Wharfedale: almost 90 years democratizing audio excellence
Considered as one of the most relevant and iconic brands of the history of High Fidelity, the British Wharfedale is a magnificent example of something that happens in all areas: one of those companies that redefine the sector to which they belong, companies with a history of commitment to technological innovation that goes back to its origins.
In fact, it is not an exaggeration if we say that the music reproduction equipment we listen to today owes an enormous debt to the pioneering technical developments that Wharfedale has brought to the market in its long and fruitful history.
It all started almost 90 years ago in the cellar of a house
The starting point for Wharfedale is located at 1932specifically the cellar of a house located in the English town of Ilkley, Yorkshire, in the Wharfe Valley, where its owner, the music lover and electronic engineer Gilbert Briggs, carried out experiments with what was then cutting-edge technology. A concern that in 1933 materialized in the “Wharfedale Wireless Works”a modest company that began manufacturing electronic transducers following a very “British” operation, as reflected by the help of Doris Edna Briggswife of Gilbert, who later claimed to have spent many nights hand-assembling and soldering the voice coil windings of the speakers of the fledgling Wharfedale loudspeakers.
It was at the end of that same year when an event occurred that would have great significance in the future: the first and second positions obtained by the Gilbert Briggs acoustic boxes in the annual competition from the Bradford Audio Society, a success that was rewarded with the first major order for Wharfedale. From there there was no turning back. After the Second World War, during which Wharfedale obtained juicy orders as a subcontractor for the giant Marconi, Wharfedale witnessed firsthand the birth of a new market as a consequence of the advances experienced in the field of electronics: the High Fidelity Audio. A market in which Wharfedale concentrated his interest, developing several notable technological developments with a fundamental product: the pfirst two-way speaker system designed expressly for domestic applications… despite the fact that its external crossover filter required two people to lift it!
The next step taken by Wharfedale was also crucial in cementing the brand’s reputation: the celebration of joint auditions with the British bands Quad and Leak – two other legendary names in audio of all time – in such emblematic spaces as Festival Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York, in which the audience had to discover if they were listening to live music or recorded music played through of Wharfedale speakers. Some demonstrations that consecrated the global recognition of the British firm as a manufacturer of exceptional speaker systems. In the late 1950s, Wharfedale was sold to leisure giant The Rank Organizationbeginning a very fruitful era in which two major innovations came to light: the use, for the first time, of ceramic magnets and, in parallel, the introduction of the “peripheral accordion suspension” –roll surround- in the speaker cones. Wharfedale as we know it now was born.
Legendary models that brought music to thousands of homes
The generation known as the “baby boomers” gave rise to a new customer category formed by professionals who wanted products that not only sounded good, but whose aesthetics were also up to par. The era of bookshelf speakerswith models that, like the legendary Linton and Denton, would define the future of Wharfedale. Already in the 80’s, Wharfedale continued its commitment to the most advanced technology with the incorporation of the laser holographya sophisticated analysis tool that allowed us to know with greater precision the interiors of the speakers and thus provide a deeper scientific understanding of the technology of loudspeakers.
In 1982 another legend in the history of home audio was born: the Diamond Series from Wharfedale, a range whose success was largely based on the adaptation of technologies developed for the High End TSR102 loudspeaker. An adaptation materialized in the placement of one of the TSR102 speakers and a simple silk dome tweeter in a highly compact enclosure with rear bass-reflex port, the commercial success of which was to become the backbone of Wharfedale’s offering to this day. Thus, at the beginning of the third millennium, with the brand integrated into the powerful International Audio Group (IAG) together with the aforementioned Quad and Leak, Wharfedale redesigned the Diamond range again to create the Diamond 8equipped with the latest in technology – Kevlar cones, for example – to offer the best in Hi-Fi and Home Cinema for an unbeatable price.
And so we arrive at the Wharfedale of today, whose spectacularly wide catalog of speakers ranges from ranges as affordable as the D300 and the Diamond 12 to others as exclusive as the Elysianwithout forgetting that affordable High End wonder that is EVO4 Series and the celebrated “connection” with the origins of the brand, the Heritage Series.
Five models to bring cutting-edge audio technology to all audiences
Wharfedale’s membership of the International Audio Group It implies being able to access a series of resources in R&D and manufacturing capacity that allow each and every one of its models to exhibit a unparalleled quality/price ratio within their respective categories. On the other hand, since the design of the different products is controlled by british engineersthe essence of the brand is preserved at all times, with an exemplary conceptual continuity between the most classic and the most modern designs.
*Linton: Marketed in 1965with Wharfedale already integrated into The Rank Organization but still under the supervision of Gilbert Briggs, its founder, this emblematic acoustic box 2 speaker 2 way bookshelf (converted to 3-way/3 speakers in its current version) with a natural wood enclosure included technical refinements as significant in their time as the use of a independent enclosure (although mounted inside the main enclosure) for the mid/high speaker in order to immunize it from the vibrations generated by the woofer.
*TSR102: An elegant 2-way monitor/3 speakers of very high performance that at the time represented the maximum expression of Wharfedale’s technological power and whose adaptation to the field of mass consumption led to the arrival on the market of a range of loudspeakers that would shape the future of the brand: the Diamond Series original.
*EVO4.3: A magnificent column that brings to a very large number of potential users some of the most representative technological and design elements of the current Wharfedale elite, the fabulous Elysian Series… Kevlar conesdome midrange speaker, perimeter bass-reflex loading system in the base, frequency divider filters executed designed with an exclusive computer program and, the cherry on top, a extreme versatility which ensures optimal results in music and cinema.
*Denton 85th Anniversary: Created to celebrate the Wharfedale 85th Anniversarythis beautiful two way bookshelf monitor Classic cut, it stands out for its completely artisanal with state-of-the-art speakers, the beauty of its mahogany finish and the traditional Wharfedale tungsten mesh protective grille, all elements that make it a careful update of the original model with the addition of an improved sound in terms of dynamics.
*Elysian 4: Maximum expression of Wharfedale know-how and probably the most sophisticated acoustic box never created by the brand, this imposing and stylized column presents a concentration of technology in the speakers and splitter filter of frequencies, manufacturing quality, perfection of the finishes and, of course, musicality difficult to find for the price at which it is offered.