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Wharfedale Linton Heritage review

Very few speakers can convey a sense of timelessness that makes them appealing to both new and older generations. With a history spanning almost a century, Wharfedale has created dozens of incredible speakers that seem to stand the test of time, thanks to a distinctive sound and relentless technical exploration to always be in step with the times.

The Linton is an iconic bookshelf speaker first released in 1963, and on the occasion of Wharfedale’s 85th anniversary, the British company released an updated version of this classic, crafted by carefully combining modern technologies and a nostalgic sound signature that makes music immersive and evocative.

In this review, I’ll look into the Wharfedale Linton, a bookshelf speaker that might not be everyone’s cup of tea but offers an exceptional sonic experience to those looking for a nostalgic vibe that enhances the senses.

About the author

I am an audiophile and audio engineer with over 10 years of experience in the music industry. When testing passive speakers, I’m interested in clarity and neutrality, first and foremost, but I also want the sound to be enjoyable and engaging. When I use my hi-fi equipment for deep-listening sessions, I pay attention to the quality of frequency response across the spectrum, and when it comes to bookshelf speakers, I ensure they can perfectly reproduce whichever music I throw at them.

testing the Wharfedale Linton Heritage bookshelf speakers
Image: Wharfedale

Final verdict on the Wharfedale Linton 4.5

If you’re looking for a nostalgic feel heightened by a warm and open soundstage, I can’t think of a better bookshelf speaker than the Wharfedale Linton. This three-way speaker offers a cohesive, expressive sound across the spectrum, with detailed and rich bass frequencies that make music engaging and intense.

If you’re obsessed with sonic transparency, and accuracy is what you value the most, then you won’t be impressed by the Linton’s coloration or the easy-listening experience its warmer palette provides.

All in all, this is an exceptional bookshelf speaker (perhaps the best at this price range) for those looking for a timeless audio presentation: rich, immersive, and one you’ll never get tired of.

What I like

  • Warm, timeless sound.
  • Full and detailed soundstage with rich bass.
  • Classic design, built to last.

What I don’t like

  • Sound coloration will not please audiophiles obsessed with transparency.
Buy Wharfedale Linton Heritage at: AmazonCrutchfield

Build quality 5.0

The Linton feels sturdy and long-lasting thanks to the solid craftsmanship that defines all Wharfedale speakers. The hand-matched wood veneer cabinets are larger than standard modern bookshelf speakers, meaning they can house larger woofers that can give a more expansive soundstage.

The Linton Heritage can be purchased with high-quality, custom-made stands with a rigid metal frame to mitigate vibrations. The stands also come with a dedicated space to store your vinyl collection.

Like its predecessor, the Wharfedale Linton is built to last decades and gives a sense of timelessness whenever you look at or touch it.

Design 4.5

This three-way bookshelf speaker features an 8-inch Kevlar cone woofer, a 5-inch Kevlar midrange driver, and a 1-inch soft dome tweeter with a high-flux ferrite magnet.

A larger-than-standard speaker comes with many positives in terms of sound: a richer bass, a more detailed soundscape, and a powerful performance. However, if space is an issue, you might want to look for smaller alternatives: at 22.2″ x 11.8″ x 13.0″ (H x W x D), this is a big stand-mount speaker.

Wharfedale Linton speakers with stands
Image: Wharfedale

Personally, I love how the Wharfedale Linton looks: with its classic aesthetics, high-quality finish, and nostalgic vibe, it upgrades a listening room in ways no modern-looking bookshelf speaker can. It brings me back to my childhood and the great ESB 70’s speakers that defined my first steps into the audiophile world!

Compatibility 4.0

The Linton is compatible with both tube and solid-state amplifiers. To make the most of it, I’d recommend pairing it with high-quality, powerful amps like a Cambridge Audio CXA81, a Hegel H90, or a Naim Nait 5si. I tested them with a Marantz PM8006, and they worked magnificently.

It comes with two rear-firing bass ports, so I’d recommend leaving some room between the rear and the wall, around 20 inches. Finally, the Linton performs even better with the grilles on, which enhances the dispersion of higher frequencies and creates a more cohesive sound.

Sound 5.0

Listening to the music coming out of a pair of Wharfedale Linton Heritage is a joy. Music listeners, regardless of their music taste, will be impressed by the full and detailed soundstage that can easily immerse small and medium-sized rooms in accurate music spatiality.

First, I tested the speakers with Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3. A composition defined by emotional depth and gradual crescendos, Symphony No. 3’s power is magnified by the speaker’s brilliant dynamics and realistic spatial representation, with the soprano seamlessly blending with the haunting instrumental texture, represented with impressive detail.

To test Linton’s accuracy in reproducing transients and its agility, I played Murcof’s Remembranza, an album featuring a careful blend of electronic elements and field recordings, bringing to life a complex sound texture many speakers fail to capture.

Here, every small element is carefully placed in the soundstage, with a powerful bass that doesn’t overshadow higher frequencies but creates a cohesive and exciting listening experience.

Finally, I used the song “Say Something” by Justin Timberlake to see how the speaker copes with a more modern sound, with a carefully-crafted blend of both acoustic and electronic elements. Again, the song flows easily, with a balanced soundscape that enriches the vocals.

The wide dynamic range allows every component to be present and detailed during reproduction, and Linton’s distinctive warm vibe creates an unforgettable sonic experience.

Compared to other bookshelf speakers

The Wharfedale Linton is one of my favorite bookshelf speakers. But here’re a few other options that are often considered against it.

Wharfedale Linton vs Evo4.2

The Wharfedale Evo4.2 features a more modern-looking design that also perfectly represents how it sounds when compared to the Linton. The Evo4.2 offers an extremely accurate soundstage with a rich bass that makes it ideal for dynamic music or even home theatres.

On the other hand, the Linton reproduces music with a distinctive sound signature that speaks of a bygone era. You might need some time to get used to it, and it might not be as versatile as the Evo4.2, but the Linton captures the hi-fi sound unlike any other speaker, so if you want to create a unique experience in your listening room, choose the Linton.

Wharfedale Linton vs KLH Model Five

The KLH Model 5 is another excellent bookshelf speaker and an updated version of the classic speaker first released in the 1960s, with a unique acoustic suspension design that minimizes vibrations and makes the speaker stand out aesthetically.

When compared to the Linton, you’ll soon realize the KLH Model 5 offers a more transparent reproduction, devoid of the warmth and nostalgic vibe that defines the Linton’s sound signature. To me, they’re both exceptional speakers, so it all comes down to whether you prefer accuracy over warmth and vibrancy.

Wharfedale Linton vs KEF LS50 Meta

Like many others, I believe the KEF LS50 Meta is one of the best bookshelf speakers on the market: the sound it reproduces is exceptionally clear and balanced, with every nuance carefully represented in the soundstage.

When it comes to versatility, the LS50 Meta is the clear winner here. However, when compared to the Linton, the LS50 Meta’s sound might feel “colder,” especially when listening to music that’s naturally enhanced by a more fluid, immersive reproduction.

Once again, the Linton offers something other bookshelf speakers don’t have: it brings to life a retro sound that, love it or hate it, makes them stand out even when compared with bookshelf speakers of the highest quality.

Read the full KEF LS50 Meta review

Who are the Wharfedale Linton Heritage speakers best suited for?

The Wharfedale Linton is for those who want to bring back the classic vibe of analog music reproduction. If you value engagement and music vibrancy over clarity, this bookshelf speaker will upgrade your audio system with a distinctive sonic palette you won’t find elsewhere.

Buy Wharfedale Linton Heritage at: AmazonCrutchfield

  • Concordo in pieno con la descrizione e soprattutto con le impressioni sonore lasciate dai Wharfedale Linton. Diffusore meraviglioso ed emozionante. D’altri tempi e senza tempo. Una leggera perdita di definizione in cambio di questa magia, è stata da me compensata con l’utilizzo di uno Shitt Lokius interposto tra sorgente, un Eversolo DMP A6, e amplificatore, un Rega elex-r. Una leggera correzione sulle tre bande di frequenza superiori ed ecco a voi il miglior diffusore al mondo per musicalità, tridimensionalità, senso plastico e materico del suono. Un’esperienza indimenticabile, cercata per una vita, a qualsiasi fascia di prezzo. Cordiali saluti

    • Grazie mille per il commento Antonio. Fantastiche scelte sia il Schiit Lokius che il Rega Elex-R, posso immaginare il calore e il senso immersivo che queste componenti hanno aggiunto alla ricchezza dei Wharfedale Linton. Congratulazioni, e buon ascolto.