As you would expect from a series of this stature, the Diamond 100 is bang up to date in terms of technology and performance. Foremost in the design criteria for Diamond 100 is the ongoing research into loudspeaker driver sound quality. To that end the famous Wharfedale Woven Kevlar cone was put under the technology spotlight and given a new profile based on the research originally carried out for the high-end Jade range.
Incorporated in the low frequency and midrange cones are semi-elliptical ‘break-up’ areas which smooth the response throughout the audible range. In addition each surround is treated to match the cone edge with a unique ‘Diamond Pattern’ moulding. Finally the dust cap is blended and treated to provide a smooth transition and perfect acoustic match to the treble unit.
The treble unit chosen for Diamond 100 came under equal scrutiny during development. As well as selecting a sheer fabric dome and advanced ferrite magnet system, the dome is surrounded by a carefully crafted wave guide that encourages outstanding midrange performance.
Combining the drivers is a crossover developed using Wharfedale’s latest ‘Virtual Speaker ’ software. Techniques developed in-house allow the final loudspeaker to be simulated and fully analysed even before a prototype is played for the first time. This simulation accommodates driver performance and cabinet construction, as well as room placement, to make sure that both on-axis and off-axis performance over a wide listening area is fully optimized.
Naturally cabinet design was not forgotten in amongst all the other technology. Rectilinear cabinet shapes were chosen to maximize the internal volume and provide the deepest, most extended bass response. Again the research from the highend Jade series was incorporated to elicit the latest advance in loudspeaker reflex loading – the Slot-Loaded Distributed Port.
Exiting at the base of the speaker cabinet, the refl ex port is loaded by a slot created by the plinth. This equalises the air pressure to mimic that inside the cabinet allowing smooth transition between the pressure variation in the cabinet and the low frequency sound developed in the room.
Cabinet walls and internal bracing were also incorporated in the ‘Virtual Speaker’ model, with the help of Delayed Cumulative Spectral Analysis that ruthlessly reveals panel coloration in all its forms. Using this technique Wharfedale engineers formulated a cabinet panel construction of multigrain faceted boards bonded together to damp annoying High-Q resonances and block internal sound leakage. The effect is that the ‘noise’ from cabinet walls is buried more than 35dB below the driver output. In Diamond 100 all you hear is crystal clear music from the drive units without any attendant coloration from the cabinet. Again computer analysis helped refine this novel technique, but the result is an audibly superior bass performance of great articulation and clarity.
The Real Test
That doesn’t mean that Diamond 100 is purely a computer design, clever though that might be. This ‘Virtual Speaker’ is simply a tool that allows the Wharfedale engineers to explore all facets of the loudspeaker ’s performance before starting listening tests. In the final evaluation weeks are spent fine tuning the acoustic performance using a wide variety of music in Wharfedale’s five listening rooms, each of which mimics the kind of domestic environments the Diamond Series are likely to be used in. Only when the acoustic tests are deemed truly satisfying are the loudspeaker designs signed-off for production, ensuring that each speaker model fulfils its eventual owner’s dreams of musically enjoyable reproduction from Britain’s Most Famous Loudspeakers