Small yet mighty: meet the diminutive Wharfedale DX-3

The new DX-3 from Wharfedale is a versatile mini speaker that proves good things come in small packages. Available as a stereo pair or as a surround sound package for multichannel home cinema systems, the DX-3 is ideal for music and movie lovers who want to maximise their sonic experience with limited space and budget, says the maker.

Each DX-3 speaker measures just 19x12x12.2cm (HxWxD), its closed-box design making it ideal to position against a wall, whether placed on a shelf or mounted on the wall itself. It replaces the DX-2, an equally diminutive speaker that has proved highly popular, especially as part of the ‘DX-2 HCP’ 5.1 home cinema speaker pack. In fact, the DX-2 HCP has won Best Speaker Package Under £500 at the industry-leading What Hi-Fi? Awards for five consecutive years since 2018, as well as ‘best buy’ accolades from the likes of AVForums, Home Cinema Choice and Trusted Reviews, lauded for its affordable price and engaging sound that belies the speakers’ compact size. 2

Stereo or surround sound

As a stereo pair, the new DX-3 Stereo has an RRP of £149. They are perfect to place on a shelf, mantlepiece, desk or sideboard where space is at a premium, and ideal to team with a micro system, streaming amp or any other type of just-add-speakers stereo system.

The new 5.1 home cinema pack, the DX-3 HCP, combines two pairs of DX-3 speakers for the front and rear channels with the DX-3 Centre and DX-3 Subwoofer, at an RRP of £499. Additional pairs of DX-3 speakers can be added if required, for systems that extend the number of surround sound channels beyond 5.1.

Left The diminutive DX-3’s fixed speaker grilles protect the drive units without obscuring their shape or covering the front baffle

DX-3 sparkles like a Diamond

The new DX-3 speaker takes inspiration from Wharfedale’s multi-award-winning Diamond 12 Series hi-fi speakers, both acoustically and aesthetically. The cabinet shape, front baffle design, driver surrounds, and black and walnut finish options are all distinctly reminiscent of the Diamond 12 standmount models, albeit in miniaturised form.

The DX-3’s mid/bass driver incorporates a 75mm cone fashioned from a woven polypropylene matrix. While not the same composition as the mineral-loaded polypropylene material called Klarity that features in the larger, more expensive Diamond 12 Series speakers, this formulation delivers a superb combination of lightness, strength and rigidity, delivering low colouration and impressive speed.

This driver combines with a 19mm silk dome treble unit, its profile modified to take on board some of the elements engineered for the Diamond 12 Series. This has enhanced its integration with the crossover which has also been revised, resulting in a more seamless blend between the drivers and a more stable acoustic performance across a wide listening angle, increasing the speaker’s flexibility in terms of positioning without compromising sonic clarity.

The structure of the DX-3 speaker’s cabinet has also been improved by elements trickled down from the Diamond 12 Series, enhancing resonance control and dynamic performance. An additional panel fixed to the cabinet enclosure strengthens the front baffle and braces the cabinet, allowing the drivers to do their work unsullied by unwanted resonance. 3

Centre speaker and powered subwoofer

The DX-3 Centre speaker that comes as part of the DX-3 HCP measures 12x31x12.2cm (HxWxD) and, like the main DX-3 speaker, it can be placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall. It benefits from the same cabinet, driver and crossover enhancements and incorporates the same 19mm silk dome tweeter flanked by two identical 75mm mid/bass drivers. These combine with an aperiodic bass loading system consisting of a vent filled with resistive porous foam to control airflow, contributing to a rich, detailed and dynamic centre channel performance – a critical part of the surround sound experience.

The matching DX-3 Subwoofer combines a 200mm long-throw woven polypropylene bass cone with a 70W amplifier to deliver fast, deep and well-defined bass from an extremely compact unit – just 29.8×26.8x30cm (HxWxD). The quality of the subwoofer’s design ensures it integrates superbly with the other speakers in the package, without any hint of bass bloating or overhang. It also includes an ‘auto-power’ facility, automatically going into standby when not in use and switching itself on when a signal is detected.

A blockbuster sequel

The DX-3 HCP has been system-tuned to ensure a seamless surround experience, delivering a space-saving, budget-friendly package that doesn’t skimp on the cinematic thrills. Its sound is punchy, detailed and expansive, conveying dynamic intensity and a sense of scale that belies the diminutive size of the speakers. When combined with a good quality AV amp or receiver, it delivers an authentic surround experience that’s far more immersive than any soundbar can muster.

Small in stature and big on entertainment, the DX-3 Stereo and DX-3 HCP are ideal for music and movie fans who are tight on budget and space. Both are available from selected retail outlets this week in a choice of black or walnut, priced at £149 and £499 respectively.

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