The Boys from Wharfedale
Wharfedale is one of those venerated British names in audio. And while its image is perhaps on the old-fashioned side, there's absolutely nothing old-fashioned about the latest Jade series of loudspeakersunless you're thinking of old-fashioned craftsmanship. The price of speakers in the Jade series ranges from $1200/pair (stand-mounted Jade-1) to $4200/pair (floorstanding Jade-7), and the manufacturing is vertically integrated: they make every component of each speaker!
The cabinets use material technology developed by Wharfedale engineers, called Christalem, a laminated material formulated to reduce panel vibration and acoustical leakage. The drivers use Acufiber, which combines the glass and carbon fiber materialsagain, nothing old-fashioned here. And so it goes, with every aspect of design and manufacturing. I was impressed by the natural, highly musical sounds made by the Jade-7 and the Jade-3, in both cases using relatively inexpensive electronics: Audiolab for the Jade-7 and Napa Acoustic for the Jade-3. The Jade-3s are pictured here with Bob Springston (left) and Walter Schofield (right), respectively President and Vice President Sales and Marketing of Wharfedale USA.