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Wharfedale Linton 85th Anniversary speaker review & measurements by Erin's Audio Corner

DSJR

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If your goal is better detail I would not buy the Lintons. So far (now that I've got some on hand) I agree with comments others have made that they are not super detailed. If I have a complaint about them at the moment this would be my first one. Caveat, though, that I have not heard any of those other speakers (so they might all not meet your goals), just that I've heard a number of more expensive speakers with better detail. The LS/50 Meta's that I was recently demoing had at least slightly better, if not significantly better detail in the highs, but had a broad frequency output dip that made their mid-bass too anemic, especially after getting some help A/B'ing them against the Wharfedale EVO 4.2s.

Also, I would have said to stay away from wide baffle speakers in general if you want detail but I no longer believe this after hearing BenB's custom line array speakers that he's posted about on this forum. They are effectively an infinite baffle wall mounted speaker and they presented excellent levels of detail.
I'm not baiting here, but define 'more detail.'

Do you mean a tweeter set very slightly too high, or a lifted upper mid to crossover region (as in NS10's at their exaggerated worst)?

Certainly you don't want 'smear,' but with a passive crossover, you're always going to get at least a gentle touch of 'smoothing' or 'softening' going on, even in the finest examples. The secret is to blend the drivers together so it sounds 'seamless' and yet I feel that many 'exalted' speakers around and about haven't quite got this aspect at all.

I came at looking at the Lintons as maybe cut-price Harbeth C7-XD's which I love but the price is eye-watering now ('cos all their 'BBC-Thinking' competitors do it). Smaller KEFs have always been too thin and 'tizzy' for me (the latter may not matter now :( ) and sadly in the UK, Revel have absolutely NO presence whatsoever (I did hear some floor standing two grand-ish ones and they were uber-clean and a bit 'stark' but at least this was from top to bottom... I think it was the Concerta F35


The thing is in the UK market, 'retro' is only a fleeting fashion and these Lintons are sold by dealer chains (not sure if there's a discount on them). Independent dealers almost certainly won't want to know as I doubt they'd be able to sell enough to make any real living out of it (no wonder my local audio salon chases big-ticket Naim and Dynaudio sales, a grand a pair their basic entry level - Focal Chora or maybe Q Acoustics). I was desperate for them to take the JBL L100 Classics but as I was the only interested party and not able to buy a pair, they cancelled their order for them and nobody else even mentioned them :(
 
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thewas

thewas

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That does not look EQ friendly, or what do you say?
As Erin also says in its video it isn't as EQ friendly as its mainly due to the directivity discontinuity at that region, so trying to boost it would give the stock quite flat direct sound a peak there.
..sound a bit warm ... and why not? :) ... Can be a really nice sound in many people's ears.
Sure, I wish it would do the same to mine as I really like their looks and configuration and even arranged a listening session at my local dealer at the early pandemic in spring 2020 but unfortunately as much as I would love to the "sparkle didn't jump over to me" as we say in my local language.
 

DanielT

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...a fleeting fashion...
What is that?

Edit:
Sorry, forgot, Google::)
Fleeting is used to describe something which lasts only for a very short time.

Edit 2:
You are probably right considering that you are a former professional seller of HiFi but the retro trend / vintage and turntable seems to hold up well. Do you not think these Linton's fill a need in the market for a fairly long time to come?

I do not know how big this retro / vintage / turntable trend really is. That we're talking about this one at ASR is one thing but the large mass of people listening to music? I do not know
 
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DSJR

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P.S. The upper mid 'dip' in the Linton will be interpreted in two ways in-room I feel. Either the image will appear slightly more 'spacious,' or it may give an impressioin of very slight 'dullness,' either of these effects depending on room acoustics I think. That little dip I believe was deliberately put there after listening tests, so yanking it out in an aftermarket crossover mod isn't really ideal and actually, short-sighted in this instance I'd say.
 

DSJR

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I do not know how big this retro / vintage / turntable trend really is. That we're talking about this one at ASR is one thing but the large mass of people listening to music? I do not know
I was thinking *new* product. The market for used general audio products is huge here and has almost wiped out the market for traditional mid priced stereo gear in the UK (home theatre was never a huge thing with the audiophile fraternity). At the higher end, new bling seems to rule - I'm fudging the turntable market though as that's something else full of people convinced that the format is still the highest of fidelity 9to the music of course, not the master recording...).
 

DanielT

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I was thinking *new* product. The market for used general audio products is huge here and has almost wiped out the market for traditional mid priced stereo gear in the UK (home theatre was never a huge thing with the audiophile fraternity). At the higher end, new bling seems to rule - I'm fudging the turntable market though as that's something else full of people convinced that the format is still the highest of fidelity 9to the music of course, not the master recording...).
Aha, well I thought most of all that Wharfedale Linton can piggyback, surf on the interest in vintage. The aesthetic, looks are vintage.

There are those who combine them with turntables. It fits, purely aesthetically, well together, I think. See post # 84 in this thread regarding that. :)
 

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cavedriver

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The Lintons have a wide dip lower (between 600 and 2000 Hz) there which was also mentioned by Erin and makes them sound a bit warm also in my past listening experiences:

The LS50 Meta have just a smaller dip between 2-4 kHz and sound less laidback:
Unfortunately I did not have all three speakers at the same time and have not taken the Lintons to my friend to A/B against other speakers. he has a faster switch that makes it easier to detect differences between two speakers where it takes me several seconds to switch between my mains and secondaries on an Onkyo A/V receiver and on the Hypex amp I have to move the wires. I suspect that if I listened to the Lintons next to the LS50 and Evo's I would have noticed the dip. Once I heard the LS50 side by side with the EVO's I couldn't escape noticing the dip and it kind of ruined the speaker. Clearly I need to improve my critical listening skills. But the LS50's "thinness" in the entire lower bass region had already ruled it out as a keeper for me anyone so I wasn't investing much more effort in it. The Lintons will be harder to let go because on the balance they are produced a better full range sound. Right now A/B them against the Snells isn't really that tough as a test because these two large box ported design mid-high efficiency speakers are too similar in their strengths and weaknesses. If I do some measured and critical A/B listening against something better I do expect to find more flaws in them that may possibly ruin them for me, but that's kind of why I'm saying I'm just going to enjoy them for now because whatever it is, warmth, baffle diffraction, high roll-offs, perhaps actual faster response times, whatever, they are very enjoyable for now.
 
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thewas

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But the LS50's "thinness" in the entire lower bass region had already ruled it out as a keeper for me anyone so I wasn't investing much more effort in it. The Lintons will be harder to let go because on the balance they are produced a better full range sound. Right now A/B them against the Snells isn't really
Yes, the Lintons definitely give a more complete full range sound, I wouldn't for example recommend using the LS50 without subwoofers except in very small listening distances and/or rooms.
 

cavedriver

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I'm not baiting here, but define 'more detail.'

Do you mean a tweeter set very slightly too high, or a lifted upper mid to crossover region (as in NS10's at their exaggerated worst)?

Certainly you don't want 'smear,' but with a passive crossover, you're always going to get at least a gentle touch of 'smoothing' or 'softening' going on, even in the finest examples. The secret is to blend the drivers together so it sounds 'seamless' and yet I feel that many 'exalted' speakers around and about haven't quite got this aspect at all.

I came at looking at the Lintons as maybe cut-price Harbeth C7-XD's which I love but the price is eye-watering now ('cos all their 'BBC-Thinking' competitors do it). Smaller KEFs have always been too thin and 'tizzy' for me (the latter may not matter now :( ) and sadly in the UK, Revel have absolutely NO presence whatsoever (I did hear some floor standing two grand-ish ones and they were uber-clean and a bit 'stark' but at least this was from top to bottom... I think it was the Concerta F35
I'll do my best. I think what I say is more detail is when you can hear all the quieter or subtler sounds in a recording, particular in the mid to higher frequencies. So what causes speakers to not effectively play these sounds when they measure perfectly level? Many things have been claimed and I honestly don't know. I just know that when I listen to one speaker I can hear those people coughing in the audience during concerts, or the amount of hiss or background noise in a recording, or things like the childrens voices in the background in The Wall are clearer. Sometimes it's an instrument or a group of instruments (the violins in a symphony) but of course I have to know the recording well to know when the details are and aren't there. As far as crossover design, yes, I've heard it said that's one of the causes, along with distortion, compression, driver material and moving mass, diffraction, whether from baffles, concentric driver cones, or horn design, and I suppose several more explanations. The problem with judging detail is that's so contextual (what else is the speaker doing right/wrong at that moment) that if I don't A/B two speakers right next to each other I have to be careful about saying which is more detailed. Hearing the Lintons against my Snells I can say the Snell's are relatively just a little more detailed, but not by much. From memory the Fyne 502SP's that I listened to a couple weeks ago were signficantly more detailed, but I couldn't A/B those at the time so it's hard to say for sure by how much. I do not want to say if the Lintons are more or less detailed than the EVO 4.2s or LS/50 because unfortunately I don't have them to A/B anymore and I kind of wish I did. Now that I'm keeping the Lintons around for a bit I'm thinking of testing a pair of Revel M106's. I've heard old Voecks designs that used aluminum tweeters that I didn't like but those were designed over 2 decades old so not really fair. I expect the M106's would be very detailed.
 
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cavedriver

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Yes, the Lintons definitely give a more complete full range sound, I wouldn't for example recommend using the LS50 without subwoofers except in very small listening distances and/or rooms.
Yeah, the missing bass content in so many recordings is painfully obvious and so you really need a sub. As part of a home theater system is the only way they make sense to me.

But the LS50's "thinness" in the entire lower bass region had already ruled it out as a keeper for me anyone so I wasn't investing much more effort in it. The Lintons will be harder to let go because on the balance they are produced a better full range sound.
gawd, what's happening to my english?? "anyone" instead of "anyway" and "produced" instead of "producing"? yikes.
 

cavedriver

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I'm not baiting here, but define 'more detail.'

Do you mean a tweeter set very slightly too high, or a lifted upper mid to crossover region (as in NS10's at their exaggerated worst)?
I'll add that I just looked at Amir's old review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 and he makes this comment about them:

"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."

I suspect Amir and I are talking about the same kind of thing here, and I suspect he would have some similar comments on the Lintons if he reviewed them based on his Diamond review (although perhaps less so since I haven't heard the Diamonds). I suspect people with an excellent ear for how classical music instruments should sound, especially in larger arrangements, would find the Lintons frustrating in this lack of resolution and reject them on that basis despite their other strengths.
 

DSJR

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I only heard one Fyne model and they were as rough up top as a 'badgers backside.' This shouldn't tar all of them of course, but the older 'more mature audiophile' may prefer them.

The M106 is a far more expensive speaker though, isn't it - at least over here (£2,200pr) where the Lintons including their stands are £1250pr here.
 
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thewas

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Yeah, the missing bass content in so many recordings is painfully obvious and so you really need a sub. As part of a home theater system is the only way they make sense to me.
Or for nearfield/desktop monitoring, I have 2 pairs and for the desktop one a subwoofer isn't an absolute must for normal nearfield listening levels.
 

cavedriver

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Or for nearfield/desktop monitoring, I have 2 pairs and for the desktop one a subwoofer isn't an absolute must for normal nearfield listening levels.
Fair enough, at truly low volumes bass perception is apparently weaker so yes, you aren't really listening to the sub-60 hz content anyway. I guess I play music at my desk too loudly :)
 

cavedriver

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I only heard one Fyne model and they were as rough up top as a 'badgers backside.' This shouldn't tar all of them of course, but the older 'more mature audiophile' may prefer them.

The M106 is a far more expensive speaker though, isn't it - at least over here (£2,200pr) where the Lintons including their stands are £1250pr here.
Yeah, the cheaper Fynes, for example the 501 versus the 502SP, is probably too much of a trade off for their concentric driver approach to really even work. ramming all the treble content through that tiny horn just looks like it shouldn't work. I'm working on visiting a dealer a little further from me that has the 703 and 704, where the cone is larger and the tweeter itself is a 3" titanium dome. The 502SP was one of the more directional speakers I've heard- the stereo image only really coalesced when the speakers were toed all the way in to where they were pointed almost at my ears. Coming from wide box speakers this is almost antithetical to my listening expectations, haha, but they were producing excellent imaging and fairly good detail in my relatively short time with them. I'm hoping the 703/4 will widen that sweet spot a bit and retain more details in the highs but we'll see. With no measured data out there anywhere on the higher end Fynes (nor any of the better older Tannoys) it's all just hearsay for now and they could totally suck or be completely awesome. I heard enough goodness in the 502SP to at least be intrigued. I will add that their bass depth and character was very, very good. Immigrant Song was laid down like I was at a concert, one of the best reproductions I've heard in a while.

I wrote a long response about "flexible budgets" but it was lame. simple answer is the Revel's certainly aren't equal to the Lintons but if I like them enough I may justify them (or something similar). I've tried a bunch of cheaper stuff and so far nothing I could settle for even if the room I'm putting them (a library/office) doesn't deserve better.
 
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DSJR

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Thing is, you're getting into the realms of serious active models which admittedly may not suit visually. At least, that's how I see it now...
 

cavedriver

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Thing is, you're getting into the realms of serious active models which admittedly may not suit visually. At least, that's how I see it now...
right again, an active speaker would seem to be ideal for the application if it weren't for the idea that I also want to have an option to use my grandfathers Scott 296 tube amp in that room. Right now I'm using a VTV Hypex amp but that has over 300 wpc of power and will be used to driver future front channels in the movie room. Not sure what I'll use when I'm not in the mood to warm up a tube amp, maybe a used class A amp like a Krell or BAT since those have been cropping up for sale a lot lately with all the people moving to digital.
 
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thewas

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Fair enough, at truly low volumes bass perception is apparently weaker so yes, you aren't really listening to the sub-60 hz content anyway. I guess I play music at my desk too loudly :)
Actually thanks to near front wall placement and room gain I get linearly down to approx. 35 Hz with only negative PEQs at my desktop system and this works well at loudnesses up to 80-85 dB at my listening position.

1657645315601.png
 

cavedriver

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Actually thanks to near front wall placement and room gain I get linearly down to approx. 35 Hz with only negative PEQs at my desktop system and this works well at loudnesses up to 80-85 dB at my listening position.
That's your nearfield measured response with LS/50's (meta/non-meta?)? Pretty impressive bass boost. Right now the back of my desk faces out into the room so front ported speakers do better, and there's a wall too close behind me. We are going to rearrange the room soon so hopefully the speakers will end up with less room behind them and more in front so there can be both desk and chair listening positions.

Edit- eek, those dips at 90 and 115 hz, aren't they audible with certain recordings?
 
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