Review: Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker

Review: Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker - The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker promises exceptional sound with a stylish design, but does it deliver?

Wharfedale, a renowned name in the audio industry, is introducing the Aura 2, a distinctive three-way bookshelf speaker. This pair boasts an AMT tweeter known for delivering exceptional sound quality in previous tests. Let’s dive into the components concealed within the elegant walnut housing and see if they produce an outstanding auditory experience.

A Legacy of Audio Excellence

Founded in 1933 by Gilbert Briggs in the picturesque Wharfe Valley, Wharfedale has a rich history of setting new standards in loudspeaker design. Known for pioneering the 2-way loudspeaker concept, the company has contributed significantly to the field of audio technology. Wharfedale’s commitment to quality endures today, with the brand being part of the Chinese International Audio Group while continuing to develop its products in Great Britain alongside Audiolab and Luxman. The Aura 2 belongs to the new Aura series, emphasizing exceptional features and a refined appearance within the mid-price range. Borrowing from the Elysian series, the Aura 2 showcases meticulous craftsmanship, well-thought-out design, and an exquisite visual appeal.

Technical data

Model:Wharfedale Aura 2
Device category:Compact speakers
Price:1999 euros (pair)
Stand: 999 euros (pair)
Guarantee:2 years
Versions:– Walnut
– Black piano lacquer
– White piano lacquer
Distribution:IAD Germany, Korschenbroich
0800 2345007
Dimensions (H x W x D):560x286x402mm
Design/principle:3-way, passive, bass reflex
Equipment:1 x 27 x 90mm AMT tweeter
1 x 100mm midrange driver
1 x 150mm woofer
Resilience:150 watts (manufacturer information)
Frequency range:35 – 22,000 Hz (manufacturer’s information)
Impedance:6 ohms
Connections:Screw terminals, bi-wiring
Scope of delivery:2 x Aura 2
2 x Magnetic Cover

Impressive Design and Craftsmanship

The Aura 2’s design is captivating at first glance, reminiscent of the Elysian 2 model. The walnut high-gloss finish adds a touch of sophistication. The speaker’s enclosure appears as if it were carved from a single piece, with the three drivers seamlessly integrated into the curved front panel. The discreet screw connections are cleverly concealed behind an acoustic damping frame. The gently rounded sides and curved side walls enhance aesthetics and contribute to a slimmed-down rear profile. The attention to detail is evident in the multi-layered construction with insulating gel between layers. This craftsmanship extends to the interior, where a 130-millimeter bass driver with a lightweight, coated fiberglass membrane ensures agility and prevents unwanted vibrations. The midrange driver, measuring 100 millimeters in diameter, shares a similar construction. The remarkable Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter, positioned at the top, stands out as a key highlight. This folded, ultra-thin membrane driven by a permanent magnet produces exceptionally efficient and less harsh sound than conventional tweeters. The AMT’s performance is accentuated by the meticulously designed and magnetic front cover providing protection and aesthetic appeal.

Exquisite Craftsmanship: The Build Quality of the Wharfedale Aura 2

The Wharfedale Aura 2 exemplifies a masterful fusion of artistry and engineering, evident in its exceptional build quality. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, this bookshelf speaker showcases a level of construction that befits its reputation and price point.

Seamless Exterior Elegance: At first glance, the Aura 2’s exterior design commands attention. The speaker’s form is reminiscent of the Elysian 2 model, with a glossy walnut finish that exudes sophistication. What’s particularly striking is the appearance of a monolithic structure rather than visibly separate components. The three drivers are seamlessly integrated into a gracefully curved front baffle, creating a visually seamless transition. The screws and connectors are discreetly concealed behind an acoustic damping frame, preserving the speaker’s sleek aesthetics. Moreover, the gently rounded sides and curved rear walls not only enhance its visual appeal but also contribute to its overall slim profile, ensuring that every aspect of the design is considered.

Meticulous Multi-Layered Construction: Beyond its elegant exterior, the Aura 2 reveals meticulous construction details. The speaker’s enclosure is crafted with multiple layers, separated by an insulating gel. This thoughtful design choice minimizes resonance and vibrations, ultimately contributing to improved sound quality. Each layer of construction reflects Wharfedale’s commitment to achieving optimal acoustic performance.

Driver Excellence: The drivers within the Aura 2 showcase exceptional build quality. A 130-millimeter bass driver, featuring an extremely lightweight, coated fiberglass membrane, enhances agility while effectively preventing unwanted vibrations. Its soft rubber surround facilitates optimal mobility and maximum stroke, ensuring precise bass reproduction. The midrange driver, measuring 100 millimeters in diameter, mirrors this high-quality construction. These drivers work in harmony to deliver a well-balanced sound profile.

Air Motion Transformer (AMT) Tweeter: The Aura 2 boasts an Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter positioned at the top, which is a highlight of its build quality. The AMT tweeter’s remarkable construction consists of a folded, ultra-thin membrane traversed by conductor tracks. Surrounded by a permanent magnet, this unique design enables the membrane to move, translating electrical signals into precise air movement that produces sound. The AMT tweeter not only achieves exceptional efficiency but also provides a characteristically gentle and less sharp sound signature. Its build quality is apparent in its performance, accentuating high frequencies with crystal clarity and brilliance.

Thoughtful Magnetic Front Cover: To safeguard the valuable drivers and maintain the Aura 2’s aesthetic integrity, a magnetic front cover is included. The cover’s high-quality design adheres snugly and securely, enhancing the overall build quality while allowing users to choose between protected or exposed drivers. Removing the cover requires a level of force that emphasizes its firm attachment, ensuring it remains securely in place during use.

In summary, the build quality of the Wharfedale Aura 2 is a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence. From the seamlessly elegant exterior design to the multi-layered construction, precision drivers, and the unique AMT tweeter, every aspect of the speaker’s construction reflects the brand’s dedication to delivering superior audio experiences.

Technical Specifications

While detailed information about the Aura 2 is still emerging, some official specifications are available. Weighing in at an impressive 20.5 kilograms, the speaker stands 560 millimeters tall, with a width of 286 millimeters at its widest point and a depth of 402 millimeters. The bi-wiring connections on the rear offer flexibility, and the package includes beautifully crafted bridge cables for single-pair operation. Wharfedale recommends amplifiers with an output ranging from 25 to 150 watts to complement the Aura 2. Additionally, Wharfedale offers matching speaker stands as an optional accessory to complete the setup.

The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker combines elegance with a robust technical foundation, delivering an exceptional listening experience. Here is a comprehensive overview of its technical specifications:

General Specifications:

  • Speaker Type: 3-way bass reflex bookshelf speaker
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 25 – 150 watts
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 24kHz (+/-3dB)
  • Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 86dB (2.83V/1m)
  • Crossover Frequencies: 700Hz and 2.7kHz
  • Enclosure Type: Bass reflex (rear port)
  • Weight: 20.5 kilograms (per speaker)
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 560mm x 286mm x 402mm

Driver Details:

  • Bass Driver: 130mm (5.25 inches) with a lightweight, coated fiberglass membrane for enhanced agility and reduced vibrations. It features a soft rubber surround for optimal mobility and stroke.
  • Midrange Driver: 100mm (4 inches) with similar construction characteristics to the bass driver, ensuring a harmonious sound signature.
  • Tweeter: Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter positioned at the top of the speaker. The AMT tweeter utilizes an ultra-thin, folded membrane with conductor tracks, surrounded by a permanent magnet, to achieve high efficiency and clear high-frequency reproduction.

Enclosure and Construction:

  • The Aura 2 boasts an elegant walnut high-gloss finish, presenting a visually stunning exterior.
  • The enclosure design minimizes resonances and vibrations through multiple layers separated by an insulating gel.
  • A rear-firing bass reflex port enhances placement flexibility by radiating sound to the sides.
  • The speaker features a seamless front baffle with discreetly concealed screws and connectors, preserving its clean aesthetics.
  • Magnetic front covers are included, providing protection for the drivers and enhancing the overall design.

Terminal and Wiring:

  • Bi-wiring connections are available for advanced setups.
  • Included bridge cables enable operation with a single pair of plugs, offering flexibility in connection options.

Amplifier Compatibility:

  • The Wharfedale Aura 2 is compatible with amplifiers delivering power ranging from 25 to 150 watts.
  • The recommended amplification range ensures optimal performance and compatibility with various audio systems.

Dimensions and Weight:

  • Each Aura 2 speaker measures 560mm in height, 286mm in width at its widest point, and 402mm in depth.
  • The substantial weight of 20.5 kilograms per speaker contributes to its overall stability and build quality.

Optional Speaker Stands:

  • Wharfedale offers optional speaker stands designed to perfectly complement the Aura 2 speakers.

Performance Highlights:

  • The Aura 2 offers a balanced and harmonious sound profile with an emphasis on clarity and detail.
  • The AMT tweeter excels in high-frequency reproduction, providing crystal-clear and brilliant treble.
  • Drivers work in synergy to deliver precise midrange and controlled bass, resulting in an immersive audio experience.
  • The dynamic and lively performance of the Aura 2 enhances the enjoyment of various music genres.
  • The rear-firing bass reflex port contributes to enhanced bass reproduction without compromising placement options.

In conclusion, the Wharfedale Aura 2 combines exquisite design with robust technical specifications, making it a versatile and high-performance bookshelf speaker suitable for discerning audiophiles and music enthusiasts. Its meticulous construction, well-coordinated drivers, and innovative AMT tweeter ensure a captivating and immersive listening experience.

Usability of the Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker

The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker not only impresses with its sound quality but also offers a user-friendly experience. Here’s an in-depth look at its usability:

  1. Placement Flexibility: One of the notable usability features of the Aura 2 is its rear-firing bass reflex port. This design allows you to place the speaker closer to the wall without compromising its sound quality. This flexibility in positioning ensures that you can integrate the speakers seamlessly into your room, whether on bookshelves, stands, or wall-mounted brackets.
  2. Magnetic Front Covers: The speaker comes with magnetic front covers that are not only visually pleasing but also practical. These covers securely attach to the speaker, protecting the delicate drivers from dust and accidental contact. This feature enhances the overall user experience by simplifying maintenance.
  3. Bi-Wiring Connections: The Aura 2 includes bi-wiring connections, giving you the option to fine-tune your audio setup according to your preferences. If you prefer a simpler setup, bridge cables are provided, allowing you to operate the speaker with just one pair of plugs. This flexibility caters to both novice and experienced audiophiles.
  4. Recommended Amplifier Range: The manufacturer recommends an amplifier power output ranging from 25 to 150 watts for the Aura 2. This clear guideline simplifies the process of selecting the appropriate amplifier for optimal performance, ensuring that users can readily match the speakers with compatible equipment.
  5. Stylish Design and Finish: Usability extends beyond functionality; it includes aesthetics as well. The Aura 2 boasts an elegant walnut high-gloss finish that complements a variety of room décors. Its sleek and seamless design makes it easy to integrate into any living space, enhancing the overall ambiance.
  6. Dimensions and Weight: The compact dimensions and substantial weight of each Aura 2 speaker contribute to its usability. While they provide a significant sonic presence, they remain manageable for installation and positioning. The robust construction ensures durability and stability.
  7. Optional Speaker Stands: Wharfedale offers optional speaker stands that are specifically designed to complement the Aura 2 speakers. These stands not only enhance the overall look but also optimize speaker placement for improved sound dispersion.
  8. Sensitivity and Impedance: With a sensitivity rating of 86dB, the Aura 2 is reasonably efficient, allowing it to work well with a wide range of amplifiers. Additionally, its nominal impedance of 6 ohms makes it compatible with most amplifiers, reducing the need for specialized equipment.

In conclusion, the Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker prioritizes usability alongside its exceptional sound quality and design. Its thoughtful design features, placement flexibility, and compatibility guidelines ensure that users can seamlessly integrate these speakers into their audio systems while enjoying a hassle-free and immersive listening experience. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a casual music lover, the Aura 2’s user-friendly characteristics make it a valuable addition to your home audio setup.

Functions of the Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker

The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker is designed to deliver exceptional audio performance while offering a range of functions that enhance its usability and versatility. Here’s a detailed look at its key functions:

  1. High-Resolution Audio: The Aura 2 is engineered to reproduce high-resolution audio with precision and clarity. It is capable of faithfully reproducing a wide range of frequencies, ensuring that you can enjoy the full detail and nuance of your music, whether it’s classical orchestral compositions or modern electronic tracks.
  2. Three-Way Design: This bookshelf speaker employs a three-way design, featuring separate drivers for bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. This design allows each driver to specialize in its dedicated frequency range, resulting in a more accurate and balanced soundstage.
  3. Air Motion Transformer (AMT) Tweeter: One of the standout features of the Aura 2 is its AMT tweeter. The AMT technology, known for its efficiency and precision, delivers clear and articulate high-frequency reproduction. It offers a less sharp and gentler sound signature, making it well-suited for extended listening sessions.
  4. Bass Reflex Port: The speaker incorporates a rear-firing bass reflex port. This port design enhances the low-frequency response and provides deeper bass extension. It also allows for flexible speaker placement, as it radiates sound to the sides rather than towards the rear.
  5. Bi-Wiring Connections: The Aura 2 features bi-wiring connections, which offer users the flexibility to experiment with different wiring configurations. This can help fine-tune the speaker’s performance to match your listening preferences and room acoustics. Additionally, it comes with bridge cables for simplified setup.
  6. Recommended Amplifier Range: Wharfedale provides a recommended amplifier power range of 25 to 150 watts for the Aura 2. This information assists users in selecting amplifiers that can effectively drive the speakers, ensuring optimal performance without overloading or underpowering them.
  7. Magnetic Front Covers: The speaker includes magnetic front covers that not only serve as an aesthetic addition but also protect the speaker’s drivers from dust and potential damage. These covers attach securely and can be easily removed for maintenance or to reveal the speaker’s drivers.
  8. Optional Speaker Stands: Wharfedale offers optional speaker stands that are designed to complement the Aura 2 speakers. These stands not only enhance the visual appeal but also provide ideal positioning for improved sound dispersion and imaging.
  9. Stylish Design: Beyond its acoustic functions, the Aura 2 boasts an elegant and seamless design with a walnut high-gloss finish. This aesthetic appeal allows the speaker to blend effortlessly into various room decors while adding a touch of sophistication.
  10. Sensitivity and Impedance: The speaker’s sensitivity rating of 86dB makes it reasonably efficient, ensuring that it can produce ample sound even with a range of amplifiers. Its nominal impedance of 6 ohms offers compatibility with a broad spectrum of amplifiers, making it accessible to a wide audience.

In summary, the Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker combines advanced audio technology with user-friendly functions. Its three-way design, AMT tweeter, and flexible wiring options provide audiophiles with a versatile audio solution. The inclusion of magnetic front covers, recommended amplifier guidelines, and optional stands further enhance its functionality and usability. Whether you’re a discerning audiophile or a casual listener, the Aura 2’s comprehensive set of functions ensures an enjoyable and adaptable listening experience.

Sonic Brilliance

The Aura 2’s acoustic performance is nothing short of remarkable. It captivates listeners with its ability to reproduce sound with exquisite precision. Whether it’s the crystal-clear highs of the AMT tweeter or the finely detailed midrange, the Aura 2 excels at showcasing the subtleties in music. It offers a harmonious balance, delivering vocals with incredible presence and rendering instruments with lifelike realism. The bass reflex design, with a side-firing port, adds depth and richness to the low frequencies. While ultra-deep bass sounds are not fully realized due to the compact design, the overall performance remains dynamic, lively, and coherent.

Sound Quality of the Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker

The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker is engineered to deliver an exceptional sound quality experience. Its design and components work in harmony to reproduce audio with precision, clarity, and a balanced tonal character. Here’s a detailed exploration of the sound quality and the results of a sound test:

  1. High-Fidelity Audio: The Aura 2 bookshelf speaker excels in producing high-fidelity audio. Its three-way design, featuring dedicated drivers for bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, ensures that each element of your music is faithfully reproduced. This leads to a well-rounded and immersive soundstage.
  2. Air Motion Transformer (AMT) Tweeter: Including the AMT tweeter is a standout feature. AMT technology is known for its efficiency and accuracy in reproducing high-frequency sounds. In the case of the Aura 2, the AMT tweeter offers a clear and articulate high-end without excessive sharpness. It balances detail and smoothness, making it suitable for extended listening sessions.
  3. Bass Response: The rear-firing bass reflex port enhances the speaker’s bass response. This design choice results in deep and impactful bass extension. During sound tests, the Aura 2 demonstrated its ability to reproduce low-frequency notes with authority, adding depth to music genres like electronic, jazz, and orchestral compositions.
  4. Midrange Clarity: With its elegant and natural vibration characteristics, the midrange driver contributes to clear and detailed midrange frequencies. This is particularly important for reproducing vocals, acoustic instruments, and the core elements of many musical genres. The Aura 2 excels in rendering the subtleties and textures of midrange tones.
  5. Dynamic Range: The speaker’s dynamic range is impressive, with the woofers delivering a lively and powerful performance. It can handle soft, intricate passages and dynamic, high-energy music sections with finesse. The drivers work seamlessly together to maintain a consistent and engaging listening experience.
  6. Precise Imaging: The Aura 2’s coordination of its drivers results in precise imaging and soundstage presentation. Instruments and vocals are accurately positioned within the stereo field, creating a three-dimensional sonic environment. This contributes to a sense of realism and immersion.
  7. Tonally Balanced: Overall, the Aura 2 presents a tonally balanced sound signature. While it offers exceptional detail and resolution, it also maintains a degree of warmth and musicality. This balance makes it suitable for various musical genres and listening preferences.
  8. Vocal Rendering: The speaker excels in vocal rendering, capturing the nuances and characteristics of singers’ voices. Whether it’s the emotive quality of a blues singer or the clarity of a classical soprano, the Aura 2 handles vocals with precision and naturalness.

The Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker consistently delivered a highly satisfying audio performance during sound tests. It showcased its ability to handle various musical genres and demonstrated its versatility, making it an attractive choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts. Its refined sound quality, well-defined imaging, and balanced tonal character provide an enjoyable and engaging listening experience, making it an excellent addition to any sound system.

The Wharfedale Aura 2’s sound quality is marked by its precision, clarity, and versatility. It is a compelling choice for discerning listeners seeking a bookshelf speaker that excels across a wide spectrum of music genres.

A Well-Rounded Musical Experience

Listening to a variety of tracks reveals the Aura 2’s impressive versatility. From electronic compositions to acoustic renditions, the speaker easily handles different musical genres. It excels at reproducing vocals, capturing the nuances and texture of singers’ voices. The harmonious coordination of the speaker’s drivers ensures that nothing is overlooked, providing a listening experience that is clear, detailed, and immersive. The speaker’s neutral tuning, perhaps with a slight warmth, complements a wide range of musical preferences.


Wharfedale’s Aura 2 is a testament to the brand’s commitment to audio excellence. This compact three-way speaker offers a compelling combination of elegant design and outstanding sound quality. With its harmonious driver coordination, meticulous construction, and ability to reproduce high frequencies with brilliance, the Aura 2 stands out in its price range. Its versatile performance and visually appealing walnut finish showcase Wharfedale’s dedication to delivering a superior auditory experience.

Reasons to Buy the Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker:

  1. Superb Sound Quality: The Wharfedale Aura 2 offers outstanding sound quality with precise imaging, a balanced tonal character, and an impressive dynamic range. It reproduces vocals, instruments, and various music genres with clarity and finesse.
  2. Air Motion Transformer (AMT) Tweeter: The tweeter technology ensures clear and articulate high-frequency reproduction without excessive sharpness. It balances detail and smoothness, making it suitable for extended listening sessions.
  3. Three-Way Design: With dedicated drivers for bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, this speaker delivers a well-rounded and immersive soundstage. It’s capable of handling complex musical arrangements and intricate details.
  4. High-Quality Build: The Aura 2 features a solid, stylish construction with a sleek walnut finish. It’s designed to not only sound great but also enhance the aesthetics of your listening space.
  5. Precise Imaging: The coordination of drivers results in precise imaging and soundstage presentation. It creates a three-dimensional sonic environment, contributing to a sense of realism and immersion.
  6. Versatility: This speaker’s tonal balance suits various musical genres and listening preferences. Whether you enjoy classical, jazz, rock, or electronic music, the Aura 2 can handle them.
  7. Dynamic Performance: The speaker’s dynamic range is impressive, allowing it to handle both subtle, soft passages and dynamic, high-energy sections of music with finesse.
  8. Bass Reflex Port: The rear-firing bass reflex port enhances bass response, delivering deep and impactful low frequencies. It adds depth and excitement to your music.

Reasons Not to Buy the Wharfedale Aura 2 Bookshelf Speaker:

  1. Price: While the Aura 2 offers exceptional sound quality and build, it may be on the higher end of the price spectrum for some buyers. If you’re on a tight budget, more affordable options are available.
  2. Size: As a bookshelf speaker, the Aura 2 may not be suitable for a compact, space-saving audio solution. It requires dedicated shelf space or speaker stands.
  3. Ultra-Deep Bass: While the Aura 2 provides an impressive bass response, ultra-low frequencies may not be fully represented due to its compact design. You might consider adding a subwoofer if you seek extremely deep bass for genres like EDM or hip-hop.

In conclusion, the Wharfedale Aura 2 bookshelf speaker is an excellent choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts who prioritize exceptional sound quality, precise imaging, and versatile performance. Its well-balanced tonal character, AMT tweeter, and dynamic range make it a compelling option for various musical genres. However, potential buyers should consider their budget, available space, and specific bass requirements when deciding. Overall, the Aura 2 delivers a rewarding listening experience and is a valuable addition to any sound system.

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