With its 90 years of history, Wharfedale is a household name in the world of high-fidelity audio, with distinctive sound and timeless aesthetics that characterize all their extraordinary models.
From the iconic and budget-friendly Diamond to the high-end Elysian series, the British manufacturer has proven time and time again that they can push the boundaries of sonic performance capability at every price range.
In this case, the Evo4.4 is no exception. Embodying the sound transparency and articulation typical of Wharfedale’s loudspeakers, the Evo4.4 is defined by cutting-edge technology and excellent craftsmanship, which make it a great competitor as the best floor-standing speaker set at around $2000.
Today, I’ll analyze this great floor-stander and explain why it might well be the loudspeaker you’ve been waiting for.
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Final verdict on the Wharfedale Evo4.4
Borrowing design elements and cutting-edge technology from the flagship Elysian series, the Evo4.4 offers a lot considering its price. Its combination of advanced research, premium materials, and careful construction results in a speaker that not only looks elegant but can also deliver an audio experience that’s rich in detail, depth, and clarity.
Although the bass frequencies feel powerful and immersive, the high-quality midrange soft dome gives the sound a certain vibrancy that brings music to life and does an excellent job of faithfully reproducing music spatiality.
Combine the excellent sonic performance with the premium build quality and classic aesthetics, and you have a floor-standing speaker that can last a lifetime and deliver an immersive experience in every listening room.
What I like
- Vibrant and immersive listening experience.
- Powerful and defined lower frequencies.
- Exquisite design and build quality.
What I don’t like
- Room placement might be tricky as the bass gets boomy easily.
Build and design
Wharfedale has developed unique technologies to refine and upgrade its sound signature, and in the Evo4.4, you’ll find many of them, resulting in an ultra-accurate soundstage that exceeds expectations.
The Evo4.4’s distinctive clarity and realism are mostly the result of the superb Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter. This advanced tweeter design, which was available exclusively on their high-end models, uses a pleated diaphragm that moves air significantly faster than traditional dome tweeters, increasing sonic accuracy and speed.
The AMT tweeter, together with the dome midrange unit and the twin Kevlar bass drivers, offers an incredibly smooth soundstage with a carefully designed downward-facing port arrangement that mitigates resonances and improves sonic clarity.
In terms of design, the Evo4.4 is one of the finest floor-standing speakers I’ve had the chance to see and touch. Its curved lines give it a Zen-like vibe, further enhanced by the elegant real wood veneer available in three finishing options: black, white, and walnut.
As you’d expect, the cabinet is designed to reduce resonances to the minimum, and it does so magnificently while giving the Evo4.4 a sense of sturdiness and permanence that’ll fit most listening rooms.
With a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, the Evo4.4 will work seamlessly with most audio system setups. Seasoned audiophiles will be happy to hear that the Evo4.4 comes with bi-wire and bi-amp compatibility, allowing for enhanced sound setup customization by separately powering the high-frequency and low-frequency drivers.
Placing the Evo4.4 might prove to be more difficult than you’d expect. The lower frequencies, while perfectly blended with the rest of the soundstage when the speakers are positioned perfectly, tend to get boomy in small environments or when the speakers are too close to the rear and side walls.
That said, with a bit of trial and error, you’ll be able to find a sweet spot that can upgrade your home theater or listening room. Wharfedale recommends placing the speakers roughly 700 mm (28 inches) from the side walls and 200 mm (8 inches) from the rear walls, facing slightly inwards.
I was pleasantly surprised by the versatility and dynamic range of this floor-standing speaker. Whether you reproduce jazz, techno, or heavy metal music, the Evo4.4 always delivers a well-balanced and engaging soundstage.
This is partly because of the excellent performance of the dual 6.5-inch Kevlar drivers with the rear-firing bass reflex port (these units enhance bass presence, giving the music a sense of realism that works well with all genres).
The detailed midrange has a natural warmth that enriches every song, and together with the sparkling high-frequency response I already talked about, brings to life a natural and balanced sound.
As you listen to Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive”, you’re enveloped in an expansive soundstage where every instrument is carefully positioned and blended with the others.
Guitar riffs and the Hammond organ create a constantly evolving soundscape made of multiple overdubs, fades, and ambient textures, with the hypnotic drumming and bass guitar acting as an anchor as the track evolves.
Yet, with the Evo4.4, you can hear everything as the song unfolds, with absolute clarity and a realistic sense of spatiality.
I repeated the experiment with other demanding compositions, from Steve Reich’s “Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ” to Autechre’s “Bike”, with always the same result: the speaker’s refined tonal presentation feels transparent and cohesive, with a fast attack and articulate lower frequencies that make listening sessions enjoyable and effortless.
Compared to other floor-standing speakers
While the Evo4.4 is one of my favorites when it comes to floor-standing speakers, here’re a few more options to consider.
Wharfedale Evo4.4 vs Evo4.3
Roughly 20% cheaper than its bigger brother, the Evo4.3 is an excellent solution for small, medium-sized rooms.
It comes with dual 5-inch Kevlar drivers, making it less bass-heavy than the Evo4.4. However, the sound feels balanced and natural, and placing it in the room might be easier, giving the less powerful woofers.
The Evo4.4 will give you a bigger sound, but in a relatively small environment, the Evo4.3 will deliver an excellent soundstage and save you quite some money.
Wharfedale Evo4.4 vs Bowers & Wilkins 603 S3
The B&W 603 S3 speakers offer an engaging and captivating sound experience, emphasizing clarity and authenticity. The Continuum cone midrange delivers a pure and vibrant sonic representation, while the low-frequency cones offer a precise and well-integrated bass, seamlessly blending with the soundstage.
Similarly priced, these are two exceptional floor-standing speakers, offering a great sonic experience for their price. The Evo 4.4 has a slightly more prominent bass, making it ideal for immersive and enjoyable listening sessions. However, they’re both great, and you can’t go wrong with either.
Wharfedale Evo4.4 vs KEF Q950
Let me start by saying the Evo4.4 looks much, much better than the Q950. From the carefully crafted design to the finishing, the Wharfedale’s model looks far superior aesthetically.
In terms of sound, the two speakers offer a different sonic experience. The Q950 offers a tight bass and controlled soundstage, and the worldwide-known, transparent KEF sound. To me, listening to the Evo4.4 feels less tiring, probably thanks to the slightly enhanced lower frequencies and the touch of colouration.
Finally, the KEF Q950 doesn’t feature bi-amping and bi-wiring, so my choice would fall on the Evo4.4.
Wharfedale Evo4.4 vs Focal Chora 826
The Chora 826 is a great choice for big rooms, as it’s a powerful and room-filling speaker with a distinctive and authoritative sound signature.
The Evo4.4 tends to have a more neutral sound when compared to it, which can be suitable for critical listening. The Chora 826, with a more dynamic and lively sound, might be ideal for occasional listeners, whereas the Evo4.4 is for audiophiles interested in accuracy.
Who are the Wharfedale Evo4.4 floor-standers best suited for?
The Wharfedale Evo4.4 speakers are ideal for both audio enthusiasts and home theater owners who are looking for high-quality floor-standing speakers that offer excellent sound performance and build quality.
Reasonably priced and built to last a lifetime, the Evo4.4 speakers truly shine when in bigger rooms, but aside from that, they perform magnificently with most setups and in most environments.Buy Wharfedale Evo4.4 at: AmazonCrutchfield