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Old 24th January 2013, 06:32 PM   #1
dan98 is offline dan98  United Kingdom
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Default Wharfedale XP2 ramble

Hi and please excuse a newbie.

A slightly rambley background story around these speakers, please feel free to skip to the next paragraph !
I recently inherited a complete Sony system and these loudspeakers from my late father, who cherished it all since (I believe) 1978. In actual fact I grew up listening to this system, and can happily attribute it to my love of music, and audio, and my subsequent career choice !
I was in awe of the sound quality as a child, while they blasted out Pink Floyd, ELO, or whatever my father was into in any given period.
Now to the present day, and not having heard them for a number of years, hooked up to a decent Denon amp lets say things don't seem quite so rosey
They actually sound reasonably bright (in an old school way), with a fairly meaty bass, but sooo compressed - dynamics seem to completely pass them by, and the top end doesn't seem rich as I remember, rather just a bit scratchy.
I've no doubt that 35 years and 1000's hours of listening has taken it's toll on these, as well as shifting modern expectations.

Anyway, long and short, I'd really like to see these brought up to scratch, ideally to how they should sound, rather than something totally different.
I do remember my father mentioning many years ago that one or other of the drivers was renewed - looking at them, something looks a little non-standard to me (see pic).
I'm at a complete loss as to where to begin, having contacted Wharfedale who (unsurprisingly) couldnt help me at all.
I'd be happy to spend money and time, they do have sentimental value, as well as being lovely old boxes.(no doubt they are virtually worthless otherwise!)
So I wonder if anyone here has ideas/pointers/contacts, or even better if someone's attempted something similar already?

Thanks in advance!
DG.
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Old 24th January 2013, 08:24 PM   #2
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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AW, bless. That was a nice story.

Those are Wharfedale Glendale XP2 I reckon. A goodish 3-way speaker.

Click the image to open in full size.

I'd try renewing the crossover capacitors for a start. Those old NP electrolytics dry out with the years:
Alcap 50V Low Loss Electrolytic capacitors for all audio and hi-fi loudspeaker crossover applications

You'll need to buy an electric soldering iron, some leaded solder, say at Maplins, and learn to work fast and decisively. You'll get in by unscrewing the bass unit.

After that, we might try fitting some new drivers and a reflex tube to a good cabinet along Troels lines:
DIY Loudspeakers

See what fits at SEAS, but I'm thinking 10" bass, aka, 26 cms and 25L cabinet volume: SEAS PRESTIGE WOOFERS

Hardware and crossover details can be sorted out later:
Bolt T-Nut Set
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Well, there it is! Best regards from Steve in Portsmouth, UK.

Last edited by system7; 24th January 2013 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 24th January 2013, 08:54 PM   #3
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

They look completely standard to me, all original drive unit types.

I think I was similar to you in my young teens thinking
that a 10" 3 way must be the bees knees and very good.
I later learned / realised that was not quite the case.

The wharfedale drivers of the period have poor excursion capability
and the crossover chokes are suitably dimensionally challenged.

It adds up to speakers that simply don't do loud properly, they'll
take a fair amount of power without blowing up, but don't sound
good in the process, basically too much distortion and compression.

(Still the main problem with modern cheap loudspeakers).

I can't remember the details of the non-descript frequency response,
I do remember that bass unit could only take about 10W bass, it was
a disappointing write-up of the design in the Hi-Fi Choice of the day.

Not really sure what you'd consider a modern update,
but a Seas 3 way is one option like : 3-Way Classic

rgds, sreten.
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Last edited by sreten; 24th January 2013 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 24th January 2013, 09:06 PM   #4
dan98 is offline dan98  United Kingdom
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Steve,

Well firstly thanks for enduring the story and giving some really invaluable advice - You may've saved me an awful lot of bother - much appreciated!

So I'll look at replacing the capacitors as you suggest (thanks for the pre-empting my next question too---what's the best way into the box!?) I particularly like the idea that it may be the capacitors which are causing all that compression, rather than the drivers. (probably wishful)
But failing that, yes new drivers sounds like a plan, there is so much on that site to digest, I'll take my time with that one. I'd particularly like to retain a warm vintage-style sound, so will probably need to be a bit careful, especially with the mid-driver.
Reflex tube sounds very adventurous ..!
I'll report back how i get on.
Cheers,
DG.
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Old 24th January 2013, 09:18 PM   #5
dan98 is offline dan98  United Kingdom
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Sreten,
Thanks for taking a look! Good to know that if something was replaced, it was done properly (well done Dad)
Well actually I had no idea what was behind those grills until recently, I never dared pull them off when I was a kid, and was just happy with the idea that they must surely be the best speakers in the world :}
Since then, I have also generally been more a fan of 2-way systems, although my PMC IB1s rather buck that trend for a change.

I doesn't surprise me now that they were not ever the best speakers money could buy (the family wasn't exactly loaded in the late 70s) - and certainly high levels reflect your comments exactly re. compression. I do think they still have the potential to sound nice, rich and powerful at lower volumes, based on memory and a guesstimate at how they may have aged.

Can you expand on 'crossover chokes'? Does that imply that the crossover is rolling off the frequency extremes detrimentally ?

Great link btw, thanks.
DG.
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Old 24th January 2013, 10:00 PM   #6
system7 is offline system7  United Kingdom
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You might get them working OK with some new capacitors and fresh metal on some of the undoubtedly corroded connectors.

I actually think this SEAS A26 woofer might float your boat and be doable within that cabinet:
The Madisound Speaker Store

Could be rather good. A very nice project.
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Well, there it is! Best regards from Steve in Portsmouth, UK.
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Old 24th January 2013, 10:08 PM   #7
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Ferrite cored chokes have a current limit beyond which they saturate
and start to distort. The cores in wharfedales of the period are fairly
small - tiny (4mm diameter) in a blown one I replaced with an
aircore in the midrange circuit of the E70's.

Some of them are fine where they are used, but some others can be a bit
dubious for their position - why I said "suitably dimensioned challenged",
as it may be the case they are fine relative to the drivers capabilities.

As S7 said you should replace all the bipolar electrolytics to see where
you stand, using standard 10% loss if that it what is originally fitted.
The better 5% loss may or may not work better than the 10%.

Should be pretty cheap from :
Falcon Acoustics | The Leading DIY Speaker Parts and Kit Supplier since 1972

You don't need the high power high voltage types .....

rgds, sreten.
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Last edited by sreten; 24th January 2013 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 25th January 2013, 07:50 PM   #8
dan98 is offline dan98  United Kingdom
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Steve - great thanks for the recommendation, I'll check out the A26 in that case.

Sreten - thankyou for the great advice, and filling me in on the finer details. It sounds as if overall there are a few compromises going on. Well it will be interesting to see how the sound changes as I go on.
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Old 15th April 2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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I can exactly agree with everything Sreten has said, i owned a pair of these disappointing speakers for 15 years and never thought they could have been at fault.
I brought them along to a shop who troubleshooted them, then they demoed me a pair of Castle Trents and they were fantastic. They don't do loud rock at all, dull and un-dynamic!
Also, the tweeters are unreliable, although Wharfedale did me good rebuilds in the early '90's.
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