[ Home | Staff & Contacts | DIY & Tweaks | Listening tests | HiFi Playground | Music & Books ]

[Diamond 7 Series]

Wharfedale 7.2 loudspeakers

[Wharfedale 7.2]
[Italian version]

The Wharfedale Diamond 7.2 is a small bookshelf loudspeaker (29 x 19 x 23 cm) with a rear-firing bass reflex system and two ways-two speakers. The 7.2 is a budget-conscious loudspeaker sold (in UK) for less than 150 UKP (~200 $).
This loudspeaker from Wharfedale is the heir of the best-seller Wharfedale Diamond of the '80s, a pretty revolutionary concept in HiFi at the time: big sound at a little price.
The 7.2 belongs also to a family of three loudspeakers (the Series 7) where the 7.1 is the cheaper one and the 7.3 the most expensive (and it is a tower, not a bookshelf).


The front baffle and the rear panel are made of a special plastic compound assembled in a way that should dampen any unwanted resonancy while the rest of the cabinet is standard (not MDF).
The looks and the overall finish are fair, if you want to reduce costs you should start saving from somewhere and, at least in HiFi, it is a clever choice to save on finish and aesthetics, especially for budget-oriented stuff like the 7.2.
Anyway, it is visually non intrusive and it can be placed almost anywhere into your living room (better if on stands) without causing a divorce :-)

The light of a Diamond

The sound of this tiny Diamond 7.2 is rather on the bright side, which was expected since we're talking of a budget speaker that should impress while listened during fast A-B-C...-Z comparisions.
This doesn't mean that the 7.2 are tonally unbalanced. Thanks to the good performance of the tweeter this behaviour is enjoyable, it brings some extra light to your fav Music. It adds some air too and you won't be disappointed by the terrible tizz-tizz sound of some other budget-oriented loudspeaker. Here it is clear that the tweeter is a very good component, never harsh nor pungent.
Bright, yes, but still enjoyable.
Sometimes the mid-to-high range reminds me the one of my old Linn Index Plus, a slightly but still realistic forward sound.
Female voices and cymbals are crystal clear, like the light of a pure diamond had taken off a veil from your recordings. So be careful with overbright CDs, this loudspeaker can easily become *too much of a good thing*.
Sometimes, especially when listening at high levels, the mid range becomes muddy, and when this happens it means that you've gone too far with that volume knob. Please remember this is a small loudspeaker, even if sometimes it sounds way bigger than it appears.
I have a test to evaluate the articulation and the dynamics of the mid-to-high range: it is a Schumann's Fugue for Organ, a terrible test that can bring many amplifiers to a harsh clipping very easily (Schumann, Organ Works, Edelweiss ED 5022, Fuga No.2 Op.60).
Now, the tiny English loudspeaker does the best it can to follow each thunderous attack and, of course, sometimes it fails to be correct, becoming overbright and aggressive. Then you are forced to turn the volume down so that everything becomes tonally balanced again: this means that the dynamics of the mid range is indeed very good and the 7.2 tries to never give up and, instead of compressing the peaks of the signal, it prefers to jell.
With the Sheffield Drum and Track record one can listen to a lightening fast drum kit, where the attacks and the decays seem -dare I say it-...*turbocharged* :-)
Now you can play this loudspeaker very loud without fear (OK, you know what I mean) so that you can have the illusion that the Jim Keltner's drum kit is right into your living door. Impressive, given the size of the loudspeaker.
And now let's talk about the bass range: you may think that every budget small bookshelf has a boomy bass so that untrained listeners are easily impressed. Not the 7.2. This is a real HiFi loudspeaker and it does what it can without any crafty trick.
I'd say it is honest and brave at the same time. No effects, no boomy 100 Hz add-ons: just Music, pure and simple like a diamond. A fast, tight and clean bass range is at its best with pop/rock Music (where quick time-response and pace has to be preferred to depth) but the 7.2 is still enjoyable with classic orchestral or organ works.
In other words the 7.2 does what it can honestly, exactly like a big loudspeaker, just sligthly reduced in size.

3D imaging

This is a cheap loudspeaker so you shouldn't expect a wide and deep virtual soundstage. The 7.2 recreates a rather deep soundstage, provided that you place it far away from the rear wall (the reflex port is in the rear panel...). The height of the soundstage is the less convincing aspect of the image created by this tiny loudspeaker...hence use a rather tall stand so that the tweeters are slightly above your ears.
Thanks to the good performance of the tweeter and to the sturdy cabinet the focus of the image is very good, while the image itself tends to the center while playing complex musical tracks (of course, at this price!).
In order to make the loudspeaker disappear I'd suggest to place a felt demi-ring on the tweeter flange (at the right of the left tweeter and viceversa).

Some advice

Though this is a bookshelf loudspeaker, do yourself a favour and please place it over a pair of good stands. If you don't want to spend an arm and a leg with metallic sophisticated stands just take a look at the Akropolis stand here on TNT.
As said before, leave enough air around the 7.2 i.e. place it far away from the rear and the side walls.
Then the amplifier: a good budget amplifier with the ability to drive even low impedances is a must here. Just to name some brands: NAD, Rotel and Arcam. Even 20 (good) watts are enough to make this loudspeaker play very loud.
Do not judge the Diamond 7.2 without proper break-in: let them play for at least 50 hours and you'll be able to get the best out of these boxes.
Also, do not use the 7.2 for large rooms (25 square meters and more), they are well suited for medium-to-small listening rooms.


The Diamond 7.2 is a good loudspeaker for beginners or for a second HiFi system. A very good tweeter and a honest, serious and fast bass range are its pluses.
Well suited for pop/rock, these loudspeakers can play classical Music quite seriously, the light they can shed into your Music makes you easily forget their competitive and low price.
You'll enjoy the Light of a Diamond.

© Copyright 1998 Lucio Cadeddu - http://www.tnt-audio.com

[ Home | Staff & Contacts | DIY & Tweaks | Listening tests | HiFi Playground | Music & Books ]