Wharfedale Emerald 93 Opinions

I own a pair of Wharfedale Emerald 93 bookshelf speakers mated with a Wharfedale sub. These are the only (entry-level?) high-end speakers I have owned so I have no idea how these compare with other speakers. Are these as good as Paradigm Reference Studio 20s? Axiom M22Tis? How much would one have to spend to get significantly better performance? Any opinions welcome.

If it matters, my other equipment consists of an NAD C370 integrated amp, Sony 222ES CD/SACD player, and a Nady 15 band/channel eq (which can potentially smooth out peaks and valleys in the frequency response if I can identify them). I listen to a wide range of music: rock, jazz, classical, early.

IMHO the Wharfedale is one horrid line of speakers. They are constantly sold here at AG at a good profit for the seller. He buys them on U-Bid and sells them here for quite the mark up. They do not even come close to any model of the Paradigm line. But, you will get all sorts of opinions here and only accept what you are willing to accept. If they sound okay to YOU, then nothing else really matters does it? I think they stink, but what difference does that make to you? I might not have the same tastes as you in the sound quality of a speaker design. Without question the Studio 20's are a much better speaker than the Emerald. I don't think many people here will contest that.

Your opinions resonate with those of many (if not most), but I think you may be letting stigma get the better of your voice - have you actually owned or heard them? And if so, were you expecting much much more than what you paid for?

The U-bid surge seems to be mostly over - I've checked in there out of curiosity a few times over the past few months, and there's hardly any volume of ANY product these days. Don't even remember seeing a Wharfedale there the last few trips, but that's not to say they're not still there.

I call them WharfeRats, and fondly so. I have a pair of their stupid nu-rock techno-designed "Valdus 500s" in my basement. Funny thing is, with their "big bad" 500 model, they almost screwed the pooch -- my brother has the smaller 400's, and they have tighter bass by miles, but less wall-shaker "appeal". But even so, I warmed up quickly to the 500s. I would really consider bracing the cabs and batting up one of the ports (Sean would concur), but I just don't care enough. Heck, they're in the basement, and often used as sound reinforcement for outdoor games. But they also sing sweetly with a Classe 70 or B&K ST140 - I can't call these "misfits" such a miss... I enjoy every last second down there, and at times find myself listening more down there than on my main system, and never wanting for anything. So what's in a dollar?

Cheap, durable, and lovable (and fast - the drivers are VERY impressive for the overall cost). I see alot of good in these, and I keep them and cherish them for what they are - which is alot of good, a lot of bad, but in balance - a hugely welcome member of my home, and has stood the test of time, and provided boundless enjoyment even with my snotty tastes.

Wharfedale is not what it once was in most people's opinion - they've gone the "designed in UK, manufactured in China" route as many have (Acoustic Energy, though with more grace). But let's not rain on the party... have any naysayers out there actually paired some Wharferats with a little bit of decent gear and found their toes tapping just a few times before they got self-conscious and stopped? I still sway the curtains with mine downstairs, and I also listen down low with a wide soundstage and luscious micro-detail as well. All for the low price of $49 per speaker plus $89 each for shipping (for all you Ubid fans - that's the punchline!)

No question there's better (heck, most of what we see here is), but at the prices these have traded at, the WharfeRats are a happy hobo. Highly recommended on a budget.

A moment of history, off-topic by all but a millmeter: Wharfedale did not always make mass-market speakers, designed to push buyers' buttons in large-surface stores. Lots of 'goners learned theory from Wharfedale chief engineer G.A. Briggs' "Cabinet Handbook", published in the late '50s IIRC. Some of us even built one of Briggs' designs.

Wharfedale drivers, and indeed complete speakers, were at one point among the very best you could buy. The company was sold to the Rank organisation, and its engineers went on to form other companies later, among them Castle. The Wharfedale research legacy is very much alive today... perhaps just a bit less at the present company's premises than elsewhere.
Take the comments from Scottht with a very large grain of salt. For starters, Wharfedale is not a speaker line but a brand, with MANY different lines. Those different lines vary dramatically when it comes to sound quality. As Mwilson mentioned, the Valdus line represents an excellent value for its intended market and can be quite enjoyable, but wouldn't qualify as an "audiophile quality" speaker. But the Emerald line is a far cry above the Valdus in terms of sound quality. It's been a long time since I heard any Emeralds and I have not heard the 93's. I heard the largest of the floorstanders in that line and would have to say that I preferred their sound to that of many models in the Paradigm line at that time. That said, I should also state that I do not particularly care for the "Paradigm sound". At that time, all of their models sounded better suited to home theater than music. I have not heard any speaker from Axiom, so cannot comment.

If you enjoy the "Wharfedale sound" and a speaker upgrade is what you seek, the Pacific line or its successor (the Evo line) may be the place to look, as they are a significant improvement over the Emeralds. I have not heard any Evo, but I own Pacific Pi-40's and Pi-30's and have no complaints. If you haven't the room for floorstanders, consider the Diamond line. I have not heard them, but a friend uses them in his office and claims that the glowing reviews from 'What Hi-fi' are correct. As a brand, Wharfedale isn't the last name in speaker performance, but the value for the $ factor is very high.

As far as the $ question is concerned, that's nearly impossible to answer. Many people have spent far more on speakers that I think do not sound as good. For example, I have a friend with very expensive bookshelf speakers. I could never be happy with the limited range of a bookshelf speaker and will gladly sacrifice a little clarity in the midrange to get a few extra Hz on the low end from a full size speaker. He disagrees, preferring the sweetest mids possible at the sacrifice of low end. Do his mids sound better than mine...yes, but I've got bass he can't produce. He likes his speakers more than he likes mine and I like mine more than his. So who spent what on better speakers? There is just too much subjectivity involved. As Scottht points out, one man's trash is another's treasure. All that really matters is what sounds good to you. I would suggest listening to as many brands and models as possible. A trip to a decent hi-fi shop is time well spent, even if you have to travel to do it. Good luck...
I own two sets of Wharfedales - Diamond 7.2's and the MFM-1's. They are not bad speakers for the money, especially the Diamonds - read a review on them.

I forgot to mention that Wharfedale is now owned by IAG, which owns Qaud also. I think they are trying to bring back this speaker name.
OK, OK, I'll give. For $100 they may be an ok speaker. There, I said it.
Interesting what some think and have to say about Wharfedale and it's offerings.

Most I'd imagine, do not know that Wharfedale is under a new restructing program you might say. All production of their speaker lines such as Valdus, Modus, Pacific, (not the Pacific Evolution), Diamonds, Emeralds and others, has STOPPED.

But you say, I still see speakers being sold?
The speakers seen selling at/threw internet stores, Ebay, and a few still even now and then at Ubid, are all world wide warehouse inventory/stock being cleared out.

The Diamond line will still be produced once the supposed new designs have been finished. The other lines mentioned are still being discussed, but odds are they are gone forever. The Evoluton line will still be produced and a new R&D'ed top of the line speaker called Opus-line,(sp) are currently in production.
No mention of release dates.

Wharf has never quit designing & building their own drivers in house. That is at least one thing that has not changed sence their beginings as I know it...They invented allot of interesting driver composites.

My understanding after many conversations with Jeff *****, head of Wharf's USA division, is allot of things are changing at & with Wharfedale. They may also be in the process of possibly being purchased again, but Jeff would not and could not confirm anything I asked in regards to this.

Seems their looking to get back to designing and building, in the UK "(specific R&D'ed lines)" that are yet to come. This is not to say all speaker will be built their, NO this is definitly not the case. Over the water savings (China-mainly), drives many to go that way once manufacturing. Many big name speaker companies are doing it, and have been for some time.

To the posters original question:
I do not know what you paid for your Emerald-93's, but I own a number of Wharfedale speaks. This, including the 93-MKII & MKIV, both in a real Oak veneer.
Even at their "suggested MSRP" they certainly are not a bad speaker. As everyone knows or should know, speakers are extremely subjective. Involve the source gear playing and driving in front of the speakers, and it gets even more suggestive.

Not even considering price, I belive the whole Emerald line to be an above "average" speaker line. No, not for everyone by any means. They have a laid back highend-but detailed, excellent clairity in the midrange and for it's size, produces copious amounts of conroled bass extension. Soundstage is good, imaging is fantastic when set up properly. These definitely need to be away from wall and also desire very clean power and lots of it. Build quaility is good & finish quaility is excellent, given their selling price. If their internal bracing on the 93's where full sized MDF %/8's min instead of the 1/4" used, they would sound even better with a little less coloring.
Mine do not have this minor problem as I fixed this..!

At the $100.00 per pair in real Oak I chucked out, Id put them againts any bookshelf up to 3x their price and feel comfortable doing it.
What they do do, they do pretty darn good! Also feel I got 3, maybe 4 times the speaker out of them, for what I chucked out in $$$

Will everyone like them, NO-obviously! They do in general have a more laid back/softer sound/presentation and many would find that/call that/them lifeless, dull, un-dynamic, lacking, you name it....Those that like a bright/er speaker would want something different for sure.

Hopefully, Wharf's restructing and changes that are in the works, will even bring better speaks, lie the days of old. Hopefully they will continue to still be affordable...