Wharfedale is a British company with a long and distinguished history in hi-fi and home cinema, and here it brings its considerable sonic know-how to the compact systems market. The Wharfedale DX-1 HCP brings you a full 5.1 cinema setup in a single box for a very affordable £400, which could be cracking value for money if the sound quality’s spot-on.
Floorstanding speakers typically offer a bigger, more authoritative sound, but they can eat up space in your living room and leave a big hole in your bank balance. So if you’re pushed for space and strapped for cash, but don’t want to compromise greatly on sound quality, then a smaller system like the Wharfedale DX-1 HCP could be an ideal solution.
In the box you get four DX-1 satellites for the fronts and rears, which at 190mm tall can be discreetly placed around the room, plus the DX-1 centre and a small active subwoofer. Removing the bits and pieces from the box, first impressions are positive. Each satellite feels weighty and solid, with none of the plastic flimsiness you get from some one-box systems. These feel like proper high-quality hi-fi speakers, built to squeeze as much audio goodness from the source as possible.
The design isn’t particularly radical or ostentatious, but the satellites exude elegance thanks to their fashionable gloss black finish and curved sides. They’re based on the blueprint of Wharfedale’s Diamond 10.1 standmount speakers, even down to the stunning silver cone surrounds under the black cloth grilles (attached by plug fixings). There’s an alternative white finish that may suit your décor better.
The impressive build quality continues on the back with the inclusion of sturdy metal binding posts as opposed to the springclips more associated with budget speakers. You’ll also find pre-attached keyhole brackets on the back for wall hanging, as well as an M6 threaded insert compatible with universal wall mount brackets.
The centre speaker shares all of the same design traits, except that it’s larger and designed for horizontal mounting. It also features a different driver array which we’ll come to later.
If you’re stressing about how you’ll squeeze a subwoofer into an already crowded living room, stop now. The Moviestar DX-1 is one of the smallest and least intrusive subs we’ve come across, measuring a diddy 285(w) x 318(h) x 320(d)mm. It’s cube shaped and aesthetically matched to the satellites with its sleek gloss black finish and curved edges. A grill on the front hides the 200mm woofer, and all the controls are housed on the back.