Swan's Divas to Wharfedale Pacific Evolutions... Upgrade? Downgrade? or Lateral Move?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Stephen Hopkins, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I really like my current setup consisting of Swan's Diva 4.1 mains, 2.1 surrounds, and C3 center (as well as a DIY AV12 sub and Pioneer Elite 43TX receiver). But sadly as happens from time to time I'm craving a change. An upgrade would be nice and a lateral move would be acceptable, I'm just looking for something different that won't be a downgrade. I've found a very good deal on some Wharfedale Pacific Evolution speakers. I can get the EVO30s (mains) for $560, the Evo center for $280, and the EVO8s (surrounds) for $280. I could probably get the entire package price down to under $1k. I could also probably get $800 or so out of my Swan's package either together or separated.

    Would this be an upgrade, downgrade, or lateral move? The build quality on both seem to be very close with the EVOs having the benefit of either real wood veneers or piano black laminate. How about sound? How would the EVOs be characterized? I prefer a neutral speaker that's clear but not too bright w/ defined bass that's not muddy or boomy.

    Any opinions, suggestions, or remarks? Thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
  2. Justin_D

    Justin_D Stunt Coordinator

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    I have never heard the Swan's before, and havn't heard those Wharfendale speakers before, but I just wanted to comment. I've never been a big fan of Wharfendales as a whole. The whole sound just never appealed to me. IMHO their tweaters sound like they are made of tin. This is just my opinion though, and as I said, I havn't heard those. Good lukc Stephen.
     
  3. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


    I would definately keep the Swans. How about trading out the receiver and/or the sub. You could also upgrade your mains to the 5.2 or 6.1. Or, how about getting a good sacd/dvda player.

    Lots of things you can do. Why kill the on thing you like.
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I think what leaves me wanting such frequent changes is the fact that I've already made most of the WOW THAT'S 10 TIMES BETTER upgrades. I've very nearly reached my personal point of diminishing returns. I also really prefer the asthetics of the piano black pacific evos, but i'm not going to buy on astetics alone, especially when the swans are very nice in their own right.

    A new receiver is definitely on the block... giving strong consideration to a Denon 2805 and and adding a 5ch amp later, a 3805 and adding a 2ch or 3ch amp alot later, or a HK 7200 and not adding any amp.

    A rebuild of my sub is planned for christmas break, probably a Thunder 12.3 or a larger PR enclosure. Might give veneer or laminate a try as well (was not happy with my last paint/stain job).

    My listening habits are 99% HT (TV & DVD) so I really don't think I would use DVD-A or SACD. I never listened to DVD-A when I had my RP91. Plus I wouldn't want 2 players and there aren't any good DVI universal players that are not HDCP (i need non-hdcp for my projector).

    I have been thinking more about upgrading to 5.2 mains instead of getting all new speakers. That would probably make more sense, but cost more than getting the Wharfedale's because of the deal i've come across on them. It would still probably be a smarter move. I'm giving this much more thought because last time I thought I was making a lateral move i ended up making a big downgrade (went from Paradigm 5SE MK3 mains, 3SE MK3 surrounds and center, Mini MK3 back surrounds to Polk RT800 mains, RT F/X surrounds, and the smaller RT center). I really missed those paradigms when they were gone.
     
  5. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    Lateral moves (and other "I dont want to spend too much" moves) rarely gives you ...



    Hey, Im just playing with ya. [​IMG]
    My pa was a yellow jacket. Hear of the 212-0 football game? He was there.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    This could be one of those situation like you see in sports where the best trade is the one you didn't make. What about a software package like ETF and deal with room issues?
     
  7. Jon Lane

    Jon Lane Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Stephen,

    I was sent to rescu- er, help you out by a customer who just emailed me. [​IMG] If you do wish sell them, please feel free to post your 4.1's for sale at our forum. www.theaudioinsider.com/forum. And if you have an interest in the 6.1's, you know where to find me...
     
  8. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    Been there, done that ... and sometimes the da#@ shirt didn't even fit....
     
  9. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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  10. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Just making point, who has actually heard/listened to the Whafs Evo's or Opus line on a decent rig. Speaking, Mid to high end receiver or entry or better seperates.

    Bring home the questioned mains/30's and give them a listen againt you current Swans. 2-channel will tell far more than HT. Assuming your dealer will allow this.. Or you could take yours in, the former is prefered I belive by most..


    Blanket statements like their tweeters all sound like tin from someone who has not even listened to this speaker line, is unfair and un-called for.

    Obviously he has not heard the better mid line or higher up wharfs lines and the reviews (both user and pro) will back up this statement...
    Has tin man heard any of these speaks lines.
    Diamond, Emeralad, Pacfic, Pacific Evolution and Opus. I doubt any are described as shirll, bright, strongly forward, aha sounding like tin on the high end period, please!! [​IMG]

    Others offer up a vailed ideas in maybe changing something else in the chain, including funiture, might be a better idea. You seemed "prior & now" to be still happy with your current speaks. Something many search for a long time for...

    Lets spend More money:
    New main receiver or,
    Amp's or,
    New Pre & Amp or,
    New Speaker stands or,
    Eq-BFD for the AV based sub (if you do not) already run one, or,
    \\\Room treatments/////
    On and on, you get the idea....

    So many things you could buy, spend on, to make a change in either the looks, or sound some where in the system...
    Just thrown'en it out their!

    Seriously if you like what you have, stick with it IMO... Decorate different or something....

    Good luck
    Geoff
     
  11. Charlie C

    Charlie C Stunt Coordinator

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    I got to listen to a pair of wharfedale Opus speakers yesterday, definately NOT tinny sounding.
     
  12. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Thanks Charlie for the comment on actually hearing the latest Wharf offering, the Opus speaks.

    Even using a lower end, what would be called by most bright sounding receiver, I doubt that one would call the high end sounding like tin on theses or the Evo's...
    Pushed till power reserves are limited in the receiver, definitly it will start tearing up the high end, but this is not the fault of the SPEAKERS it's a lack of clean power.

    Wharf at CES showed these speaks off and allot of buzz aout them has been wrote. Can't remember the mag writer that wrote this, but he said it was the most exciting speaker line he had seen in years. Overly impressed with their build, looks, and sound...Certainy dose not mean that others will feelthe same but far from a tin sounding speaker!

    Ok, sorry enough of that.
    I just get a little defensive when people make blanket statements about any type/brand product and most times ave not even heard it/them......

    To tin man, if anything, most will find the higher end speaks in the Wharf lines sound softly detailed, but clean and accurate on the high end.. Slightly rolled off others call it, which is something many speaker companys have been doing with some lines for years.

    Some like that type high end/freq sound, others don't!

    It's nice to have choices...[​IMG]

    Regards
    Geoff
     
  13. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Problem is I can't bring the EVO30s home and compare since they are an internet deal. I do think, however, I've decided to upgrade my mains to 5.2s after a receiver upgrade in August or September. I'll probably end up with a 2805 and a Rotel amp later on, a Pioneer 1014 (if it turns out to be a rebadged Elite like alot of people think and streets around $500) and a Rotel amp later on, or a HK 7200 w/ no external amps. I'll probably add a bfd once I rebuild my sub... I just wonder when receiver mfgs will start including sub-eq in their automatic room-eqs!?!

    Rob,

    Every time I go back to Kentucky I do feel ten times better! I have heard about the 212 - 0 football game, it was against Cumberland University in TN i think. I like GT, I like Atlanta sports, I like Atlanta shopping, but the rest of the city just isn't for me!
     
  14. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Do hope it all comes together as planned for you. Thats unfortuant that you can't bring them home, whitout a purchace.

    Where they the (LE) Evo's or reg. LE-limited Edtion birds eye maple.
    Has nothing to do with the sound just the cabinets and their real wood veneer.

    A google search might bring up the review from the former now name changed SHT mag, in which they reviewed the whole line includung the sub. Speaking to the Evo's-LE edtion. In summery they liked them and felt they where a bargin at their cost, altho like all speaks reviewed, they pick something out they see that could be done better/different in their eyes/ears....

    Might be something you would find interesting to read. Certainly not trying to change your mind, I think you made/are making the right choice for you with the upgrade to the 5.2's.

    Best of Luck
    Geoff
     
  15. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    They weren't the LE Birds Eye Maple... either cherry or black.
     
  16. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Love that AV based sub by the way, real personal touch in the design/look. Remember it well in the DIY section.

    Drew allot of DIY'ers attention...

    Purdy dose not convey the awsome job & look of that thing. And performace, well any DIY'ers know what he's got their!

    Sweet rig Stephen....

    Sofa-upgrade would be my recomendation aside from your posted up-coming electronic goodies....But what do I know...:b

    Nutuzi sofa with full recliners built in might fit the bill, color & material, well Moma/SAF might have the final say on that I'd imagine! [​IMG]

    Very nice rig...."boring", no way!

    Cheers
    Geoff
     
  17. Rob Kramer

    Rob Kramer Second Unit

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    Stephen

    I dont like the city either. Ill be down there (Canton) at the end of the month. Not looking forward to the narrowed highways and the bad drivers.
     
  18. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Well that sofa is at the parents house. I'm giving consideration to a couple of Berkline or similar HT oriented recliners for the apartment i'll be in come august. I actually found some nice den style brown leather chairs w/ automans at Big Lots furniture for only $350 each that I might pick up instead (pretty much two for the price of one berkline). Only problem is where do i put them when i'm home NEXT summer? And lugging two big chairs and possibly audomans too doesn't sound fun.

    Thanks for the sub compliments but when i re-did the finish back in the early summer to match my Swans i really messed it up. I brushed on a gel stain in the sun and it dried before i could wipe off the excess and has hideous brush marks. Same thing happened with the poly i put over it. When I rebuild it this winter I'll probably go w/ a DefTech style speaker mesh sock on 4 sides and hopefully piano black laminate top and bottom caps. That way it will match the Swans well, hide the driver and PRs, and also still look good if I ever do replace the speakers. May also mount the amp to the sub this time, haven't really made a final decision yet.
     
  19. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    I have auditioned the Evo's several times and auditioned the Opus once.

    The Evo's are one of my personal favorites. They offer excellent midrange and clean, tight bass. The highs don't sound tinny at all. I would describe the highs as detailed and clear with a hint of warmth. In other words, I wouldn't call them bright, but I would not refer to them as warm either. They are somewhere in the middle. Actually, its a nice presentation. I feel you get all the detail and articulation generally present in a more forward (bright) sounding speaker without the fatigue or harshness some people experience.

    Although I enjoy all aspects of the Evo's, their midrange is what really makes them shine. The midrange has a very fast attack and decay which gives them a great deal of punch and articulation. Vocals are excellent and very natural sounding. Lastly, I find their styling quite appealing.

    I noticed in a previous post somebody referred to Wharfedale speakers as sounding 'tinny'. While I certainly respect that posters opinion, perhaps he was referring to models other than the Evo or Opus line. I wouldn't even call the Diamonds series 'tinny', although they certainly show their weakness in the highs when AB'd against the Evo's (Evo's are much more clear).

    If you can get the Evo's for the price you mentioned, I would call it a definate win....if not a steal. I highly doubt you would find the Evo's a downgrade. They are at the very least a lateral move. Only you will be able to truly decide if they are an upgrade or not.

    If you can get the Evo's at that price, I would give them a whirl. If you are not happy, you should be able to offload them for what you paid. Good luck.
     
  20. TonyMartt

    TonyMartt Auditioning

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    Hello folks, new guy here.

    I audtioned the Wharfedale Opus 2, about a month ago.

    I can tell you that to my ears, the Tweeters sounded very nice......smooth. Not tinny.....or harsh.

    I absolutely loved these speakers!!

    The upper-mids, mid-range and lower-mids are gorgeous. I know it's probably a cliche', but I really did hear things in some recordings.....I'd never heard before.

    The vocals were real nice, as were the guitars.

    I started the audition off, with " Gil Shaham and Goran Sollscher's- Paganini For Two". The timbre of the guitar and violin just melted me. Sounded so beautiful. It was well into the fourth track of the CD ( over 15 minutes), when I realized that I needed to audition other CDs on these speakers. I was completley absorbed in the music.

    Wonderful.

    I followed with " Mstislav Rostropovich's - J.S.Bach Cello-Suiten". Again, absolutely wonderful. This was pure music to my ears. Once again I was lost in the music.

    When I came to my senses, I put in "Jean Michel-Jarre's -Oxygene 7-13". I was blown away by the first two tracks. The effects that move from one speaker ...to the other, then back; was beautiful. The Synths sounded amazing. This sounded even better when a Subwoofer was added to the equation, in a 2.1. But make no mistake, it was wonderful without the Sub.

    I also used the "Eagles- Long Run" which sounded great. "I Can't Tell You Why " was one of the highlights of auditioning this album. "Pearl Jam- Riot Act" also was played, and while not quite the beauty of the other CDs (Pearl Jam isn't exactly that concerned with Reference Quality Sound.....but I love their music), it still sounded very good.

    Songs like "Thumbing My Way", " You Are" (which did have a little bit of sloppyness in the bass...at one point in the song), and "All Or None" were the highlights. Not sure if the sloppyness in the bass was the recording, the Amp or the Subwoofer. The Amp was a Denon AVR 1082, the Denon DVD 1600 was used as the CD Player, the Sub was a Wharfedale and he had a Panamax MAX 1000 Surge Protector/Line Conditioner.

    I played quite a few other CDs too, and enjoyed it all.

    I'm going to purchase these speakers. Absolutely love them.

    There was a bit of misinformation and confusion with the Dealer and one of Wharfedale's Reps, as to the availability of the Black Gloss Finish, which I wanted for my Opus 2. Lots of misinformation and confusion. But after I was put in contact with the right person at Wharfedale (IAG), and moving on to another Wharfedale Dealer, they got it all squared away. It will take a little longer to get the finish I want, but I can wait.

    I will order my Opus ...very soon. As well as the Opus Tri-Center Channel and Opus Tri-Surrounds.

    Did I mention I love these speakers? [​IMG]








    [​IMG]
     

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