Wharfedale Diamond 11.2 Speakers (Pair) is the largest bookshelf model in the brand new Diamond 11 Series. This sleekly designed model sits above the 11.0 and 11.1 and likewise showcases a curved cabinet that pays homage to the much-loved earlier Diamond 9 and 10 Series.
This powerful bookshelf design blends accessibility with high-calibre features which is a fitting tribute to Wharfedale’s upcoming 85th birthday.
The Diamond 11 Series is expertly constructed from a blend of woods of varying density, each sandwiched together. This design method ensures amazing acoustic characteristics and an impeccable standard of finish.
What’s more, the acoustic performance is enhanced by the much-admired curved cabinet walls which also deliver a divine aesthetic. Meanwhile, a deeply articulate bass sound is free from unseemly ‘chuffing’ thanks to bass loading via an updated slot-loaded distributed port.
Wharfedale Diamond 11.2 Setup
I mounted the Wharfedales on 24″-tall Celestion stands, isolating the speakers with small pads of Blu-Tack. The stands’ central pillars were filled with a mix of dry sand and bird shot, and their bases were spiked to the wooden floor beneath the carpet; this placed the Diamond 11.2s’ tweeters exactly 36″ above the carpet. I didn’t use the magnetically attached black-cloth grilles, as they made the sound a bit too sweet.
I began my auditioning with the Diamond 11.2s placed where I’d set up the Dynaudio Special Forty speakers, which I reviewed in the September issue. Both woofers were 98″ from the wall behind the speakers; the right-channel Wharfedale was 52″ from the books lining its sidewall, the left-channel speaker 26″ from the LPs lining its sidewall. However, the upper bass sounded rather lean, so I moved the Wharfedales closer to the wall behind them: 67″ instead of 98″. The left speaker was still 26″ from its sidewall, but I ended up with the right speaker’s woofer 43″ from its sidewall. This usefully fattened the low frequencies, but I suspect that both Diamond 11.2s needed to be still closer to the wall behind them than is possible in my room. (Equipment racks and a small raised area at the front right of the room prevent the speakers from being moved closer.)
Sublime Crossover Integration
Wharfedale’s engineers utilise a massively evolved virtual crossover software system that creates a number of circuit options for combining the bass/midrange and treble units in a smooth manner. These circuit options are then stringently tested over a number of months, involving a wide range of music.
The design team then perfects the crossover component values, the type of components and the circuit board layout to capture the most detailed and, above all, brilliantly pleasurable musical performance using only listening tests as a marker of quality.
The merging of attention to tuning with excellent technical design, that injects Wharfedale Diamond speakers with their enduring appeal from original fans to newcomers.
Wharfedale Diamond 11.2 – Double Diamonds
Although Wharfedale is still a British brand, with its R&D department in the UK, it’s now owned by a Chinese holding company, the IAG Group, which also owns Audiolab, Castle Acoustics, Luxman, Mission, and Quad. The 11.2 is the largest of three bookshelf speakers in the new range of eight Diamond 11 models, which also includes three floorstanders and two center-channels. The head of the Wharfedale Diamond 11.2’s design team, IAG acoustic director Peter Comeau, was also responsible for the great-sounding Quad S-2 ($999/pair), reviewed by Ken Micallef in January 2019.
Like the Diamond 225, the Diamond 11.2 combines a 1″ fabric-dome tweeter and a 6.5″ mid/woofer with a woven-Kevlar cone in a reflex-loaded, fiber-filled, multilayer MDF cabinet. The new speaker is the same height as the older one, 14″, but is 1″ wider and 2.5″ deeper. More significant, the enclosure’s sidewalls are gently curved to the rear, this said to reduce cabinet resonances and internal standing waves. The slot that acts as the reflex port still extends across the full width and depth of the enclosure at its base, but now has semi-parabolic entry and exit curves to linearize airflow.
The tweeter is still mounted at the center of a short, flared waveguide, to control its dispersion, but now has a damped rear chamber, which I assume is what the words “WFR Vented System” on the front plate refer to. Both tweeter and woofer now have a copper-cap pole plate, which is claimed both to reduce inductance and linearize the magnetic flux in the gap. The woofer uses a large-radius, half-roll surround made from a US-sourced “Water-Resistant Polyester Foam” with improved suspension linearity. The woofer’s basket has a more rigid and open frame, to reduce the level of early reflections of the cone’s rear wave.
Electrical connection is via a single pair of binding posts on the cabinet’s rear rather than the Diamond 225’s two pairs. Despite the Diamond 11.2’s affordable price, with its gloss black front baffle it looks very attractive.
The new generation of Diamond speakers includes design components not usually seen at such affordable price points.
Wharfedale’s engineers took a back to basics approach to create a loudspeaker system that would once again light up this sector of the hi-fi market and bring high-end performance – and a winning aesthetic – within the realm of many music lovers, not just the select few.