Hotel Revolution – EVO4.2 Pt.I

Featuring the all-new Omnia network streaming amplifier and the highly acclaimed EVO4.2 three-way bookshelf loudspeakers, Hotel Revolution is a new and complete HiFi system from Wharfedale and Audiolab.

Quality equipment matching is paramount to achieve serious sound, and the combination of these incredible components delivers this in spades. Omnia offers Audiolab’s trademark full bodied, nuanced, and neutral sound, while EVO4.2 delivers deep palpable bass notes, haunting midrange performance, and superior high frequency detail.

Audiolab Omnia Network Streaming AmplifierAudiolab Omnia Network Streaming Amplifier

It’s an audiophile-grade combination balancing the tightrope between serious high fidelity system and the convenience of a lifestyle home HiFi setup. Not only are these two components perfectly matched sonically, you get out of the box:

  1. Multi-room Network Streaming functionality 
  2. Spotify Connect
  3. Full MQA decoding for Tidal
  4. CD Player 
  5. Bluetooth aptX
  6. Phono MM (for turntables)
  7. Headphone amplifier
  8. DAC (32-bit/786kHz & DSD512)
  9. and so much more. 

It really is the complete package... and with just two components! But in order to explore the true depth of its talents as a whole, we really need to break down what's taking place at an individual level. So this is the first part of a four part series, and the first half of our exploration into Wharfedale's EVO4.2. 

Wharfedale EVO4.2 three-way bookshelf loudspeakerHotel Revolution

EVO4.2 – creating magic. 

The highly acclaimed EVO4.2 are at first glance a rather large pair of bookshelf loudspeakers. And that's in large part due to their unique driver configuration. There really aren't too many three-way bookshelf loudspeakers getting around, certainly none at this price and none with the technological prowess of the EVO. So why design a three-way like this? Because the AMT/Dome midrange combination creates pure magic. 

Rather than using a traditional dome tweeter, EVO4 employs the high-frequency talents of an AMT. Air Motion Transformers aren’t new. But what is new is using them in loudspeakers at this price, which is the result of using trickle-down technology from Wharfedale’s flagship Elysian series.

AMTs use a thin film folded like the pleats of an accordion with a circuit tracer running through each fold. The current running through each fold travels in opposite direction to the fold before it, reversing their polarity. So when you house all this within a body of magnets and run a charge through it, the pleats expand and contract. Feed it a signal from your favourite Nana Mouskouri record and wallah! You now have high frequency.

Wharfedale EVO4.2 in walnutWharfedale EVO4.2 in Walnut

The benefits of producing high frequency this way are many: lower mass, larger radiating surface, and greater dispersion control.

Low mass diaphragms react much faster to the amplifier's signal, making them far more detailed. And while in the past this meant extreme levels of detail, often too extreme, EVO creates the perfect balance: ‘it’s not trying to force gobs of high frequency information down your ears, nor does it sound overly sibilant or harsh’ (Zero Fidelity). Larger radiating surfaces produce more energy and that results in better dynamics. And it’s the flat surface of an AMT that gives it greater dispersion control. This controlled dispersion creates less bounce off floors and ceilings, giving you a cleaner and therefore more accurate listening experience.

Married to the AMT is a fast and responsive dome midrange driver. Using a soft fabric dome, damped with a plasticiser coating, the driver is vented using a uniquely profiled rear chamber to scatter and absorb rear energy. And it needs to. Because thanks to the high efficiency of its high flux magnet system, the EVOs midrange driver produces a lot of energy. EVOs dome midrange produces a linear frequency response between 800Hz to 5kHz, which is an extraordinary bandwidth from such a unit. 

Wharfedale EVO4.2 bookshelf loudspeakers

Wharfedale EVO4.2

Midrange domes are more notably found in studio monitors where their upper mid diction can be put to best effect. Being the frequency band responsible for our greatest acuity of hearing, engineers have long favoured domes because they produce detail in spades. But domes do put a lot of energy into a room, making them particularly difficult to implement – and get right – in home audio loudspeakers. Not the case with EVO. Wharfedale have created a kind of magic with their implementation of this tricky driver configuration, and, according to Zero Fidelity, EVOs midrange is ‘arguably the star of the show.’ 

So why go to all this trouble? Because it gives you ‘an insight into what high end is really about’ (Zero Fidelity). The combination of AMT clarity combined with dome midrange detail doesn’t simply reproduce music; it places the musician in the room with you. It’s without question an audiophile experience, with a near haunting effect. For people who love the sound of piano, for people who favour vocalists and acoustic instruments, EVO4.2 – in no small part thanks to its midrange dome and AMT combination – will bring to life your listening experience. With proper placement, say’s Cheap Audio Man, ‘the midrange on this speaker is flawless.’