if these would scale up to the Diamond 230 tower speakers? They are available in the UK for only £219!
Not a trained listener or expert in any way but I have the 230 (had them for several years) and like them a lot. Keep in mind that they do dip to 3 point something ohms in lower frequencies and with most modern receivers I tried, including the NAD 316bee I didn't get much low end and had to use a sub. Now I'm running an old Sony str-v5 with the really big caps that can handle transient loads and I don't use a sub anymore.
 

wrevilo

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Not a trained listener or expert in any way but I have the 230 (had them for several years) and like them a lot. Keep in mind that they do dip to 3 point something ohms in lower frequencies and with most modern receivers I tried, including the NAD 316bee I didn't get much low end and had to use a sub. Now I'm running an old Sony str-v5 with the really big caps that can handle transient loads and I don't use a sub anymore.
That's really interesting, thank you. I guess in that case my Class D Denon PMA-50, which produces 50W into 4 Ohms might not be ideal? Even upgrading to a more powerful and also Class D NAD D 3045 might not get the best out of these speakers?
 

Den

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Anyone have any experience with the speaker at low volume listening? does the speaker perform well at low level listening?
Thank you!
 

Willem

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I have a pair in a secundary system. I rather like them, but they are a bit bass light. I think that is a good compromise, but at lower levels you will notice that more. So a loudness switch on your amplifier will help. Or a subwoofer. Other than that they are very good for the price.
 
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Den

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I have a pair in a secundary system. I rather like them, but they are a bit bass light. I think that is a good compromise, but at lower levels you will notice that more. So a loudness switch on your amplifier will help. Or a subwoofer. Other than that they are very good for the price.
Thanks for the answer. I like it kinda bass light, so that will work. Thank you for sharing!
 

Willem

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Prices vary enormously between markets (I paid 130 euros for the set, normal price is about 170 euros), but I think that over here they are probably the best budget speakers money can buy.
 

Pete Basel

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Has it been discussed or can anyone explain why all the spin and estimated in room
plots show droop of about 5 dB at 100 Hz whereas the NRC plots show the Wharfedale
nearly flat down to 100?
I believe that they both claim to be (effective) 4pi anechoic type measurements.
I've noticed this in most of the spin plots.

Wharfedale 12.2 is currently $599 at many places - okay I see that two different speakers
are being discussed here since the 220 is currently on Amazon for $249. Very nice bargain.
 
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thewas

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Soundstage measurements of Wharfedale Diamond 220 vs KEF LS50 Meta, very similar?

Wharfedale Diamond 220:
fr_on1530.gif


KEF LS50 Meta:
fr_on1530.png

The above shown 0-30° have obviously some similarities, although the larger 45°-75° differ more:

fr_456075.gif

source: https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/i...&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153

fr_456075.png


source: https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/i...&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153

meaning at more nearfield listening and more damped rooms they will sound more similar than in farfield and reflective rooms.
 

Bsmooth

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So where would you recommend crossing these over to a subwoofer ? I was thinking maybe 80-100 hz ? I notioced Amir saying there was a slight boominess, anyway to eliminate this with a different crossover point ?
 
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