Whatmough SIGNATURE 33 Review

Review in Six Moons Audio Reviews - 2008

Edgar Kramer

The Whatmough P33 Signature is a nicely proportioned largish floorstander that strikes the keen eye as a cross between a Sonus Faber Amati and the larger Compass Series Usher speakers. The cabinet embodies a beautifully finished lute shape with a raised and perfectly machined curved frill on the top plate. The curved panels aid in the reduction of internal standing waves and are more rigid, therefore less resonant than conventional straight panels. Again à la Usher, the main body of the enclosure sits on a plinth that extends beyond the rear of the speaker to provide extra stability. The veneer is a gorgeous Bubinga (the firm's trademark veneer of choice) in natural finish.

The P33 Sig is a front-ported 3-way using high quality drivers. Starting at the top of the enclosure, we ratherunusually find a 6.5-inch bass driver specially made for the P33 by Peerless, using a hybrid fiberglass-skin Nomex cone with plastic phase plug. Below that is the superb Scanspeak Revelator ring radiator tweeter, a driver that Colin treasures as having a beautifully extended and refined sound that approaches his beloved ribbon drivers without their dispersion and power issues.

Next and in very close proximity is the 4-inch midrange midrange which is of cellulose fiber and made by Vifa. Finally and closer to the floor, another 6.5-inch Peerless driver sits just above the reflex port.

Crossover points are stated at 400Hz and 3.8kHz, meaning the little Vifa midrange driver covers a wide range, making for a cleaner presentation without crossover artifacts throughout most of the vocal band. Crossover network is of very high quality, uses Hovland caps and is wired to the drivers via Cardas hookup wire. Frequency response spans 38Hz to 40Khz +/- 3dB and the P33 Sig is a 4-ohm design that is 88dB sensitive with an input level of 2.83 Volts (1 Watt into 8 ohms). The dimensions are very room friendly at 1200 H x 260 W x 430D (mm) and it weight is a reassuringly solid 45kg. Whatmough is a strong believer in tri-wiring or tri-amplification and provides three sets of high-quality Cardas posts without the cheesy copper links, his suggestion being that if you can't tri-wire for the time being (you must do so in future), the posts should be linked with short lengths of the same cable you use for the amp-to-speaker run.

Of importance to those on a tighter budget, Whatmough offers a non-Signature version just called the P33 where a Vifa ring radiator replaces the Scanspeak, Bennic components in the crossover the Hovlands, and standard internal cable and brass binding posts the luxo bits. This version is said to retain much of the sonic qualities of its more expensive sibling. The review pair apparently had been factory run for 100 hours prior to delivery. Nonetheless, I ran it for a further 50 hours before commencing proper auditioning. Having said that, even while the speaker was running in, I could hear very special things happening. Sure enough, once formal auditioning began, I was struck by the tonal beauty and accuracy and yes, there is such thing as simultaneous beauty and accuracy, a phenomenon I seldom hear, however.

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Whatmough SIGNATURE 33 Review