WHARFEDALE REDEFINES BUDGET LOUDSPEAKERS WITH ITS D300 SERIES
Wharfedale's new D300 Series may be 'budget' in price, but don't think that this means the British speaker brand is simply offering 'cheap' loudspeakers.
Almost four decades since Wharfedale created their first-ever Diamond series, they are "redefining the low-cost, high-performance speaker concept" with an all-new range – the D300 Series.
Firstly, the range starts at a headline-grabbing £159 per pair. The D300 stable consists of four models: two compact stand-mount speakers – the D310 and slightly larger D320 – and a floorstander dubbed D330. These are joined by a centre channel speaker for home cinema systems, the D300C.
The D300 models lack the curved cabinet sides of their Diamond 11 siblings; however they sport many of the same technologies.
The drive units and bass reflex system are especially noteworthy.
The D300 Series incorporates the latest generation of Wharfedale's long-established woven Kevlar cones for their mid/woofers. They are bonded to a super-lightweight surround made of a hi-tech foamed polyether.
These cones are driven by a super-long-throw voice coil motor system. We are told that their low-frequency linearity and accuracy is exceptional for such low-cost loudspeakers.
The use of a specially shaped one-piece pole plate fitted with a copper cap reduces inductance and controls the magnetic flux. This results in low distortion through the critical midrange area. Oversized ceramic magnets, a technology pioneered by Wharfedale in the 1960s ensures high sensitivity and absolute control of cone movement over lower bass frequencies.
The driver assembly is mounted in a specially designed basket with a network of ribs to increase rigidity. A large open area behind the cone reduces early reflections and allows the internal cabinet absorbent to do its work.
Taking care of the top-end is Wharfedale's WFR (Wide Frequency Response) tweeter. Developed for the Diamond 11, it incorporates its own ‘cabinet' – a precisely shaped rear chamber damped with a fibre filling.
An over-sized ceramic magnet, selected to give a smoother transition from midrange to high frequencies, is attached to a pole piece with copper cap for flux control. The pole piece is vented through to the rear chamber to achieve a low resonant frequency, ensuring excellent linearity and allowing the textile dome, sited within a dished waveguide, to also contribute to a wonderfully clear midrange.
The output of the drive units is carefully combined through a crossover that features low-loss polypropylene capacitors and laminated core inductors for optimum transfer of the music signal.
The acoustically profiled cabinets feature 28mm-thick front baffles profiled at the edges to reduce diffraction edge reflections at mid to high frequencies.
The bass port has been developed from the Slot-Loaded Distributed Port found in the Diamond 11 Series. Here, the D300 Series' P-EQ (Pressure Equalisation) port system is critical to the speakers' deep and controlled bass performance.
Low bass frequencies emitted from the rear surface of the bass driver travel through a downward-firing port in the base of the speaker, with precisely curved openings to smooth airflow. These frequencies exit into the room omnidirectionally through a gap between the cabinet and the surface on which it rests (or, in the case of the D330, between cabinet and plinth), formed by four ‘feet' attached to the speaker's base.
Interestingly, the D300's Industrial design was delivered by Kieron Dunk, a man whose CV includes award-winning designs for the likes of Q Acoustics, Denon and Marantz, as well as Wharfedale's sister- companies Mission and Quad. Additionally, the talents of Peter Comeau, Wharfedale's Director of Acoustic Design and one of Britain's foremost loudspeaker designers was also employed.
Speaking about the range, Peter Comeau told StereoNET:
Although the D300 Series is not a Wharfedale Diamond range [the Diamond 11 Series is the current Diamond line], the ‘D' in the name clearly signifies the speakers' heritage.
Wharfedale has long been known for delivering excellent sound at affordable prices, and we have worked exceedingly hard to deliver premium technological and engineering solutions while flying in the face of inflationary pressures to maintain classic ‘budget' price points such as £159 and £199.
In terms of ‘sound per pound', the D300 Series is surely Wharfedale's best ‘budget' loudspeaker range yet.
The Wharfedale D300 Series is available from late September. All speakers come in a choice of black, white, walnut and rosewood.
Recommended retail prices are as follows: D310: £159 per pair D320: £199 per pair D330: £499 per pair D300C: £179
For more information, go to Wharfedale.
StereoNET UK's Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He's captained the GadgetyNews good ship for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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