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Wharfedale Diamond 9.6 Review

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amitkeerti

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I have been looking for floor-standers for some time and was eyeing wharfedale 9.6 for some time. I was planning for a demo at either vectors or total sound when i saw the "for sale" thread from sudhish. This was a nice coincidence. So i called Sudhish and we setup an audition on 4th october. Unfortunately there were some power issues at Sudhish's house and by 7th afternoon I got a call from sudhish that power was working fine and that i can come and audition.
I left from my office early and was comfortably seated in the recliner at sudhish's place. I had a 2 hour session with the Wharfedale 9.6. This review is purely based on my experience and in a specific setup. So observations are purely based on my own (mis)judgment.

We initially started off with some blue ray rips and DVDs. We picked "koi kahe kehta rahe" song as a test for video song and boy 9.6 sings... the bass is so hard hitting that you will be forced to hold your pants lest it falls down. I was really impressed with the song. Next we watched some more clips of Hindi movies. The intent was to get a feel of the whole system which has a 42 inch LG LCD tv (forgot the model number). I liked the picture quality. However I have my reservations about the motion flow in LCD tvs (i feel all videos look as if they have been shot by an amateur when i watch LCD tv. probably its just me...)

After about 1/2 hour we moved on to audio.
I pulled the first CD: Soulful sufi. Song: Teri Justujoo. This is our favorite in the family. The bass completely got me by surprise. Huge bass which hits you like a rocket.Very musical at the same time. I just couldn't help smiling. What a pleasure to hear the song. Every line of the song has a thump and 9.6 delivered it exactly to my satisfaction. I was ecstatic.

I pulled out the Second CD - Once upon a Time in Mumbai. I have the 320 Kbps mp3 version of the songs. I have heard all the songs at-least 50 times by now. Pee loun, paaya maine, I am in love. 9.6 played the songs really well. Especially "pee loun" and "paaya maine" were a treat to hear. Bass was great as expected.

Then I pulled my 3rd CD. Alison Krauss - New Favorite. I played the title song (new favorite) and another song "stars". Reproduction was good. I have been a fan of Alison for some time now and boy she sings!!! I could feel the pain of singer in the song "new favorite" and the teen excitement in the song "stars". However one thing I noticed was that the background music was slightly subdued.

Then I pulled my all time favorite: Lagaan. Now Lagaan is one collection which has amazing songs. every time i listen to lagaan i feel very relaxed and refreshed. So I started with my favorite: Radha Kaise na jale. Now the song has some high frequency notes in the beginning which alternate between the two speakers. 9.6 could reproduce them well. This is followed by drums. The drums beats are fairly tight and was reproduced well. But as the song progressed i could hear the vocals clearly, but the background music seemed dull. I observed the same thing for "baar baar haan" and "oh palanhare". This started to worry me. I have heard clear background drums and other instruments in my 9.1's then how come i am not able to hear them. Then I raised to volume to as high as -3db. voila !! the music is back. I reduce the volume to around -18db and the background music fades away. Raise the volume and they are back. The problem is at -3db the song is ear splitting. Normal listening volume for me was about -20db on this system. So at normal listening volume i was missing the soul of the songs. This was a disappointment for me on my favorite disk.

Then i played the Chesky record's test CD. The first 3 songs were reproduced really well slightly better than my 9.1's. The nature song (11th track) was very soothing to hear. The 3rd track supposedly has 3 different base beats which should sound differently. 9.6 could deliver them differently (on my 9.1 all sound the same). So I was happy to see that 9.6 could deliver the 3 different types of base. "Spanish Harlem" song was nice and warm. But not very different from my 9.1s.

By this time we were about 2 hours into the audition and i was done with the audition.

my summary of the experience is as below:
==> Base. Amazing !!! after all 2 8" drivers crossing at 144 Hz and 1 KHz should deliver the base right. They don't disappoint. You will love the base.
==> They produce an excellent room filling experience. Provided you have a high powered amp (at-least 200W RMS). anything less that that and you may miss out on detailing (aka my Lagaan experience).
==> To handle the huge output you will basically need a medium to huge room. I believe a 20'x18' kind of room should be just right for these.

All in all, great speakers for the price range that they fall in. Not very revealing speakers. Very musical. Need lot of power and a big room.

We auditioned with the following configuration:
1. Pioneer DVDp with a pioneer AVR.
2. The preouts connected to NAD power amplifier (250 W RMS).
3. NAD connected to wharfedale 9.6

Sudhish also has the basic Jamo towers and just for a comparision we played Alison Krauss's "New Favorite" and "Stars" again on Jamo. I must say that I liked the Jamo's version (possibly because it has 6" driver and hence is more agile).


Finally,
Buy wharfedale 9.6 only if:
==> Your room size is huge (marriage hall ?)
==> You have a beast of an amplifier.
==> You are comfortable listening at higher volumes.
At lower volumes / less powerful amplifiers i believe you will miss details.
For my room size (17x15) it was an overkill and i listen at lower volumes so i was missing vital detailing. So 9.6 is definitely not for me.

ps: I remember we played a HD demo video which had some firecrackers bursting. When played at low volumes the crackers did not sound natural. But when i raised volume (beyond normal comfortable hearing levels around -6db) I could hear the crackers at their best.
 
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amitkeerti

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Shudhish has done a small tweeking of the Wharfedale 9.6. His problem was that he felt the higher frequencies were producing a shrill. So he interchanged the connections for the 25 mm twitter and the 50 mm mid-range driver.
We spent another 3 hours yesterday auditioning the speakers. I could not find any noticable difference, but sudhish feels the high frequencies are tamed and he likes the speakers now. Will try to write a review for the auditioning that we did yesterday.
 
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n_sachin84

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all seniors and jrs should learn from u man .U have wriiten excellent review without too much technicality and u have used ur cds great. keep it up .:clapping:
 

kapvin

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Shudhish has done a small tweeking of the Wharfedale 9.6. His problem was that he felt the higher frequencies were producing a shrill. So he interchanged the connections for the 25 mm twitter and the 50 mm mid-range driver.
We spent another 3 hours yesterday auditioning the speakers. I could not find any noticable difference, but sudhish feels the high frequencies are tamed and he likes the speakers now. Will try to write a review for the auditioning that we did yesterday.
so, if i understood correctly, the midrange signal from the crossover is feeding the tweeter, and the tweeter signal is feeding the midrange?

and you found no audible difference?

and you played music really loud?

if so, your friend's shrill tweeter problem would have been permanently solved!:eek:hyeah:


EDIT: is your review based on these settings?
 
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amitkeerti

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so, if i understood correctly, the midrange signal from the crossover is feeding the tweeter, and the tweeter signal is feeding the midrange?

and you found no audible difference?

and you played music really loud?

if so, your friend's shrill tweeter problem would have been permanently solved!:eek:hyeah:


EDIT: is your review based on these settings?
My review is based on the original wharfedale unit.
I will write a separate review for the switched settings.
 

iaudio

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Amitkeeti, nice write up. As these speakers are a hot favourite, it will give a perspective to a lot of prospective buyers.
Could you elaborate more whether the detailing problwm( muddy, recessed background) was felt with the Nad power amp? Or integrated?
Also please shed more light on the changed speaker connections.
 

venkatcr

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all seniors and jrs should learn from u man .U have wriiten excellent review without too much technicality and u have used ur cds great. keep it up .:clapping:

Sachin, please edit your signature and bring the text to normal size. VenkatCR
 

amitkeerti

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but you already wrote that you found no difference.:D
yep. In order to check if i can figure out the advantages of interchanging the connections I played couple of songs that i had played initially. But i could not find any difference. So i gave up and played another set of songs. if i write a review it would only be to explain my perception for the new set of songs and not to differentiate the pre and post modifications.
 
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amitkeerti

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Amitkeeti, nice write up. As these speakers are a hot favourite, it will give a perspective to a lot of prospective buyers.
Could you elaborate more whether the detailing problwm( muddy, recessed background) was felt with the Nad power amp? Or integrated?
Also please shed more light on the changed speaker connections.
The Pioneer AVR pre-outs were connected to NAD power amp. There was no integrated amp involved.
 

digitalv

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Excellent review!!!:clapping:


At lower volumes / less powerful amplifiers i believe you will miss details. For my room size (17x15) it was an overkill and i listen at lower volumes so i was missing vital detailing. So 9.6 is definitely not for me.
and from the other "For Sale Thread",

sudhishkv said:
The speakers are reserved for "amitkeerti". He has come to audition and buy it, But unfortunately he couldn't do it because of the power cut.
So did you eventually bag it or was it some other buyer? Just confused because of the above.
 

sudhishkv

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Actually another guy who committed to buy it from me, failed to make the payment. So I decided to make the modification instead of selling it. But i am loving it, just sounds the way I likes. :)
 

digitalv

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That's good to hear Sudhish!
Nothing like the satisfaction of subtle mods which sometimes does magic...
 

deepakgang

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Great review ... did you get a chance to hear the Diamond 10 series anywhere? Just to know how they compare as the 10 series are supposedly more revealing

and as you have mentioned about Krauss .. The Raising Sands album was one of the best I bought in months if not years ... a must buy for all bluegrass/country lovers
 

jravich

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Thanks Amarkeerti, Good Review. Thanks.

After reading yours I had gone for audition with Victor. They gave full support for my audition request. Lokesh, Harish and

I had taken my Yamaha RX V1900 and I had auditioned 10.7, 10.6, and B&W 683. I liked 683 but the price is very high on my budget. I have asked Vector to switch one with another, 10.7 with 683, 10.6 with 683 and 9.6 with 683. I felt 9.6 came close to 683, primarily on music.

With RX V1900 and am discussing this package - FS 9.6, CM 9, Sr 9.1, Velodyn CHT 12 - combination. My living room size 27 x 18 ft and I am told by Vector/Lokesh that RX V1900 high powered 7.1 and will drive 175 RMS with 6 ohm. V1900 is 135 at 8 ohm for 7.1 channels and I can bi wire 9.6 and it will drive the unit better (I have audioquest type 4 cables 3 and I need to buy one more to do biwiring)

Comments, views and any other recommentations appreciated.
 

Asterix

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. My living room size 27 x 18 ft and I am told by Vector/Lokesh that RX V1900 high powered 7.1 and will drive 175 RMS with 6 ohm. V1900 is 135 at 8 ohm for 7.1 channels and I can bi wire 9.6 and it will drive the unit better (I have audioquest type 4 cables 3 and I need to buy one more to do biwiring)

Comments, views and any other recommentations appreciated.[/QUOTE]

I got much better results by bi amping the 9.6 as compared to bi wiring. If u are planning on a 5.1, u can use the spare amps to bi amp...
 
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