Most of the small speaker packages we’ve reviewed lately have used their compact dimensions to make a bit of a design statement.
Such frivolousness is not for the Wharfedale DX-1 HCP. Its five speakers look like nothing more than miniaturised versions of the company’s Diamond 10.1 standmounters, and they’re accompanied by an equally neat subwoofer.
Each 19cm-high DX-1 speaker has a 19mm silk-dome tweeter and 7.5cm mid/bass polypropylene driver, while the DX-1 centre channel doubles up on the bigger driver and incorporates a heavily damped reflex port in an effort to add bass while retaining agility (a system called aperiodic loading).
The sub, meanwhile, uses a 150W Class-D amp to drive a 20cm, forward-facing driver.
Small but perfectly formed
The quality of build and finish is beyond reproach – even by the currently sky-high standards of affordable speaker packages, the DX-1 HCP looks and feels well worth the money. And, what’s more, it sounds it, too.
Asked to deal with the bludgeoning DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack to Shutter Island, the Wharfedale offers enthusiasm and refinement in fairly equal measures.
When the going gets boisterous, it has sufficient headroom to travel from ‘silent’ to ‘explosive’ and back again easily, but this is combined with ample detail and an unhurried, secure way with effects steering.
Integration between the speakers and the subwoofer is tidy, and there’s an even tonality right up the frequency range.
Balanced but punchy sound
Drive and attack apart, the Wharfedale’s ‘safety-first’ approach to treble sounds means hefty volume levels don’t get too hard or bright.
And at the opposite end, the DX-1 subwoofer is solid, though it could be more precise with the leading edges of bass sounds, such as cannon-fire and the like.
Switch gears to some music and the bulk of the package’s composure remains intact. It sings with a balanced, detailed voice and generally times well for a product of this type and price – though the subwoofer is more exposed by music than it is by movie soundtracks.
Taken as a whole, though, the DX-1 HCP combines style, pride of ownership and performance in pretty alluring style.