The mighty bookshelf speaker
Mar 23, 2004
Review by mjarve
Rated a Very Helpful Review
I should start out by say that I am a huge fan of Wharfedale loudspeakers. Ever since I first head a set of the Legendary E90s, I have been convinced Wharfedale produces the best loudspeaker for the money. There are certainly better, but not for the price. My first experience with Wharfedales Diamond loudspeaker range began with the Diamond 6R, followed by the Diamond 7.2, and then, the subject of this review, the Diamond 7.2 Anniversary Limited Edition.
Recommend this product?
The Diamond 7.2 Anniversary Limited Edition (from here on Diamond 7.2ALE) is the upgraded version of the very good Diamond 7.2. Improvements over the standard Diamond 7.2 are an enhanced bass driver, improved crossover, and facilities for bi-wiring/bi-amping. Additionally the Diamond 7.2ALE was available in a choice of real wood veneers (the standard version was available only in a simulated black-ash vinyl veneer). Being involved in professional audio for some years, I know what the benefits of bi-amping are. You can use a heftier amp for the bass driver, and cleaner one for treble. With speakers rated for 100 watts, you obviously do not need a QSC PLX3402 for bass and a Peavey CS-400 for treble, but the same benefits can be applied. The standard Diamond 7.2 was noted for its incredible bass response from a driver no larger than a CD. With a lower rated frequency response of 40Hz, it dipped down into 12 and 15-inch woofer range. The Diamond 7.2ALE does not necessarily go lower, but it produces the lower octaves with more gusto than its standard counterpart. The treble of the standard Diamond 7.2 was regarded as fairly warm sounding, especially so with tube amps. The Diamond 7.2ALE has a bit more forward sound with a little more edge to the treble, but not too much, as to make it sound harsh. With classical music, these truly display their gem-like qualities. Higher pitched stringed instruments and woodwinds sound clear, clean, and uncluttered. Instruments in the lower registers are clearly defined and do not disappear in to a bass soup as they often do with lower quality speakers of similar price or size. On rock or pop music, the limitations of being a smaller loudspeaker come more in to play. With classic rock the Diamond 7.2ALE performs more than admirably, managing to outperform loudspeakers many times its size. But on newer pop recordings, the bass driver can easily reach its maximum excursion, resulting in a dreadful snap sound. Kept within reasonable listening levels, they can perform well on all types of music.
As good of a loudspeaker as they are, the Diamond 7.2ALE still has certain caveats. Most notably is how fragile they are. The original Diamond 7 range was plagued by the plastic (what Wharfedale termed Audio Stealth) baffles breaking where the screws holding them together went in to the back of the front baffle. Often this manifested as a rattling sound when playing musical pieces with lots of mid-bass sound. This was often misdiagnosed as a bad woofer, although it was actually the baffle. Wharfedale seemed to improve the material, but I occasionally find I have to tighten the screws holding the baffles together. Another point worthy of nit picking is the material used for the rest of the cabinet. Most other loudspeakers that otherwise have this much design consideration use high-quality MDF for the cabinet. The standard Diamond 7.2, along with the Diamond 7.2ALE, use cheaper particleboard. More nitpicks include the wider than necessary spacing of the speaker terminals (they are too wide to use dual banana plugs), and the fragile grilles (which I do not use anyway).
This is a well designed, if not fragile, loudspeaker. Nothing on it is so bad that I would call it ugly.
One Sentence Summary
Go out and get a set
Amount Paid (US$): 399
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