The more you read about the Diamond 10.5s, the more you wonder if someone's pulling your leg.
Wharfedale has managed to produce a sub-£500 floorstanding speaker that's a true three-way design, that uses a 5cm, purpose-built, fabric-domed midrange driver. These are features usually reserved for speakers costing three or four times the price.
The 10.5s share many design attributes you'll find throughout Wharfedale's Diamond range. There's the strengthened, curved cabinet for increased rigidity.
They also use a 16.5cm Kevlar bass driver, which features an interesting diamond pattern, designed to reduce and dampen the effects of any standing waves.
Seamless integration of sound
The 2.5cm soft-dome tweeter is prevalent throughout the Diamond range and sits beneath a metal diffusion grid to protect the unit and to encourage a smoother, more detailed sound.
Spin some tunes and any fears about integration are soon cast aside. The sound from each driver is knitted together seamlessly and you're greeted with a broad, expansive and extremely solid soundstage.
Play Charlotte Gainsbourg's In The End and the mixture of strings, percussion and delicate vocals are presented clearly and concisely.
With Prince's When Doves Cry, the Wharfedales impress with powerful, taut, well-defined bass. The speakers remain composed and controlled at high volumes and maintain their vice-like grip with all genres of music.
Rhythm is out to get them
But you've seen the star rating. Bizarrely, the 10.5s manage to somewhat undo this good work, thanks to their inability to convey precise timing and maintain a decent rhythm.
Prince's Let's Go Crazy is a high-tempo party piece that the Wharfedales turn into a slow-paced boreathon.
Speakers costing less than half the price highlight the 10.5s' lack of excitement and dynamic shortcomings. By comparison, they struggle to connect emotionally with the listener.
On paper, the 10.5s should be some of the finest sub-£500 speakers out there. In reality, their lack of drive and dynamics disappoints.