The Wharfedale Diamond 220 Modification thread (aka Linton pre-mod review)

lowpoweraudio

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2021
Messages
46
Points
18
Location
Springfield, OR. USA
Greetings,

In light of the interest of taken in improving the sound quality of the Wharfedale 85th Anniversary Linton speakers. I thought it would be fun to see what gains could be realized from modifying the smallest and least expensive speaker in the Wharfedale line. Additionally, while every DIYer dreams of modding the big expensive speakers. I believe documenting a project like this on a relatively inexpensive speaker ($249pr USD amazon) brings value to the mod/DIY community in two ways. First, we could realize gains much larger than one would initially expect from such a inexpensive speaker. Could such speaker after mods compete with an OEM speaker in $500, $1000, or even $2000 range? Second, for an enthusiast with a limited budget or planning a first DIY, starting with $249pr of speakers is a LOT less intimidating and holds less RISK then attempting to mod a $1500+ pair of speakers as a first project. As I like to say its audio win-win! ~Personally, it gives me something to listen to while I'm butchering up the new Lintons that arrived last week.

In my past experience, I have modded/upgraded numerous pieces of electronics and several pairs of speakers. A pair of Usher S-520s (resistor upgrades), Boston Acoustic CR-9 (resistor & caps), Revel Concerta2 M16 (resistor & caps), KEF R300 (resistors & caps). In retrospect, I found all of these mods increased the musicality and enjoyment of these speakers for relatively little cost. As DIY're I'm certainly no expert and have learned much from these experiences. In some cases, I would have done things differently and/or utilize different parts or methods etc. I will pass this info on as I remember.

Moreover, I'm of the philosophy that products are built at a price point with many considerations. Manufactures build and market products to be competitive on many levels and make a profit. The sheer 'ultimate' expression of performance or musicality within a specific design is often not a consideration, or only to a price point given an established ROI. In other words, you are not going to find a company selling a $99 speaker filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade copper foil capacitors and inductors selected after hundreds of hours of dedicated listening. In this specific case we are looking at only about $130USD in parts in addition to the original cost of the Diamond 220s. While proportionally the parts/speaker cost ratio is high, overall, the total costs of under $400 should be manageable for most enthusiasts (Spoiler alert: they will be very pleased).

WARNING if you generally believe: "If it measures the same it 'sounds' the same / if you can’t measure you can't hear it" or "If they could have made it better they would have" then this thread will be disturbing for you. Instead, go make a nice cup of tea, read some whitepapers on THD, and forget all this silliness.

As we begin, here two simple project guidelines:

First. All mods will fit/utilize the existing factory crossover board. We will not be creating an outboard or external box to house the crossover. Such mods are beyond the scope my DIY philosophy especially for working with an inexpensive speaker. We want to maintain the OEM look without building additional enclosures/wire and connectors.

Second. Mods/parts need to have reasonable size / cost constraints and utilize factory values whenever possible. In other words, while everyone might like Jupiter or Duelund Cast Copper foil capacitors I’ve learned my lesson with attempting to squeeze oversized soup can sized capacitors in spaces clearly not designed for such. Moreover, we’re not redesigning the crossover. Let’s give the designers the benefit of the doubt with the original crossover order/slopes and design. Our goal is improving an existing design not making a new one. If you find yourself absolutely needing outboard crossovers and capacitors the size of a football then politely leave your OEM speakers alone and design a pair of speakers from scratch with a suitable sized cabinet and drivers.
Yes, this means we will have to make some sacrifices ultimate part selection. Don’t worry! It will still sound far better than factory and you will be gloriously happy. Don’t be the person who foolishly spent $2000 parts to upgrade a $200 speaker.

Here we have the factory Diamond 220 tweeter removed. I’ve found it very helpful to grab my phone a snap a pic of the color and position of the terminal connections. Don’t trust on your memory for this please! If you get distracted or perhaps events happen preventing a quick project completion, or if weeks pass you will find it very helpful to have pics during your reassembly. Note the terminal clips in the 220 lock you’ll need to be carefull and bend the clip out or use a pointy tool to reach underneath the press in the lock lever to be able to pull the wires off.
20211014_185358.jpg

20211016_130600.jpg
Additionally, use if you have problems removing the driver use a thin plastic wedge like a plastic painters putty knife or combination with thin pic to break the speaker free. Remember use your camera to take a pic of the color wire connector / polarity! Note the cabinet stuffing arrangement We will reuse/change the position the stuffing and allocate it in a C configuration (if looking from the side of the speaker).



20211016_130146.jpg

Here we are going to remove the bi-wire capability. Instead of having two pairs of operating binding posts we will combine the tweeter and woofer imput wires together so they attach to only one set ( I picked the lower - & + binding post. You could also simply run one pair of cables and bridge them at the crossover but this way if someone really wanted to restore the bi-wire ability they would simply re-solder the appropriate wires back the 2md set of posts. Personally I really dont like bi-wiring speaker and find little need for it. You're better off buying ONE good set of cables rather then TWO lower quality pairs of speaker cable. If want you can clip the tin connectors and solder the wires right to the binding posts. I also rewired the speakers, I was concerned the cable used here was all tin but on further investigation it is basic tin coated copper appliance wire about 14awg, Not bad. But for this project I sourced some nice OCC 14awg wire to all the drivers. Don't get crazy on wire. Just make sure its all copper.

220 crossover.jpg

Here's a pic of the original crossover. Note at the top you'll see the Blue and Yellow wire marked + & - HF which is the tweeter and the Red and Black wire marked + & - LF which is the tweeter. Take your pics! Your colors could be different! Below bottom you see the same configuration but going to speaker binding posts. We don't have a schematic here but pretty easy to figure out if you divide the crossover down the middle following the black Phillips screw heads you have the Tweeter components on the left and mid/woofer on the right.

20211023_120831.jpg
Here we have the 220 crossover removed as you can see we've removed Two 4.2uf Mylar caps from the HF section and installed new Mills (brown) and Ohmite wire-wound resistors with the same OEM values. One the right the same with the .5uf, 22.uf and 6.8 uf caps removed. De-soldering takes sometime, use a little fresh melted solder on you tip to de-solder the old stuff, Flux, solder sucker, and braid all helps. Take your time, I know it sucks.

20211023_132134.jpg
Here is the completed board. For the tweeter we left the original blue 32uf electrolytic in place and replaced the Mylar caps using Clarity Cap PX series caps. Why? because they fit nicely and they sound good. I had to use 3.8uf with Mundorf .33 EVO aluminum bypass to make the OEM 4.2uf value. Not because I'm big into cap bypassing there was no other way to make the 4.2uf odd ball values. The EVOs are nice small and cheap. For the mid/woofer section I went a little crazy the big white cap is another Mudorf EVO 6.8uf aluminum. If I did this again I might have stepped up and used a EVO aluminum oil in this position as the size is the same but cost is double. I also replaced the 22uf electrolytic with a Jantzen smooth foil type electrolytic. I had to order these from the UK but thought here it was worth it as here in the mid range will be very noticeable. Note the new copper 14awg wire running to the board. I also had to swap the position of the 6.8 and 22uf caps for spacing no matter as the 6.8 is bypassing the 22uf so position doesn't matter.

20211023_144814.jpg
Here is the upgraded crossover nestled in the cabinet. Watch the positioning of the 6.8uf cap if it overhangs the edge of the board you will have a tough time fitting the board back in. In that case flip the board 90 deg. Note I covered the inside of the cabinet with 1/8" thick felt for added cabinet damping / make sure when you re stuff the cabinet you don't block off the mid/woofer port!

20211023_144817.jpg
Here we are at re assembly Be sure to mark you speaker wire for the correct polarity and I soldered the wire directly to the speaker terminals and binding posts. Just re stuff the cabinets and bolt your drivers back in! All in all expect 5-6 hrs of work and about $150 in parts. I will post parts/value lists as well as video on my youtube channel lowpoweraudio in coming weeks. I will post additional thought and a comparison to the non-modded Lintons here.

worf.jpg
The results are unbelievable! At this point I prefer them to the non modded Lintons. I know this hard to believe. Of course, there is less bass with the Diamond 220s but after the mod they possess an incredible almost electrostatic like coherence in the mid range and bass is very tuneful and satisfying. I would put these against any other bookshelf speaker under $2k USD. Deffently better then the Revel Concerta2 M16s. More to come. Absolutely incredible results!

Happy listening and more to come!
lowpoweraudio
 
Last edited:

Amarendra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
751
Points
63
Location
Mumbai
Greetings,

In light of the interest of taken in improving the sound quality of the Wharfedale 85th Anniversary Linton speakers. I thought it would be fun to see what gains could be realized from modifying the smallest and least expensive speaker in the Wharfedale line. Additionally, while every DIYer dreams of modding the big expensive speakers. I believe documenting a project like this on a relatively inexpensive speaker ($249pr USD amazon) brings value to the mod/DIY community in two ways. First, we could realize gains much larger than one would initially expect from such a inexpensive speaker. Could such speaker after mods compete with an OEM speaker in $500, $1000, or even $2000 range? Second, for an enthusiast with a limited budget or planning a first DIY, starting with $249pr of speakers is a LOT less intimidating and holds less RISK then attempting to mod a $1500+ pair of speakers as a first project. As I like to say its audio win-win! ~Personally, it gives me something to listen to while I'm butchering up the new Lintons that arrived last week.

In my past experience, I have modded/upgraded numerous pieces of electronics and several pairs of speakers. A pair of Usher S-520s (resistor upgrades), Boston Acoustic CR-9 (resistor & caps), Revel Concerta2 M16 (resistor & caps), KEF R300 (resistors & caps). In retrospect, I found all of these mods increased the musicality and enjoyment of these speakers for relatively little cost. As DIY're I'm certainly no expert and have learned much from these experiences. In some cases, I would have done things differently and/or utilize different parts or methods etc. I will pass this info on as I remember.

Moreover, I'm of the philosophy that products are built at a price point with many considerations. Manufactures build and market products to be competitive on many levels and make a profit. The sheer 'ultimate' expression of performance or musicality within a specific design is often not a consideration, or only to a price point given an established ROI. In other words, you are not going to find a company selling a $99 speaker filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade copper foil capacitors and inductors selected after hundreds of hours of dedicated listening. In this specific case we are looking at only about $130USD in parts in addition to the original cost of the Diamond 220s. While proportionally the parts/speaker cost ratio is high, overall, the total costs of under $400 should be manageable for most enthusiasts (Spoiler alert: they will be very pleased).

WARNING if you generally believe: "If it measures the same it 'sounds' the same / if you can’t measure you can't hear it" or "If they could have made it better they would have" then this thread will be disturbing for you. Instead, go make a nice cup of tea, read some whitepapers on THD, and forget all this silliness.

As we begin, here two simple project guidelines:

First. All mods will fit/utilize the existing factory crossover board. We will not be creating an outboard or external box to house the crossover. Such mods are beyond the scope my DIY philosophy especially for working with an inexpensive speaker. We want to maintain the OEM look without building additional enclosures/wire and connectors.

Second. Mods/parts need to have reasonable size / cost constraints and utilize factory values whenever possible. In other words, while everyone might like Jupiter or Duelund Cast Copper foil capacitors I’ve learned my lesson with attempting to squeeze oversized soup can sized capacitors in spaces clearly not designed for such. Moreover, we’re not redesigning the crossover. Let’s give the designers the benefit of the doubt with the original crossover order/slopes and design. Our goal is improving an existing design not making a new one. If you find yourself absolutely needing outboard crossovers and capacitors the size of a football then politely leave your OEM speakers alone and design a pair of speakers from scratch with a suitable sized cabinet and drivers.
Yes, this means we will have to make some sacrifices ultimate part selection. Don’t worry! It will still sound far better than factory and you will be gloriously happy. Don’t be the person who foolishly spent $2000 parts to upgrade a $200 speaker.

Here we have the factory Diamond 220 tweeter removed. I’ve found it very helpful to grab my phone a snap a pic of the color and position of the terminal connections. Don’t trust on your memory for this please! If you get distracted or perhaps events happen preventing a quick project completion, or if weeks pass you will find it very helpful to have pics during your reassembly. Note the terminal clips in the 220 lock you’ll need to be carefull and bend the clip out or use a pointy tool to reach underneath the press in the lock lever to be able to pull the wires off.
View attachment 65259

View attachment 65260
Additionally, use if you have problems removing the driver use a thin plastic wedge like a plastic painters putty knife or combination with thin pic to break the speaker free. Remember use your camera to take a pic of the color wire connector / polarity! Note the cabinet stuffing arrangement We will reuse/change the position the stuffing and allocate it in a C configuration (if looking from the side of the speaker).



View attachment 65261

Here we are going to remove the bi-wire capability. Instead of having two pairs of operating binding posts we will combine the tweeter and woofer imput wires together so they attach to only one set ( I picked the lower - & + binding post. You could also simply run one pair of cables and bridge them at the crossover but this way if someone really wanted to restore the bi-wire ability they would simply re-solder the appropriate wires back the 2md set of posts. Personally I really dont like bi-wiring speaker and find little need for it. You're better off buying ONE good set of cables rather then TWO lower quality pairs of speaker cable. If want you can clip the tin connectors and solder the wires right to the binding posts. I also rewired the speakers, I was concerned the cable used here was all tin but on further investigation it is basic tin coated copper appliance wire about 14awg, Not bad. But for this project I sourced some nice OCC 14awg wire to all the drivers. Don't get crazy on wire. Just make sure its all copper.

View attachment 65262

Here's a pic of the original crossover. Note at the top you'll see the Blue and Yellow wire marked + & - HF which is the tweeter and the Red and Black wire marked + & - LF which is the tweeter. Take your pics! Your colors could be different! Below bottom you see the same configuration but going to speaker binding posts. We don't have a schematic here but pretty easy to figure out if you divide the crossover down the middle following the black Phillips screw heads you have the Tweeter components on the left and mid/woofer on the right.

View attachment 65263
Here we have the 220 crossover removed as you can see we've removed Two 4.2uf Mylar caps from the HF section and installed new Mills (brown) and Ohmite wire-wound resistors with the same OEM values. One the right the same with the .5uf, 22.uf and 6.8 uf caps removed. De-soldering takes sometime, use a little fresh melted solder on you tip to de-solder the old stuff, Flux, solder sucker, and braid all helps. Take your time, I know it sucks.

View attachment 65264
Here is the completed board. For the tweeter we left the original blue 32uf electrolytic in place and replaced the Mylar caps using Clarity Cap PX series caps. Why? because they fit nicely and they sound good. I had to use 3.8uf with Mundorf .33 EVO aluminum bypass to make the OEM 4.2uf value. Not because I'm big into cap bypassing there was no other way to make the 4.2uf odd ball values. The EVOs are nice small and cheap. For the mid/woofer section I went a little crazy the big white cap is another Mudorf EVO 6.8uf aluminum. If I did this again I might have stepped up and used a EVO aluminum oil in this position as the size is the same but cost is double. I also replaced the 22uf electrolytic with a Jantzen smooth foil type electrolytic. I had to order these from the UK but thought here it was worth it as here in the mid range will be very noticeable. Note the new copper 14awg wire running to the board. I also had to swap the position of the 6.8 and 22uf caps for spacing no matter as the 6.8 is bypassing the 22uf so position doesn't matter.

View attachment 65265
Here is the upgraded crossover nestled in the cabinet. Watch the positioning of the 6.8uf cap if it overhangs the edge of the board you will have a tough time fitting the board back in. In that case flip the board 90 deg. Note I covered the inside of the cabinet with 1/8" thick felt for added cabinet damping / make sure when you re stuff the cabinet you don't block off the mid/woofer port!

View attachment 65266
Here we are at re assembly Be sure to mark you speaker wire for the correct polarity and I soldered the wire directly to the speaker terminals and binding posts. Just re stuff the cabinets and bolt your drivers back in! All in all expect 5-6 hrs of work and about $150 in parts. I will post parts/value lists as well as video on my youtube channel lowpoweraudio in coming weeks. I will post additional thought and a comparison to the non-modded Lintons here.

View attachment 65267
The results are unbelievable! At this point I prefer them to the non modded Lintons. I know this hard to believe. Of course, there is less bass with the Diamond 220s but after the mod they possess an incredible almost electrostatic like coherence in the mid range and bass is very tuneful and satisfying. I would put these against any other bookshelf speaker under $2k USD. Deffently better then the Revel Concerta2 M16s. More to come. Absolutely incredible results!

Happy listening and more to come!
lowpoweraudio
Thanks for the post. I have also owned the Wharfedales 220s and have wondered if they could have a more "monitor audio type" bass. I will dare not do the mod myself since i might screw up stuff. But as a layman I wanted to know if one can remove the cross over circuit from one speaker and put them in another with little modification ? (sorry if this sounds silly). For example I find ppl raving about the cross over in the Micca RB 42 - so if its superior to the Wharfedales why not swap ? I am a finance person so the last physics lesson that i learnt was in Std X !! :)
 

Kannan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2008
Messages
2,139
Points
113
Location
Chennai
I wanted to know if one can remove the cross over circuit from one speaker and put them in another with little modification
Absolutely a no no. Crossovers are very specific to the design goals of that particular model of the speaker and depends on several factors including the driver parameters, box size and tuning etc.
 

Amarendra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
751
Points
63
Location
Mumbai
Greetings,

In light of the interest of taken in improving the sound quality of the Wharfedale 85th Anniversary Linton speakers. I thought it would be fun to see what gains could be realized from modifying the smallest and least expensive speaker in the Wharfedale line. Additionally, while every DIYer dreams of modding the big expensive speakers. I believe documenting a project like this on a relatively inexpensive speaker ($249pr USD amazon) brings value to the mod/DIY community in two ways. First, we could realize gains much larger than one would initially expect from such a inexpensive speaker. Could such speaker after mods compete with an OEM speaker in $500, $1000, or even $2000 range? Second, for an enthusiast with a limited budget or planning a first DIY, starting with $249pr of speakers is a LOT less intimidating and holds less RISK then attempting to mod a $1500+ pair of speakers as a first project. As I like to say its audio win-win! ~Personally, it gives me something to listen to while I'm butchering up the new Lintons that arrived last week.

In my past experience, I have modded/upgraded numerous pieces of electronics and several pairs of speakers. A pair of Usher S-520s (resistor upgrades), Boston Acoustic CR-9 (resistor & caps), Revel Concerta2 M16 (resistor & caps), KEF R300 (resistors & caps). In retrospect, I found all of these mods increased the musicality and enjoyment of these speakers for relatively little cost. As DIY're I'm certainly no expert and have learned much from these experiences. In some cases, I would have done things differently and/or utilize different parts or methods etc. I will pass this info on as I remember.

Moreover, I'm of the philosophy that products are built at a price point with many considerations. Manufactures build and market products to be competitive on many levels and make a profit. The sheer 'ultimate' expression of performance or musicality within a specific design is often not a consideration, or only to a price point given an established ROI. In other words, you are not going to find a company selling a $99 speaker filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade copper foil capacitors and inductors selected after hundreds of hours of dedicated listening. In this specific case we are looking at only about $130USD in parts in addition to the original cost of the Diamond 220s. While proportionally the parts/speaker cost ratio is high, overall, the total costs of under $400 should be manageable for most enthusiasts (Spoiler alert: they will be very pleased).

WARNING if you generally believe: "If it measures the same it 'sounds' the same / if you can’t measure you can't hear it" or "If they could have made it better they would have" then this thread will be disturbing for you. Instead, go make a nice cup of tea, read some whitepapers on THD, and forget all this silliness.

As we begin, here two simple project guidelines:

First. All mods will fit/utilize the existing factory crossover board. We will not be creating an outboard or external box to house the crossover. Such mods are beyond the scope my DIY philosophy especially for working with an inexpensive speaker. We want to maintain the OEM look without building additional enclosures/wire and connectors.

Second. Mods/parts need to have reasonable size / cost constraints and utilize factory values whenever possible. In other words, while everyone might like Jupiter or Duelund Cast Copper foil capacitors I’ve learned my lesson with attempting to squeeze oversized soup can sized capacitors in spaces clearly not designed for such. Moreover, we’re not redesigning the crossover. Let’s give the designers the benefit of the doubt with the original crossover order/slopes and design. Our goal is improving an existing design not making a new one. If you find yourself absolutely needing outboard crossovers and capacitors the size of a football then politely leave your OEM speakers alone and design a pair of speakers from scratch with a suitable sized cabinet and drivers.
Yes, this means we will have to make some sacrifices ultimate part selection. Don’t worry! It will still sound far better than factory and you will be gloriously happy. Don’t be the person who foolishly spent $2000 parts to upgrade a $200 speaker.

Here we have the factory Diamond 220 tweeter removed. I’ve found it very helpful to grab my phone a snap a pic of the color and position of the terminal connections. Don’t trust on your memory for this please! If you get distracted or perhaps events happen preventing a quick project completion, or if weeks pass you will find it very helpful to have pics during your reassembly. Note the terminal clips in the 220 lock you’ll need to be carefull and bend the clip out or use a pointy tool to reach underneath the press in the lock lever to be able to pull the wires off.
View attachment 65259

View attachment 65260
Additionally, use if you have problems removing the driver use a thin plastic wedge like a plastic painters putty knife or combination with thin pic to break the speaker free. Remember use your camera to take a pic of the color wire connector / polarity! Note the cabinet stuffing arrangement We will reuse/change the position the stuffing and allocate it in a C configuration (if looking from the side of the speaker).



View attachment 65261

Here we are going to remove the bi-wire capability. Instead of having two pairs of operating binding posts we will combine the tweeter and woofer imput wires together so they attach to only one set ( I picked the lower - & + binding post. You could also simply run one pair of cables and bridge them at the crossover but this way if someone really wanted to restore the bi-wire ability they would simply re-solder the appropriate wires back the 2md set of posts. Personally I really dont like bi-wiring speaker and find little need for it. You're better off buying ONE good set of cables rather then TWO lower quality pairs of speaker cable. If want you can clip the tin connectors and solder the wires right to the binding posts. I also rewired the speakers, I was concerned the cable used here was all tin but on further investigation it is basic tin coated copper appliance wire about 14awg, Not bad. But for this project I sourced some nice OCC 14awg wire to all the drivers. Don't get crazy on wire. Just make sure its all copper.

View attachment 65262

Here's a pic of the original crossover. Note at the top you'll see the Blue and Yellow wire marked + & - HF which is the tweeter and the Red and Black wire marked + & - LF which is the tweeter. Take your pics! Your colors could be different! Below bottom you see the same configuration but going to speaker binding posts. We don't have a schematic here but pretty easy to figure out if you divide the crossover down the middle following the black Phillips screw heads you have the Tweeter components on the left and mid/woofer on the right.

View attachment 65263
Here we have the 220 crossover removed as you can see we've removed Two 4.2uf Mylar caps from the HF section and installed new Mills (brown) and Ohmite wire-wound resistors with the same OEM values. One the right the same with the .5uf, 22.uf and 6.8 uf caps removed. De-soldering takes sometime, use a little fresh melted solder on you tip to de-solder the old stuff, Flux, solder sucker, and braid all helps. Take your time, I know it sucks.

View attachment 65264
Here is the completed board. For the tweeter we left the original blue 32uf electrolytic in place and replaced the Mylar caps using Clarity Cap PX series caps. Why? because they fit nicely and they sound good. I had to use 3.8uf with Mundorf .33 EVO aluminum bypass to make the OEM 4.2uf value. Not because I'm big into cap bypassing there was no other way to make the 4.2uf odd ball values. The EVOs are nice small and cheap. For the mid/woofer section I went a little crazy the big white cap is another Mudorf EVO 6.8uf aluminum. If I did this again I might have stepped up and used a EVO aluminum oil in this position as the size is the same but cost is double. I also replaced the 22uf electrolytic with a Jantzen smooth foil type electrolytic. I had to order these from the UK but thought here it was worth it as here in the mid range will be very noticeable. Note the new copper 14awg wire running to the board. I also had to swap the position of the 6.8 and 22uf caps for spacing no matter as the 6.8 is bypassing the 22uf so position doesn't matter.

View attachment 65265
Here is the upgraded crossover nestled in the cabinet. Watch the positioning of the 6.8uf cap if it overhangs the edge of the board you will have a tough time fitting the board back in. In that case flip the board 90 deg. Note I covered the inside of the cabinet with 1/8" thick felt for added cabinet damping / make sure when you re stuff the cabinet you don't block off the mid/woofer port!

View attachment 65266
Here we are at re assembly Be sure to mark you speaker wire for the correct polarity and I soldered the wire directly to the speaker terminals and binding posts. Just re stuff the cabinets and bolt your drivers back in! All in all expect 5-6 hrs of work and about $150 in parts. I will post parts/value lists as well as video on my youtube channel lowpoweraudio in coming weeks. I will post additional thought and a comparison to the non-modded Lintons here.

View attachment 65267
The results are unbelievable! At this point I prefer them to the non modded Lintons. I know this hard to believe. Of course, there is less bass with the Diamond 220s but after the mod they possess an incredible almost electrostatic like coherence in the mid range and bass is very tuneful and satisfying. I would put these against any other bookshelf speaker under $2k USD. Deffently better then the Revel Concerta2 M16s. More to come. Absolutely incredible results!

Happy listening and more to come!
lowpoweraudio
Taking inspiration from you and Tharbamar on youtube, I modded my Diamonds 220 last evening. The mod was simple for someone like me. All it involved was removing the base plate for the down firing port and increase the distance between the port and the base plate by adding a bigger spacer. I did not have a proper spacer but i did find something similar. Attaching some snaps for ref. The low end did improve but besides the low end I can notice a slight change in the general signature as well. Will share more details later. This weekend I will try to increase the gap further.
 

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Amarendra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
751
Points
63
Location
Mumbai
Greetings,

In light of the interest of taken in improving the sound quality of the Wharfedale 85th Anniversary Linton speakers. I thought it would be fun to see what gains could be realized from modifying the smallest and least expensive speaker in the Wharfedale line. Additionally, while every DIYer dreams of modding the big expensive speakers. I believe documenting a project like this on a relatively inexpensive speaker ($249pr USD amazon) brings value to the mod/DIY community in two ways. First, we could realize gains much larger than one would initially expect from such a inexpensive speaker. Could such speaker after mods compete with an OEM speaker in $500, $1000, or even $2000 range? Second, for an enthusiast with a limited budget or planning a first DIY, starting with $249pr of speakers is a LOT less intimidating and holds less RISK then attempting to mod a $1500+ pair of speakers as a first project. As I like to say its audio win-win! ~Personally, it gives me something to listen to while I'm butchering up the new Lintons that arrived last week.

In my past experience, I have modded/upgraded numerous pieces of electronics and several pairs of speakers. A pair of Usher S-520s (resistor upgrades), Boston Acoustic CR-9 (resistor & caps), Revel Concerta2 M16 (resistor & caps), KEF R300 (resistors & caps). In retrospect, I found all of these mods increased the musicality and enjoyment of these speakers for relatively little cost. As DIY're I'm certainly no expert and have learned much from these experiences. In some cases, I would have done things differently and/or utilize different parts or methods etc. I will pass this info on as I remember.

Moreover, I'm of the philosophy that products are built at a price point with many considerations. Manufactures build and market products to be competitive on many levels and make a profit. The sheer 'ultimate' expression of performance or musicality within a specific design is often not a consideration, or only to a price point given an established ROI. In other words, you are not going to find a company selling a $99 speaker filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of handmade copper foil capacitors and inductors selected after hundreds of hours of dedicated listening. In this specific case we are looking at only about $130USD in parts in addition to the original cost of the Diamond 220s. While proportionally the parts/speaker cost ratio is high, overall, the total costs of under $400 should be manageable for most enthusiasts (Spoiler alert: they will be very pleased).

WARNING if you generally believe: "If it measures the same it 'sounds' the same / if you can’t measure you can't hear it" or "If they could have made it better they would have" then this thread will be disturbing for you. Instead, go make a nice cup of tea, read some whitepapers on THD, and forget all this silliness.

As we begin, here two simple project guidelines:

First. All mods will fit/utilize the existing factory crossover board. We will not be creating an outboard or external box to house the crossover. Such mods are beyond the scope my DIY philosophy especially for working with an inexpensive speaker. We want to maintain the OEM look without building additional enclosures/wire and connectors.

Second. Mods/parts need to have reasonable size / cost constraints and utilize factory values whenever possible. In other words, while everyone might like Jupiter or Duelund Cast Copper foil capacitors I’ve learned my lesson with attempting to squeeze oversized soup can sized capacitors in spaces clearly not designed for such. Moreover, we’re not redesigning the crossover. Let’s give the designers the benefit of the doubt with the original crossover order/slopes and design. Our goal is improving an existing design not making a new one. If you find yourself absolutely needing outboard crossovers and capacitors the size of a football then politely leave your OEM speakers alone and design a pair of speakers from scratch with a suitable sized cabinet and drivers.
Yes, this means we will have to make some sacrifices ultimate part selection. Don’t worry! It will still sound far better than factory and you will be gloriously happy. Don’t be the person who foolishly spent $2000 parts to upgrade a $200 speaker.

Here we have the factory Diamond 220 tweeter removed. I’ve found it very helpful to grab my phone a snap a pic of the color and position of the terminal connections. Don’t trust on your memory for this please! If you get distracted or perhaps events happen preventing a quick project completion, or if weeks pass you will find it very helpful to have pics during your reassembly. Note the terminal clips in the 220 lock you’ll need to be carefull and bend the clip out or use a pointy tool to reach underneath the press in the lock lever to be able to pull the wires off.
View attachment 65259

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Additionally, use if you have problems removing the driver use a thin plastic wedge like a plastic painters putty knife or combination with thin pic to break the speaker free. Remember use your camera to take a pic of the color wire connector / polarity! Note the cabinet stuffing arrangement We will reuse/change the position the stuffing and allocate it in a C configuration (if looking from the side of the speaker).



View attachment 65261

Here we are going to remove the bi-wire capability. Instead of having two pairs of operating binding posts we will combine the tweeter and woofer imput wires together so they attach to only one set ( I picked the lower - & + binding post. You could also simply run one pair of cables and bridge them at the crossover but this way if someone really wanted to restore the bi-wire ability they would simply re-solder the appropriate wires back the 2md set of posts. Personally I really dont like bi-wiring speaker and find little need for it. You're better off buying ONE good set of cables rather then TWO lower quality pairs of speaker cable. If want you can clip the tin connectors and solder the wires right to the binding posts. I also rewired the speakers, I was concerned the cable used here was all tin but on further investigation it is basic tin coated copper appliance wire about 14awg, Not bad. But for this project I sourced some nice OCC 14awg wire to all the drivers. Don't get crazy on wire. Just make sure its all copper.

View attachment 65262

Here's a pic of the original crossover. Note at the top you'll see the Blue and Yellow wire marked + & - HF which is the tweeter and the Red and Black wire marked + & - LF which is the tweeter. Take your pics! Your colors could be different! Below bottom you see the same configuration but going to speaker binding posts. We don't have a schematic here but pretty easy to figure out if you divide the crossover down the middle following the black Phillips screw heads you have the Tweeter components on the left and mid/woofer on the right.

View attachment 65263
Here we have the 220 crossover removed as you can see we've removed Two 4.2uf Mylar caps from the HF section and installed new Mills (brown) and Ohmite wire-wound resistors with the same OEM values. One the right the same with the .5uf, 22.uf and 6.8 uf caps removed. De-soldering takes sometime, use a little fresh melted solder on you tip to de-solder the old stuff, Flux, solder sucker, and braid all helps. Take your time, I know it sucks.

View attachment 65264
Here is the completed board. For the tweeter we left the original blue 32uf electrolytic in place and replaced the Mylar caps using Clarity Cap PX series caps. Why? because they fit nicely and they sound good. I had to use 3.8uf with Mundorf .33 EVO aluminum bypass to make the OEM 4.2uf value. Not because I'm big into cap bypassing there was no other way to make the 4.2uf odd ball values. The EVOs are nice small and cheap. For the mid/woofer section I went a little crazy the big white cap is another Mudorf EVO 6.8uf aluminum. If I did this again I might have stepped up and used a EVO aluminum oil in this position as the size is the same but cost is double. I also replaced the 22uf electrolytic with a Jantzen smooth foil type electrolytic. I had to order these from the UK but thought here it was worth it as here in the mid range will be very noticeable. Note the new copper 14awg wire running to the board. I also had to swap the position of the 6.8 and 22uf caps for spacing no matter as the 6.8 is bypassing the 22uf so position doesn't matter.

View attachment 65265
Here is the upgraded crossover nestled in the cabinet. Watch the positioning of the 6.8uf cap if it overhangs the edge of the board you will have a tough time fitting the board back in. In that case flip the board 90 deg. Note I covered the inside of the cabinet with 1/8" thick felt for added cabinet damping / make sure when you re stuff the cabinet you don't block off the mid/woofer port!

View attachment 65266
Here we are at re assembly Be sure to mark you speaker wire for the correct polarity and I soldered the wire directly to the speaker terminals and binding posts. Just re stuff the cabinets and bolt your drivers back in! All in all expect 5-6 hrs of work and about $150 in parts. I will post parts/value lists as well as video on my youtube channel lowpoweraudio in coming weeks. I will post additional thought and a comparison to the non-modded Lintons here.

View attachment 65267
The results are unbelievable! At this point I prefer them to the non modded Lintons. I know this hard to believe. Of course, there is less bass with the Diamond 220s but after the mod they possess an incredible almost electrostatic like coherence in the mid range and bass is very tuneful and satisfying. I would put these against any other bookshelf speaker under $2k USD. Deffently better then the Revel Concerta2 M16s. More to come. Absolutely incredible results!

Happy listening and more to come!
lowpoweraudio
Hi dont want to hijack your thread but had a query. I want to take the "preout" from my stereo amp (Rotel) and pass the low frequency to another speaker with its own amp (Micca + power amp). So the "preout" will come from the Rotel and instead of a traditional subwoofer with "pre in" can I pass only the low freq to the Micca and the rest to the Wharfedale Diamond 220? Is is possible by adding a low pass filter and if yes which one ? Currently I have the Diamond 220 connected to the Rotel. I connect an Emotiva or Wharfedale sub through the preout of the Rotel. This works well. However given the strength of the Micca (low freq) can I have the best of both worlds (High and mids through Wharfedale and low freq through the Micca) ?
 

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Over the weekend I increased the height of the spacers by almost 3 times- which I think is about 2.5- 3 inches from the base plate. The character of the speaker itself has changed now. My 10 year old asked me if I had bought new speakers :). Its a lot of fun to mod speakers particularly with something which is easily reversible. Even with the mod the Wharfedales dont come close to the Micca RB42 when it comes to bass but they are a different set of speakers now - slightly more details noticeable in mid range (i dont know if its called lower mids) + significant improvement in bass. The bass feels crunchy now - I don't know how to describe it but I feel like eating it- its that munchy :)).
 

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Over the weekend I increased the height of the spacers by almost 3 times- which I think is about 2.5- 3 inches from the base plate. The character of the speaker itself has changed now. My 10 year old asked me if I had bought new speakers :). Its a lot of fun to mod speakers particularly with something which is easily reversible. Even with the mod the Wharfedales dont come close to the Micca RB42 when it comes to bass but they are a different set of speakers now - slightly more details noticeable in mid range (i dont know if its called lower mids) + significant improvement in bass. The bass feels crunchy now - I don't know how to describe it but I feel like eating it- its that munchy :)).

Are Miccas better than Wharfs in all aspects, like imaging and midrange quality or just in the bass region?
 

Amarendra

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Are Miccas better than Wharfs in all aspects, like imaging and midrange quality or just in the bass region?
Its a difficult question to answer but I will try. The Wharfedales are more revealing in terms of details but the Miccas trump them in imaging. The Wharfedales are more balanced (struggle with low end) but the Miccas have better low end (almost like floor standers). I was listening to Wharfedales on Friday night and was quite happy. Then I switched to Miccas and suddenly had this feeling that the Wharfedales were missing a lot of action !
If someone like Steve Guttenberg is reviewing them (Miccas), it speaks a lot about them (IMHO). He is usually a serious reviewer (IMHO). He obviously highlights their shortcomings as well but is left impressed. For their price it is great fun to listen to them. Initially I thought that these are gimmicky but after playing Hotel California I was totally blown.
What I can try and do is record a video using the same track and amp (Rotel RA 10) with the Wharfedales and Miccas. May be it will help to some extent.
 

Silencer

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Its a difficult question to answer but I will try. The Wharfedales are more revealing in terms of details but the Miccas trump them in imaging. The Wharfedales are more balanced (struggle with low end) but the Miccas have better low end (almost like floor standers). I was listening to Wharfedales on Friday night and was quite happy. Then I switched to Miccas and suddenly had this feeling that the Wharfedales were missing a lot of action !
If someone like Steve Guttenberg is reviewing them (Miccas), it speaks a lot about them (IMHO). He is usually a serious reviewer (IMHO). He obviously highlights their shortcomings as well but is left impressed. For their price it is great fun to listen to them. Initially I thought that these are gimmicky but after playing Hotel California I was totally blown.
What I can try and do is record a video using the same track and amp (Rotel RA 10) with the Wharfedales and Miccas. May be it will help to some extent.

Please do a recording with couple of songs. I personally like warm sounding speakers with a heft in the low end.

I have a spare room of 100sqft. Recently moved my projector there as part of decluttering the living room.

I usually listen via headphones. I'm contemplating the idea of getting an AVR and 2.0 speakers since the room is quite small for a dedicated HT room. No plans for a subwoofer now.


I was considering IndiqAudio Diamond Mishra or Wharfedale D330 ( No rear port, so helps in placement).

Please consider making a video. Will be a great help.

 

Amarendra

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Please do a recording with couple of songs. I personally like warm sounding speakers with a heft in the low end.

I have a spare room of 100sqft. Recently moved my projector there as part of decluttering the living room.

I usually listen via headphones. I'm contemplating the idea of getting an AVR and 2.0 speakers since the room is quite small for a dedicated HT room. No plans for a subwoofer now.


I was considering IndiqAudio Diamond Mishra or Wharfedale D330 ( No rear port, so helps in placement).

Please consider making a video. Will be a great help.

Yes will do a video. You can skip the AVR if its a 2.0 setup and get a stereo amp instead with the Micca RB42. With RB42 you wont need a sub. Micca also makes an amplifier which is supposed to go well with the RB42 and costs just INR 6.5k or similar. If you buy the RB42 on Flipkart its cheaper by about INR 2k. So should cost about INR 12.5 k. I missed this when buying.
 

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Yes will do a video. You can skip the AVR if its a 2.0 setup and get a stereo amp instead with the Micca RB42. With RB42 you wont need a sub. Micca also makes an amplifier which is supposed to go well with the RB42 and costs just INR 6.5k or similar. If you buy the RB42 on Flipkart its cheaper by about INR 2k. So should cost about INR 12.5 k. I missed this when buying.
Flipkart price is due to additional discount as part of ongoing sale which ends tomorrow. I have been tempted to try these for long so placed an order las weekend itself. I ordered the Ooo speakers to finally complete HT which I have kept pending for years using them. Lets see how they turn out.
 

Silencer

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Yes will do a video. You can skip the AVR if its a 2.0 setup and get a stereo amp instead with the Micca RB42. With RB42 you wont need a sub. Micca also makes an amplifier which is supposed to go well with the RB42 and costs just INR 6.5k or similar. If you buy the RB42 on Flipkart its cheaper by about INR 2k. So should cost about INR 12.5 k. I missed this when buying.

Thanks.

I plan to do a proper 5.1 eventually. That's why I want to go the AVR route. Most probably an entry level Yamaha. I have an old pioneer 5.1 system at hometown. My brother uses it now.

Most of my listening sessions are after 9pm. Headphones or in-built projector speakers ( I know ) on low volume if wife decides to give company.

I have been meaning to setup a proper HT, got the second projector last year. First one at hometown.

Well, looking forward to the video.
 

irv

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Over the weekend I increased the height of the spacers by almost 3 times- which I think is about 2.5- 3 inches from the base plate. The character of the speaker itself has changed now. My 10 year old asked me if I had bought new speakers :). Its a lot of fun to mod speakers particularly with something which is easily reversible. Even with the mod the Wharfedales dont come close to the Micca RB42 when it comes to bass but they are a different set of speakers now - slightly more details noticeable in mid range (i dont know if its called lower mids) + significant improvement in bass. The bass feels crunchy now - I don't know how to describe it but I feel like eating it- its that munchy :)).
Interesting..
I have a pair of D 220s which I am not using right now. I too wanted to mod them after watching Tharbamar's video.. I couldn't find any spacer. What did you use as spacers?? I would like to try it as well..
 

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Interesting..
I have a pair of D 220s which I am not using right now. I too wanted to mod them after watching Tharbamar's video.. I couldn't find any spacer. What did you use as spacers?? I would like to try it as well..
You don't need any technical/ audiophile spacers. Just remove the bottom plate with a screw driver (4 screws) and initially put anything to elevate the speaker- 4 pieces of wooden blocks (Jenga blocks ?), tap washers (rubber/ plastic), door spacers, etc. Once you like the sound make it more permanent and secure.
 

Amarendra

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Thanks.

I plan to do a proper 5.1 eventually. That's why I want to go the AVR route. Most probably an entry level Yamaha. I have an old pioneer 5.1 system at hometown. My brother uses it now.

Most of my listening sessions are after 9pm. Headphones or in-built projector speakers ( I know ) on low volume if wife decides to give company.

I have been meaning to setup a proper HT, got the second projector last year. First one at hometown.

Well, looking forward to the video.
Yes will post one shortly. I am not an expert in videos + getting old so bear with me :)
 

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Flipkart price is due to additional discount as part of ongoing sale which ends tomorrow. I have been tempted to try these for long so placed an order las weekend itself. I ordered the Ooo speakers to finally complete HT which I have kept pending for years using them. Lets see how they turn out.
Let us know what o0o sound like. They have a different character than RB42- will be interesting to hear.
 

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I wanted to note a small correction to the capacitor information I originally listed in this thread. The 2 Clarity Cap PX series capacitors used to replace the OEM caps (per crossover) are a 3.9uf each (not 3.8uf) with a .33uf Mundorf Aluminum bypass for a total of 4.23uf. This is very close to the factory 4.2uf and the diffeferce would be inaudible.
 

Amarendra

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None of us are getting any younger, :p
I havent done a video yet but I did some blind testing over the week end. Pitched the Wharfedale 220 against the Micca. Connected both to my Rotel RA 10. Source was kept the same: Bose Bluetooth audio (aptx) and used the iphone 12 for consistency. The Miccas were placed on top of the Wharfedales so placement influence was minimum. Did a quick switching from Speaker set A (Wharfedales) to set B (Micca) since Rotel provides for speaker set selection A & B. Played songs across genre- Bollywood current to the usual Hotel California etc. Test audience was everyone at home from my daughter (10) to my dad (70 +) and everyone in between :) Kept switching between speaker set A and B and asking them what sound they preferred. They were not aware of which speaker was playing since the Micca was right on top of the Wharfedale. To my surprise in about 99% of cases the preference across genre was Micca. Wasn't expecting this. However their explanation was that the Micca sounded better and was more pleasing on the ears.
 
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