Wilson–D'Agostino–dCS–Transparent

Over dinner one evening at the 2013 CES, I was being grilled by other magazine editors about my measurements of the Wilson Audio Specialties Alexandria XLF speaker that Michael Fremer reviewed in the January issue. In vain did I point to the XLF's superb in-room response; in vain did I emphasize that no one measurement fully describes a speaker's sound; in vain did I point out that the best way to integrate all the measurements was to listen to the thing. What I should have done was bid my peers to visit the dCS suite on one of the Mirage's penthouse floors where Wilson's Alexia loudspeaker ($48,500/pair), which incorporates much of the XLF's technology, was being demmed with Dan D'Agostino Momentum monoblocks and dCS's new Vivaldi digital system, wired up with Transparent Audio cables.

First Peter McGrath played me a live hi-rez recording of Mahler's Symphony 5, the one where the opening fanfare on solo trumpet is followed by an orchestral explosion. Then I played the hi-rez master of my 2008 recording of Cantus performing Eric Whitacre's "Lux Aurumque" (footnote 1). I wished my fellow editors had been there. Not only was the relationship between the sounds of the singers and musicians and the surrounding ambience of the recording venue breathtaking real, so was the relationship between the musicians and the music. I have played "Lux Aurumque" on dozens of systems—never have I heard it sound so real, so musically involving, as on this Wilson–D'Agostino–dCS–Transparent system. Wow! Just wow! As Peter said, "inargueably beautiful."


Footnote 1: You can hear an excerpt from this recording, although as a 256kbps MP3, at the foot of this page.
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COMMENTS
fy415's picture

From the measurements section of the XLF review:

" I had neglected to take my accelerometer and its preamp to Michael's, so I'm unable to offer my usual cumulative spectral-decay plots of the walls' vibrational behavior. "

Once again, our dear editor Mr. Atkinson doesn't provide the cabinet resonance measurements for a Wilson speaker. What is his reason this time?

Am I alone in thinking that this bad habit of not making the pertinent measurement gear available applies only to Wilson speakers?

"Neglect," indeed. Or is it something else?

 

 

John Atkinson's picture

Quote:
From the measurements section of the XLF review:

" I had neglected to take my accelerometer and its preamp to Michael's, so I'm unable to offer my usual cumulative spectral-decay plots of the walls' vibrational behavior. "

Once again, our dear editor Mr. Atkinson doesn't provide the cabinet resonance measurements for a Wilson speaker. What is his reason this time?

As I write, I had neglected to to take my accelerometer with me. The XLF, like the MAXX3, is so large and bulky that I have to pack up everything in my test lab and drive it to Michael's for the measurements. I forgot is all and please don't read anything more into the matter than that.


You can find my cabinet vibration measurements of the Wilson Sasha W/P at http://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-sasha-wp-loudspeaker-measurements and of the Wilson Sophia 3 at http://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-sophia-series-3-loudspeaker-measurements .

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

audiodoctornj's picture

Lets see $50k speakers,

              $75k electronics

              $125 front end

              $40K cables or more

 

           I would be shocked if for $300,000.00 this system wouldn't sound good, the real issue is this a realistic pairing of products? If I was going to spend that kind of money I would certaintly allocate it differently.

dlb's picture

I owned Wilson W/P 6's, a Krell FPB600, an ARC LS25MKII and a ML No. 39 CD player with Transparent Ultra cabling.  Cost was just shy of $50K msrp.  Reference level Wilson's and Levinson gear plus cables would bring it closer to $100K.  Today $300K get's you there and then some...maybe the price isn't so bad?  Whoever would spend $100k back then would surely go in for $300K today...no?

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