Wharfedale Linton Heritage loudspeaker Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I used DRA Labs' MLSSA system and a calibrated DPA 4006 microphone to measure the Wharfedale Linton Heritage's frequency response in the farfield and an Earthworks QTC-40 mike for the nearfield responses. I usually leave a loudspeaker's grille off for the measurements. However, as the Linton's front baffle is set into the enclosure and the grille frame provides some acoustic profiling around the drive-units, I left the grille in place for most of the measurements. Interestingly, the labels on the boxes suggested that the speakers being reviewed were the exact same samples that had impressed me at the 2019 AXPONA last April.

Wharfedale specifies the Linton's sensitivity as 90dB at 1m for 2.0V input rather than 2.83V, the latter equivalent to 1W with an 8 ohm speaker. My estimate with the usual 2.83V was lower, at 88.1dB(B)/m, though this is a little higher than the average of all the loudspeakers I have measured. The impedance is specified as 6 ohms; the solid trace in fig.1 shows that the Linton's impedance is close to 6 ohms for much of the audioband. However, the minimum magnitude is 3.4 ohms at 130Hz, and there is a demanding combination of 5 ohms magnitude and –46° electrical phase angle (dotted trace) at 83Hz. The Wharfedale will work best with amplifiers that are comfortable driving 4 ohms.

819Wharfig1

Fig.1 Wharfedale Linton, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) (2 ohms/vertical div.).

A small discontinuity just below 300Hz in the impedance traces suggests some sort of resonance in that region. When I investigated the enclosure's vibrational behavior with a plastic-tape accelerometer, I found a pair of strong, high-Q modes at 281Hz and 300Hz on the sidewalls (fig.2). The 281Hz mode was also present on the top and rear panels, and there was also a strong mode at 660Hz on the rear panel. The lower-frequency modes are high enough in level that I would have thought they would lead to some midrange congestion.

819Wharfig2

Fig.2 Wharfedale Linton, cumulative spectral-decay plot calculated from output of accelerometer fastened to center of sidewall (MLS driving voltage to speaker, 7.55V; measurement bandwidth, 2kHz).

The impedance-magnitude plot has a saddle centered on 39Hz, which implies that this is the tuning frequency of the two flared ports on the Linton's rear panel. The blue trace in fig.3 shows the woofer's nearfield response, which has a minimum-motion notch at 41Hz. (This is the frequency at which the back pressure from the port resonance holds the cone stationary.) The nearfield response of the ports (red trace) peaks at the same frequency, and though its upper-frequency rolloff is disturbed by a broad peak around 200Hz, this is well down in level.

819Wharfig3

Fig.3 Wharfedale Linton, anechoic response on tweeter axis at 50", averaged across 30° horizontal window and corrected for microphone response, with nearfield woofer (blue) and port (red) responses and their complex sum respectively plotted below 300Hz, 480Hz, and 300Hz.

The black trace below 300Hz in fig.3 shows the sum of the nearfield woofer and port outputs, taking into account acoustic phase and the different distance of each radiator from a nominal farfield microphone position. The rise in response in the upper bass is due in part to the nearfield measurement technique. However, this graph does suggest that the port tuning is somewhat underdamped.

The Wharfedale's farfield response, averaged across a 30° horizontal window centered on the tweeter axis, is shown as the black trace above 300Hz. It is superbly flat and even up to 15kHz, above which the tweeter's output rapidly rolls off. This graph was taken with the grille in place. The response without the grille is very similar, but with the small suckout at the top of the midrange unit's passband slightly accentuated and a small peak introduced between 5 and 8kHz.

The Wharfedale's tweeter is positioned slightly closer to one side of the baffle than the other. I plotted the horizontal dispersion with the behavior off-axis on the tweeter side to the front in fig.4. With the relatively wide baffle, it is not surprising that the Linton becomes increasingly directional above 8kHz. There is also a slight flare off-axis at the bottom of the tweeter's passband, though this might be balanced in-room by the slightly dish-shaped on-axis response in the same region. In the vertical plane (fig.5), a suckout develops in the crossover region 10° below the tweeter axis, suggesting that the crossover and drive-unit polarities have been optimized for listening axes on and above the tweeter axis, which is around 36" from the floor with the speakers sitting on their dedicated stands.

819Wharfig4

Fig.4 Wharfedale Linton, lateral response family at 50", normalized to response on tweeter axis, from back to front: differences in response 90–5° off axis on tweeter side of the baffle, reference response, differences in response 5–90° off axis on the other side of the baffle.

819Wharfig5

Fig.5 Wharfedale Linton, vertical response family at 50", normalized to response on tweeter axis, from back to front: differences in response 15–5° above axis, reference response, differences in response 5–15° below axis.

In the time domain, the Linton's step response (fig.6) indicates that the tweeter and midrange unit are connected in negative acoustic polarity, the woofer in positive polarity. (I checked this by looking at the nearfield step responses of the two lower-frequency units.) The decay of the tweeter's step smoothly blends with the start of the midrange unit's step, the decay of which smoothly blends with the start of the woofer's step. This reinforces the optimal crossover implementation seen in fig.3.

819Wharfig6

Fig.6 Wharfedale Linton, step response on tweeter axis at 50" (5ms time window, 30kHz bandwidth).

The Wharfedale's cumulative spectral decay plot (fig.7), taken with the grille removed, is relatively clean overall, though some low-level delayed energy can be seen in the low- and mid-treble regions. (As always with these plots, ignore the black ridge at exactly 15.75kHz, which is due to interference from the MLSSA host PC's video circuitry.)

819Wharfig7

Fig.7 Wharfedale Linton, cumulative spectral-decay plot on tweeter axis at 50" (0.15ms risetime).

Overall, the Wharfedale Linton Heritage offers excellent measured performance, though that under-damped bass alignment might mean extra care having to be taken in room placement.—John Atkinson

COMPANY INFO
Wharfedale, IAG UK
US distributor: MoFi Distribution
1811 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660
(312) 738-5025
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
Bogolu Haranath's picture

Another loudspeaker in this price range is Monitor Audio Gold 100 (around $1,700/pair), EISA award winner :-) ........

Ortofan's picture

… will never spend anywhere near the equivalent price of a new car for an audio system, really need? For $1,200 one can buy a pair of speakers that not only “merge a refined, elegantly detailed, full-range sound with a magnetic personality that [makes you] want to play records” but also offer “excellent measured performance”.

Regarding measurements, IMO JA1 should have (also) measured the speakers using the particular amps – especially the tube amps - that HR used for his listening evaluation. As seen in the Klipschorn review, the use of an amp with a non-negligible output impedance can have a significant effect upon the overall frequency response of the connected speakers.

It’s a bit unfortunate that HR did not also listen to the Lintons using amps more in keeping with their price. While choosing amps that are thought not to present a limiting factor is a valid premise, how many users are likely to match a $1,200 pair of speakers with a $5,000 amp (or even $3,500) - let alone a $5,000 phono cartridge? Plus, for the music lovers - as opposed to the audiophiles or equipment enthusiasts - of my acquaintance, a tube amp is a non-starter just as would be a tube-type TV. It would have been informative to determine by what increment the performance of the Linton might have been reduced by driving them with a sub $1,000 integrated amp, such as the Yamaha A-S801 or the Marantz PM-7005. Both amps are capable of over 100W into a 4 ohm load, have both phono and digital inputs and have tone controls that could be useful in adjusting the bass response of the Linton.

Coincidentally, perhaps, the Linton Heritage is approximately the same size as the original Advent speaker that was part of my first audio system and $1,200 is about what the price of a pair of those Advents would equate to today when adjusted for inflation.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Another integrated amp which could also be considered is the new Parasound NewClassic 200 with Class-D output ...... About $1,200 :-) ........

Ortofan's picture

... for an extra $300 (or more) that the Yamaha or Marantz amps might lack?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

John Curl design ...... May be worth it :-) .......

Ortofan's picture

... class D power amp modules from Pascal Audio.
Did JC design them?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Most likely he was involved in designing the other parts of the component, such as the pre-amp section ....... Most likely he also listened to the final product and compared it's sound quality with his conventional design integrated, HINT6 :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

May be also, less heat :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Also, the SVS Prime Wireless Soundbase ($500) could be considered ....... Class-D output and Wi-Fi/BT connectivity ....... See AudioStream :-) .......

Anton's picture

"Coincidentally, perhaps, the Linton Heritage is approximately the same size as the original Advent speaker that was part of my first audio system and $1,200 is about what the price of a pair of those Advents would equate to today when adjusted for inflation."

So, you are implying we should try 'stacked Lintons!'

;-D

I would love that!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Glad, you didn't say stacked Clintons :-) ........

Ortofan's picture

... side-by-side, which is how the local Advent dealer had them on display, driven by a McIntosh MC2105 amplifier.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Both examples of C-Lintons may look better side by side, rather than stacked :-) ..........

Bobber05's picture

Size wise more like my old beloved Boston Acoustics A70's, 2 way suspension design that wouldn't get very loud but sure were sweet.
Comeau is on the right track here, I never did warm to the narrow towers sound. Still using old modded Advent Legacy II's as my every days, yet to hear a more modern design that was worth the coin for the upgrade. (< 1500 a pair with strict placement options).
Would be good to see more modern designs emerge with wider baffles/acoustic suspension designs.

RH's picture

Sorry, off-topic of this review but...

In a Stereophile show report not long ago John Atkinson wrote that there was to be a follow-up review of the Joseph Audio Pulsars, now the "Graphene 2" version. Will you be doing that follow-up? Or will it perhaps be Michael Fremer?

Herb Reichert's picture

did a Pulsar followup a couple issues back

herb

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JA1 did a follow-up review of Perspective2 Graphene, couple of issues back ......... not, Pulsar2 Graphene :-) .........

Herb Reichert's picture

I DID do a Pulsar followup
but it seems like a long time ago
(you know with me you always need a fact-checker)
sorry

herb

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Yes, you did a Pulsar follow-up ....... But, that was previous generation ....... The current model is Pulsar2 Graphene ....... RH was referring to the current model ........ May be you could do another follow-up of the current generation Pulsar2 Graphene? :-) ..........

RH's picture

JA did the new Perspective 2s, not the Pulsars.
Cheers.

michelesurdi's picture

it seems that comeau has tried to rebuild the splendor sp1 on the cheap.considering the cost of the harbeth and spendor versions, to name but two current uk built iterations it would be useful to know if he has succeeded.

doak's picture

Now I am a LOT MORE interested.

avanti1960's picture

and did not care for the sound. They look great and I'm sure will sell quite well- a great move by Wharfdale to fill a void in the speaker market and appear like a more affordable "Harbeth" type of monitor.
As for the sound- my ears prefer the KEF LS50 or used Harbeth P3ESR by a British country mile.....

amudhen's picture

Herb, the Stravinsky disc you used in the review is truly of demonstration quality as I got a copy today and was amazed at how great it sounded. Any other records you can recommend for demos that are easy to find and cheap?

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