WHARFEDALE: Diamond Active Series stereo speakers combine Wharfedale’s award-winning acoustic design with ‘True Wireless’ freedom for modern digital lifestyles

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The Diamond Active Series from Wharfedale, Britain’s best-known loudspeaker brand, delivers wireless connectivity with a difference. Whilst not the first stereo speakers to offer integrated amplification and Bluetooth connectivity with compatible devices including smartphones, tablets and computers, their clever ‘True Wireless’ technology ensures greater flexibility than many such designs. This, combined with Wharfedale’s award-winning sonic know-how, delivers levels of convenience and performance that separate the Diamond Active Series from the rest of the wireless speaker crowd.

Wharfedale Diamond

The Diamond Active Series comprises two models: the Diamond A1, a classic ‘bookshelf’-size speaker (31.5cm high), and the Diamond A2, a larger floorstanding design (91.2cm high). Both models come in pairs, in the manner of traditional stereo hi-fi speakers, and include a 50W amplifier in each speaker to deliver a combined ‘system power’ of 100W

Therein lies the hub

Many ostensibly similar stereo-paired Bluetooth speakers incorporate the amp circuitry and Bluetooth receiver in one speaker, with a cable connecting this powered speaker to a second, passive speaker. This means that while you can connect your playback device to the speakers wirelessly, the cable between them limits the speakers’ placement.

Wharfedale’s Diamond Active Series speakers work differently. They include an advanced wireless hub, to which the playback device is paired via Bluetooth (with support for the sonically superior aptX codec). The H1 hub then conveys the left and right audio signals to the appropriate speaker via uncompressed wireless transmission, allowing greater freedom in terms of positioning. As well as removing the need for the speakers to be connected together via a cable – that’s why we call it ‘True Wireless’ – the fact that each speaker incorporates its own 50W amplifier helps to ensure consistent, fully optimised stereo sound.

To enable interference-free wireless transmission, the H1 hub avoids the often-crowded 2.4GHz frequency band, focusing on 5.8GHz instead. The intelligent wireless module has the ability to switch automatically between frequencies when required, thus avoiding any local interference wherever the speakers are sited. Each speaker may be placed up to 20m from the hub, giving exceptional positioning flexibility; the only other siting requirement is that both speakers, with their dedicated amplifiers, need to be plugged into the mains.

A range of cable inputs further enhances the H1 hub’s versatility: digital inputs are supplied in both optical and coaxial flavours, while two RCA-phono inputs cater for analogue sources. Touch-sensitive controls on the hub’s top surface allow convenient adjustment of volume and input switching, while a remote control adds even greater convenience.

Additional controls on the speakers’ rear include bass adjustment (+/- 6dB), allowing the user to tailor low frequencies to suit the speakers’ position in the room. Each speaker can be selected as either ‘left’ or ‘right’ in a stereo configuration; a mono mode is also available if the speakers’ positioning is not suited to stereo. This mode can even be used to create a simple two-room setup – useful, for example, if the user is entertaining friends and wishes to place one speaker in the living room and one in the kitchen.

Diamonds deliver sonic sparkle

The speakers’ sonic performance benefits greatly from Wharfedale’s acoustic expertise, with many elements developed from the latest ‘200 Series’ iteration of the company’s classic Diamond loudspeakers. Both Diamond Active models sport proprietary bass/mid drivers with woven Kevlar cones – one 130mm unit in the A1 and two 165mm units in the A2 – as featured in the Diamond 200 Series. The cones incorporate semi- elliptical ‘break-up’ areas, which smooth the response throughout the audible range, while rear-firing reflex ports augment the bass.

The 25mm fabric dome tweeter is also derived from the Diamond 200 Series, incorporating a precision-drive magnet system and a meticulously designed waveguide around the diaphragm for optimal dispersion. The drive units are combined via a sophisticated crossover network, specifically developed to optimise the performance of the Diamond Active speakers’ integrated amplifier/driver configuration, delivering a cohesive performance that is bold and engaging, yet also impressively refined.

Both models combine design cues from the Diamond 200 Series – such as the silver-coloured, diamond-cut drive unit surrounds – with fresh touches to give the Diamond Active models their own distinct identity. Rounded cabinet edges lend the speakers a contemporary air, with the top and sides smoothly wrapped in black leatherette; a refreshing alternative to traditional cabinet finishes. The front baffle is available in a choice of high-gloss black or high-gloss white, the latter providing a striking contrast for those who like their speakers to make a strong visual impression.

Wharfedale’s Diamond Active speakers are available from October, with RRPs of £599.95 per pair for the Diamond A1 and £999.95 per pair for the Diamond A2 (including the H1 wireless hub). Together, they form an expertly engineered bridge between classic hi-fi loudspeakers and contemporary digital lifestyles.

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