Final RankingWharfedale Diamond 10.1
Build Quality: 8.5/10
Attention to Detail: 8.5/10
Treble: 6.5/10 – Treble seemed recessed
Midrange: I don't remember enough to give them a rating.
Treble smoothness: 9.5/10 They are smooth but at the cost of detail/resolution
Tonal Balance: 8/10 Everything was pretty good other than the highs and resolution.
Imaging/sound-stage: Don't remember.
Value: 7/10 Decent performance, great looks.
Customer Service: N/AAscend Acoustics CBM-170
Build Quality: 6.5/10 – Finish was easily damaged and uneven face/backplates look cheap
Attention to Detail: 8/10
Midrange: 6.5/10 Lower midrange recessed, other than that it is good. That is the reason for the low score.
Bass: 7/10 Not much bass for their size.
Treble smoothness: 8.5/10, fairly smooth for how detailed they were
Tonal Balance: 7/10 – Apparent lack of lower-midrange warmth made them sound flat which was their Achilles heal in my opinion.
Value: 7/10 – Pretty good performance, not so great looks
Customer Service: 7/10 – They will not talk about any other speakers other than their own, even if they have heard them before. Other brands such as Aperion were willing to not only willing talk about other companies speakers but even recommended some of their competitors models. Calls were answered and emails were responded to with acceptable delay.Arx A1b
Build Quality: 8/10 Really great cabinet especially at their price point. Midrange driver is beefy and appears to be well built.
Attention to Detail: 8/10. Some vinyl is raised here and there around the driver area. Nothing major. Corners are pretty good.
Treble: 7.5/10 – Some parts of the treble seem a bit recessed.
Treble smoothness: 9/10
Tonal Balance: 9/10
Value: 8/10 Good performance with decent looks.
Customer Service: 9.5/10. Jon Lane was willing to talk for a very long time on the phone and was willing to provide feedback on some of the other speakers I was looking at. He even offered to extend my auditioning period if I needed more time for the review. A lot of companies wont do that for amateur reviewers. Really great to work with.Energy RC-10
Build Quality: 8/10
Attention to Detail: 8.5/10
Bass: 7/10 - Some of the upper bass seemed a bit muddied.
Treble smoothness: 9/10 – Tweeter is quite smooth and easy to listen too
Tonal Balance- 8.75/10
Value: 10/10 – At $200 you might as well be stealing them.
Customer Service: N/ACarnegie Acoustics CSB-1
Build Quality: 9/10
Attention to Detail: 6.5/10 – Gloss finish is not pristine. It is swirled/marred. I use to detail high end exotic cars for a while so I feel that I am qualified to be critical in this department. While I have not personally seen a speaker that has a flawless 100% micro scratch free finish, these CSB-1s are definitely what I would consider below average. The finish looks like it was not handled with as much care as it should have. Either they dusted the speaker off frequently during assembly or they did not do a good job polishing the finish. Either way, its not terrible and most people wouldn't notice as its not visible unless you look at the finish under a direct light source. From a few feet away they look just fine. Possibly more of an issue was that I found metal pieces stuck to the magnets of the tweeter on the outside. I had to use some pliers and carefully remove the metal debris from inside the tweeter grill. It was blatantly obvious and it should have not passed QC with those metal debris in the tweeter. As a side note, the Arx A1b has a fine mesh grill over the tweeter to prevent such a thing from happening.
Treble: 8.5/10 The highs are detailed and extended although at times they can be a little too sharp.
Treble smoothness: 7/10
Tonal Balance: 8.75/10
Value: 8/10 – I feel they are overpriced at their MSRP but the B-stock price is a fair deal IMO.
Customer Service: 4/10 I attempted to contact Carnegie by email and phone. I never received a response on the email and their phone number appears to be incorrect as a gentleman picked up and told me that I had the wrong number and people keep calling him asking for Carnegie. Also it appears that I was given an incorrect tracking number and was not able to receive a correct one after attempting to get a hold of them.Brightest
CSB-1 ~ CBM-170
Wharfedale 10.1WarmestMost Favorite
Wharfedale 10.1Least Favorite
Here are some pictures of the internals on the A1b, RC-10 and CSB-1
A1b Midrange driver:
Notes: Cast metal basket, vented pole piece. It is the heaviest driver of the 3.
RC-10 Midrange driver
Notes: Stamped steel basket, no vented pole piece(but it does have voice coil cooling via the phase-plug so it may not be needed)
CSB-1 Midrange driver
Notes: Plastic basket, lightest motor of the 3, vented pole piece. I was a little surprsied when I saw this driver. I am not expert by and means but from a lay persons perspective it does not look to be of the same quality of the other 2 drivers. Very surprising since this speaker retails for quite a bit more than the other two. Maybe someone with more technical knowledge than I can shed some light on why this driver isn't as beefy as the other two.
Swirled/marred finish on the CSB-1Edited by SmithandWesson - 2/27/14 at 5:52pm