Stereophile's Products of 2009 2009 Loudspeaker of the Year
Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX Series 3 ($68,000/pair; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.9, September 2009 Review)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order)
Aerial Acoustics Model 5B ($2200/pair; reviewed by John Marks, Vol.32 No.6, June 2009 Review)
DeVore Fidelity Gibbon Nine ($6500/pair; reviewed by Art Dudley & Jim Austin, Vol.30 No.12 & Vol.32 No.5, December 2007 & May 2009 Review)
Dynaudio Sapphire ($16,500/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.32 No.1, January 2009 Review)
Hansen Prince V2 ($39,000/pair; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.32 No.3, March 2009 Review)
Harbeth M40.1 ($12,995/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.31 No.11, November 2008 Review)
PSB Imagine T ($2000/pair; reviewed by Sam Tellig & Kalman Rubinson, Vol.32 Nos.4 & 6, April & June 2009 Review)
Thiel CS3.7 ($12,900/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.31 No.12, December 2008 Review)
Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation ($20,995/pair; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.31 No.12, December 2008)
Verity Audio Sarastro II ($39,995/pair; reviewed by Fred Kaplan, Vol.32 No.4, April 2009 Review)
YG Acoustics Anat Reference II Professional ($107,000/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.32 No.3, March 2009 Review)
The latest iteration of Wilson's heralded MAXX loudspeaker edged out the bold and ambitious YG Acoustics Anat Reference to take the prize in this year's most fiercely contested race. And it was fierce: Though the Wilson and YGA were knotted with five first-place votes apiece, the Wilson earned more votes overall, for a convincing victory. "I guess this means the YG Acoustics Anat is not the world's best speaker, after all," declared Sam Tellig with his evil laugh. Heh-heh-heh. Well, not so fast, Sam. The YGA may still be the best loudspeaker in the world for some listeners, but it's clearly not the best for all. Other contenders with first-place nods were the Hansen Audio Prince V2 and Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation, which tied in votes cast, and our surprising third-place finisher, the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon Nine, an excellent all-around performer at an affordable price.
But this is the Wilson's show. The mighty MAXX 3 employs Wilson's Aspherical Group Delay technology, in which the tweeter and one midrange drive-unit are placed in a discrete adjustable cabinet, while the second midrange driver occupies another, separately adjustable cabinet. With its revised driver configuration and crossover network and its supremely dense, nonresonant enclosure, the MAXX 3 offered a mesmerizing, top-to-bottom wholeness that had Mikey Fremer fluttering with joy. John Atkinson and I, swept away by the speaker's effortless power and grace, felt the MAXX 3 produced the best sound we'd ever heard in Mikey's room. Mikey agreed, and the MAXX 3s won't be leaving his room anytime soon. He bought them.