Wharfedale Evo 4.4 speakers (particularly bi-amping them)

Donotlisten

Standard Member
Hi

I thought I would share my thoughts on our new Wharfedale Evo 4.4 speakers.

We received these speakers from Richer Sounds this week for what I now know is an absolute bargain price of £1199. First impressions were that they were indeed quite large. Luckily we have a reasonably large room to put them in.

We have 2 Exposure 18 power amplifiers (mono blocks). The Kef speakers we were replacing were bi-wired so that one amplifier was providing high-frequency and the other low-frequency. We found this to be the best setup for the Kefs. When researching the Wharfedale's two things in particular made me wonder whether this would be worth doing with these new speakers. Firstly the crossover frequency of our old speakers is very different to the crossover frequency of the Wharfedale's:

Evo 4.4 1.4kHz, 4.7kHz
Kef 2.5kHz, 160Hz

Also a few reviews (there are only a few currently) spoke of the quality of the crossover.

So I asked the question of Wharfedale "Is it worth bi-amping these speakers given the quality/features of the crossover" but didn't really get a satisfactory answer. They basically said suck it and see. So we did.

First we tried simply using one power amp per speaker with just a single pair of cables for each speaker. We were astonished by how well these speakers performed. I could use all the buzzwords but I'm just going to say anything (providing it was well recorded) sounded absolutely gobsmacking. Anything from Bach to Slipknot and everything in between. I will say that I now know what sound staging means. And I thought I had heard dynamics before...Also the speakers disappear if you close your eyes and the music surrounds you.

After a couple of days of warming the speakers up we decided to try bi-amping them today. So we connected them up in the same way that we had connected our Kefs before. Instantly the sound staging was gone. Dynamics were poor and the sound seemed stuck behind the speakers. We then tried bi-wiring by returning to one amp per speaker but doubling up the cables. The sound was better but still not as good as our first configuration, which we returned to as soon as we could.

My husband was disappointed and somewhat surprised by what we found. I on the other hand felt vindicated as I already suspected that the Wharfedales would perform best with the simplest of connections. I look forward to a very long love affair with these speakers.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Interesting, Just checking, you did remove the jumper on the speakers when biamping and biwiring And double checked you were running red to red and black to black on the cables.

Bi-wiring the speaker theoretically should make no difference as all you are doing is connecting the speaker wires at the amp end and not the speaker end. This assumes that the speaker wire is of adequate crissection in the first place I.e. over 2sq.mm for typical 10ft runs.

Now biamping, Should help but may be marginal.
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
Hi yes of course we did all that. I might do pictures at some point to help anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. I hope anyone who does understand biamping and biwiring can read between the lines and assume that such basic things were done.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Hi yes of course we did all that. I might do pictures at some point to help anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about. I hope anyone who does understand biamping and biwiring can read between the lines and assume that such basic things were done.
Ooooooohhh.
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
Do you have four Exposure 18s?

If not, how were you bi-amping?
No we have 2. (We have an Exposure 17 preamp on its way). Each monoblock has 2 sets of speaker output sockets.

We were bi-amping by connecting the high-frequency drivers on the left speaker to the left outputs on one mono-block, the high-frequency drivers on the right speaker to the right outputs on the same mono-block and then the same again but for low-frequency to the other monoblock.

This configuration was fine for the Kefs and also for Tannoy MX3s we got as standby while the Kefs were at speaker hospital.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
That is not bi-amping.

It is bi-wiring.

To bi-amp you need either a pair of stereo amps or four monoblocs.

If you want to bi-amp then I’d suggest using the big monos for the bass drivers and buy a stereo Exposure power amp for the top half.


Ps, in the meantime, if you must bi-wire the mighty Evos, then I’d use one monobloc per speaker. One speaker output for the HF, the other for the LF.

Using one monobloc for both speakers bass duties is stretching its current capability.

And...
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
.... erm..., not to mention that if you’re feeding the power amps with one left and one right output from your current preamp, then using one mono block to drive one speaker is the only way to do it.

Otherwise, using one of the 18s to drive both speakers bass you’ll be getting the left and right bass signal to each speaker and using one monobloc for both tweeters means your hearing either the left or right signal through both speakers.

That would explain your issues.

One amp per both HF and one amp per both LF means you’ve been listening in double mono.

It’s not a surprise that having one amp per speaker is so much better. That’s the right way to do it. In fact the only way to do it with a pair of monos.
 
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Donotlisten

Standard Member
I agree with you Paul. Though this is not from a manual for the same model Exposures that we have this picture shows roughly what we were doing with 2 power amps. Although we are not using a preamplifier at the moment we are using a Node2i:
1589657355440.png

We are currently using one monoblock per speaker already and have already tried bi-wiring just as you suggest but the effect was still not as good as the way we have currently set up.

I have MS so have not even seen the back of our amplifiers nor have I properly seen the back of the speakers. I don't get about easily unfortunately. Perhaps when my husband is around he can post on here and confirm or deny what I'm saying. Sorry for the same reason I have to keep editing this as I am using Dragon to speak and it sometimes get me wrong :-(
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
...if you listened to your Kefs in the same way then you never heard what they are supposed to sound like. You never heard them in stereo; merely double mono.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The diagram is for Exposure XXVIIIs.

They are Stereo amps. That is two monoblocs power amps in each chassis.

Four monoblocs in total. One each for the HF and one each for the LF in each speaker.

Is that what you have?

If you have the Exposure XVIIIs then both of your power amps are single power amps. That is, you only have the equivalent of one stereo power amp.

Two XXVIIIs is two stereo power amps.

Essentially the XXVIII is both of your monoblocs in one box, hence the stereo (left and right) inputs on the XXVIIIs, but only a single input on the XVIIIs.
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
The diagram is for Exposure XXVIIIs.

They are Stereo amps. That is two monoblocs power amps in each chassis.

Four monoblocs in total. One each for the HF and one each for the LF in each speaker.

Is that what you have?

If you have the Exposure XVIIIs then both of your power amps are single power amps. That is, you only have the equivalent of one stereo power amp.

Two XXVIIIs is two stereo power amps.

Essentially the XXVIII is both of your monoblocs in one box, hence the stereo (left and right) inputs on the XXVIIIs, but only a single input on the XVIIIs.
As I said that picture is not from the manual for our amplifiers. And as I said also I agree with you.
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
Perhaps you posted before I added to my last but one post "I have MS so have not even seen the back of our amplifiers nor have I properly seen the back of the speakers. I don't get about easily unfortunately."
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ok then. If you can get someone to take a pic sometime and check to see if they look like this...

If they do then they are indeed individual monoblocks and must be used as such.

That is, one monobloc per speaker.

You can use it with one set of speaker cables and the jumper plates in place, or, with two sets of speaker cable from the amp. One to the
LF and one to the HF, without the jumper plates.

But, you cannot use one amp between two speakers.




F7B518CD-EDF1-4EB5-831C-17316BD4CA45.jpeg
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
Ok then. If you can get someone to take a pic sometime and check to see if they look like this...

If they do then they are indeed individual monoblocks and must be used as such.

That is, one monobloc per speaker.

You can use it with one set of speaker cables and the jumper plates in place, or, with two sets of speaker cable from the amp. One to the
LF and one to the HF, without the jumper plates.

But, you cannot use one amp between two speakers.




View attachment 1300547
As I said and will say again I agree with you
 

Donotlisten

Standard Member
To summarise:

1. I agree that it is not possible to bi-amp to provide different frequencies to 2 speakers with only 2 mono blocks
2. I will get my husband to try bi-wiring again tomorrow to confirm whether or not this is a good option with these speakers
3. I am an idiot
 
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Jaded1

Member
I've been interested in either these or the 4.2's for a while. Any further thoughts now they've had a good run in?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
To summarise:

1. I agree that it is not possible to bi-amp to provide different frequencies to 2 speakers with only 2 mono blocks
2. I will get my husband to try bi-wiring again tomorrow to confirm whether or not this is a good option with these speakers
3. I am an idiot
:rotfl:

I doubt bi-wiring will make an appreciable difference (if any at all).

The Kefs, as you say, have a modern and well made crossover so I’d probably stick with the monster monoblocs single wired and being awesome.
 

colfgb

Standard Member
I've been interested in either these or the 4.2's for a while. Any further thoughts now they've had a good run in?
They'll play anything from Pantera, Steely Dan, Zappa, Miles, Free, Be Bop Deluxe, Kraftwerk ........ I highly reccommend them - a steal at 1200 squids in the following setup ... Exposure 15-Chord Mojo-Bluesound Node 2i-NAS.

Someone lend me a turntable for a few weeks LOL

Regards
the husband !
 

colfgb

Standard Member
Quick update. Exposure 17 arrived and we have the 18s 'single-wired' to the EVOs. These speakers really came alive with the power-amps and nowhere near run-in yet. Bass is taut and fills our upstairs flat (no neighbours around at the mo....) beautifully. Orca - Deadmau5 is a particular fave at the moment. Anyway the Bluesound is being returned and an Auralic Aries G1 is on the way. Should be interesting.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Has the preamp made a difference?

I know the Exposure power amps moderately well and they are exactly what a power amp needs to be, that is clean and having monster current.

But I’m not at all familiar with the 17 pre?
 

colfgb

Standard Member
Apologies for the delay and a slight ramble.

We had a 2010 Integrated acting as a Pre into two 2010 Powers (then into KEFs as already mentioned...) for longer than I care to remember. So, upgrade time !! We had always hankered after the older Exposure stuff since our Super XV blew up on more than one occasion along with NAD and Tannoy kit - a wreckless youth is a glorious thing ! Shame it's a blur now. Anyway, the 17 is far more organic and musical and has a tremendously tight and propulsive sound. Enough gain for me (speaking as a Les Paul Standard and Hiwatt Custom 100 + Marhsall 4x12 blues/metalhead) - might be the power supply ! The 2x18 power amps are easily controlled by the 17 in our setup, but they don't half pump it out via new interconnects all round.

The Evo 4.4s are bedding in nicely now - beautifully clean mids and clear toppy highs ( very un-Exposure ) and more than enough bass to fudge with everyone if you really crank it. Volume doesn't need to go above 5/6 unless I've been on the Stella. They do like to be driven however and are IMHO are not for the fainthearted or multi-occupancy modern living. Fortunately we have them in a large room (also housing my guitar kit) which IMHO is a must, otherwise I'd say go for one of the smaller models. Those two LF units per cabinet love to kick out the jams.

Current faves are Santana III, Electric Ladyland, first four Zep and Sabbath albums, Motorhead by Motorhead, Kraftwerk The Mix RM, Miles in the Sky and Sketches of Spain and some Moby .......

Have a LOUD weekend ! Bonham's bass drum just kicks in !!!!!
 
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