Wharfedale evo 4.1 not as expected

JJ44

Novice Member
Hi ..I already had a the CXA81 which I trialled against Arcam SA20 (great amp but no Bluetooth and a little warm to my ear and also Audiolab (again a great amp and a little to bright for me) - I settled for the CXA81 as it was right in the middle of the other amps and if you read the reviews that's exactly how it sounded (very clear instruments and vocals and very natural sounding). I also have the CXC and as I no longer have the Wharfedale Evo am using my old Tannoy XT6 F which I shouldn't have moved away from - I think we (me) are always looking for the next stage up in sound quality and maybe what is good for your ear is right in front of you. Its fun looking and listening though !
 

aekostas

Active Member
Thanks for sharing. I was not aware of these (no surprise) and have thought Tannoy to be on the bright side. I will check to see what the range offers for 5.1.
 

tknipe

Standard Member
Hi @JJ44 , thanks for posting your comments on the wharfedale evo 4.2. Interesting that you had a similar experience to me, I thought that the 4.2's may have provided a better midrange having the additional dome speaker. What you said about your initial impressions was similar to mine, but on further listening of various genres revealed what was missing along with its excessive warmth and lack of dynamics, and for me clarity. It was particularly noticeable when I switched back to my old speakers. They made the Evo's sound dull in comparison.

I think your comment about always looking for something better when what we have is already good enough is probably right. As previously mentioned though, we do get used to a certain sound, and we all have different preferences. Also interested in what you mentioned about the amp comparisons.

I still haven't purchased any alternatives myself, I'm happy to wait until I arrange a proper audition. It'll also allow me time to save for a bigger budget!
 

JJ44

Novice Member
It will be interesting to know what you go for next ! I have my old XT6F set up at the moment and your right what you say when switching back to your old speakers "revealed what was missing along with its excessive warmth and lack of dynamics, and for me clarity" - iv also noticed that my toes are tapping again which they certainly weren't with the Evo - (I'm back on a fast walk noticing what's around me rather than a slow trudge daydreaming).
 

Ron Hilditch

Well-known Member
Hi everyone, just recently received a pair of Wharfedale evo 4.1 speakers after seeing many good reviews. These speakers definitely look the part and appear well built. I was wondering if anyone else has recently tried these or maybe others from the evo 4.* range.

I was expecting something special from these speakers, especially in the top end with the AMT tweeter. I hooked them up to an Audiolab 6000a play where I originally had been using a pair of rather old mission 780 and 782's (testing with both to compare). I want to use bookshelf speakers with my new setup but the 780's are a bit lacking in lower bass and can be fussy about positioning. They are still great speakers though. With the Evo's bottom facing reflex port being less dependent on position I thought they would be a big improvement for flexibility.

What did impress me with the Evo's was the deep level of bass on offer considering their size, although it could be tighter. But what stood out immediately was the boxed in and dull sounding vocals. There was detail and sparkle in the more extreme top end with nice separation but it was at a much lower level than I'm used to. It was as if something was missing in the upper mid to lower top end. I used my old Rotel RA-02 to compare these with my old Mission speakers directly since it has dual speaker switching. My old Mission's have a more open and refined sound with far superior vocals and treble. The bass is deeper on the Evos but not as tight as the Mission's. When I switch to the Evos it's like someone just threw a blanket over the speaker (and turned up the volume a bit because I assume they're slightly more sensitive). Although they have good qualities like a deeper sounding bass, wide soundstage and great detail, it just sounds like someone switched on a filter attenuating the upper mid to high frequencies and giving vocals and certain sounds a more boxed in feel. I have heard that this can be an issue before running in, but I have tried them over a few days so far. I even tried bi-wiring them, but no improvement.

I'm just baffled that many reviews seem to praise their vocal and midrange performance, but for me this is their week point. It's particularly noticeable with rock music because the cymbals, snares and electric guitars don't stand out as they should. What is there is detailed and nicely separated, it's just too laid back with that attenuated top end. I also noticed on comparison that the detailed separation of instruments, being very good on both, could be a little muddled on the Evos low end where for example a bass guitar stood out better on the old Mission's.

I often listen to music using Grado SR125e headphones, a sound that I like very much. These have a much closer tonal balance to the Mission speakers. The Evos have a tonal balance similar to my Sky sound box, which if you've ever used to play music is just awful. I'm not saying the Evos sound anything like it, it's just a similar tone.

I should point out that I tried the Evos on both the Rotel and new Audiolab amps with bi-wire. Each setup revealed the same characteristics. I used the Audiolab CDT as a source plus FLAC files played from my PC via optical to the Audiolab 6000a Play. For the Rotel Amp I used a Marantz CDR 6000 plus an echo input.

If I listen to something like house or trance without vocals they can produce a lot of detail, a wide soundstage, and a nice sparkle at the extreme top end. They definitely appeal more with this sort of music. But even then it's a little too warm sounding for my liking. I'm not sure if a longer run in will improve things, they just seem like too much is missing. Maybe the Evo 4.2 with the dome mid range provides what is missing with these. I'd be interested in other experiences with these speakers. Perhaps they need partnering with a brighter sounding amp.

I know sound always comes down to personal preference. If you like a very warm sound with a deeper bass and more subtle yet detailed top end then these may suit. I just can't get past that closed in and attenuated sounding upper vocals. It just shows you that 20 year old speakers can still outperform the latest designs (at least for my ears!).
Looking for new speakers for two or three weeks now, considered the Evo florstanders but don't have a lot of distance behind, so any with rear ports or rear facing ABRs are out of the question. Having to look for sealed enclosures or bottom firing ports. Had a pair of Yamaha speakers front ported and couldn't live with the chuffing. Should have been quicker buying a pair of Quad 23s.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Looking for new speakers for two or three weeks now, considered the Evo florstanders but don't have a lot of distance behind, so any with rear ports or rear facing ABRs are out of the question. Having to look for sealed enclosures or bottom firing ports. Had a pair of Yamaha speakers front ported and couldn't live with the chuffing. Should have been quicker buying a pair of Quad 23s.
Speakers like Dali even though they are rear ported doesn’t need that much room to the back walls/side walls. 40 cm is more then enough. They also say in the manual that you can place them as close as 20 cm. My Oberon 5 is 40 cm from the back walls and side walls. Works just fine. If you want speakers with down rear ported bass then Fyne speakers should work. Sealed speakers may work also. Many speakers also have bungs you can use. That may help.
 

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