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Wharfedale Diamond 9.1

WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 9.1 loudspeaker review

From Hi-Fi World - January 2009 issue

 

 

wharfedale-diamond-9




Wharfedale's Diamond 9.1 is getting on a bit now, but it still uses effective technology. Diamonds have, over their long history, provided top class results from bottom class prices and at £150 or so the Diamond 9.1 is hardly costly. Look closely and you will see the drive units are very similar to those used in the Quad 11L2, notably a 130mm woven Kevlar cone bass/midrange unit, allied to a 25mm soft fabric dome tweeter. As both are made in China by IAG, this is hardly surprising, as sharing parts reduces cost whilst maintaining quality. The Diamonds have smaller and less lavishly finished cabinets, albeit with resonance reducing curved side panels. The same twin ports are used, but placed on the front of the 'speaker to aid shelf mounting. The rear carries bi-wire terminals. Similar impedance curves are a dead giveaway of shared componentry, but subtle differences also exist showing the loudspeakers are not identical. Measuring 296mm high, 194mm wide and 278mm deep, the Diamond 9.1s weigh a normal 6kgs.

SOUND QUALITY

Although there are obvious similarities between the Diamond 9.1s and the Quad 11L2s, you would hardly think so listening to them. The Diamonds are very projective, and almost shout. This makes them sound lively, if at times a little hard edged and mechanical sounding. I was amused by their vivid stage images though, that was almost rudely loud. So as Amy Winehouse sung Me and Mr Jones her backing vocalists seemed to be all but shouting their lines behind her; it brought a smile to my face, they sounded so brash and forceful! The Diamonds construct and intense sound stage on which images have a hard etched but vivid presence. They offer plenty of apparent insight yet at the same time real fine detail seemed missing, but then they are only £150.

The Diamonds lack the warmth of the Quads; in fact they are not warm anywhere, in any way at all. Nor do they have especially convincing bass, in terms of depth or tunefulness, although it was grippy. Nevertheless, close to a rear wall this is strengthened and it was decent at the price. The front ports add just a little boxiness to the sound, but it isn't severe by any means. Gabrielle's husky tones sounded somewhat anaesthetised, but she was strongly projected all the same, making me very aware of lyrical content, if less of vocal intonation. The Diamond 9.1 is amusingly projective; it tries hard to entertain and has real strengths, if also some rough edges.


verdict 3

Enthusiastic sound, but lacking sophistication and off today's pace.



Wharfedale Diamond 9.1   £150

International Audio Group

+44 (0)845 4580011

www.wharfedale.co.uk



FOR

- forward and engaging

- strong imaging

- uncoloured


AGAINST

- hard edged glare

- lacking fine detail

- mediocre bass quality



MEASURED PERFORMANCE

The Diamond 9.1 has a wide, flat frequency response with no undue treble peaking, so it is basically accurate. Bass extends to 40Hz before cutting off sharply, whereas the Quad’s ports excited our room right down to 20Hz, third octave noise analysis shows. The Wharfedales will sound faster, but less weighty than the Quads. They share the same clean early decay spectrum too, a plus point.


The Diamond's twin porting arrangement results in a smooth impedance curve and low measured impedance of 6 Ohms from a bass unit of 4 Ohms (DCR). Front mounted ports will communicate the box colouration peak - red in our analysis - at 1.3kHz. Its narrowness suggests there’s little energy, so audibility may not be great. The Diamond 9.1 has a good but not exceptional sensitivity of 85dB so it needs at least 40 Watts, but is an easy load. The Diamond 9.1 measures neatly. It is accurate and likely to sound fast and clean. NK


FREQUENCY RESPONSE


wharfedale diamond 9.1  stepped sine fr1 screen


Green - driver output; Red - port output


IMPEDANCE


wharfedale diamond 9.1  z 1  screen


 
Comments (1)
9.1s
1Monday, 03 December 2012 21:08
Dazboing
Why are they compared with a speaker more than 3 times greater in price? Somewhat an unfair comparison I might say, compared with other loudspeakers in the same price bracket. The 9.1s are very strong and sound amazing. And to get similar build and sound quality you
Would need to spend £200 or more. Do you think there is a better speaker for £100?

This is a 2009 review and much has changed. New Wharfedale Diamonds are due out soon we learn from China, so be patient! Wharfedale now have a home market of 2 billion and SWT, or Sino Wharfedale Trading is one of China's biggest audio distributors. So expect some very interesting new Diamonds. In Dec 20102 a lot has changed since 2009.

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