What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Sun, 14 Feb 2010, 5:00pm

Wharfedale Diamond 10.0

Tested at £130
80100
4

The 10.0s are an ideal choice for the easily startled, but a little straitlaced for our liking

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For

  • Tidy looks
  • unflappable, self-assured sound

Against

  • They perform differently, rather than better, against a wall
  • unable to summon much sonic enthusiasm

Hardly in any time at all after the Wharfedale Diamond 10.0s scored the textbook ‘very good, but short of greatness' four-star result in our First Tests, they're back for another outing.

It won't come as a huge shock to find that our opinion of these shiny little boxes hasn't changed much in the meantime.

For instance, we still admire the looks. They may be straight-edged where the rest of the Diamond 10 range feature sensuous curves, but the partially glossy cabinet and nicely finished driver surrounds add a dash of visual pizzazz to go with the usefully compact dimensions.   

Sonically composed boxes
Play the opening bars of Wagner's call to arms Die Walküre and it's clear what the Diamond 10.0s' intentions are.

They're set up in opposition to the classic, unlamented micro-system sound and are, therefore, a self-consciously ‘grown up', considered listen.

Details don't go astray in the massed orchestral overload, and the subtleties are just as well observed as the overall bombast. The top of the frequency range gleams without hardness, and the 10.0s organise and control the many individual strands of the piece without alarms.

This issue of ‘control' comes to the fore when listening to The Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday.

They're not the most gifted speakers available where dynamics are concerned, and this trait combines gloomily with the 10.0s' determination to grip and organise: the result is sometimes a presentation that's over-supervised to the detriment of the joy or abandon of a recording.

Hard to recommend
When you consider the Wharfedales a) need to be fairly close to a rear wall to generate any meaningful low-end presence; and b) lack a little definition and detail when so sited, it becomes clear they're hard to wholly recommend.

Which isn't to suggest the 10.0s are poor loudspeakers – far from it.

We much prefer the sensible, mature approach to music making over the ‘rattling a big stick around a tin bucket' approach of, say, some notable rivals.

No, the problem for these Wharfedales is that there are more speakers on the market that have
all of their powers of organisation and control, but also know how to let their hair down when required.  

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