Wharfedale Speakers (comments and mini review)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Seth_L, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    Does anyone have any opinions on Wharfedale Speakers? I recently bought a few different pairs off Ubid and I've been very impressed with what I've heard so far. I'd be interested in seeing what other people think of them.

    My mains before all this were Infinity Interlude IL40 towers. I really liked them. Still do.

    I bought a pair of Wharfedale Modus 1.6 towers and a pair of Wharfedale Emerald 99 towers. These are the top of the line towers from the respective lines of Wharfedale.

    Here's how they sort out.

    Infinity IL40:
    Perhaps a little over emphasized in the midrange. Lacks the low end bass of the Emerald 99 and the Modus 1.6. When played above reference volume they become somewhat harsh in the mid and high end. They do not seem to distort even with very high levels of bass. These are rear ported and as a result are somewhat sensative to corner loading.

    Emerald 99:
    The midrange is bit laid back on this speaker. It has a fair bit more low end extension than the Infinity. It has a less dominant low end than the Modus 1.6. It bass is also a little "tighter" and more controlled at loud volumes. These speakers do not get harsh when cranked. They really sing at loud volume (above reference). These are front ported. Corner loading doesn't affect them like it does the other two sets.

    Modus 1.6:
    I think these are the most musical speaker of the bunch at modest volume levels. The midrange is more balanced than either of the other two speakers. Low end extension is excellent, but with extreme levels of bass it is possible to get distortion and clipping. These speakers become a little harsh at high volumes. Not as bad as the IL40s, but they're not as "mellow" as the Emerald 99s under those extreme volumes. The Modus are rear and front ported. As a result they are sensative to corner loading.

    Conclusion:
    For both music and Home Theatre I think I'd pick the Modus 1.6 if I had to do it over again knowing what I know now. If the mains are crossed even as low as 40Hz they will not distort. Then they are able to play very loudly without any bass distortion. I watched a movie (swordfish) with the Modus 1.6 at reference volumes and they did not have any problems. They sound a little bit more natural than the IL40s and they cost a whole lot less.

    If I were really into listening to my music at 105-110dB or so I'd be all over the Emerald 99s. They are quite listenable at extreme levels.

    My only disappointment with the Wharfedales are the grills. They're pretty shoddy and seem rather flimsy.

    I'm also working on getting a pair of Wharfedale Sapphire 89s to compare to the above 3 pairs of speakers and see how well they do.


    Hopefully some other people will offer their opinions and comparisons.

    Seth
     
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  2. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Seth,
    I own 4 Emerald 97's and couldn't be happier. They are an extremely refined speaker design and, of course, an absolute steal from Ubid. The Emeralds do indeed 'sing', especially at high volumes. Good to see someone willing to experiment with something other than the 'usual suspects'.
    I do agree that the grills could be a little stronger but then I don't manhandle anything with plastic pegs for mounting connectors...Slow and easy does it. Otherwise, the quality is outstanding. Open up the 99's and look at the design/build quality. I swear I don't know how they make any money selling these things at these ridiculous prices. Some guy actually snagged six 97's not too long ago for $700 delivered. [​IMG] Jeesh!
    As far as sound quality goes, it's been my experience that few speakers are well mated to every kind of music reproduction. Some element of design or componentry invariably leaves something unfulfilled somewhere along the way. Nowhere is this more true than with modern music, especially Rock with all of it's many varieties. The Emeralds, for instance, are aptly described as having 'a dry acoustic character with a revealing and flawless transparency. 'I would certainly agree with this and reiterate that this therefore is not exactly what I would use to reproduce the harder versions of Rock including Heavy Metal or the latest modern auditory scourge...Rap.
    Geoff L of this forum also just grabbed a pair of 99's for himself so I'm sure he'll be chiming in soon. He also owns an Emerald set of the 95's, 93's and Emerald center, I believe.
    Do let us know what you think of the 'Blue' Sapphires and how they compare.
     
  3. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I used to use the Wharfedale Pacific range in a second home cinema, comprising the PI-20's, Pi10's and Pi centre, for the money that I purchased them for I was extremely impressed with the sound. The only downfall being the wood veneer finish on them which looked rather tacky at times. The Pi-20's produced amazing bass for only using a single mid/bass driver.
     
  4. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    It's good to see that there are other happy Wharfedale customers out there.
    I think the only question I'm going to be left with is what to do with the stack of speakers I end up with. I've got no idea what I'm going to do with 4 different pairs of tower speakers. I already have a full 7 channel setup of voice matched Infinity Interlude speakers. Guess I'll have to start selling them to friends. [​IMG]
    Seth
     
  5. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

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    Seth-

    Im going to chime in here for I too own the Modus 1.6 with the Sony DA5ES as the source and Parasound 855 amplification.

    First off, my speakers are Bi-wired AND they are also pretty much broken in. I've had them since the beginning of the year powered by An HK AVR110 at first.
    They sounded quite nice with that set-up but they were a little bit forward with the HK Receiver Amp. I replaced my HK with the Sony DA5ES around April and immediately there was a BIG difference in HT performance. It sounded SO MUCH fuller and wider!
    In 2 channel mode, the Modus really sound great but still I was not quite happy because they sounded a little on the bright side. As a matter of fact, I did a little experiment and played them FULL Range (Large) and watched FIGHT CLUB at Reference Level and I POPPED 1 of the woffers! No worries as the Warranty on these things are 3 years with NO questions asked by Wharfedale (IAG America). They sent me a PAIR 3 days later (fedex)! How's that for Customer Satisfaction![​IMG] SO be carefull when you are listening at those levels. Switch them to SMALL and Cross them over between 60 and 80.

    Now that I have them paired with the Parasound 855, All I can say is AMAZING!


    The soundstage is VERY WIDE and deep. They sound CRISP and SUPER CLEAR without being BRIGHT! My friends that come over are always commenting on how good these speakers sound. I pop in Diana Krall and her voice as we all know SOUNDS AWESOME without a hint of distortion! I just recently bought Jim Brickman's SOLO Piano CD and AGAIN, Im floored by the sound! I test it with some Drum Tracks by Sheffield Labs and amazing accuracy comes out of these speakers!
    I'm not saying that THESE are the END ALL of speakers but for the amount of money I paid for the pair(230 Shipped), it CANNOT BE BEAT! (I just won another pair off of Ubid for 39 a pair which came to 171.00 shipped!)

    Congrats on the speakers and Enjoy the Modus Music! They are AWESOME IMHO!

    Some Additional Info about my Set-up and Placement.[*]They are about 8 feet apart. [*]1.5 Feet away from the Back Wall.[*]Bi-wired using 16 Guage for each Connection 10 foot pair.[*]6 Inches away from my TV.[*]Small Setting Crossed over at 60 with the Sub Playing for 2 Channel Music.



    Angelo
     
  6. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    Well I won an auction for a pair of Wharfedale Sapphire Blue 89's. Expect a comparison in a few days.

    Ubid is so stupid. All of the 89's have a reserve between $99 and $119. So I found a pair with no reserve and a starting bid of $69. So I bought them for all of $69 each. I swear if you pay enough attention and have a little patience on Ubid you don't have to pay more than the opening bid for anything.

    Seth
     
  7. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

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    Seth-

    Make sure to check the auction for REFURBS because sometimes, they will say Manufaturer Refurbished units on the cheaper auctions without reserve.

    Just my .02 cents
     
  8. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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  9. Matthew BW

    Matthew BW Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the diamond 8.1's and the diamond center. I love them except that The center seems a little harsh especially on th s's. I hjave also noticed almost like a buzzing like something is blown. It is not all the time and is mostly present on analog cable stations. I hope I did not hurt them when I pulled the speaker wire and then pluuged it back in with the reciever on.
     
  10. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    I'm still puzzled by the sudden drop in prices on many of these and other fine speakers on Ubid. I mean sure, everything moves in cycles but lately there has been a significant drop in final price as compared to the exact same speaker just a few months or even weeks ago. Nothing I've come across seems to explain it.
    Personally I don't care if someone gets the same item for considerably less than I paid. When buying/bidding, I have a reasonable price limit in my own mind and never exceed it. At Ubid I've been very fortunate and my HT/Stereo systems have been seriously enhanced at a minimal cost on any comparative basis. But frankly, at the rate SOME of these item's prices are falling I just might have to start building yet another system.:wink::wink::wink:
    For the record---from Ubid just since February:
    1 pr-Emerald 97's (Walnut) new
    1 H/K 510-Z refurb
    1 pr-Emerald 97's (Walnut) new
    1 Parasound 855A amp new
    Like Angelo the 855A was the final ingredient to a tasty recipe. Am currently bi-amping the front 97's with 4 channels and the center with the fifth. Plan on using 4 channels of the 510 for the rear 97's when I get the room. Thank you Wharfedale for bi-amp/bi-wire capability.[​IMG]
     
  11. JeffreyMercado

    JeffreyMercado Second Unit

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    Thanks for posting your review on the 8.1s. My brother is interested in getting those and the price is right.
     
  12. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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  14. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Ted and Seth,

    I agree with you both.

    But Ted, I know the whole thing can't just be related to bad service and screw-ups. All 4 of my orders went without a hitch and were delivered inside of a week...some only 2 days! Although it does seem that Ubid saved up a lot of bad Karma for those Michauras.

    And Seth, it does seem that Ubid has either the weirdest warehousing strategy or just doesn't know how to keep a good thing going. I mean, when there's a boatload of people out there trying to buy the same product the final prices will be higher. But they 'appear'(can't really know) to hold back supplies for future auctions, even the hot stuff. Go figure.
     
  15. PeterV

    PeterV Agent

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    Paul and Angelo
    As always, thanks for the excellent review of the
    Emerald 97's and the Modus 1.6's.

    Seth
    I have had the Sapphire 87's for 2 years and the
    Emerald 97's for 3 months. The Sapphires, like the
    Emerald line has excellent midrange and highs.
    Like Angelo had mentioned about the Modus 1.6 the low frequency wooofer can distort at high levels. I had been
    using the Sapphires with an Adire Tempest sub so
    with them set to small this wasn't a problem for me.
    I would say that the Sapphires are an excellent value
    speaker for a variety of music and home theater with an
    added sub.
    The Emerald 97's really shine on a variety of music from
    classical to rock. As Paul stated; the highs, mid, and
    low frequency sound is excellent. They are very
    revealing speakers. For home theater I use them with the sub and set them to small. For music they work well
    with or without a sub.
    For a center channel speaker, if room space allows,
    I would use a 97 tower instead of the Emerald center
    channel speaker. I have 2 sets of the Emerald 97 towers
    and the Emerald center channel. I have tried both and
    the 97 tower sounds better in my opinion.
    Best regards
    PeterV
     
  16. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Hey Peter,
    Peter, you are running the same setup as I intend to once I get the space. I think the 97 is as flexible a performer as I've come across...Small or Large...Sub-in or Sub-out, HT or 2 channel. There's just something about being in a room surrounded by all that beautiful wood and all of that sweet sound. What are you using for power and processing?
    Your 97 as center suggestion is exactly what I want to do eventually...except I want two 97's for the job. I know it's overkill but it would keep things balanced. [​IMG] Unfortunately the Emerald towers are not shielded so there goes that plan, at least for now. [​IMG]
    I've noticed many people who have the Emerald center say the same thing...it's just not up to the sound quality of the Emerald mains. I understand Wharfedale is still not providing dual posts on the center as well. I wish they would remedy this as more juice just might help the little box out.
    Really glad to know the speakers worked out. It's been a long time since the last 'great Wharfedale discussion'.
    Best Regards right back at ya',
    Paul
     
  17. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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  18. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    Seth,

    As I read it...sounded like Peter was talking about the Sapphires...but he should be the one to clarify. I know my 97's have excellent extension and have never audibly distorted.

    Question: what is the volume range on the DA5ES? Every other receiver I know has a different scale. H/K's are from -80 to +10 with channel levels at 0.
     
  19. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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  20. PeterV

    PeterV Agent

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    Quote:
    __________________________________________________ ________

    Are you talking about the Sapphire 87s or the Emerald 97s? I'm not able to make the Emerald 99s distort (for as loud as I pushed 'em). I was able to push them to -20dB on my Sony DA5ES. Even at -20dB they were still not distorting. I was only able to push Modus 1.6 to -25dB on the same track before it started distorting.
    __________________________________________________ _________


    Seth,
    I was referring to the Sapphire 87's low frequency driver
    distorting at high levels.

    PeterV
     

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