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Review Wharfedale Diamond 12.1

Warm and comfortable sound

Wharfedale has had assistance from the other side of the Channel, and the result is a pair of well-sounding speakers.

Karakter
Wharfedale Diamond 12.1
Warm and comfortable reproduction at a really good price.
The sound is not overly detailed
  • Configuration: 5″ woofer, 1″ dome tweeter
  • Construction principle: Bass reflex, 2-way
  • Frequency range: 65 Hz – 20 kHz (+/- 3 dB)
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB
  • Max. power: (not specified)
  • Recommended amplifier power: 20-100 W
  • Impedance: 4-8 ohms
  • Dimensions and weight: 18 x 31.2 x 25 cm / 6.0 kg
  • Finish: White, black, light oak, walnut
  • Web: wharfedale.co.uk

It was with some extra anticipation that I received the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 for review. Wharfedale has made lots of excellent speakers over the years, but in this case the manufacturer emphasizes that they were developed by German Karl-Heinz Fink. Fink was also behind i.a. Q Acoustics Concept 500, but this is the first time I have seen his name highlighted on such a cheap product.

The finish of the test set was in light oak, which gave a pleasant nostalgic touch, although the oak pattern was far from convincing.

In addition to this, the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 is characterized by German thoroughness in the build quality. The cabinet walls are thick, and the front and back panels are virtually completely vibration dead. Impressive! The terminals are for bi-wiring and look incredibly solid.

The base unit has a diaphragm fitted with stiffening grooves and made of a polypropylene-mica blend that Wharfedale calls “Klarity,” while the tweeter is a 1-inch fabric dome.

The woofer diaphragm is made from a polypropylene-mica mixture, called “Klarity”. (Photo: Wharfedale)

The sound quality

The first thing you notice on Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 is a really nice balance that leans towards the warm, but without going so far as to be dominated by bass. But as soon as you put them on, you just feel in good company.

The treble reproduction is clean and clear. Diamond 12.1 probably has the test’s best and most well-resolved treble. It is a good thing. But after all, not enough to decide the battle alone.

The perspective is really nice and you have a certain sense of depth and space. But not as accurate as on the DALI Oberon 1. On the other hand, the soundscape is more homogeneous and comfortable, where the Oberon can be a bit slim.

The bass is nice and deep enough compared to the fact that we are dealing with small bookshelf speakers for very little money. When the speakers are pressed with complex music and higher volume, the bass does not fall off as much as with DALI, but the overall result is a little more messy.

As soon as you connect Wharfedale Diamond 12.1, you just feel in good company. (Photo: Wharfedale)

Conclusion

Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 is a really successful speaker that excels with a homogeneous and comfortable reproduction and a sound image that is easy to like. There is not the same analytical quality over the midrange as on the DALI Oberon 1, but the whole is unusually well-cast. And the price is razor sharp!

Also in this test

DALI Oberon 1

Inherits from the more expensive series

DALI's smallest budget model has borrowed technology from the more advanced models.

Clean and nuanced reproduction, especially in the midrange. Draws up a nice acoustic scene.
Less effective than the others, so forget about playing loud.

Elipson Prestige Facet 6B

Superior workmanship

Elipson impresses with build quality and immaculate details.

Excellent build quality. Nuanced sound and good dynamics.
More expensive than any other. Not as three-dimensional and accurate as DALI and Wharfedale.

Eltax Monitor III

Far better than their price

It is unbelievable that you can get so much speaker for so little money.

Insanely cheap: It costs a third of the test's most expensive! And the sound is actually pretty decent.
The sound is decent, but still far below everyone else in the test. The cabinet is thin and the build quality is poor. But what can you expect at the price?

Q Acoustics 3020i

Engaged and musical

The Q Acoustics 3020i is reasonably priced and razor-sharp priced. But also well-sounding.

Engaging and musical reproduction. Low price.
Cheapfinish. The sound could be more detailed.

Tangent Spectrum X5

Best for background music

The Tangent Spectrum X5 are not bad. But you can get more sound for the money from others.

Ultra-discreet look that will offend no one.
The sound is as anonymous as the design.

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