I had the wonderful pleasure of listening for a full half hour (just me and my wife), in a wonderful acoustic treated room, what can only be described as probably the best stereo system money can buy, and arguably the best.
I'm by no means a seasoned audiophile or golden-ear and I must admit I was VERY skeptical that this huge ammount of money can bring a proportionate improvement in sound from what I heard in another listening room from a $ 50k Sonus Fabre Amati Futura / Avid TT system.
While the TT system I think rendered the piano and some instruments as they are, completely natural (I do play a grand piano almost daily), and problably for instrumental music is less fatiguing, everything else in the Wilson Audio / darTZeel was better and when the jazz band started playing my jaw dropped. All this time when I was reading JA reviews saying he can see the band and the stage frankly I thought it was just part of the "hi-fi slang" and nothing more.
Boy was I wrong....through this system I could tell instantly that the drummer was about 12feet very very slightly left. Give or take 1 feet...no more. That's how distinctive the illusion was. And no this wasn't a case of the left speaker playing louder....it was a 3D brain image telling me where the drummer was!! I was mesmerized and also sad that I couldn't afford it LOL Everything was perfect sublime, the bass, voices (could hear the individual breaths).
Also while in the TT based system the highs were just that...highs of high quality of course, out of the Wilson Audio system were just pure magic....so musical, so real, so textured.
Was it x8 times better? For me yes....if you can afford it DEFINETELY YES.
Consider me a believer now...and sad at home listening to my 2000 $ system LOL
I just ordered Diana Krall Sacd to ease the shock :D
- Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF $ 200k
- x2 darTZeel monoblocks about $ 140k
- Audio Research Reference CD9 cd/dac player about $ 14k
All sorts of HUGE power conditioners and thick-as-arm cables, connects, and ultimately state of the art racks.