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To complete the driver overview, the surprisingly small 7.5cm alu/foam midrange loaded into its own chamber covers 540Hz to 2.5kHz where it hands over to a 25mm aluminium dome tweeter. The crossover separates into two boards. One mounts right behind the woofers to keep their signal path short. The mid/tweeter filter hangs off the biwire terminal plate. My review used the latter in single-wire mode (i.e. into the ‘low’ terminals which bridged to the upper inputs via the included jumpers). If you’ve concluded by now that I somehow gave disproportional space to Wharfedale’s bass concept, there was clear deliberation involved.

Let’s start my audition from the bottom up then. And make no mistake, that wasn’t mere fun and surprise, it challenged and usurped a prior love affair. Said old flame—heretofore unchallenged going on nearly six years—was my Magnat Quantum 905 which ‘til today I consider amongst the finest that €2.000 can buy in the German speaker market. At least that speaker has outperformed all comers in my about 18m² space with mature bass which never booms or sets off room modes; with a very present, fluid and lively midrange and fine treble nuance with good but not extreme resolution to—important to my preferences—never bite or get edgy. The Magnat does both laid back and pedal to the metal like a VW Golf. It’s neither particularly pretty nor fast but a well-balanced package without audible weaknesses. You can tell that I love my ‘Maggie’. So don’t go there. Until… well… now…

Here Wharfedale’s bass prowess made decisive contributions. Take US e-rocker Puscifer and their "Telling Ghosts" from Conditions of my Parole. This number begins with very subliminal synth-generated madly low bass. Over the first few seconds one can’t properly hear it. One simply senses it. These opening seconds my Magnat mostly swallows. One hears something but isn’t sure what. The Jade 5 didn’t merely rumble but showed nuances I’d never unraveled before. About 50 seconds later Tool head Maynard James Keenan leads the first refrain. Synth bass gets upgraded to ‘real’ e-bass, the drum set dishes out the first violent attacks and all this happens in over a single moment from nothing. The Brit box tracked this massive voltage jump without hesitation. She whipped broad sides around my ears and my room's floor seemed to suffer seismic convulsions. Yet nothing whatever got boomy or the least bit swimmy.

Now I had to needle the Jade with the track "Toma" whose brachial instrumentation makes for the perfect excuse to get physical with the neighbors - particularly with the violent percussion which attacks the gut. Once again the bass drum showed unbelievable reach whose textures remained defined, clean and dry with nary any ‘reverb’. As they do on most tracks of Conditions of my Parole, the band once again relies on electronic effects for "Toma", albeit most noticeable here in the upper bass range where they recur so often as to nearly become a secondary theme. My first impressions stood, both absolute and vis-à-vis the Magnat. The Wharfedale handled the bass with utter conviction and zero evidence of control loss. This foundation seemed like the immovable rock which delegated my beloved Magnat—which kept up but couldn’t match the Jade 5’s absolutely cleanliness and structurization—into second place.

But there was more. The Wharfedale pulled the same stunt regardless of placement. My about 30m² living room without carpet but plenty of wooden parquet and rather light and Spartan furnishings betrayed no resonance problems either. That was telling. Such spaces without ‘bass-trapping’ elements like overstuffed sofas, chairs and carpets usually retaliate with enhanced bass problems. Granted, my work room trimmed out with various acoustic wall treatments and sundry is the clearly better alternative to seriously get down with the music. The point here was merely to confirm that Wharfedale’s unusual bass loading did exhibit truth in advertising. It did cause less bass integration issues than normal. The Magnat with its saucer-sized bass ports does decidedly less well in the same environs. Unless I stuff the ports.