Wilson Audio AlexxV

A short visit to a dealer shop offered an unforgettable experience.

Over the years, I’ve heard Wilson Audio’s loudspeakers, smaller and bigger models, here and there, often together with VTL electronics but not only. However, those events have been public in nature, such as Hi-Fi Shows and other open demonstrations, never quiet peaceful situations where one could genuinely, with no stress or other disturbance, concentrate on the true qualities of the speaker in question. This time the demo event, arranged by the dealer called MR Hifi, didn’t take place at home either, but still in reasonably cosy home-like environment with no hassle, no background noise, no other people around, just music, the speakers and the electronics to go with.

As to the latter, the turntable was Bergmann’s flagship, 40 kg heavy air-suspended Galder with Bergmann’s best Odin tonearm carrying Soundsmith Paua MKII cartridge, and for CD’s Wadia S7i CD Player. The preamp/RIAA was provided by EAR Yoshino 912, and the raw power came from Bryston 600 watt 14B³ Cubed power amp driving the mighty 230 kg (per piece)/180 000 euro AlexxV loudspeaker, third speaker from the top in the Wilson Audio’s current catalogue. The Wilson Audio collection consists of eight floorstanding models plus two standmount speakers ranging from the 10 000 euro TuneTot to the greatest, the WAMM Master Chronosonic, one of the absolutely finest and most expensive loudspeaker in the world.

Wilson Audio AlexxV

The new AlexxV is only an inch deeper and an inch taller than the original Alexx from 2016, but is said to offer a completely new level of performance without significantly changing the sonic signature of the original Alexx. The drivers of AlexxV have been developed on the basis of the WAMM Master Chronosonic project. The low bass is reproduced by 26.7 cm and 31.8 cm woofers with an adjustable XLF reflex port. For the midrange, there are 14.6 cm and 17.8 cm drivers in their own rear-ported reflex cabinets, and treble frequencies are reproduced by a 2.54 cm silk dome in a sealed box. Thanks to the changes made to the crossover, the minimum impedance is now 2 ohms, and the sensitivity +1 dB higher (92dB @ 1W @ 1m @1kHz).

V and X material have been placed in strategic spots in the cabinet, such as the top of the woofer part, and the frame’s lattice brace, and to enhance the operation of Wilson Audio’s new Acoustic Diode sub-spikes. The vibration isolation of the MTM upper module is borrowed from the Chronosonic XVX. Just like with the WAMM Master Chronosonic, the skeletal’s open design allows for easy adjustability and practicality.

Listening impressions

Now, the listening session, pleasant as it was, was too short to make far-reaching conclusions. I did have my own ‘test’-CD’s with me, many of which I frequently use for checking peculiarities of the sound of a loudspeaker, but since this was not a review, I played them back in an unsystematic way, just enjoying the music as much as I could. And enjoy I did! As far as I can tell the sound of the system, and of the AlexxV in particular, possessed several grand qualities starting from the superb tonality and harmony of the sound, the temporal and spatial unity and homogeneity. However, I was especially impressed of how the AlexxV managed to be so authoritative without being the slightest intrusive or pushy, so effortless without being escaping, ie. how present and tangible all the material on the records was, even on relative low volume levels; and never on the face. A rare moment. AlexxV is one of the loudspeakers that needs no taming, no need to tell the speaker what to do: it knows it already. Given the fairly short listening distance, this was most easy-going and yet informative performance I’ve heard for a long long time. A brilliantly balanced whole!

Technical information:

Sensitivity: 92dB @ 1W @ 1m @1kHz
Nominal Impedance: 4 ohms / min 2.0 ohms @ 250 Hz
Min. amplifier power: 50 W per channel
Frequency response: 20Hz – 32kHz +/- 3 dB
Dimensions (W/H/D): 400 x 1610 x 680 mm
Weight: 227 kg/pc.

About Wilson Audio

Wilson Audio was founded by David A. Wilson (1944-2018) with his wife Sheryl Lee Wilson in 1974. Having studied chemistry and molecular biology, David A. Wilson became interested in sound reproduction early on, and especially in loudspeaker design. Before the decision to start his own business, David A. Wilson worked e.g. for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and as a product designer for Cutter Labs in Berkeley. From there, he is said to have absorbed the protocols and procedures of the scientific process, which he later applied to his passion: speaker design. David Wilson also had a short but respected career as an audio journalist, writing equipment reviews for e.g. for The Absolute Sound magazine. The family business is currently run by their son Daryl C. Wilson.

Wilson Audio quickly became known for its state-of-the-art loudspeakers built to exacting standards. At first, Wilson shocked the market with large and heavy modular speakers, where each element has its own housing, and with the exact positioning of the modules so that the sound reached the listener’s ears at the same time. Later, when the enclosures were made from different composite materials – Wilson audio’s trademark – the absolute rigidity and non-resonance of the cabinets got the main focus. It is thanks to his innovations in the speaker cabinet construction that David Wilson is still regarded among the most prominent loudspeaker designers of its generation.

Those who have followed the industry long enough will remember the first Wilson classics, such as the two-meter tall, two-frame WAMM (Wilson Audio Modular Monitor), which was in production from 1981 to 2003 and laid a solid foundation for the company’s future reputation. Also not should be forgotten the small monitor WATT (Wilson Audio Tiny Tot) from 1986 or the legendary and influential WATT/Puppy combo (1989 – 2011). Several versions of the seven-driver X-1 Grand SLAMM (Super Linear Adjustable Modular Monitor) speaker appeared between 1993 and 2006. Famous Wilsons in the 2000s have been eg. Sophia (2001 – 2016), Alexandria X-2 (2003 – 2014), Duette (2006 – 2020), Sasha W/P (2009 – 2018), Alexia (2012 – 2017), Sabrina (2015 – 2020) and Alexx (2016 – 2021).

Alongside AlexxV, Wilson Audio Sabrina X was also demoed, here in the company of Gradient Revolution R5 loudspeakers:

A 350-page book on the industrial history of Wilson Audio, The Wilson Way, is for sale, which tells the company’s origins and stages, as well as the joint story of its founders, Dave Wilson and Sheryl Lee Jamison. Wilson’s own label Wilson Audiophile Definitive Recordings released a total of 31 LPs and CDs between 1977 and 1995. Many of the records were recorded and mastered by David Wilson himself. Select titles are still available as high-resolution re-releases.

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