Stereophile's Products of 2023 Loudspeaker of the Year

Loudspeaker of the Year

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V
($67,500/pair; reviewed by Jason Victor Serinus in Vol.46 No.1 review)

Finalists (in alphabetical order)
Harbeth Super Hl5plus XD ($7995/pair, plus stands; reviewed by Ken Micallef in Vol.46 No.9 review)
KEF LS60 Wireless ($6999.99/pair; reviewed by Kal Rubinson in Vol.46 No.3 review)
Klipsch La Scala AL5 ($13,198/pair; reviewed by Alex Halberstadt in Vol.46 No.4 review)
MoFi Electronics Sourcepoint 10 ($3699/pair, plus stands; reviewed by John Atkinson in Vol.46 No.2 & Ken Micallef in Vol.46 No.6 review)
Raidho TD3.8 ($117,000/pair, reviewed by Rogier Van Bakel in Vol.46 No.8 review)
TAD CE1TX ($32,500/pair, plus stands; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.6 review)

It has long been said about loudspeakers that "a good big'un will always beat a good small'un." While the contenders for this category included both good big'uns and good small'uns, it should come as no surprise that the latest Wilson floorstander won this category. However, the Alexia V is not just a "good big'un": It demonstrates the Utah-based company's consistency of design philosophy. While the Alexia V resembles the earlier Alexias in featuring two enclosures with two reflex-loaded woofers in the lower cabinet and arrival-time adjustment for the upper tweeter/midrange module, it incorporates no fewer than 30 upgrades. The most significant of these are new drivers, strategic use of the new V-Material (a high-density phenolic-resin composite), improved capacitors, custom-made cables, improved connectors, a new spike system, new enclosure dimensions and characteristics, and a new, more accurate alignment mechanism.

Listening to a familiar recording of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, with Andris Nelsons conducting the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Jason Victor Serinus commented that the soundstage was wider and more convincing. "I heard more warmth on the solo violin and firmer, better-controlled low lines on the cello and double basses. I heard more detail and more nuanced dynamics, which further increased my appreciation of Nelsons's mastery and invited deeper involvement with the music. It was, to indulge in a cliché, as if I was hearing the recording for the first time."

His conclusion? "Assisted by first-rate amplification and source components, the Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V presented the entirety of the musical argument more completely and satisfyingly than its predecessor did. And its predecessor was very fine."

Notes on the vote
The TAD and Klipsch speakers, which came in second and third in the voting, are examples of opposed design approaches: The TAD is a thoroughly modern, direct-radiating, low-sensitivity standmount with a reflex-loaded coaxial drive unit, while the Klipsch is a variant of a decades-old, fully horn-loaded, high-sensitivity design.

The relatively affordable Harbeth, KEF, and MoFi speakers each got the same number of votes, falling slightly ahead of the expensive Raidho and slightly behind the Klipsch and TAD. Wilson's Alexia V outscored those two speakers by five votes and three votes, respectively, to take the top honors.