A company that is almost 90 years old and still going strong, they are most certainly doing something right and the accolades they have received proved just that. Wharfedale is one of Great Britain’s leading manufacturers of audiophile equipment, best known for its HiFi speakers.
Through decades of innovations and improvements, you can be assured that all their speakers are at the very top of the line in terms of high fidelity, and we will be reviewing one of them today. The coveted Wharfedale Evo 4.4 floor standing speakers which have been awarded “Best Floorstanding Speakers £1,000-£1,500” by the renowned “WHAT HI-FI?”, with such prestigious recognition, we are eager to find out how it sounds.
Overview of Wharfedale Evo 4.4
Wharfedale Evo 4.4 borrows much of its technology from ELYSIAN which is Wharfedale flagship loudspeakers. One of the most unique features of this model will be the Air Motion Transformer (AMT) treble unit which uses a completely different method of moving air when compared to your conventional dome tweeter. It even looks very different from a conventional tweeter which basically is a large, pleated lightweight diaphragm been driven across the surface by rows of magnets been strategically placed. AMT moves air in an efficient way and it is also very accurate due to the diaphragm always been under close control of the motor system.
With such an amazing treble unit, it will require a matching midrange which Evo 4.4 has just that. It is a fast and responsive dome midrange, that also has a wide bandwidth. Evo 4.4 dome midrange features a linear response from 800 Hz – 5 kHz. With its high flux magnet, the midrange dome is highly efficient, an ideal match with its AMT treble unit indeed.
This pair of floorstanders comes with two bass drivers each, woven Kevlar cones that are fitted with a low loss rubber surround, and like the ELYSIAN they are loaded by the most advanced version of the Wharfedale slot port, the SLPP (Slot Loaded Profiled Port).
In order for the Evo 4.4 drivers to work flawlessly together, Wharfedale uses an advanced computer modeled crossover that has been developed, after hundreds of hours of listening tests and fine-tuning to make sure that the drivers are blended seamlessly.
Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Review – UPDATED 2021
As they are monoliths in their own right, it is not suitable for small rooms because they really need space to breathe (I’ve found out the hard way). Went to a friend’s place instead, he has a decent-sized room that is big enough to provide ample space away from the sidewalls and back walls. We were impressed by the powerful bass and we could really feel it, Wharfedale SLPP might have given that extra oomph. If it is given more room with minor acoustical room treatment, we believe the bass detail will have more clarity and tighter bass. The AMT and the matching midrange reproduce a natural-sounding voice, not too warm or too bright, just right for our taste.
For a floorstanding speaker, they are fast and precise. Not only it delivers music, but it also makes it very entertaining to listen to them. Probably the amount of air being moved in the room and maybe the cohesiveness of the soundstage, makes you feel immerse and just want to listen to more soundtracks. We moved around the room and we still hear the musical details. We also use it to watch some movies, the action scenes which are bass intensive and sure enough, we were glued to our seats. Evo 4.4 doesn’t really need a subwoofer unless you hunger for the subterranean bass level but for music, it is more than enough.
We are truly entertained, and if we are using Evo 4.4 in a larger room, it should be even better in terms of clarity and tonal balance. The price is definitely affordable for that kind of quality, but you will need quite a powerful amp to drive them. At least 100W RMS per channel, this also makes us wonder if we were to use a more powerful amplifier or pre/power amp combo, then we could really hear the full potential of Wharfedale Evo 4.4. I will recommend you to go to your nearest dealer and have a listen, you won’t regret it. In a better environment and with the right HiFi audio components, Evo 4.4 would be really amazing.
Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Specs & Manual
Let’s take a look at Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Specs:
- General Description: Three-way floorstanding speakers
- Enclosure Type: Bass Reflex / Slot Loaded Profiled Port
- Transducer Complement: Three-way
- Bass Driver: 2x 6.5″(165mm) black woven Kevlar cone
- Midrange Driver: 1x 2″(50mm) soft dome
- Treble Driver: 1x 30x60mm AMT / Air Motion Transformer
- AV Shield: No
- Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1M): 89 dB
- Recommended Amplifier Power: 30 to 200 Watts
- Peak SPL: 107 dB
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms Compatible
- Minimum Impedance: 4.3 Ohms
- Frequency Response (+/-3dB): 44 Hz – 22 kHz
- Bass Extension (-6dB): 38 Hz
- Crossover Frequency: 1.4kHz, 4.7kHz
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 1060mm x 250mm x (340+10)mm
- Net Weight: 25.6kg per piece
You can also take a look at Wharfedale Evo 4.4 manual here.
Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Vs B&W 603
We all know how good Evo 4.4 is, but how will it fare against another reputable HiFi speaker brand. We pick B&W 603 as it is in the same price range and they are both floorstanders. Let’s find out more about Bower & Wilkins 603 floorstanding speakers.
Overview of B&W 603
All audiophiles know the brand Bower & Wilkins, and they know B&W built high-quality loudspeakers and one of them will be B&W 603. The pair uses a silver Continuum cone material for their 6-inch midrange driver (FST driver) which looks absolutely sleek and makes you want to throw away the magnetic grilles. Their 1 inch Double Dome tweeter gives the finishing touch and makes the overall aesthetic design looks modern and appealing. There are two bass drivers, 6.5-inch paper bass, with their unique design Flowport to pump out heart-thumping bass.
For frequency response which is 48 Hz – 28 kHz (+/-3dB), it could go as low as the Evo 4.4 but can go even higher in the high-frequency region. Both models require the same amplifier power 30 Watt – 200Watt. The normal impedance for B&W 603 will be 8 Ohms (minimum impedance at 3.0 Ohms). Based on the specs and pricing alone, both models are almost in the same range.
Both are highly rated by discerning critics and are well-liked by their owners, due to the simple fact that both are premium quality floorstanders. B&W 603 has a slightly larger soundstage and more clarity in the music details, which is great for music listening. In the lower frequency region, Evo 4.4 has a more powerful bass which is great for bass-intensive soundtracks and movies. Could be due to its’ impressive midrange driver, B&W 603 is less easy-going which could be good for soundtracks that emphasize the mids. If you want a more relaxing listening experience, Evo 4.4 will be the go-to floorstanding speaker here.
B&W 603 requires slightly less distance between the speakers and walls when compared to Evo 4.4, hence it is easier to place them in your room. Furthermore, Evo 4.4 uses spike feet which may damage your flooring. In terms of the aesthetic department, B&W 603 seems to look more modern and appealing.
I think the deciding factor will be your room size, and if you prefer speakers that shine in the midrange section or the low-frequency region. Other than their shortfalls, both speakers play equally well.
Wharfedale Evo 4.4 Vs Dali Opticon 6
Dali Opticon 6 is another strong contender, this pair of floor-standing speakers are made by a reputable Danish HiFi speaker manufacturer named Dali. It is another mainstream and popular speaker brand that most audiophiles will know.
Overview of Dali Opticon 6
It is one of the floor-standing models of the award-winning Opticon series and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Dali Opticon 6 has garnered a few accolades by itself so you can be sure this is one of the best HiFi speakers at about the same price range as Wharfedale Evo 4.4. One of the most innovative technologies that Dali has produced will be the hybrid tweeter where both ribbon tweeter and a dome tweeter are combined into one, working seamlessly together, to reproduce an amazing rendering of the high frequencies, and an immaculate dispersion of the high-frequency sounds.
The two 6.5 inch woofers of Dali Opticon 6 are designed and built to focus on low loss, low distortion, and low coloration of the sound reproduction, as close to what the amplifier has intended. Combine with the hybrid tweeter, you get a pair of speakers built for music reproduction giving you as close to a live experience as possible. With a frequency range of 49 Hz – 32 kHz, Opticon 6 is able to go as low as Evo 4.4 but a lot higher in the high frequency than both the B&W 603 and the Wharfedale model.
As mentioned earlier, it looks gorgeous, with its’ glossy and sleek front panel, and light walnut finish at the side. It wins big time in the visual appeal department.
If you are only searching for a pair of good-looking speakers at this price range (about £1,200) then Dali Opticon 6 no doubt is the winner but as for sound quality that will be another story. In terms of musicality, Opticon 6 can really excite you more than Evo 4.4. It has powerful low ends but overall Dali Opticon 6 is not as refined and could be due to its’ nature of trying to reproduce sound that is as close to what the amplifier has intended. This also means it is crucial you match with an amplifier that is tailor to your taste. By comparing this drawback, Wharfedale Evo 4.4 seems to be more plug and play than Opticon 6, easier to integrate with your current system.
With the hybrid tweeters of Opticon 6, it could be too bright for you and may cause listener fatigue. All in all, when it comes to music, Dali Opticon 6 will be the better option but you can’t count out Wharfedale Evo 4.4 yet, after all, it has won the “Best Floorstanding Speakers £1,000-£1,500”. I will suggest that you bring your own amplifier to audition the Dali Opticon 6, it is definitely worth the time to give them a try. If you want a more relaxed listening experience, then consider Wharfedale Evo 4.4 instead.
Sum it up
All 3 speakers have their own merits and drawbacks, but all 3 are top choices you can get at this price range. Which one you will choose will ultimately depend on your current gear and your ears. As I always say, once you chose the potential loudspeakers that you may want to purchase, you should always audition them before making the decision. At least this time we have picked 3 for you, saving you time and effort where you can use them for other important tasks.