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Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Think Wharfedale and we can guarantee that the next word that comes to your mind will be Diamond. Over the decades, Diamond's various budget lines have been so successful that it's easy to forget that the company also makes premium products, such as the new Evo 4.4 floor stands being tested here.

These are the biggest and most expensive offerings in the company's new Evo lineup and are filled with so much technology that we had to double-check the price of the speaker to make sure it was for a pair of speakers and not just one.

Assembly

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

What is the technology? Well, for starters, there's the Air Motion Transformer tweeter. While there are several similarly priced speakers that use such a unit, it is a type of construction that is more commonly found at much higher prices.

AMT works by having a lightweight bellows diaphragm run across its surface. next to neatly placed magnets. The folds contract or expand in response to the musical signal, compressing the air between them, creating a sound wave. It is claimed that the sound from this type of device is fast due to the light diaphragm and accurate due to the entire surface being treated.

The 55 x 80mm AMT is passed on to another unusual drive. block, dome midrange, at a relatively high frequency of 4.7 kHz. Few drivers use domed mids due to cost and complexity of design, but the one used in the 4.4 has a 50mm soft dome coated with a damping compound to control resonances. There is also a specially shaped chamber behind the dome that diffuses and absorbs sound from the diaphragm, thus reducing distortion and enhancing detail.

This domed midrange unit has a wide frequency response from 800Hz to 5kHz. This response, together with a powerful motor system, helps it integrate with the AMT tweeter as well as the double-woven Kevlar bass drivers that sit below it on the front panel. The crossover point between the midrange and woofers is 1.2kHz.

If you think that any 106cm high speaker with two 15cm woofers should deliver enough bass, you would be right.

The output of these two woofers is aided by a downward-facing port layout, where low-frequency sound exits through the gap between the base of the speaker cabinet and the plinth floor. This is a technique that Wharfedale has perfected in recent years and is said to better match the port's acoustic output to the room.

Evo 4.4. build quality is good for the price. We love how the elegantly curved cabinet is put together. It is strategically anchored and damped to provide a solid, low resonance platform for the drive mechanisms to operate. There are three finishes available - black, white and walnut. The standard of fit and finish of our review samples is good.

Compatibility

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

These are fairly large speakers that sound best away from the back and side walls in our medium-sized test room. Place the speakers too close to any edge of the room and the powerful bass will dominate.

Do it right, though, and add enough talented electronics to the equation, and you'll find the Evo 4.4s are excellent speakers for the money. We think something like the Cyrus CDi CD player paired with Rega's Elex-R would be a good starting point for the system.

The Evo 4.4 has a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, but it barely falls below this point should be the minimum, so there shouldn't be particularly hard drivers for the amplifier. This means that the absolute quality of the amp will be the deciding factor, not its overt grunt.

Sound

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

Unsurprisingly, relatively large speakers reproduce large-scale sound with great authority. We listen to Dvořák's New World Symphony and are impressed by Wharfedale's dynamic reach and ability to handle a ton of instruments with composure. They are loud with an ease that offers plenty of headroom, and stay organized when the recording gets demanding.

The transparency and subtlety that these Wharfedales display is far less expected. There is a real sense that these speakers are digging deep into the record and presenting this information honestly. They follow the entire envelope of the note well, with clear leading and trailing edges, without sounding overly etched.

Rivals like the excellent Fyne Audio F501 sound more forward and arguably more immersive because of it, but on longer listening sessions, the Evo 4.4's simpler presentation feels more natural and convincing. Such a sound attracts for a long time, and not during a short listening session at the dealer.

Wharfedale Evo 4.4 review

The combination of an AMT tweeter and a domed midrange driver provides greater resolution and transparency. These speakers sound impressively articulate at these frequencies and play vocal music like Mount The Air from The Unthanks brilliantly. The voices have nuances and structure that help convey emotion really well.

Tying everything together is a wonderful sense of timing that results in steady rhythms and the ability to present a mass of instruments as a cohesive and musical whole. The longer we listen, the less we analyze the sound and the more we simply enjoy the results.

The refined tonal delivery of the Wharfedale is well-received, treading the fine line between attack and smoothness well. During our review sessions, we listen to everyone from Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen to Carmine Buran Orff and never feel like these Evos are dictating our choices.

Verdict

These floor stands prove that Wharfedale can pair them with the best at more premium prices. The Evo 4.4s are interesting and detailed with enough refinement to make them a great choice for the long haul. If you need floor stands at this level, put these towers on your list of the best. You won't regret it.

GLASSES

Sound 5

Compatibility 4

Build 5

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