Point out the phrases ‘Wharfedale Diamond’, and the picture that involves thoughts is that of a small gifted finances standmounters. That description applies to the originals from 1982, in addition to the star performers from subsequent generations.
What of the assorted Diamond floorstanders? As a breed, they’ve confirmed to be strong over time however comparatively unremarkable on the entire. Wharfedale, like just about each different speaker model on the market, has struggled to make a correctly musical finances tower. Till now that’s.
Whereas the brand new 12.Three can’t actually be known as finances, they do sit on the extra inexpensive finish of the market. Most significantly, they’ve a musical efficiency that, if something, impresses us much more than that delivered by the lauded Diamond 12.1 standmounters.
Wharfedale tends to begin with a clear sheet each few generations of the Diamond, and so it’s with the 12 sequence. The cupboard is a rigorously crafted, straight-edged design that is strategically braced to offer a strong and low resonance platform for the drive items to work from. It’s all wrapped in a neat, elegant end that belies the 12.3’s modest worth. We even just like the tidy toes association and good design of the spikes.
Wharfedale Diamond 12.Three tech specs
Kind 2.5-way ﬂoorstander
Nominal impedance 8ohms
Frequency response 45Hz – 20kHz
Dimensions (hwd) 98 x 18 x 32cm
Weight 19.5kg (every)
These audio system can be found in 4 finishes: black, walnut, white and a relatively elegant gentle oak. And the drive items are simply as admirable. The 12.Three are a 2.5-way design the place the higher 13cm driver covers all the things from midrange downwards, leaving the second to strengthen the lows. Each drivers use a cone materials known as Klarity, a mixture of polypropylene and mica, claimed to be gentle, inflexible and effectively damped.
Wharfedale follows commonplace trade apply by utilizing the identical tweeter all through the Diamond 12 vary. It’s a 25mm coated woven polyester comfortable dome, and a superb one it’s too. A rigorously formed faceplate leaves as a lot of the dome uncovered as attainable, and the contouring closest to the dome is there to offer a small diploma of horn loading.
Mixed with a rigorously calibrated, comparatively refined crossover, the result’s a speaker with a sensitivity of 89dB/W/m and a nominal impedance that’s quoted as being 8ohm suitable.
Maybe it’s extra helpful to know that the minimal impedance is 5ohms, which suggests these floorstanders are unlikely to present any first rate price-compatible amplifier an issue.
At simply wanting 98cm tall, the 12.Three aren’t huge audio system, however they nonetheless carry out greatest if given slightly room to breathe. We discover they work effectively if positioned at the very least 50cm from the rear wall; we choose 90cm in our check room. Equally, hold them at the very least 70cm away from the sidewalls if you wish to maximise stereo imaging, sonic stability and readability. A little bit of angle in direction of the listening place helps to agency the stereo imaging, too, however the 12.3’s broad dispersion traits imply that you just don’t need to be millimetre-perfect to get good outcomes.
Audio system at this stage have a troublesome job to do: they need to be forgiving sufficient to sound acceptable with finances all-in-one electronics however nonetheless have the transparency to profit from the most effective price-compatible separate parts round.
The Diamond 12.Three are masters at juggling these nearly contradictory calls for. They’re clean, even-handed and splendidly refined for the cash. Feed them a poor sign and they’re expert at revealing the shortcomings with out shouting about them. They’ll spherical off tough edges and downplay undesirable aggression with out sounding like they’re smothering the life out of the music.
However given a superb supply and suitably succesful amplification, they carry out fantastically. Whereas we use our ordinary reference Naim ND555/555 PS DR music streamer and Burmester 088/911 Mk3 amplifier for a part of the check, the majority of our listening is completed with extra worth suitable electronics within the type of the Marantz PM6007 amplifier and Cambridge CXN streamer. Whatever the mixture, these Wharfedales work a deal with.
Feed them Trance Frendz by Ólafur Arnalds they usually ship a beautiful layered sound that’s brimming with element and dynamic nuance. These audio system seize the album’s laid-back rhythms in a pleasingly sure-footed method and don’t get tripped up when issues get complicated.
They resolve a considerable amount of info but additionally current it in an organised and managed approach. The Wharfedale’s chief rival is the a number of Award-winning Fyne Audio F302, which sound extra enthusiastic however are notably much less refined at excessive frequencies and lack the Diamond’s innate sophistication.
As we transfer from Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 to Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love, we admire the 12.3’s articulate and expressive midrange and the seamless integration between the drive items. We like how Wharfedale has averted extra; there’s sufficient bass weight to fulfill however not a lot that it spoils the stability of the presentation. The lows are agile, satisfyingly wealthy and textured with it.
These Diamonds additionally sound good at decrease quantity ranges. Too typically we come throughout audio system that solely come alive when pushed onerous, however the 12.Three might be loved at ranges that received’t wake the children or upset the neighbours late at evening. That counts for lots in our books.
Play them louder and these audio system don’t complain. They ship Hans Zimmer’s raucous The Battle from the Gladiator OST with verve, monitoring the brutal dynamics effectively. There’s punch and energy when required, but additionally a stage of subtlety that’s uncommon to seek out in a floorstander at this worth. You may add an excellent tonal stability and secure stereo imaging to the record of plus factors, too.
It’s robust to make a very gifted inexpensive floorstander, however Wharfedale has cracked it with the 12.3. They’re terrifically completed for the cash and ok to assert an area within the Diamond’s corridor of fame. Don’t purchase one other tower at this stage with out listening to this one first.
- Sound 5
- Compatibility 5
- Construct 5
Learn our information to the best floorstanding speakers
Learn our Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 review
Learn our Fyne Audio F302 review