Wharfedale launch brace of new active Hi-Fi Speakers
Wharfedale has a brace of new active, wireless capable Hi-Fi speakers in its Diamond Active Series.
While they’re by no means the first stereo speakers to offer integrated amplification and Bluetooth connectivity, Wharfedale promises their ‘True Wireless’ technology ensures greater flexibility than many such designs.
The Diamond Active Series comprises two models: the Diamond A1, a classic ‘bookshelf’-size speaker (31.5cm high), and the Diamond A2, a larger floorstanding design (91.2cm high). Both models come in pairs, in the manner of traditional stereo hi-fi speakers, and include a 50W amplifier in each speaker to deliver a combined ‘system power’ of 100W.
Many similar stereo-paired Bluetooth speakers incorporate the amp circuitry and Bluetooth receiver in one speaker, with a cable connecting this powered speaker to a second, passive speaker. This means that while you can connect your playback device to the speakers wirelessly, the cable between them limits the speakers’ placement but Wharfedale’s Diamond Active Series speakers work differently. They include a wireless hub, to which the playback device is paired via Bluetooth (with support for the sonically superior aptX codec). The H1 hub then conveys the left and right audio signals to the appropriate speaker via uncompressed wireless transmission.
To maximise the chances of interference-free wireless transmission, the H1 hub avoids the 2.4GHz frequency band, focusing on 5.8GHz instead. The intelligent wireless module has the ability to switch automatically between frequencies when required, thus hopefully avoiding any local interference wherever the speakers are sited and each speaker may be placed up to 20m from the hub.
There are also a range of cable inputs including both optical and coaxial flavours, while two RCA-phono inputs cater for analogue sources. The speakers do feature touch-sensitive controls on the top surface but there’s also a remote control supplied. Additional controls on the speakers’ rear include bass adjustment (+/- 6dB), allowing the user to tailor low frequencies to suit the speakers’ position in the room. Each speaker can be selected as either ‘left’ or ‘right’ in a stereo configuration; a mono mode is also available if the speakers’ positioning is not suited to stereo. This mode can even be used to create a simple two-room setup.
The speakers, they tell us, use many elements developed from the latest ‘200 Series’ iteration of the company’s Diamond loudspeakers. Both Diamond Active models sport proprietary bass/mid drivers with woven Kevlar cones – one 130mm unit in the A1 and two 165mm units in the A2 – as featured in the Diamond 200 Series. The cones incorporate semi-elliptical ‘break-up’ areas, which are designed to smooth the response throughout the audible range, while rear-firing reflex ports augment the bass. The 25mm fabric dome tweeter is also derived from the Diamond 200 Series, incorporating a precision-drive magnet system and a waveguide around the diaphragm for optimal dispersion.
Wharfedale’s Diamond Active speakers are available from October, with RRPs of £599.95 per pair for the Diamond A1 and £999.95 per pair for the Diamond A2 (including the H1 wireless hub).
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