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HIFICRITIC
Volume 4 No. 4
Wharfedale Diamond Monitor
Review By Martin Colloms

 

Wharfedale Diamond Monitor    We were sufficiently fond of the previous Diamond 9.1 (HIFICRITIC Vol. 1 No. 6) to retain it as a ‘review anchor', but it has now been replaced by this new £180 model 10.1, incorporating a number of revisions under the direction of designer Peter Comeau. These include larger bass ports, now located on the rear panel, a gloss black front panel trim/laminate, shiny alloy trim rings around the main drivers, and a  protection grille for the 25mm soft dome tweeter.

Driver mountings have been reinforced, and the nominally 125mm main driver has a carbon fibre composite bass/mid cone plus a half-roll surround with embossed pleating. Uniquely in this survey, the enclosure has strongly curved sides, and is available in black, rosewood, cherry, and walnut finishes. Connections are made via nicely accessible twin terminal pairs.

Sound Quality
Mysteriously much of the new Diamond sounded better than the old: more extended, with noticeably cleaner and more powerful bass, less ‘recessive' with  lower apparent coloration, a smoother and more open treble. This all good, yet in direct comparison it scored 6.2 compared with the outgoing 9.1's 6.5. Its musical timing is noticeably poorer, so it's rather less involving, even though there is more detail and low level resolution. Your head tells you its better; your heart says something has been lost. Dynamics sound a little compressed, stereo focus and space is only just above average, and we missed some degree of depth and reverberance. It somehow lacks some gravitas, an odd comment for a small speaker perhaps, but one that made sense when compared with the outgoing model.

Test Results
The axial response suggests few problems, and it meets impressively close +/-2.5dB amplitude tolerances to 22 kHz. While the sensitivity is a low 84.5dB (less than claimed), and the impedance is quite severe with a 3.8 Ohm minimum (albeit a 6 Ohm average), amplifiers with weaker output current ratings might stay away. The bass is well tuned and free of boom, extending to 63 Hz, and also nicely matched in the fine room driven response result.

Our earlier 9.1 had damping on the inside carcase walls and felt a mite less resonant than the 10.1, but it would be irresponsible to attribute our findings to such a detail. A 75W power handling allows for greater clean sound levels than before, up to 98dBA in room for a stereo pair.

Conclusions
Suffering a little in comparison with the older model, it is superior in all respects save musical rhythm and involvement, on which you can take your own view. Overall it nevertheless survives this review pretty well, and may be recommended.

 

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