Testing the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack


It is not always easy to be part of a successful grand dynasty. Just ask the Windsors. Despite the inherent benefits of belonging to a successful lineage, it can be difficult to step up and get noticed, at least for positive reasons.

Similar to the Royals, the British institution Wharfedale and its Diamond speaker series have a long and rich legacy (albeit with much less scandal), as well as a bit of a German connection. Beginning in 1982 with a single model, the affordable Diamond line is now in its 14th generation, somewhat known as Diamond 12. This generation consists of three sizes of floorstanding speakers (12.0, 12.1, 12.2) , two column options. (12.3 and 12.4) and a single center speaker (12.C).

But there is no hereditary hangover to be found here. For Diamond 12, Wharfedale brought in German designer Karl Heinz Fink, previously heavily involved in Q Acoustics, to give the range a makeover from front to back. Almost every aspect of the construction, from the cabinet to the driver material, has been overhauled, and the result is a surprisingly charming, affordable, and well-designed speaker line for a 5.1 (or higher) stereo or surround setup.


Home cinema speaker pack: review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 home cinema pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

There are several ways to configure Diamond 12 model combinations in a home theater environment. Here we are testing a system comprising a quartet of the excellent mid-size Diamond 12.1 bookshelf speakers for fronts and cabinets (priced at £ 249 / $ 399 / AU $ 699 a pair), with the 12.C in the middle ( £ 229 / $ 229 / AU $ 575) and the SW10 powered subwoofer (£ 349 / $ 599 / AU $ 1,149) providing the bass.

In the UK this system is called the Diamond 12 Home Cinema Pack and can be purchased for £ 999 – a saving of £ 77 compared to the cost of buying everything separately.

To build

Home cinema speaker pack: review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 home cinema pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

The redesign of Diamond 12 began with the construction of the cabinet, and the result is a solid, smart and understated build. Available in four matte wood grain shades, the classic design is carefully offset by a high gloss baffle in solid black or white.

Engineers created the panels from different thicknesses of MDF which, along with the point bracing, help better control unwanted resonances. The boxes have a substantial feel but are not visually intrusive. They also look more expensive than they are. Each of the speakers has a claimed impedance of 8 ohms and two sets of terminals for bi-wiring, with mirror-finished metal straps included for non-bi-wired configurations.

Technical specifications of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack

Home cinema speaker pack: Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 Home Cinema Pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

Diamond 12.1:

Type 2-way, bass re fl ex

maximum energy 100W

Sensitivity 88dB

Impedance 8 ohms

Response frequency 65 Hz to 20 kHz

Dimensions (width) 31 x 18 x 28 cm

Weight 6.8 kg (each)

Diamond Center 12.C

Type 2-way, bass re fl ex

maximum energy 120W

Sensitivity 90dB

Impedance 8 ohms

Response frequency 90 Hz to 20 kHz

Dimensions (heavy weight) 18x48x21cm

Weight 8.5 kg (each)

Subwoofer SW10:

Amplifier output 200W

Sensitivity 110dB

Line input impedance 10 kiloohms

LFE input impedance 5 kiloohms

Response frequency 40 Hz to 120 Hz

Dimensions (heavy weight) 42x34x38m

Weight 16.5 kg (each)

The 12.1 rack mounts have a two-way rear-hole design with a single 13cm mid / woofer speaker made up of something called ‘Klarity’, which is not a Kardashian but a new polypropylene composite cone material with mica added to improve stiffness. Klarity cones are magnet driven with an aluminum compensation ring to minimize the effects of inductance fluctuations that can occur when the voice coil is moving.

The 25mm textile tweeter domes, on the other hand, are almost fully exposed, with a high gloss coating and a design intended to provide wide dispersion, smooth response and strong dynamics. Both pilots are linked to a carefully tuned crossover that the company says uses high-end components. The 12.C is configured similarly to the 12.1, but with a pair of 13cm Klarity speakers and a single tweeter.

The SW-10 subwoofer is available in matching wood finishes with the same polished baffle housing a single 25cm long-throw forward-facing speaker. Hidden on the back are physical controls for level, phase, and auto-sensing (the sub goes to sleep when a signal is received), as well as two RCA inputs. Perched on four stocky legs, it stands 42cm tall and, although it is the smallest submarine in the four powerful SW series, it is by no means tiny. However, the build quality makes it look like a beautiful piece of furniture rather than a clunky black cube and, especially given its performance, we imagine most people will be happy to make room for it in their home. salon.


Home cinema speaker pack: review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 home cinema pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

The SW-10’s tension and dexterity hits immediately when the Diamond 12.1 HCP begins to play. It’s an incredibly musical sub and it pairs perfectly with the smaller speakers, which themselves have one. low end incredibly well integrated. The result is rich, lively sound, especially with films with a heavily featured score. Looking at Amelie, Yann Tiersen’s famous accompaniment bursts with warmth and depth while there is an undeniable liveliness in all areas that is not limited to high transients. Despite this responsiveness when the going gets tough, the 12.1s maintain strong control, with a secure sense of authority and cohesion.

The sound agility of the whole is well displayed in the scene in which Amélie meets the repairman of the photo booth for the first time. Here, the stylized and enhanced sound design is paired with the jerky editing of the film and each sudden effect dynamically erupts with confidence, drama and consistency around the viewer.

Home cinema speaker pack: review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 home cinema pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

The sound field is smooth and while swapping the two front speakers for columns would certainly provide more scale, there is something to be said for the consistency of sound created by using the same speaker for the facades. and the speakers.

Also in this regard, the 12.C center speaker is well suited to the 12.1s and, unlike so many other boxes, pulls its weight in the same way. We watch a sound psychological drama The sound of silence and find that audio-obsessed protagonist Peter’s ultra-smooth and emotionally repressed dialogue is projected well with clarity and nuance. Set in the hustle and bustle of New York City, Peter’s job is to rid the city of unwanted ambient sounds and as he roams his clients’ apartments in search of squeaky floors and squeaky pipes, the Diamond 12 HCP digs up lots of domestic details and subtleties, making us feel the need to check whether it is indeed our air conditioning unit that is making the annoying buzz.

To give these table-sized boxes a little more vigorous challenge, we try Blade Runner 2049 and they project the meaty and sonorous score with both composure and charisma. In the scene in which Ryan Gosling flies to the orphanage, there are a lot of delicate nuances, from the sound of raindrops falling on the windshield to the wiper cleaning them. Later, when things inevitably start to get explosive, the 12.1 still delivers a balanced yet compelling force.


Home cinema speaker pack: review of the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 home cinema pack

(Image credit: Wharfedale)

With its poise, ease, cut glass diction, and charisma, the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 HCP is essentially the Audrey Hepburn of home theater speaker sets. It delivers rich bass without sacrificing or dominating mids and highs, presenting a mature sound rich in impact, agility, detail and sensitivity.

Large enough to offer cinematic scale with a wide sound field, yet discreet and affordable enough to be accessible to a variety of audiences, the 12.1s is proving to be an excellent choice for music and film.


  • Ring 5
  • Compatibility 5
  • To build 5


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