Wharfedale Diamond Compact Monitor
How to get the best from Wharfedale Diamond monitors.
Although loudspeaker designers can control the performance of a system, within limits, one thing is always beyond their control and that is the room in which it will be used. Loudspeaker systems are generally designed to be free standing and are often raised from the floor on stands to avoid the detrimental effects of cancellation and enhancement of the output due to the close proximity of reflecting surfaces. When operated as intended, in an average (?) room, the resultant sound will bear some resemblance to that obtained by the designer. Life is not usually as the designer would wish; around the house female ideas rule, and since that half of the population prefers to clean up to and not around things, loudspeakers must therefore be placed against a wall (why else would they have flat backs?) Some even feel that a plant atop and a corner location are best.
The corner location of a system certainly boosts the lower frequencies which probably accounts for its popularity — but the effect on the overall response renders a formerly 'flat' system useless for purposeful monitoring. The effect applies equally to all speakers, irrespective of initial quality and wall/corner mounting should be avoided. However, in the often cramped confines of a home studio the undesirable must be accepted as space limitations impose shelf or corner mounting.
The Wharfedale loudspeaker company has long recognised the fact that, whatever the ideal may be, shelf, wall or corner location is usual and consequently they designed a system specifically for use on a shelf or wall. It is a compact system (anyone with space for a large system has no need to resort to shelves) and despite the 'Diamond' model tag, is inexpensive at less than £65.00 per pair. This system was developed against a solid wall constructed in their anechoic chamber (Figure 1) instead of in the normal 'free space'. The response and polar characteristics were tailored to benefit from the reflecting surface which the wall provides and, as would be expected, bass levels are well down without it, but as the traces show, very respectable with it. One point worth mentioning is that the wall-mounted response (Figure 2) was arrived at by averaging the results from several points within the listening room.
The Diamond's size, performance and price make them an ideal choice for a budget studio, they could also find a home in many professional studios for checking the 'home sound'. Figure 3 shows an idea for a compact corner console, and a corner layout for a mini studio. Using loudspeakers such as these (located as shown) has a couple of advantages. Optimum results are obtained from the loudspeakers, and their position close to the operator provides a high proportion of direct to indirect sound thus lowering the effect of the room on the perceived sound, in much the same way that recording with the microphone close to the source does.
Mounting the units presents few problems, proprietary adjustable brackets are available from Wilmslow Audio and most hi-fi shops, inexpensive hook and eye fixings could also be used. Whatever the choice of fixing, there are two important points to consider: firstly is it secure? Secondly, will direct fixing to the wall annoy the neighbours? To the former seek expert advice on a suitable fixing system, to the latter a cheap and quite effective solution lies in the use of a shelf with the loudspeaker unit supported on an absorbant pad. It should be mentioned that Wharfedale's own recommendation is for a rigid mounting at normal listening height. Distance from the wall affects the overall smoothness of response. The rear facing port's frequency reduces as the wall gets closer, ½" or less gives the best bass response.
For more information about the Diamond or fixing brackets contact: Wilmslow Audio, (Contact Details).
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Feature by Steve Taylor
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