Wharfedale debuts Super Denton speaker

Wharfedale has launched a new addition to its Heritage Series – a range of classic stereo speakers from the Sixties and Seventies, re-engineered for the modern age. The latest addition sees Wharfedale returning to the model that sparked the Heritage Series. Introduced in 1967, the original Denton was revived as the 80 in 2012. One of the notable things about the original was its compact size. Most Denton iterations were two-way designs, combining a mid/bass driver with a treble unit, and the same is true of the two existing 21st-century versions. However, in 1971 Wharfedale launched the Denton 3, sporting a three-way driver configuration with separate bass, midrange and treble units – the smallest three-way speaker on the market, claimed to be capable of delivering the performance of much larger speaker systems.

The Denton 3’s three-way configuration provides inspiration for the new Super Denton, which sports domed midrange and treble units – with 50mm and 25mm diameters respectively – and a 165mm bass driver. The latter’s diaphragm is fashioned from woven Kevlar and tuned with the cabinet and rear-firing reflex ports to deliver bass extension down to 40Hz. Developed from the midrange driver in the EVO4 Series, the company says the Super Denton’s 50mm fabric dome: “delivers upper-midrange and lower-treble frequencies with aplomb”.

Measuring 246 x 360 x 275mm (WxHxD) and weighing 9.2kg, the Super Denton’s size is similar to the Denton 3, making it one of the world’s smallest three-way hi-fi speakers but while the look is reminiscent, the similarities between the Denton 3 and the new Super Denton end there.

The new treble unit inherits much of its design from the one used in the Dovedale, combining a ceramic magnet motor system with a 25mm fabric dome and a damped rear chamber to absorb the output from the back of the diaphragm. This reduces the resonant frequency of the treble unit to well below the crossover region, allowing full treble detail and harmonics to be revealed without affecting the smoothness of the high-frequency performance.

Wharfedale says the Super Denton’s electrical crossover components – including air-core inductor coils and high-specification polypropylene capacitors – have been chosen: “for their revealing and transparent character, seamlessly meshing the three drivers together. The crossover slopes and the shape of the Super Denton’s power response have been refined by extensive listening tests with a wide variety of music to ensure the speaker is simply a conduit between the performers and the listener.”

The midrange and treble units are offset from the centre, which helps to maintain the speaker’s compact stature as well as scatter reflections from the cabinet edges. The cabinet itself uses a combination of woods to scatter panel resonances rather than having a single, audibly obvious resonant frequency. An inner layer of high-density particle board is bonded to an outer layer of MDF by an inter-layer of special glue with resonance-damping properties. The Super Denton is supplied in matched, mirror-imaged pairs. Owners can place the speakers with the treble units on the inside and midrange drivers on the outside or vice versa.

The speaker’s appearance has been updated to real-wood veneers in a choice of walnut, mahogany or black applied to the cabinet’s top, bottom, back and sides, hand-polished and lacquered to a satin finish. The protective grille appears faithful to the original Denton designs, in terms of its material and heritage-style Wharfedale badge, but it attaches magnetically to the recessed baffle and incorporates internal shaping to maximise the power performance of the drivers and avoid reflections from the edges of the cabinet. For this reason, the Super Denton is designed to be listened to with the grilles on. Last, but by no means least, sensitivity is quoted as 87dB with a nominal impedance of 6ohm.

Available to buy now for £1,000, look out for an exclusive UK review in HFC 515 and find out more about the Wharfedale Super Denton here.