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Amplifier Wharfedale 2050A review

Having stuttered off the starting line, Whaifedale’s own brand of electronics is now feeding itself into specialist dealers across the country. The 2050A amplifier, for example, has already been recalled for a major overhaul and re-fit. No change to the friction-locked volume control, independent rec-out and input selection. Nevertheless, the revised layout and educated choice of components should, we were informed, make better use of its various MM/MC, CD, tuner, aux and tape inputs.

A switched headphone socket and single pair of 4mm speaker terminals complete the list of facilities, so at least its construction is solid, if not inspiring. Inside, Wharfedale has opted for localised input switching, a discrete low-noise MC head amp and a Sanyo-based power amp.

Sound quality

As soon as laser hit the polycarbonate, the Wharfedale was up and at us with a robust, fast and forward sound that took a bit of accommodating. Subjectively, this was a loud amplifier, and when things got busy the percussion adopted an on-going metallic sizzle that was rather pervasive.

Its energy imbued the jazz track with an extra crispness which worked well except on the higher notes of the sax and cymbals, which suffered from a bit of hardness. The bass lines were nimble but not as extended as they had been, and the clarinet sounded a little brash. Having said that, it did hang together reasonably well through most of the tracks we played. Spatial resolution was good as well, placement of instruments within the sound stage being unusually precise.

It was also better than average at resolving low level detail. There was, however, a sense of relief when the CD selection finished, the amp’s forcible style of presentation proving a bit of an ear bender in the long run.

We tried both the MM and MC inputs on vinyl and found the latter to be smoother and more relaxed, but lacking the bandwidth of the MM alternative which shared a lot of its character with the line input.

Conclusion

The Wharfedaie 2050A is a detailed, lively amplifier, albeit one that can be overbearing at times.

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