Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 Active Studio Monitor Speaker (Pair)

Wharfedale’s bookshelf Diamond 8.2 loudspeakers are both built and priced to thrill: with their 6.5-inch Kevlar woofers and silk-dome tweeters, they offer uncommonly luscious sound for their size and market positioning, with remarkably deep bass and smooth, transparent midrange frequencies (critical for voices, acoustic instruments, and even electric guitars). They’d make a super choice for use with hi-fi systems, home theaters, or computer setups, though they’re not self-powered like most PC speakers are.

The 8.2s derive some of their low-end heft from their ability to push air from their tuned, front-panel ports. Our listening revealed taut, punchy sound with dramatically smooth midrange frequencies and detailed but never excessive or harsh-sounding treble. So you’ll hear all the nuance of sticks on cymbals, but the crashing won’t rip your ears off. Fittingly, voices and acoustic instruments sounded especially lush and realistic owing to the 8.2s’ beautiful midrange, while the bass ran surprisingly deep for speakers using only a single 6.5-inch woofer each (the rated frequency response is 45 to 20,000 Hz).

The speakers owe a lot of their clarity and openness to their textile tweeters and woven Kevlar woofers. The tweeters are 1-inch silk-dome, ferrofluid-cooled drivers powered by a strong, neodymium magnet for speed and accuracy. Kevlar is said to be self-damping, a fact that would grant the woofers high rigidity and easy movement–a terrific recipe for dynamic sound from even wimpy amplifiers. And, despite their 6-ohm rating, it doesn’t take much to make these speakers sing. Anything from 20 watts-per-channel integrated amplifiers to 85 wpc surround receivers will make a good fit, though be warned that the speakers are rated for use only to 120 wpc. For optimal sound, especially if you’re biwiring, we’d recommend 40 wpc or above.

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