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Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 vs. Cambridge Audio S30 vs. Audioengine P4

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hello everybody,

I have what I consider to be a nice speaker system (college kid, so I guess everything is relative). I have energy rc-10's as my front speakers, with the rc-lcr as the center. I also have JBL control 5's acting as side/surround speakers, but they were blown out at a party. After I finished mourning their loss, I figured it was time to reinvest.

I would have just gone straight to a second pair of the rc-10's, as I really enjoy them. I found them last summer on amazon for less than 250 a pair (I think because the veritas line had just come out), which was insane and I would gladly pull that trigger again. However, I guess everybody else and their mother thought the same thing, and it's now essentially impossible to find rc-10's, let alone in that price range.

I'm looking for something good, obviously. After looking around for a bit, I've come across a few (so far) that intrigue me. First, the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1's. I've read only good things about them, and a lot at that. The same is true for both the cambridge s30's and the P4's. My friend who lives in my house has the Audioengine A5's (which are just the powered version of the P4's), and those are stellar.

I'm wondering if anybody has any suggestions regarding these three or anything else. Between the rc-10's and the rc-lcr, I really don't need more bass, so if the only difference between some of the speakers above is bass, that's not a concern. Plus I have a jbl es250pbk, which I never use because it's too loud and the bass on the energy's sounds better anyway.

What I'm really looking for is what will mesh with my system. I think I like warm sounding, though that could just be my inexperience speaking. The speakers I buy will be going on a bookshelf, so that gets me thinking front ports will be better (which the P4 has). But if it doesn't make a huge difference and there's a clear winner, I'm willing to do anything.

I'll say my budget is $400, but there would have to be a crazy insane deal to get me to spend more than the $350 I'll have to shell out for the Wharfedales. Thanks in advance
post #2 of 23
There is a clear difference in terms output quality between front ported or back ported relative to their placement. If you won't have the right placement, I think front ported may be your only choice out of those three. Back ported need some breathing room in the back. Otherwise, they may sound boomy.
post #3 of 23
However, if you are flexible in terms of placement (ex. not placed in bookshelves), here is a review from someone who auditioned 2 of the 3 speakers mentioned. Keep in mind this is his opinion, his experience, and your listening experience and taste may differ a lot from him.
Quote:
S30's vs HSU-MKII:
While the HSUs are project a somewhat larger soundstage, the S30's trounce them with sheer realism and vividness. Compared to the S30's the HSUs are not as engaging. While the HSUs are definitely lively, the S30's simply sound better, and more balanced. This is a very close contest though, and for home-theater use I would still prefer the HSUs for their phenomenal imaging and staging abilities.

S30's vs Monitor Audio M2:
Compared to the S30's the M2's sound almost sterile, and somewhat lifeless. On the other hand, that's exactly what monitor speakers are supposed to do - reproduce whatever recording is played on them without any discernible tonal coloration. I do prefer the S30's over the M2's for listening though, simply because they 'draw me into the music' more.

S30's vs Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 2:
The Pioneers shine with deeper more engaging bass, however the mids and highs on the S30's simply outshine the Pioneers. Very close call though, the Pioneers are excellent speakers that really shine in almost any situation. For people looking for Wharfedale Diamond 10.1's and not being able to find them, buy the Pioneers, which sound very similar to the Wharfedales.

S30's vs Wharfedale Diamond 10.1:
This is somewhat closer, the Wharfedales have better bass and are beautifully rounded, the S30's have an edge due to their engaging vividness. Overall though the Wharfedales are the better, more sophisticated speaker. At very high volumes the S30's will begin to show some strain, even though they don't loose control - the Wharfedales though remain beautifully composed and unconstrained at higher volume levels.

S30's vs Behringer Truth 2030p:
Again no contest, the Behringers, which sound similar to the Monitor Audio M2's, appear sterile and lifeless compared to the S30's.

S30's vs Polk RTI A1:
Where the S30's present a clear, vivid and realistic sound, the Polk's sound artificial, simple as that. There is such a thing as the 'Polk Sound' and a lot of people like it very much, I'm just not one of them. I would encourage any budding audiophile to give the Polk RTI A1/A3 series a listen and make his or her own judgement, Polk speakers are very easy to find in most big-box electronic stores, and they are well worth the money.

S30's vs Ascend Acoustics CBM-170se:
The Ascends, while reaching higher and deeper, can not touch the S30's in terms of presentation; they sound similar to the Behringers and Monitor Audio M2's.

Bottom Line:
Every once in a while some clever, ingenious company will come up with a clever, ingenious product that far exceeds its monetary value; this is definitely one of those products. If you're looking for some exceptional bookshelf speakers, you found them.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am somewhat flexible on spacing. I'm also keeping in mind that whatever the case is it's not permanent. I'll be moving at the end of the year
post #5 of 23
Hello ericm91,

I currently own the S30's and think they'd probably be a perfect for your situation.

I am in the market for new bookshelfs specifically to aesthetically match my new Monitor Audio RS-6's and I am really enjoying the looks of the Wharfedale Diamonds you mention.

I have no interest/understanding of the Audioengine P4's you mention so there may be someone better to comment on those but I think the real competition is between the WD's and the CA's if you want to play loud go with Wharfedales. If you want the best deal in bookshelf speakers (in my humble opinion) get the S30's.
post #6 of 23
I auditioned the S30 and P4 in my home at the same time. Kept the S30 without hesitation.

Haven't heard the Wharfdale 10.1, but it has a good rep here in the forums. I would imagine it probably sounds better than the S30 since it costs quite a bit more.

If you're looking for a go-to pair of speakers for $220 the S30 is really, really hard to beat.

If you're looking for a good pair of $350 bookshelf speakers (price of the WD 10.1's) that's perhaps a different conversation. In that price range there are some very highly regarded bookshelf speakers by Arx, Ascend, KEF, Focal, Monitor Audio, etc.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

If you're looking for a go-to pair of speakers for $220 the S30 is really, really hard to beat.
You still need to hear the HVL-1's!
post #8 of 23
I just got a pair of the S30's today. I was very surprised to see a seem at the bottom of the speakers where the dark oak vinyl covering meets. Also the dark oak finish on one speaker has white lines running through the finish. I've had $50 speakers that had no seems. Also I'm not too thrilled with all of the sibilance I'm now hearing. Crutchfield sent me out a new pair at no charge though. I hope these smooth out some.
post #9 of 23
Been listening to my new S30's for over 2 hours now. I need some confirmation from anyone who has these. Why so much sibilance? Never had a problem with sibilance before with my receiver and other speakers I've had. Some sibilance with my other speakers but not as dramatic as with the S30's.
post #10 of 23
I'm not sure what setup you have jerrymb. I put in a blu ray (300) and had it at reference level and the "s's" hurt to hear... I turned my receiver to "movie" from music and it fixed the problem. I'm not sure what happened when I changed but that is on a Denon 1713. I recommend you try something similar.
post #11 of 23
I just a have a simple 2 channel receiver. I have it set flat. No extra bass or treble.
post #12 of 23
I'm also keeping in mind that whatever the case is it's not permanent.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by crowgwu View Post

I'm also keeping in mind that whatever the case is it's not permanent.

?????
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

You still need to hear the HVL-1's!

Yes I do wink.gif

Re your S30's, you may consider returning them - sibilance with them is uncommon. The only time I've heard sibilance from my S30's, or heard others mention it, was ...
- when the volume was pushed (they are at their best at medium and lower volumes)
- there was some placement issue like being to close to a wall/corner (they like room to breathe) or sitting on a desk in a near field setup, etc. (true for many speakers)
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdg4vfx View Post

Yes I do wink.gif

Re your S30's, you may consider returning them - sibilance with them is uncommon. The only time I've heard sibilance from my S30's, or heard others mention it, was ...
- when the volume was pushed (they are at their best at medium and lower volumes)
- there was some placement issue like being to close to a wall/corner (they like room to breathe) or sitting on a desk in a near field setup, etc. (true for many speakers)

My volume is very moderate. I have them away from any walls or windows. The room is carpeted. I think what I am hearing is what's on the recording because not all cds I play sound sibilant. Some are as smooth as silk.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrymb View Post

My volume is very moderate. I have them away from any walls or windows. The room is carpeted. I think what I am hearing is what's on the recording because not all cds I play sound sibilant. Some are as smooth as silk.

Ah, could be. As you move up the speaker food-chain often the speakers become more detailed and revealing. Can be both pleasing and annoying at the same time wink.gif
Edited by sdg4vfx - 8/1/13 at 9:52pm
post #17 of 23
Eric I am similarly researching and shopping around for a new pair of bookshelfs. While I have not personally heard the sets you referenced, I too have read nothing but good reviews about the Wharefedale's and the S30s.

A couple other sets I have been looking into are the Dali Zensor 1 and the Monitor Audio Silver RX1's. I love the aesthetics of the white or black Dali's and they seem to get good reviews. I've seen pair's of those going on ebay for around $360. The RX1's I believe have received even better reviews but those are higher in price range. There does happen to be a pair on ebay for $450 right now though. Still in the upper limit of your budget.

Keep us posted on what you decide to get and how you like them.
post #18 of 23
+1 To the Monitor Audio BX2 and RX1 bookshelf speakers. To my ears, the RX1 is a different class speaker - very nice wink.gif
post #19 of 23
The S30 is not an upgrade to the RC-10. I auditioned them both and kept the RC-10, I felt they were the better speaker overall. Then I replaced them with Mordaunt-Short a week later. biggrin.gif

sdg4vfx gave some great recommendations - keep looking wink.gif
post #20 of 23
I don't think the op is looking to replace the rc10, he wants to use them as surrounds with his rc10s.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

The S30 is not an upgrade to the RC-10. I auditioned them both and kept the RC-10, I felt they were the better speaker overall. Then I replaced them with Mordaunt-Short a week later. biggrin.gif

I also replaced Cambridge S30s with RC-10s, preferring the RC-10s. Although I do think the S30s would be OK for surround duty with the RC-10s and RC-LCR.

However, you might also play the upgrade game. For $400, you might find a pair of speakers you like better than the RC-10s; at the very least, you'd have new surrounds. If you do find something better, I would bet that RC-LCR has good resale value, enough to put you towards a matching center channel for whatever other speakers you find.

Also, this Clash of the Minispeakers article at Sound and Vision may help: http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/review-clash-minispeakers
post #22 of 23
Thanks Eli, after more careful reading you may be right. I thought all speakers were blown. My thought was if you're buying new speakers, a step up might be preferred.
post #23 of 23
Got my replacement S30's today from Crutchfield. The replacements have a defect in the oak finish just like the first pair I got last week. I'm not nitpicking. It is clearly a defect. I'm about ready to send both pairs back and get another brand speaker and deal with another company. I had less problems when I had cheap low quality speakers!
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