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Wharfedale Diamond A1 review: Wireless audio bliss for £600

Cliff Joseph
8 Feb 2017
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Our Rating 

With an attractive design, handy wireless hub and great sound quality, the £600 Wharfedale Diamond A1 are superb desktop speakers

Pros 
Wireless design cuts down on cables
Great sound quality
Eye-catching design
Cons 
Expensive
Size
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Wharfedale is one of the classic names in the world of traditional hi-fi, but its new Diamond A1 speakers bring the marque bang up to date. With wireless streaming, dedicated 50W amplifiers and a modern-looking design, these £600 speakers add the Wi-Fi to classic hi-fi. 

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best PC and desktop speakers you can buy from £15

Features and design

The A1 speakers are a bit chunkier than most PC speakers, standing about 320mm high and 186mm wide, so you’ll need a fair amount of space on your desk if you want to sit them beside your PC monitor. However, the ingenious wireless design of the A1 makes it easy to move the speakers up onto a shelf – you’re not restricted by cables like traditional desktop speakers.

Each speaker is completely self-contained, and has its own power supply, but while you’ll need to connect each to a mains socket, there are no other cables used with the speakers, which means that you’re free to place them pretty much anywhere you want.

Connectivity

The Wharfedale's separate little hub is shaped like a little, square coffee coaster and includes analogue RCA and two digital inputs for wired connections, along with Bluetooth (with AptX) for mobile devices. The digital inputs can handle high-res audio as well – well, up to 24-bit 96KHz signals at least – so those with collections of HD audio recordings won’t feel left out. There are no audio cables included, though, so you’ll have to supply those yourself, and it’s a shame there’s no standard 3.5mm connector available as well.

All your music devices connect to the hub, and the hub then streams your music to the A1 speakers via its own wifi network – which cunningly uses the 5.8GHz frequency to avoid clashing with your normal home network. The wireless connection has a range of about 20m, and you can even switch the speakers into mono mode, which allows you to separate them and use them in two different rooms.

Sound quality

But it’s the sound quality that really matters, and the Diamond A1 speakers certainly live up to Wharfedale’s hi-fi standards. Each speaker has its own 50W amplifier, and the 13cm main mid-range/bass driver is made out of Kevlar (the bullet-proof stuff). That rock-solid combination produces a really dynamic, expansive sound – and thanks to the bass reflex port at the rear of each speaker, the Diamond A1’s are capable of producing the sort of full-bodied, room-filling sound that you’d expect from a much larger pair of speakers.

The sturdy cabinets keep distortion down to a minimum and the crisp-sounding tweeters mean that even the guitar overload of The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance remains clear and detailed as you ramp the volume up. They’re not harsh to listen to at all, however. The detailed, luxurious sound quality works really well with everything from classic rock to classical strings.

Verdict

The Diamond A1 are anything but cheap, but these speakers combine high-tech versatility with the kind of refined, enjoyable sound quality that can deal with the most eclectic of tastes. If you want to cut the cables without compromising on audio quality, then the Wharfedale Diamond A1 are a great choice.

Wharfedale Diamond A1 specifications

Speaker configuration2.0 (stereo)
RMS power output100W
Audio inputsRCA, coaxial, optical
Audio outputsN/A
Wireless standards supportedBluetooth/AptX, Wifi (5.8GHz)
Cables suppliedPower cables
ControlsTouch-panel on hub, hand-held remote control
Power supplyMains power (for each speaker)
Dimensions (HxWxD)320x186x230mm
Weight5.5kg each

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