Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 Tower Speakers (Pair)
New Drivers, Crossovers, and Architecture for Budget Benchmark Status: Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 Tower Loudspeaker Plays with Notable Openness and Emotionalism
"New." If you were to describe the Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 tower loudspeaker with one term, you'd be challenged to pick a different word.
That's because like all Diamond 12 models, the overachieving floorstander arrives having been re-engineered top-to-bottom over its predecessor to ensure its status as a budget benchmarks its price class. Everything from the drivers to the crossovers to the cabinets contributes to an instrument that reproduces music exceptional poise, detail, openness, and emotionalism. Equally important, Diamond 12.3 is at home with all types of recordings, from pop and rock to jazz and classical.
Starting with high-frequency reproduction, Diamond 12.3 sparkles. Comprised of woven polyester film with a high-loss coating for open, smoothly extended high frequencies, its one-inch soft-dome tweeter boasts an optimized magnet system and flat front plate to attain wide dispersion and uncompressed playback. Architecturally, a very short duct on the front plate balances the acoustic load and serves to improve SPL measurement.
Equally important, Diamond 12.3 utilizes a crossover network with LKR 24dB topology and air-core inductors – the latter commonly found in much more expensive high-end designs due to their low-distortion properties.
Of course, Diamond 12.3 isn't a 2.5-way design for nothing. It boasts a five-inch midrange and five-inch woofer – each comprised of trademarked Klarity cone material – formulated from a blend of polypropylene and mica to add stiffness while remaining lightweight for low coloration and fast responsiveness.
Fitted with a low-damping surround and shaped to achieve a flat response curve, both produce expressive dynamics even on complex material. Each also touts a precision-crafted magnet system with an aluminum compensation ring to minimize the effect of variations in inductance as the voice coil travels, ultimately leading to an absence of distortion and intermodulation generated by the motor system.
As for the aforementioned voice coil? It's wound on an epoxy/glass-fiber bobbin produces higher power handling than those assembled on aluminum machines – and claims a stiffness lacking on Kapton types normally found on speakers at this cost.
Visually, Diamond 12.3 will make you beam with pride once you see it in your room. Showcasing elegant finishes and accents, it takes advantage of form-follows-function architecture in which Intelligent Spot Bracing connects opposite walls with a custom, computer-modeled wood brace to reduce resonance – and not transfer it from side to another. In addition, the rear-ported enclosure works in harmony with the drive unit to produce the focused sound you deserve to hear.
Klarity Equals Focus
New Klarity cone material for the drivers, formulated from a blend of polypropylene and mica, adds stiffness to reduce flexing, enabling a lightweight cone with high rigidity, low coloration, and fast response. The Klarity cone is fitted with a low-damping surround, thereby achieving both low colouration and expressive dynamics. By simulating many different cone shapes and adding ribs to provide further stiffening, a flat response curve was achieved without resorting to a high-damping surround, thereby striking an ideal balance.
Precision-Crafted Magnet System Keeps Driver Moving as a Piston
A precision-made magnet system with an aluminum compensation ring is employed to minimize the effect of variations in inductance as the voice coil travels. This contributes to an absence of distortion and intermodulation generated by the motor system. In addition, the voice coil is wound on a high-power epoxy/glass-fiber bobbin – highly unusual in speakers at this price level. It has the advantage of not adding eddy currents and delivers greater power handling than an aluminum bobbin, whilst also being much stiffer than the Kapton type associated with Diamond 12 Series' price class.
The one-inch soft-dome tweeter is made from a woven polyester film with a high-loss coating to deliver open and smoothly extended high frequencies. The magnet system and the front plate have been optimized for wide dispersion and uncompressed behaviur. The front plate is flat and exposes the dome as much as possible; only a very short duct on the front plate balances the acoustic load and improves the SPL measurement.
Crossover in Style
The crossover network uses an acoustic LKR 24dB topology. This includes air-core inductors of the type more commonly found in high-end speakers, selected because they produce the lowest distortion of all inductor types. As the resistance of the coil is higher than a standard laminated steel or ferrite core inductor, the magnetic structure of the mid/bass driver has been modified to compensate, resulting in fast, clean bass with no distortion from the inductor.
Firm and Fair
The rear-ported enclosure is precisely sized so that the internal volume works in harmony with the drive unit system to deliver the desired sonic result. A multi-layered sandwich design subdues the identifiable characteristics of the cabinet. Even the resonant properties of the glue between the layers was measured to determine the optimum combination.
Inside the cabinet, Intelligent Spot Bracing connects opposite walls with a specific form of wood brace to achieve optimal reduction of cabinet resonance. These braces are precisely modeled by computer simulation to improve upon the commonplace ‘figure of eight' brace, which may simply transfer resonance from one wall to another.
Speaker Type: 2.5-way floorstanding speaker
Bass Driver: 5" Advanced PP cone
Midrange Driver: 5" Advanced PP cone
Treble Driver: 1" Textile Dome
Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 87.5dB
Recommended amp power: 30-150W
Peak SPL: 102dB
Nominal impedance: 8Ω compatible
Minimum Impedance: 4.6Ω
Frequency Response (+/-3dB): 45Hz-20kHz
Bass Extension (-6dB): 40Hz
Crossover Frequency: 2.2kHz
Cabinet Volume: 26.6L
Dimensions (HWD): 38.38" x 7" x 13.7"
Weight: 42.9 lbs.