What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 20 Oct 2009, 4:00pm

Wharfedale Diamond 10.3

Tested at £300
80100
4

If you must have floorstanding speakers for this money, then these are as good as we've heard for some time

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For

  • Build quality is top notch
  • open, spacious sound
  • detail is decent
  • plenty of bass

Against

  • Soft bass impacts on punch and dynamics

It's a generally accepted truth that larger budget floorstanding speakers tend to struggle to match their bookshelf siblings for sonic quality.

With Wharfedale's superb Diamond 10.1 bookshelf speakers fresh in our minds, then, these 10.3s have their work cut out.

We won't be arguing with the speakers' finish that's for sure, with the gloss-black front plate looking smart on what is a solid, smoothly finished cabinet.

Four large screw-in spikes are provided for each speaker, though they're not the most solid feet that we've ever handled.

Intimate, textured vocals
Sonically there's much here to remind us of the excellent 10.1s. Listening to Islands by The XX, there's a real sense of scale and space afforded by the Wharfedales.

The airy presentation gives the subtle recording plenty of space to breath, while vocals have intimacy and texture.

Treble guitar notes hit with clarity and some hints of brightness to higher frequencies are soon removed after the speakers are given time to run in.

Fine drive, slightly loose bass
Moving on to something with a little bit more punch, in the form of Kings Of Leon's Sex On Fire, there's attack and drive from the floorstanders, with guitars sounding full and powerful.

But there's no getting away from that large cabinet – and, as expected, bass notes do sound a little loose. 

As a result Tinchy Stryder's Never Leave You sounds a little ploddier than it should, the bass line slowing proceedings down a touch and causing the track to lose a little focus and precision.

We can't help switching to the Diamond 10.1 bookshelfs; the added punch, precision and solidity to the sound is noticeable.

But these are a different proposition from their bookshelf siblings, and if you're committed to floorstanders, you won't go far wrong at the price with the 10.3s.

It would, however, be well worth investing a little more. And if sound per pound is of most importance, then grab the 10.1s, and a pair of stands with the money saved.

See all our stereo speaker Best Buys

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