All the magazines Ive read recommend the 8.1's and 8.3's over the 8.2's so make sure youre set on the 8.2's before you buy. Also make sure you have a good amp as they have a low sensitivity.
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I don't think you'll be disappointed with either speaker. I've listen to both speakers, unfortunatly at different times and different places, so I can't give you an accurate comparison.I do remember that I was very suprised by the sound that came out of each one. For the prices these are exceptional speakers. WHAT HI*FI magazine has the Monitor Audio bronz series edgeing out the Wharfedale Diamond series, but still rate them very high( 4 out of 5 stars). Since its a british magazine and their both british speakers, I think they gave a pretty even comparison. If you go to AVGUIDE.COM you might be able to find reveiws of these speakers.
Well ... auditioned the Monitor Audio Bronze at an audiophile-type friend's place - and all I can say for the price is wow! Of course - he had a nice listening area/equipment. High vaulted ceilings, speakers bi-wired w/some fancy cable, sitting on two granite pillars ... He had some Quad 111?s to A/B - and they did sound better than the MAB's - but for $220 a pair (demo) the Monitor Audios sounded phenomenal. Decent bass for the size (speakers are only about 10" tall, w/5" driver), and the tweeter was really crisp/sharp (but not in a mettalic/bad way). They had terrific imaging as well. Listened to some jazz from Count Basie, the Who's "Love Ain't For Keeping", some Terry Adams jazz (solo album from NRBQ member), and some other contemporary jazz group I don't remember. Yum.
I highly recommend that you give the Monitor Audio Bronze B1's a listen if you're in the market for budget speakers ($250-300). They have a slightly larger sibling - the Bronze B2s - probably $100 more.
Unfortunately - I still didn't answer my own question - my gut reaction is to still give the Wharfedale's a go (slightly cheaper, actually have better specs and a nicer finish, and the Diamond 8.1's sound great too - although I might be inclined to give the nod to the Monitor Audio's over the Diamond 8.1 for about the same price).