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Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 vs Tannoy Mercury F1 Custom vs Cambridge Audio S30

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psychotropic

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This is really idle speculation because my purchase is only going to happen in mid 2009.....but I'd like to do my research well in advance.

Objective - planning to assemble a very basic budget hi-fi system for my small listening area (same as where my TV sits, with an 8 - 8.5 foot distance from front to back, about 7 feet from the speakers to listening position(s)).

Content - I listen mostly to basic rock including Queen, Dire Straits, Police, Van Halen, RHCP, Genesis. I also listen to some progressive metal like Dream Theater.....and regular heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Megadeth, but no I don't listen to them at ear-splitting levels...even with metal I am much more concerned about accurate and balanced reproduction than loudness or bass thump. I also listen to some old pop like early Elton John, Supertramp, Simon and Garfunkel....I would probably hook up the TV to the set-up as well, but how good or bad it handles movie/TV sound is not very important.

Amp and Source - I am more or less decided on the amplifier, which is probably going to be the Cambridge Audio Azur 340A SE (please suggest alternatives, if any, for the same price). My source is still undecided between the CA Azur 540D and the Denon 1940 (no i am not considering a dedicated CDP, i need a good DVD player and I need a good CD player, but don't have the budget for both so will have to settle for these compromise options...do suggest other compromise options)....the bias is towards the CA model, as it is more musical, i am told. (yes yes i will audition before buying).

The Choice - What I need to know is about the speakers, since that's the most crucial bit. Should i go for Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s or Tannoy Mercury F1 Customs? Should I consider Cambridge Audio's S30 speakers? The 9.1s are a bit more expensive than the F1s, is it worth that extra cash? and of course most importantly.....what are the prices for these in India? Specifically in Chennai?

Thanks in advance for all the help.
 

vinod_david

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This is really idle speculation because my purchase is only going to happen in mid 2009.....but I'd like to do my research well in advance.

Objective - planning to assemble a very basic budget hi-fi system for my small listening area (same as where my TV sits, with an 8 - 8.5 foot distance from front to back, about 7 feet from the speakers to listening position(s)).

Content - I listen mostly to basic rock including Queen, Dire Straits, Police, Van Halen, RHCP, Genesis. I also listen to some progressive metal like Dream Theater.....and regular heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Megadeth, but no I don't listen to them at ear-splitting levels...even with metal I am much more concerned about accurate and balanced reproduction than loudness or bass thump. I also listen to some old pop like early Elton John, Supertramp, Simon and Garfunkel....I would probably hook up the TV to the set-up as well, but how good or bad it handles movie/TV sound is not very important.

Amp and Source - I am more or less decided on the amplifier, which is probably going to be the Cambridge Audio Azur 340A SE (please suggest alternatives, if any, for the same price). My source is still undecided between the CA Azur 540D and the Denon 1940 (no i am not considering a dedicated CDP, i need a good DVD player and I need a good CD player, but don't have the budget for both so will have to settle for these compromise options...do suggest other compromise options)....the bias is towards the CA model, as it is more musical, i am told. (yes yes i will audition before buying).

The Choice - What I need to know is about the speakers, since that's the most crucial bit. Should i go for Wharfedale Diamond 9.1s or Tannoy Mercury F1 Customs? Should I consider Cambridge Audio's S30 speakers? The 9.1s are a bit more expensive than the F1s, is it worth that extra cash? and of course most importantly.....what are the prices for these in India? Specifically in Chennai?

Thanks in advance for all the help.

Hi. You can't go wrong with these,

1. Denon 1940 + CA Azur 340A SE + Diamond 9.1
2. Denon 1940 + Marantz PM4001 + Diamond 9.1
3. CA Azur 540D + CA Azur 340A SE + Diamond 9.1

But do audition the Marantz and CA with Diamonds at Grand Cinema near Kodambakam bridge. Nice people they are.:)
 

psychotropic

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Hey Vinod, thanks for that post. Are you saying that the Diamond 9.1s are a clear choice over the Tannoys? Even with the price difference considered?

My only concern with the Marantz PM4001 is that its output is 30W as opposed to 45W on the 340A SE. The Diamond 9.1s accept 20-100W, wouldn't it make more sense to power them with something a little more hefty than the PM4001?

Also, one more favour....would you know approximate prices for these things?? And would the Grand Cinema guys be nice to someone like me (I for some reason do not look like I'll ever seriously buy anything "expensive").
 

psychotropic

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I forgot to add one more factor. Aesthetics is important to me (and for getting wifal clearance), which is one reason that leads me away from Oppo for the DVD player, and from NAD for the amplifier :).
 

vinod_david

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Hey Vinod, thanks for that post. Are you saying that the Diamond 9.1s are a clear choice over the Tannoys? Even with the price difference considered?

My only concern with the Marantz PM4001 is that its output is 30W as opposed to 45W on the 340A SE. The Diamond 9.1s accept 20-100W, wouldn't it make more sense to power them with something a little more hefty than the PM4001?

Also, one more favour....would you know approximate prices for these things?? And would the Grand Cinema guys be nice to someone like me (I for some reason do not look like I'll ever seriously buy anything "expensive").

Hi. The Diamonds sounded excellent to my ears when paired with CA 340 SE amp and CD player combo, I even liked MS 902i with CA combo, you can also check MS 902i.

I haven't auditioned the Tannoy's though, so are Diamonds superior to Tannoy's? sadly I can't tell:(

Oh, the 30w in PM4001 is very powerful. I auditioned PM4001 with Diamond 9.5 at Pro Musicals, oh boy, I just had the volume knob at 9 o'clock, they were driving the 9.5's very beautifully and loud, i didn't even go beyond 10 o'clock. But, when I auditioned CA 340A SE with Diamond 9.5 at Grand Cinema, I was a little taken back, coz at 9 o'clock, I could hardly enjoy the music, so I had to increase the knob all the way up to 12 o'clock for a satisfying listen. Overall, I thought PM4001 was very powerful compared to 340A.

Please speak to Ajmal Razak - 9884415122 (Grand Cinema), they offered me great discounts, and oh "Customer is King"
 

psychotropic

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from the frequency of my replies you'll see how obsessively i am checking on this thread! (my employer will curse me if he knew). That's very surprising information that the 4001 could drive the 9.5s (whose minimum power is 30w i think) better than the CA 340A SE. You still haven't given me any idea of the prices. I am hesitant to speak to a dealer because like I said my purchase is going to happen in Mid 2009 only (reasons include finance, and a promise made to the wife). I think I already owe you a drink for all this help, so if you can give me an indicative idea of prices, i'll make that dinner and a drink.

If I do go for the marantz, i think i'll save a bit of money, if the UK prices are considered as an indicator.
 

vinod_david

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from the frequency of my replies you'll see how obsessively i am checking on this thread! (my employer will curse me if he knew). That's very surprising information that the 4001 could drive the 9.5s (whose minimum power is 30w i think) better than the CA 340A SE. You still haven't given me any idea of the prices. I am hesitant to speak to a dealer because like I said my purchase is going to happen in Mid 2009 only (reasons include finance, and a promise made to the wife). I think I already owe you a drink for all this help, so if you can give me an indicative idea of prices, i'll make that dinner and a drink.

If I do go for the marantz, i think i'll save a bit of money, if the UK prices are considered as an indicator.

Great. You need to hear it to believe it, the same happened when I auditioned CA 640A V2 and PM7001, the latter being very powerful.

Well, just spoke to the dealer; Diamond 9.1 - 11,500/-, can give it for 11k, and CA 540D, 16,400/-, can give some discount, but he didn't tell me how much, coz he is busy installing HT setup at a customer's place.

Thanks for the drink, but I don't. Dinner would be wonderful.:)
 

psychotropic

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dinner's on then! does Cornucopia sound okay? Good food and it's close to my office. Lunch would actually be even more convenient.

The prices you've stated sound pretty decent. Doesn't look like it'll make much sense for me to pick it up (or have it picked up) from the UK. I'm also hoping that once the CA Blu-Ray player hits the market the 540D's price might go down. There's still a while to go for that though.

I also know one guy in Thiruvanmiyur who deals in Cambridge Audio stuff, I'll check prices with him as well (he sold me a DVD89 for 10,000....that's one more source i may consider if i am too broke)
 

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Hey! I feel it's to early to make up your mind on the purchase, as the choices available can very diff in mid 2009.

The volume knob position is in no ways an indication of the power. As the most of the budget amp makers adjust a volume control for larger increments. The test should be how loud can you make the amp go without cliping. May be same guru can give a better explanation, but i hope you get the picture.

As per the kind of music you listen IMO you are better of with a dia 9.2, but the tannoy F1 will be tonaly better & also at arnd 18K more expensive.

All the best.
Cheers.
 

psychotropic

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hey neo yes, thanks for those very valid points, it makes sense that the volume knob can' be judge to compare power....since they can be calibrated differently from device to device

with regard to options in mid-2009, my plan is to have these devices in mind, and then replace them if superior alternatives are introduced in the meantime. However at least as far as DVD players are concerned I don't anticipate much action....except that Denon may update the 1940.....Even among the amplifiers, at my end of the budget spectrum I don't anticipate much happening. Speakers of course, I am always hoping for that perfect standmount to come along, but until then the Diamond 9.1s should do nicely.

Other experts with any more views? Venkat? SoundsGreat?
 

psychotropic

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By the way this guy's price for the Diamond 9.1s is damn good...the cheapest price i am finding on UK sites (130 pounds, and other places like richer sounds are selling it for a bit more) is about the same as his price....how does he manage that??


Great. You need to hear it to believe it, the same happened when I auditioned CA 640A V2 and PM7001, the latter being very powerful.

Well, just spoke to the dealer; Diamond 9.1 - 11,500/-, can give it for 11k, and CA 540D, 16,400/-, can give some discount, but he didn't tell me how much, coz he is busy installing HT setup at a customer's place.

Thanks for the drink, but I don't. Dinner would be wonderful.:)
 

vinod_david

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By the way this guy's price for the Diamond 9.1s is damn good...the cheapest price i am finding on UK sites (130 pounds, and other places like richer sounds are selling it for a bit more) is about the same as his price....how does he manage that??

He offered me Diamond 9.5 FS for 24k, that's a bargain, I think. Yes, Diamond 9.1, very good price indeed from him. He is doing good actually, got lots of customers, he's busy installing always.
 

psychotropic

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that is a very good price for the 9.5s.....i do wonder how he manages it.....and i also wonder where all the experts on this forum have disappeared.....except for vinod and neo, no one seems to be responding....or this stuff too "budget" ???
 

psychotropic

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Let me throw one more pair of speakers into the mix....the Polk RTi A1.....the ProFX site lists them at 15k for the pair.....which means there should be some discount somewhere? maybe 14k? 13k?? Anyone heard these speakers? anyone compared them to the wharfedale diamond 9.1s?
 

thevortex

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Psychotropic - as a matter of fact I have heard the RTi A1s. Surprising amounts of bass from this little speaker. It also looks good - Kevlar cone and all. But it is not very musical. In the sense that its midrange does not have that beguiling quality that some other speakers in this price range have. The treble too was nothing special.

As far as price goes, you will get a 10% discount on the MRP from profx. All the prices for the Profx items are available at Profx.com.

Now for the Wharfedale 9.1s, I have heard them too. They are far superior to the Polks in terms of raw musicality. There is a sweetness to them. Sometimes I do feel that the sweetness amounts of coloration. Voices are fuller, they are richer. Sometimes female voices are just a little throaty or husky. Dont get me wrong. This makes for lovely hearing. But if you are after complete neutrality of tone, this speaker is not it. Harsh edges too are rounded off and this speaker is one on which you can have long comfortable listens.

I also listened to the 9.2s - slightly better bass at a very slight price increase.

After listening to all of these I finally fell for the PSB Alphas:) And I never regret it.
 

psychotropic

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thanks a ton thevortex....that was exactly the kind of comparison and the information that i required. What do the PSB Alpha's cost? Are they comparable in price? Would you recommend them over these two?
 

thevortex

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thanks a ton thevortex....that was exactly the kind of comparison and the information that i required. What do the PSB Alpha's cost? Are they comparable in price? Would you recommend them over these two?

The PSB's are definitely better than the Polk RTi A1 and the Wharfedale Diamond 9.1. But I can see how some people might like the sound of the Wharfedale with its added warmth and tonal richness.

In terms of dynamic ability, the PSB's are a tough speaker to match at that price point.

You can talk to Raghunath of Decibel here in our forum. He is registered as a dealer here. The Alpha B1s also have many positive reviews. They are the Stereophile loudspeaker of the year 2007. They have got rave reviews all over too.

Raghu's website is Home | decibel - the art of sound.
 

thevortex

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How much did you pay for them?

Well psychotropic, seeing as Raghu too is a member here it might not be good form for me to tell you the rate. But having known Raghu, I think it is pretty OK to mention the pricing.

I got the PSB Alpha B1s for 15K.
 

psychotropic

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ouch that's 4k more than the 9.1s.....i might not go for them then....as i sai...i will be on a very tight budget.....I am even considering going for the Cambridge Audio 340A instead of the 340A SE.....and save a few bucks like that.......does that make sense?
 
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