In the market for a new pair of budget hi-fi speakers? Well, you might want to pay particular attention to this piece of news from Wharfedale HQ. The covers have been taken off the firm's brand new Diamond 12 range, and prices start at just £199 ($299, AU$599).
There are actually six new Diamond 12 speakers in total – three pairs of standmounters, two pairs of floorstanders and a centre speaker should you want the Diamonds to combine as a surround sound system.
To help design this new range, Wharfedale has teamed up with renowned speaker designer and owner of Fink Audio Consulting, Karl-Heinz Fink. The aim? To squeeze in as much performance as possible into budget speakers.
Highlights include the use of Klarity, a new composite material developed which debuts in the range. It replaces Kevlar which has been used on previous generations of Diamond. Klarity combines polypropylene and mica in order to produce "a lightweight cone with high rigidity, low colouration and lightning-fast response - ideal characteristics to deliver both accuracy and excitement".
The Klarity drivers have also been combined with low-damping surrounds in an attempt to aid bass quality and dynamics.
High frequencies for the loudspeakers are handled by 25mm woven polyester dome tweeters for "open and smoothly extended high frequencies".
The new Wharfedale Diamond speakers also feature rear ports (the last incarnation was downward-firing). Intelligent Spot Bracing sees specially shaped wood braces used inside each cabinet, while the rear cabinet walls are also made from varying thicknesses of wood fibre board. This is all done to stop unwanted vibrations from the cabinet. In fact, Wharfedale claims to have paid special attention to the resonant properties of each element in the speaker's construction, even the glue!
The new range kicks things off with the two-way Diamond 12.0 (£199/$299/AU$599). It features the aforementioned 25mm tweeter and 10cm Klarity mid/bass driver. Next comes, the Diamond 12.1 (£249/$399/AU$699). It uses the same tweeter, but a slightly larger 13cm Klarity mid/bass driver.
Finally on the standmounter front is the Diamond 12.2 (£299/$499/AU$899). This speaker pairs the 25mm textile dome tweeter with a 15cm Klarity mid-bass driver.
The entry-level floorstander is the Diamond 12.3 (£499/$798/AU$1699), a two-and-a-half-way speaker that combines the tweeter with a 13cm Klarity mid/bass driver and a dedicated 13cm Klarity bass driver. The key difference between this model and the larger floorstander in the line-up, the Diamond 12.4 (£699/$998/AU$2199), is the '.4' uses 15cm Klarity drivers.
Completing the line-up is the Diamond 12.C (£229/$299/AU$599) centre speaker. Unlike the rear-ported models mentioned above, this is a two-way closed-box design which places a 25mm tweer between a pair of 13cm Klarity mid/bass drivers.
The Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 is set to go on sale on the 1st October, with the rest of the range due to follow in November. Four finishes are available: black, white, walnut and light oak.
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