It’s a 5.1-channel package made up of speakers from Wharfedale’s new Diamond 100 range. It includes two pairs of compact Diamond 121 standmount speakers for the fronts and rears, the Diamond 101C centre and the SPC-10 ‘Powercube’ active subwoofer. As the price suggests, it's a serious surround sound set - albeit one that offers outstanding value for the quality on offer.
You can buy all of these speakers individually. Indeed, you can swap the 121s for the Diamond 155 or 157 floorstanders (pictured below) if you wish, but this ‘Home Cinema Pack’ (HCP) gets you everything in one fell swoop and saves you £40 in the process. That's more than enough for a couple of Blu-ray discs to test it with…
After unboxing and inspecting the Diamond 121 speakers, our first impressions are mixed. Their all-new cabinets, crafted from a mixture of chipboard and MDF, feel solid and robust, but there’s a plasticky feel to the front panel and plinth, which means that extra touch of luxury is missing. But given their price it seems churlish to complain.
Cosmetically, Wharfedale has done a decent job. The silver rings around the speaker drivers really catch the eye, and contrast nicely with the black circular speaker cloth within them, which can’t be removed.
Our samples sport a low-key black wood finish, but they’re also available in cherry, rosewood and walnut. Again, they’re not prettiest standmounts we’ve ever laid eyes on but attractive enough to pass muster in most modern living rooms.
On the back are two pairs of robust binding posts, which allow the speaker to be bi-wired (low and high-frequencies are fed in separately). If not, metal joiners bridge the two sets of posts.
The 101C centre shares most of the 121’s design traits – silver rings, black finish, sturdy cabinet – but the bass loading system is slightly different. It uses an aperiodic system, where a foam bung is placed in the port (on the underside of the speaker) as resistance against the ‘chuffing’ and boominess that can occur with sealed-box speakers.
It’s worth noting that the 101C is a fairly bulky beast with a depth of 264mm, which underlines that this system is probably not ideal for cramped living rooms.
Finally the subwoofer hails from Wharfedale’s Powercube range, which is odd as it’s not a cube. Still, it’s a good-looking and surprisingly compact sub, tarted up in the same blackwood finish (with six other colours to choose from) and classy curved sides. Build quality is excellent considering its £300 price tag, and there are sturdy metal spikes in the box to isolate it from the floor.