Wharfedale Super 3

A Semi-detailed analysis




The following are spectrum analyses of two Super 3 units, one Focal and one Vifa. Of the Super 3 units, the J1 is all original with exception of the annulus.  The N4 unit was re-coned and re-coiled way back in the late 80's.  It has a Waldom cone that, at that time, resembled the original Wharfedale cone.  Later, it was replaced by the radially ribbed version.  There is a possibility that Waldom acquired original cones from Wharfedale. The coil is wound with copper wire.

The analyses shown were taken at 4khz.  Analyses were also taken at 3khz and 5khz but those looked much better so the worse case scenarios are presented.  The Super 3s showed much less distortion components as the fundamental was raised.

The total harmonic distortion plus noise was also run on a Tektronix AA501 analyser at 4khz; the results are as follows.

J1=0.573%; N4=0.466%; FOCAL=0.048%; VIFA=0.138%

The N in THD+N is noise, that band at the bottom.  The Behringer ECM-8000 microphone has a sensitivity of -60dB, enabling it to pick up the subtle noise of the computer fan several feet away.

The darker and wider vertical lines are probably due to multiple samples taken at then frequency; the sampling rate of the Pico Scope was about 16000.  It repeats until told to stop.






Super 3 - J1

0.573% THD+N

May not be acceptable to many today but is most likely one of the things that makes it sound so appealing to many others.

Super 3 - N4

0.466% THD+N

The slightly lower distortion components in this unit are attributed to the much newer cone, about 30 years newer.  the


Inverted titanium dioxide coated titanium diaphragm.

Data sheet available here.(jpg)

This unit cost about $85 in 1992 ($146 inflation adjusted for 2016), yet, the two spectra are remarkably similar despite the 7:1 cost ratio.

The VIFA cost about $20 in 2015.

This is 0.048% THD+N

VIFA BC25TG15-04

Soft dome (poly something or other coated fabric).

Data sheet available here.(pdf)

This represents 0.138% THD+N







The Usual Suspects

From left, J1, J2, N4, Vifa, Focal

Originally, samples at 3khz, 4khz and 5khz were taken but 15 piccies would have cluttered this page.  Making the photos smaller would have rendered them difficult to read  The J2 spectrograph was so similar to that of the J1 that it was decided not to place it here.








The Modus Operandum

The distance from the mic to the diaphragm is 1/2m and the power supplied was 1/2w.  The SPL at that proximity  was around 96 dB








Les Jouets - The Toys

Had I dimmed the monitor, the Pico Scope spectrogram could have been seen. Only the noise baseline is visible.

TOP:  A pair of Fluke 8050A multimeters, recently calibrated.

Next, Tektronix TM-504 poweer module in which are, left to right,

FG-502 genny, AA-501 analyser, DM-501A DMM (all Tektronix

To the left of the power module is a DANA Model 8100 frequency counter, below which is a Heath harmonic distortion analyser and IM distortion analyser. The AA501 far outperforms these but they still work.

The analogue meter monitors the variac.  Below that is a Tektronix 465 squiggle toob (oscilloscope) and to the left of that is a Heath IG-1275 linear/logarithmic sweep generator which is used often.  The Heath stuff was all purchased in the late 70's and used for years until I got the Tektronix. Oh, behind the Fluke DMMs is a Heath VTVM, which also works.  The "toys" list is endless.






Pico Scope Model 2205A

My most recent purchase, mainly for the spectrum analyser.  It's also a function genny, dual trace scope and has a persistence mode by which means one can capture a sweep and save it in any of a dozen or more formats.

The deck of cards was placed there for scaling.



Back to the Wharfedale Index

Back to the loudspeaker main page