• Four small attached rubber feet allow the curved bottom of the 10 CM to sit on a shelf or other flat surface.
Diamond 10.DFS surround speakers, technical highlights:
• Dual 1-inch soft dome tweeters and dual 4-inch woofers positioned in a semi-bipole arrangement.
• The 10.DFS’s triangular enclosure has what is essentially two small two-way speakers facing apart from each other, on baffles that form a V shape against the wall. When mounted on the wall using the two screw eye holes, the bottom of the speaker also slopes away towards the wall to reduce diffraction. The speaker can be used in an inverted position on a shelf, with the Wharfedale badge rotated to match.
• Due to their unusual dispersion pattern, Wharfedale suggests that mounting the 10.DFS on the rear wall is preferable to the more common side wall placement, although both are acceptable.
• The 10.DFS comes only in one finish, a stretchy black fabric that covers all visible surfaces.
Diamond 10 GX-SUB subwoofer, technical highlights:
• Downward firing 10-inch Kevlar weave woofer cone with diamond pattern rubber surround roll.
• 250-watt amplifier.
• Sealed acoustic suspension enclosure.
• Adjustable leveling spikes or rounded rubber feet.
Wharfedale’s director of acoustic design Peter Comeau has done a fine job of making all the different Diamond 10 models sing together with one voice. Matching the voicing from model to model is no mean feat with a range as extensive as this, but it is essential if a surround setup is going to sound like a coherent whole.
The choice of a dome midrange is pretty unexpected at this price range, and it allows the Diamond 10 to be impressively expressive and detailed through the midrange. To match that soft dome midrange, Wharfedale has gone with a soft dome tweeter rather than the more popular metal dome design. Metal dome tweeters can be a bit of a two-edged sword, combining a splendid ability to deliver gobs of fine detail, with a tendency to become a bit colored by resonances if not handled carefully. By sticking with a soft dome design, the Diamond’s tweeter manages to blend seamlessly with the dome midrange driver, but it just manages to miss the last word in fine resolution in the top octaves. To be clear, it’s not that the Diamond 10 sounds dull or rolled off, but more that the top octave detail has a texture that’s closer to fine sand than a powder.
With two woofers backed by a cabinet sporting a big fat port, you might think the Diamond 10.7s would have big fat bass that could run a bit out of control at times, but this is far from the case. Tight and lean are the first two words that come to mind, putting control and tidiness above power and super deep extension. Given the right program material the bass could sound quite powerful and deep, but it never really had the pants leg-flapping ultra-deep bass power capabilities of some other big floor standing tower speakers.
Imaging was one of the 10.7s strong suits, and used by themselves as a stereo pair they were able to conjure up a big open soundstage with a palpable sense of depth. Wharfedale suggests toeing in the speakers quite a lot, and this helped to lock in the focus on individual sounds within the stage, without noticeably shrinking its size. In surround mode with all of the speakers in play, the accurate timbral matching allowed sounds to move across the room in a coherent and continuous sweep.
While it was valuable for delivering the LFE signal and for augmenting the center and surrounds, I never felt that the 10 GX-SUB was adding much to the bottom end capabilities of the 10.7s. So for most of my stereo listening I used a bypass mode that kept it out of the loop. However, when required, the 10 GX-SUB could really rattle the floorboards, offering lots of deep bass grunt for heavy-duty movie soundtracks.
Despite having a somewhat different driver complement, the 10.DFS surround speakers are able to blend seamlessly with the three speakers up at the front of the room. The semi-bipole layout does seem to spread the sound out over a wide angle, but the way they projected sound into the room was really not all that different from any direct radiating speaker. I did try the rear wall placement that Wharfedale suggests, but generally preferred the results when they were slightly behind the listening position on the side walls.
Overall the Diamond 10 system gave a clean, clear insight into the various recordings I tried, with priority given to order and coherency over ultra-transparency and sock-it-to-me dynamics. The effect was more like a deep intellectual discussion than a wild party where everyone was letting it all hang out. The Diamonds always managed to avoid sounding crude or uncouth, which is probably a good thing given the way many movie soundtracks sound.