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Wharfedale Super Denton

In recent years, Wharfedale has done rather well out of reimagined versions of some of its older speaker designs - so much so that the Linton has become its strongest-selling model. Suitably enthused, the company has been poring through the archives to bolster the range, and come up with the Super Denton. As the name suggests, this is an enhanced version of the ‘normal’ Denton (called Denton 85) that has been on sale for some years. 

The nature of this enhancement is pretty straightforward to describe, but it makes the Super Denton rather unusual. Where the Denton 85 is a two-way design, the Super Denton squeezes a third driver into the cabinet to become a true three-way speaker. This is quite a feat of packaging when you consider the Super Denton is not significantly larger than the Denton 85, and has been achieved by placing the treble and midrange in a side-by-side, rather than over/under, configuration. 

The 25mm soft dome tweeter looks similar to the one in the smaller Denton, but it is boosted by technology from the much larger Dovedale (including a specially redeveloped rear chamber that reduces unwanted reflections coming back through the dome). The 165mm woven Kevlar mid/bass driver is almost completely unchanged from the Denton 85 but both of these drivers are doing less work; the tweeter only being active from 4.6kHz up and the mid bass from 900Hz down. 

This is because the gap between those two points is now handled by a 50mm dome midrange driver. This is a rare thing to find at this price, and looks like a scaled-up version of the tweeter. It borrows heavily from a similar unit that is fitted to some of the Evo range of speakers, but is tweaked to work in this smaller space. The crossover that ties the three drivers together is similar in approach to the Denton 85, but heavily revised to handle three drivers. Connection to an amp is made via a single set of speaker terminals. 

The cabinet looks traditional but is entirely modern in construction and design. It is made from a sandwich of different materials to control resonance, and features computer-modelled bracing to stiffen it further. The result feels very robust - although a little different from some similarly priced rivals, on account of the retro nods in the styling. 

Sound Quality 

One aspect of the design of the Super Denton makes the setup unusually customisable. You can choose between having the midrange drivers on the inside or the outside of the cabinet depending on which way round you place them. After a little experimenting, I went with the midrange drivers on the outer edge and kept them this way for the rest of my time with the speakers. The reason for this is straightforward: it gives the Super Denton a width and immersion to its imaging that is enormously impressive at the asking price. 

What is most impressive is that this width has not come at the expense of the centre sounding diffuse or lacking in energy. With the speakers set two metres apart and toed in a little, they push vocalists and other important information towards the centre while still giving you an unequivocal perception of the space around the recording. Even very large-scale material maintains an order and coherence that isn’t commonly encountered from a speaker that stands just 36cm tall. 

And the Wharfedales are not done there. On occasions when I have listened to speakers with midrange domes, the initial impression is lovely - but you become aware that it is dominating the presentation and that there are three drivers in play. The Super Denton is able to deliver a truly lovely midrange, but it does so in a manner that is extremely even-handed and engaging. You really only notice how exceptionally consistent the Super Denton is when you switch back to a more conventional two-way speaker. The work that Wharfedale has carried out on the crossover has resulted in a speaker that is impressively cohesive and, if you leave the grilles on, only those familiar with the design would guess there are three drivers at work. 

Against this positivity, my criticisms are pretty limited. This is not the most ballistic-sounding speaker at the price and there are other £1,000 models that can hit a little harder, but it would be a stretch to call the Super Denton either slow or bass-light. Those rivals tend to struggle when up against the space and convincing tonality the Wharfedales deliver. This is aided further by the lack of cabinet colouration that the Super Dentons display. Provided that little bit of toe-in has been applied, they simply disappear into the sound that they create - and the cabinet stays usefully inert even when the speakers are pushed relatively hard. 

Living with

Before coming to the more divisive area of looks, the mechanical aspects of partnering the Super Denton are straightforward. The 87dB/w sensitivity and six ohm impedance should not present any challenge to equivalently priced electronics, and they prove a benign partner for a variety of amplifiers used during the test. The slightly larger cabinet means they can look a little odd on a single-pillar speaker stand (although they work just fine) and I find that they both sound good and look rather smart on the frame-type stand that IAG sister brand Mission makes for its 700 speaker. 

Having stated that the looks are divisive, I’m going to follow that up by saying that I personally really like them - but this comes with the caveat that I rather like retro things and have a hallway full of vintage trainers to prove it. The Super Denton is magnificently trad, with three finishes that are all rather retro and heavyweight grilles (albeit held on by modern magnetic trim tabs). It’s all charming and superbly done. I do acknowledge, though, that not everybody wants a retro living room - and this means that people who might otherwise be interested in the unique combination of drivers and small cabinet size might not want their speakers clothed in the design language of the 70s. If you are tempted by the sonic proposition of the Super Denton, you’re going to have to deal with the way it looks, because nothing else features the same driver complement, in this form-factor, at this price. 


The Super Denton uses its unusual design to do things that most other standmounts at a similar price cannot easily match. This is a spacious, fabulously involving little speaker that presents a huge selection of material in a way that will have many people flocking to its cause. 

Listening notes 

A Certain Ratio ACR Loco 

A fantastic return from one of Manchester’s more unusual bands gives the Super Denton a chance to show off its sensational tonality and stereo imaging, doing justice to the superbly funky arrangements. 

Woodes The Great Unknown 

Music in the fine tradition of idiosyncratic Australian pop - and the Wharfedale is adept at ensuring the ephemeral vocals are the focus of attention while handling the sound and fury that are happening around them.

John Martyn Solid Air

An album that would be an audiophile cliché if it wasn’t so very good. The Wharfedale puts in a tremendous performance, opening the performance out gently without losing the intimacy and focus it needs to convince.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

If you listen to music that demands excellent tonal reproduction and soundstaging, the unique driver fitment and layout of the Super Denton gives it abilities that are above and beyond any price-comparable alternative

Video review

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