Wharfedale’s Diamond Series speakers have provided a classic entry point for music fans wanting to step into high fidelity sound at affordable prices since their introduction back in 1982. Now, the next iteration - the Diamond 12 Series - takes that tenet even further.
In order to really make a mark with the new Diamond speakers, Wharfedale partnered with speaker designer Karl-Heinz Fink, renowned for delivering class-leading sound from modestly priced speakers.
Working from a blank sheet of paper, Fink and the Wharfedale engineers have achieved what they feel is a new entry-level benchmark. The new Diamond 12 Series starts with the 12.0 standmount speakers at £199 per pair before moving to two further standmount models, the 12.1 and 12.2 and two floorstanders, the 12.3 the 12.4, before finishing with a home cinema friendly centre speaker, the Diamond 12.C.
Mid / bass
One of the first changes that was made to the latest Diamond range was a move away from the use of Kevlar in the mid/bass cones and the development of a new composite called Klarity.
Made chiefly from polypropylene, a longstanding cone material that is moisture resistant with low distortion and controlled ‘breakup’, the team added mica to increase stiffness in order to reduce flexing and enable a faster response.
In order to get around the ‘soft’ bass sound that is sometimes the result of achieving a smooth response curve through the use of high-damping surrounds, the Klarity cones use low damping surrounds with an optimised cone and added stiffening ribs to create a flat response curve, low colouration and expressive dynamics.
The Klarity diaphragms are driven by a substantial, precision-made magnet system with an aluminium compensation ring which reduces distortion, and the voice coil is wound on a high-power epoxy/glass fibre bobbin rather than an aluminium one which is highly unusual in speakers at this price point.
This improved formulation, engineering and implementation go a long way to addressing one of the criticisms of polypropylene - that it can be a little ‘unenthralling’. Instead, the Klarity based drivers deliver both ‘accuracy and excitement’.
The Diamond 12 Series’s tweeter sports a 25mm dome made from a woven polyester film with a high-loss coating to deliver open and smoothly extended high frequencies. The front plate is flat and exposes the dome as much as possible, with a short duct to balance the acoustic load and improve the SPL (sound pressure level) measurement, while the magnet system has been optimised for wide dispersion.
The crossover network uses an acoustic LKR 24dB topology to combine the tweeter and mid / bass units with the use of low-distortion air core inductors more commonly found in high end speakers.
Noting that any cost cutting in the design of the cabinet will offset the gains made by incorporating high quality components, the team made sure the Diamond 12 cabinets were constructed with a level of sophistication usually reserved for much more expensive designs.
As such, the rear-ported enclosure of each model is precisely sized so that the internal volume works in harmony with the drive unit system to deliver the best sound. The cabinet walls are made from sections of wood fibre board of varying thickness with a construction approach that subdues any identifiable characteristics of the cabinet’s ‘sound’. Even the resonant properties of elements such as the glue were considered to determine the ideal combination of materials and placement.
Finally, internal Intelligent Spot Bracing connects opposing walls with a specific form of wood brace to achieve optimal reduction of cabinet resonance.
Wharfedale says that the resulting speakers “capture the spirit of the music, whatever you play – from rock to classical, jazz to electronica – whilst accurately conveying the recording as all great ‘hi-fi’ should.”
The first model from the Diamond 12 Series to arrive will be the 12.1 bookshelf speaker which will be available from 1st October priced at £249. The remaining models will join the 12.1 in November and all the speakers will be available in choice of black, white, walnut or light oak.
Are you looking for an affordable pathway into building up an entry level but high quality Hi-Fi speaker system? If so, how does Wharfedale’s Diamond 12 Series grab you? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear what you think.
Source: Press Release
Image Source: Wharfedale