Wharfedale has revived yet another classic speaker with modern technologies as part of its Heritage Series, this time turning its hand to the Dovedale stereo speaker.
We were first teased about the Dovedale at Munich High End 2022, but nothing was known about the speaker bar the fact it was a three-way design, entirely "Made in the UK" at Wharfedale's headquarters in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, and would be celebrating the company's 90th anniversary.
The original Dovedale was first made in 1965, but this revived version has taken inspiration from the later Dovedale 3 model originally launched in 1971. Joining the trend of modern-classic speakers like the five-star Wharfedale Linton and Award-winning Mission 770 from its sister brand, the Wharfedale Dovedale aim to make just as much of an impact with the biggest Heritage Series speaker yet.
The new Dovedales are a little bit taller, a little wider and a whole lot deeper than the original Dovedale 3 models' dimensions (and also are bigger than the Wharfedale Lintons) with new drivers and technology taking full advantage of that extra space.
The 25mm fabric-dome tweeter has its own rear chamber, which is damped to absorb unwanted output from the back of the unit and reduce resonances affecting the high frequency performance. The 13cm midrange and 25cm bass drivers are now made from Kevlar, and the midrange unit is further housed in its enclosure to ensure the mid frequencies aren't affected by vibrations from the larger bass driver.
Both units are further damped using acoustic foam and long hair fibre, and the bass reportedly reaches a depth of 25Hz. The crossover components were also carefully chosen for "their revealing and transparent character" says Wharfedale, being laid out on twin PCBs and spaced in such a way as to "avoid electromagnetic interference".
Wharfedale says it spent countless hours listening to a wide variety of music to refine the crossover slopes and power response of the speakers, and the culmination of all of this is to deliver a sound that "reveals a lively and transparent level of reproduction that suits all styles of music at whatever power level you choose".
With an 89dB/w sensitivity, the speakers should have no problem being paired with a wide range of amplifiers, either.
Of course, the vintage design has been a huge part of the Heritage Series' appeal and the Dovedales are no different. The cabinet is constructed using a mix of woods and a two-layer sandwich of MDF and high-density particle board to scatter panel resonances even further.
The speakers themselves are wrapped in real wood walnut veneer, hand-polished and lacquered to a satin finish, that from pictures alone looks rather gorgeous.
There are also dedicated stands made of carbon steel with glass inserts and hidden cable management, costing £800 per pair if bought separately. Rather unusually for a modern speaker, Wharfedale says the Dovedales are keeping true to their heritage and will perform better with the grilles on; removing them "will result in a sound that is brighter but less smooth."
The Wharfedale Dovedale speakers will be available from March, costing £5500 per pair with the stands included, or £5000 for the speakers alone. For US and Australia, the approximate pricings are $7000 and AU$10,500 – these prices both include the stands, as the Dovedales are not available without stands outside of the UK.
Those coming to the Bristol Hi-Fi Show this weekend (24-26 February) will be able to see the Dovedale speakers in the flesh – we sure wouldn't want to miss them.
Read our Wharfedale Linton review
Read the review of the Award-winning Mission 770
Looking for an alternative? Here's our guide to the best speakers for every budget