Jump to content

- - - - -

Refurbishing Wharfedales

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_bubslewis_*

  • Guests

Posted 29 March 2006 - 05:59 AM

Still haven't got over to my fathers to find out what model the Wharfedales are. I asked him to look for the paperwork but he's getting old and somewhat forgetful so I'll probably need to do it myself.

I suspect they are model 70's, but not at all sure. I have no experience in do-it-yourself speaker repair/upgrade, but if what I have to do is as easy as you indicate then I might give it a go.

thanks for the info,


#2 Guest_Charles E. Frey_*

Guest_Charles E. Frey_*
  • Guests

Posted 28 March 2006 - 01:02 AM


I have owned and used Wharfedale speakers since 1965. I have a pair of W90 speakers that I have had for 40 years that may be the model you described. I have also used other Wharfedale drivers in various speaker projects.

These W90 speakers are excellent. There are two 12 inch woofers, two 5inch mids, and two 3 inch tweeters in each very heavy sand filled enclosure. All of the drivers are heavy, high quality units. The speakers are very efficient and smooth and powerful throughout the audio spectrum.

The only thing I did to them was to replace the electrolytic crossover capacitors that couple the mid and high frequency drivers. This is very simple to do. The high frequency tweeters couple through 7 mfd. capacitors and the mids couple through 12 mfd caps. If your units are the W90s and you replace these caps, make sure they are bipolar electrolytics of these values rated at least 50 volts. A better choice is mylar caps rated at 200 volts. The crossover networks are located in the back top of the enclosure on a plywood board fastened to the enclosure structure with wood screws.

If your speakers are the W90s they may work fine just as they are.

Dont't be afraid to connect these speakers to a modern transistor power amplifier, but do not overload them with loud bass. Listen to the speakers to make sure you don't hear any cone drag in the low frequencies. The woofers have a low resonance and work in bass reflex enclosures with cloth surrounds which is a far superior and longer lasting construction than using foam surrounds. None the less, high power at low frequencies causes very long excursions in these speakers that can destroy them.

As for the enclosure finish, the W90s are in oiled walnut. I keep mine oiled with a beeswax and lemon oil furniture finish.

As you may know, Wharfedale speakers were highly regarded in Europe and the USA in the 1950s and 1960s. They are real classics that deserve to be used and enjoyed.

Charley Frey

#3 Guest_bubslewis_*

  • Guests

Posted 09 March 2006 - 02:05 AM

Thanks Carl,

I looked at your website earlier this evening. Actually my 2 best choices are either yours or HUMANspeakers. Both you and the Human speaker guy seem to have had experience refurbishing old Wharfedales.

First thing I have to do is to get over to my father's house and listen to the speakers to see if all the drivers are working. Should be able to verify the exact model also.

Will likely be back in contact with you via your website once I check the speakers out. Shipping them still scares me. If southern Pennsylvania and Connecticut were just a leeeeetle bit closer to each other I would seriously consider driving myself.

Thanks for the info,


#4 Carlspeak


    Forum Moderator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,004 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Central Connecticut

Posted 09 March 2006 - 12:13 AM

It sounds from your description you may have a model W70D on your hands. I did a refurbish job on a pair 8-9 years ago. I upgraded the 4 way crossover, got 1 tweeter repaired, replaced the speaker wire connectors on the back and refinished the cabinets.
Visit my website and check out the testimonial page.
That's the good news.

The bad news is I live and have my shop in Connecticut. So, I probably am just as far away from you as the other folks you mentioned.

Have you tried playing some music thru them to see if they are still okay in that regard?

Carl's Custom Loudspeakers

Carl's Custom Loudspeakers

#5 Guest_bubslewis_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 March 2006 - 10:19 PM

My father is looking for any info he might have on the speakers. He did say that they were sand filled, which I think I read that Wharfedale did with one or two of their models in those days.


#6 dynaco_dan



  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,873 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 March 2006 - 07:32 AM

Hi Bill;

Probably a good thing would be first, to be certain that they function fully.

If not fully, what is functioning.

Find out the model number.

A very much in demand model, would be welcome information to you, I am sure.

Because of the age there may be collectors interested in them, as the cabinetry was usually first class, with solid walnut wood, dovetailing, etc..

Check out ebay with a search for that model, see what value that particular speaker system is, and mechanicaly and cosmetically.

At least this will give some information on today's true value before investing a lot of money, yet.

As with AR speakers for example, some classic models may bring in super top dollars, other newer models aren't worth the cardboard box to ship them in, collectively speaking.

Nice of you to help your dad out.

Good luck.


#7 Guest_bubslewis_*

  • Guests

Posted 08 March 2006 - 04:20 AM

My father has a pair of very old floor standing Wharfedale speakers. Shortly, he will be moving into smaller living spaces and will have to give up a lot of furniture, probably including the speakers (which haven't gotten much use in the past two decades or so).

The speakers are from the late 50's, early 60's. They are constructed of walnut (I believe) and measure apprx 3 feet long, 3 feet high, 2 feet deep. I don't know the model number but I can probably get that info. I always liked those speakers when I was growing up.

My questions are: Are speakers that old worth refurbishing? Can they even be refurbished at all? If so, will they sound at least similar to the original sound of the speakers? Would it be at all economically feasible to refurbish?

Additional questions if answers to the above ones are affirmative:

The classifieds, yellow pages, internet, etc are not full of lists of "speaker refurbishers". Some of the big refurbisher outfits seem to be in Florida or California. This means I'd have to pack/ship the old things to and from. Not crazy about that. Plus, do places like these have the expertise to deal with speakers that are 50 years old? Anybody know of any good sources in the Baltimore/Washington area?


#8 jodyscott



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 29 August 2011 - 04:54 PM


I have a pair of Wharfedale W90 speakers (sand-filled model).
I'm desperately looking for someone who has a photograph of the crossover
for these, or some know-how of the configuration.

I've been attempting to repair them for a year and have had some techs playing around with bypassing the crossover (didn't work).

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I've almost given up. Wharfedale informed me that they lost this information when one of their facilities burnt several years ago.
Finding someone with some know-how is my only hope.

Kind thanks


#9 Transmaster


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 50 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cheyenne, Wyomimg
  • Interests:Life long musician, Irish Terriers, Ham Radio Operator, vintage vacuum tube equipment.

Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:42 PM

I am in the process of recapping the crossovers on my W35's. I have not paid any attention to capacitors, The vintage vacuum tube equipment I work on there are just a few tried and true brands, and the "Orange Drop" is on the top of that list. Now that I am out looking at capacitors I had no idea there was so much Voodoo electronics, it is as bad as speaker wire. I was looking at a 12 µ Farad, 200 volt cap' they wanted 269.99 each ! :blink: Like speaker wire there is a continuous flame war going about "yes it does make a difference" and "You are so full of BS". I fall in the later category. I have been a musician most my nearly 60 years of life I play jazz, Big Band, and ancient music with period instruments. If there was anyone who should hear the difference it should be me, but it isn't I have spent too many years playing loud music to have golden ears anymore. I had an audio-fool friend of mine tell me musicians are the worst when it comes to listening to music, because our brains have recordings of a large number of musical instruments played for real around us our brain tends to fill in the rough spots coming out of a set of speakers. He may have something there. I am listening to the W35's. I have a very good memory of music I can "listen to the music playing in my head" (sorry Beatles I couldn't resist). I have owned the W-35's since they where new so I playing some of the recordings I have which I originally played on these speakers when they where new I can tell the sound is muddy, especially the mid-range. I am amazed at how good they still sound. I am going to refurbish the Polk 10B's next, The 10B's have the bottom end the W-35's do not have. I am going out to my brother's house and nag him into giving me the AR-7's, he may still have the AR-2A'a both of which he has not used in a couple of decades. Now that I know I can get parts for the them,,,,,and I am not going to tell him this :D

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users