Wharfedale is one of the classic names in the world of traditional hi-fi, but its new Diamond A1 speakers offer the modern touch.
With wireless streaming, dedicated 50W amplifiers and a cool-looking design, these £600 speakers are definitely not stuck on tradition.
Features and design
The A1 speakers are a more chunky than most, standing about 320mm high and 186mm wide, so not ideal for a small computer desk. But of course they are wireless, so you can just place them anywhere you like.
Each speaker is completely self-contained, and has its own power supply, that you will need to connect to the mains.
The Wharfedale's separate little hub is shaped like a little, square coffee coaster and includes analogue RCA and two digital inputs for wired connections, along with Bluetooth (with AptX) for mobile devices. The digital inputs can handle high-res audio as well – well, up to 24-bit 96KHz signals at least – so those with collections of HD audio recordings won’t feel left out. There are no audio cables included, though, so you’ll have to supply those yourself, and there’s no standard 3.5mm connector, which would have been useful.
All your music devices connect to the hub, and the hub then streams your music to the A1 speakers via its own wifi network – which cleverly uses the 5.8GHz frequency to avoid clashing with your normal home network. The wireless connection has a range of about 20m, and you can even switch the speakers into mono mode, which allows you to separate them and use them in two different rooms.
But it’s the sound quality that Wharfedale are reknowned for, and the Diamond A1 speakers certainly live up to Wharfedale’s hi-fi standards. Each speaker has its own 50W amplifier, and the 13cm main mid-range/bass driver is made out of Kevlar. That rock-solid combination produces a really dynamic, expansive sound – and thanks to the bass reflex port at the rear of each speaker, the Diamond A1’s are capable of producing the sort of full-bodied, room-filling sound that you’d expect from a much larger pair of speakers.
The sturdy cabinets keep distortion down to a minimum and the crisp-sounding tweeters mean that even the guitar overload of The Black Parade: My Chemical Romance, remains clear and detailed as you ramp the volume up. They’re not harsh to listen to at all, however. The detailed, luxurious sound quality works really well with everything from hard rock to classical overtures.
The Diamond A1 are not cheap, but you do get high standard speakers and enjoyable sound quality that can deal with the most eclectic of tastes. The wireless versatility is great and there will be no compromise on audio quality, Wharfedale have come up trumps once again.