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Book Shelf Speakers

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I been slowly researching a sound system after upgrading to audiophile headphones and IEMS and getting a taste...


Limited budget of probs 1K AUD as I'm still a student, and I'm mostly hoping for second hand purchases. I have a short list of passive (I like the ability to upgrade) speakers as previously recommended by headfiers:

  • Cambridge Audio S30
  • ARX A1B
  • Paradigm Mini Monitor.


I don't want to sell my s system short so i'll buy the components one at a time and maybe then I can go over the above budget. The system is for my bedroom which is about 4x4m with a tv stand which allows atleast 6' of space from wall for speakers. I have come across the Wharfdale Diamond 10.2 speakers and I wold love to know what people think of them (I can't find much in the way of reviews on the net)? How do they compare with the above speakers?


Cheers guys.

Edited by Vargulf - 3/9/13 at 4:52pm
post #2 of 22

I own a pair of Whaffdale diamond 10.1. I think for the money these are good speakers. I have them paired up with a 15 watt fatman itube and this little amp easily drives these to volumes that are too high for a small room while not loosing control. I have them sitting on the top of my desk and I do have to say that they are not great for nearfield use. That being said they dont require loads of space. When I watch a movie 2.5 meters away from the speakers they work fine. If your looking for second hand stuff you might also want to look for a Monitor Audio BR2. What components are you planning on matching your speakers with? 

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

To be honest I havn't done my home work on DACs and amps yet and originally planned to buy the speakers first then research the next acquisition :).  The seller does also has a Grant Fidelity DAC-11 and NAD 216 Power amp which he will sell paired with the speakers if I so wish. What is a fair price for 2nd hand Wharfdales do you think I can't get a fix on prices...


Thats ok with the nearfield as I will always be more than 2 metres away. I like the look of the Diamonds better than the Monitor Audio BR2's but would you suggest that the Monitor Audios have better sound?


As I understand I'll need a DAC, AMP and some quality optical cables yeah?

Edited by Vargulf - 3/9/13 at 5:51pm
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter


What do you think about pairing it with the marantz mentioned in that article? Is that overkill for the speakers or under representing them :s That thing must be a DAC and amp in one unit i suppose.


Thanks so much for the help by the way bro.

post #5 of 22
Originally Posted by Vargulf View Post


What do you think about pairing it with the marantz mentioned in that article? Is that overkill for the speakers or under representing them :s That thing must be a DAC and amp in one unit i suppose.


Thanks so much for the help by the way bro.


It's not overkill in terms of power, but you will be spending for too many features you won't need:

1) it's a surround receiver, so there are 3 other channels you're paying for
2) it's a more traditional power/processing in a very compact/lifestyle system-size form factor, so you're also paying for all the extra channels of processing and amplification to be miniaturized


For that $650 you can just get a separate DAC and integrated amplifier for about US$300.

post #6 of 22

Its difficult to say what sounds 'better'. My dad actually has a pair of BR2's. I would say that the 10.1's are more base heavy and have more punch while the BR2's are clearer sounding. Overall the BR2s probably have the edge. And yes I would also agree that the Diamonds look better. The thing about building a hifi system is that you have to match all the components to sound a certain way. Ask yourself, what kind of sound signature do I like? Then choose your components. In terms of price I would pay around 100 pounds for a pair of 10.2's 2nd hand. The best thing to do is to see if they pop up on ebay and how much they go for. I would not rush into anything and carefully consider what your buying.


I would be sceptical about the NAD amp. I used to own a NAD 2100 power amp and 2200 pre for a while. While it had massive amounts of power it lacked sophistication in every way. You really dont need much power to drive a pair of bookshelves in your bedroom. I dont know how old the amp is the guy wants to sell but after about 10 years the electrolytic capacitors in these things really start to deteriorate and make it sound fuzzy. Just form a quick look at the pictures of the inside of the 216 it does not look very impressive.


It is correct that optical and coaxial connections are better than USB. A USB is always connected directly to the computer and introduces lots of unwanted noise into the circuit. Then again it is not impossible to get decent results though USB. If you want to keep cost down it might actually be a good option. I don't know much about the DAC-11 but I am sure you can find plenty of reviews on here. In general though I would advise not to hold back on your source component. 

Edited by Jasper9395 - 3/9/13 at 6:32pm
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

OK awesome. Sounds like separate DAC amp will give me more bang for my buck. As for the two speakers I've always preferred clarity over bass punch. I think I'll make the hr drive to check the speakers out though. He wants $450 AUD and apparently they are RRP $650 over here. Might not be as good a deal a I thought tho.


And I'll avoid the other two components, I'd never heard of NAD. I'll keep and eye out for the BR2's as well.



Edited by Vargulf - 3/9/13 at 7:45pm
post #8 of 22

Yes it definitely will. Minimalism means more bang for buck. Dont get me wrong on NAD though they make some very nice stuff. That particular amp just doesn't look very good. 

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah to be honest most of the brands in hifi are currently foreign to me :s I'm looking for some 2nd hand BR2's now. If I can't find any I'll go take a look and a listen at the 10.2's. Having used these speakers will the stands always provide a slight edge over them being on the tv cabinet for example? If you were to get these speakers and a better DAC/amp later would the logical upgrade after that be a centre speaker for vocals?

post #10 of 22

Ye 450 is a bit much. The thing is people will buy them at full price then think they are worth a lot of money. Also just realised that I said I would pay 100 pounds for a pair of 2nd hand 10.2's but I meant 10.1. I found a pair of 2nd hand 10.2 here for 200 pounds. 


The two speakers are actually very similar. The only real difference is that the 10.2 uses a larger woofer which will probably just means it will have deeper bass.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Wow, I'll give them a good listen then cause if you found the bass heavy on the 10.1 the 10.2 might be too much for me. especially in a smaller room! Yeah I gathered there was a price dif there. I think 300 to 350 is more reasonable in AUD but he prob wont come down. Your right tho I've seen so much 2nd hand Hi-Fi equip going for the same price 2nd hand as new on this site and others.


Cheers for your help bro I've got alot more to go on when I go see the beasts now...

post #12 of 22

10.1 Reviewed on C Net by Steve Guttenberg, favorable review.  Love your idea of buying used, more bang for the buck imo

post #13 of 22

Yes they used to hold a 5 star rating on 'what hifi' then dropped to 4 when the Monitor Audio BR2 came along which has now already been replaced by the BX2. The actual differences are not that great though so buying the older models 2nd hand is a very good options in terms of entry level speakers. What is also good is that all of these respond well to amplification and source component upgrades which shows how good they are. 

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well , I got the Diamond 10.2's smily_headphones1.gif though I thought they sounded a little reserved in the mids and muddy...
What recommendations for Dac, receiver and wiring guys? To brighten the mids and clarify?
post #15 of 22

Congrats on the new speakers!  First of all you may want to contact the manufacturer for suggestions on break-in period. Many components sound better after 50 or 100 hours of start-up.

Also if you can, experiment with placement a bit.


For a nice entry-level DAC,  here is one reviewed on C-Net for 39.00 US.  Does nice job for me with my lap top.


You may want to see if you can find a USED NAD 3020 but be sure it has been tested as this is vintage but bargain gear. You can also look there for ideas on newer gear


For bargains on any cables and also dirt-cheap but decent entry level Subs, try if they ship to your area. 

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