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Wharfedale's latest Denton 85th Anniversary loudspeaker recalls power from the past says Noel Keywood. 



It might look a bit antiquated – but it isn’t. Within Wharfedale’s traditional cabinet lie modern drivers and crossover, giving their new Denton 85th Anniversary loudspeaker an impressively modern performance. All within a compact, but not-small cabinet subtly tuned for good bass and high output. 

   By combining old values with new ones like this, the Denton may seem like a peculiar hybrid to some of us in the UK, but it is likely aimed as much at the Chinese market where traditional British hi-fi is better recognised and valued than in its home market. Wharfedale’s old Denton 80th Press Release brochure was sparse in appearance, the new one a lavish historical document complete with picture of propeller driven aircraft in background showing latest delivery method, back in the 1950s. Amazon are still trying to catch up!

   And as always we have the ladies making the parts, as they still do today in China, even if modern Chinese production lines are somewhat larger and more daunting than Marconi’s pictured in this brochure. I wonder whether the Chinese relate to the shot better than us in the UK, with period Western dresses, hairstyles and what have you. 

   Wharfedale is now part of Chinese International Audio Group (IAG) so they understand the zeitgeist here better than I, which is why I suspect the latest Denton 85th Anniversary will be enjoyed more by others than Brits.


Lovely rear panel, veneered and with quality gold plated bi-wire terminals. The +ve link can be replaced with a resistor to lower treble, a tweak we applied.



All may not be what it seems then! And I can say that of the new Denton in physical form. The bass unit has a modern synthetic Kevlar cone – now quoted as 165mm, up from 125mm of the 80th Edition. The tweeter remains a nominally 1in (25mm) textile dome with Ferrite magnet, now with a protective front grille. Increasing both cabinet volume and bass unit size improves both bass output and sensitivity – our measurements confirming this. The new Denton needs little power to go very loud, making amplifiers of 40 Watts plenty enough for most rooms; they can even be driven by a valve amplifier (4 Ohm tap). So inside the Denton is bang up to date.




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