Wilson’s Big New Baby

It’s no surprise that the Wilson Audio rooms were buzzing. Both Sheryl Lee Wilson and her late husband Dave’s successor, son Daryl, were on hand to unveil, in passive display, the new Chronosonic XVX loudspeaker ($329,000/pair, seen to Daryl’s right). Shipping to dealers now—I hope to cover its Pacific Northwest unveiling in mid-November at Seattle’s Definitive Audio—the speaker is intended for music lovers who wish they could fit its big brother, the WAMM Master Chronosonic ($850,000/pair), in their listening spaces. (The speaker, with spikes, is close to Daryl’s 6’4” height.)

While the XVX builds on the WAMM Master Chronosonic (pictured on the left), which Dave considered his magnum opus, it also includes new Y material below some of its drivers and a new 7” Alnico QuadraMag midrange driver. That driver, originally codeveloped by Dave Wilson and Vern Credille, remained unfinished at the time of Dave’s death. The speaker also offers adjustable built-in lighting and a leveler for easier calibration. It is also available in a new pearl finish, as well as a range of colors that I find quite pleasing.

In the next room, master-engineer-cum-DJ Peter McGrath was alternating some of his priceless live recordings with other tracks designed to woo and wow. “These speakers always have a lifelike sound,” the man next to me whispered to his daughter as we heard Wilson’s Sasha DAW loudspeaker system ($37,900/pair), along with 2 Wilson Watch Dog passive subwoofers ($10,000 each) and a Watch stereo crossover controller ($4500), sing with VTL’s S-400 Series II 300-Watt stereo amplifier ($37,500 each) and TL-7.5 Series III preamplifier ($30,000). Not to be slighted were a dCS Vivaldi One DAC/transport ($79,998), Shunyata Audio power cabling and conditioning, and a Grand Prix Audio Monza 4-shelf equipment rack ($19,000—review coming).

The sound was warm, smooth, all-of-a-piece, and as musical as it gets. I felt cradled in warm embrace as I listened to McGrath’s quarter-century–old recording of clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and his Tashi Quartet perform the sublime Larghetto from Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. Tashi played as though they were a single living organism. If you're at the show (or near it), try to get to this room to hear this recording, which has been remastered with MQA. The transformation of four players into one is alchemy at its best.

Anton's picture

There’s some value added.

Does the light change to the music?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You guys are so tough.

Calibrating this speaker has been made easier by the inclusion of an adjustable light that illuminates the speaker's calibration mechanism. Wilson owners who have resorted to hold flashlights in their mouths or wearing head lamps - I've done both - in order to see their speakers' calibration markings know what I'm talking about.

Ortofan's picture

... to motorize the tracks on which the various sections of the speaker are mounted and then supply a microphone along with a test signal generator and processor unit that could calibrate the speakers automatically?

Anton's picture

That would be a cool feature!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

All those lights are provided because, they would prevent the Wilson customers from 'uncontrollably crying', while trying to maneuver all those modules into proper position :-) .......

jeffhenning's picture

I first saw the photos and write up for these disgusting behemoths on Analog Planet yesterday.

The link to to that thread is:

As stated in my one following post after being admonished: "Had I known that these frankensteined monkey coffins also function as an "electric torch", I'd have posted that they are worth every cent. If they also can open a can of beans, they are a bargain at twice the price."

Here is my original post:

Wow, another ridiculously priced, passive speaker with a ludicrous time alignment scheme from Wilson audio. Also, I'd bet that each speaker weighs in around 400lbs so that's absurd as well (I'm estimating from their Chronosonic monstrosity that this is based upon). I guess your house and listening room needs to accommodate a fork lift for installation.

Also, like the Chronosonic, the tweeter is over 2 feet higher than the average listening position so your sound stage is not ahead, but a good bit above your seat. Awesome!

I'm very skeptical that anything you can buy from Legacy Audio for around 20% the cost of these monstrosities is not just as good, but possibly better when you add their Wavelet processor. If I'm not mistaken, Legacy's most expensive speaker is around $75K. Also, even their heaviest speakers max out at 300lbs each.

So, buy some expensive Legacy's and then you'd have money left over to buy a loaded 2020 Corvette and give a huge chunk of change to a worthy charity and get a write off.

Wilson's speaker prices are even more incomprehensible when you consider that you can go to Madisound and see retail prices on all the drivers they use. When they say they use custom drivers, what they mean is that a few of the parameters were tweaked for the purposes of their design so they are not strictly off the shelf. SEAS has not developed totally new drivers from them that are thoroughly unique. They are about 95-98% stock drivers.

If you have to spend a few hundred grand on passive speakers, the Rockport Lyra is about as cutting edge as it gets for much less money. Marten and Vimberg are also incredible and much cheaper.

When you buy these speakers, you should also buy a $171K turntable so you can impress people about how adept you are at wasting the better portion of a half million dollars.

Finally, if you desire banana-colored speakers, I really don't want to know you. These things are grotesque to begin with. That color does not help.

JHL's picture

...is always descending on the audiophile and yet lands only in Objectivistville.

jmsent's picture

...these speakers do not use SEAS drivers. They are a combination of "custom" ScanSpeak and SB Acoustics drivers. There may be Focal in there as well...though not sure of that.

jeffhenning's picture

I was riffing and didn't do my due diligence. Anywho, they are all available at Madisound.

Custom drivers, my ass!

JHL's picture

Kit vendors rush to thank you, as does the audio world who to a man just re-pocketed ONE MILLION DOLLARS snagging speaker parts online. And the dreaded Ugly Banana Cabinet Cabal from Utah goes back to furiously stroking a small white kitty cat, its nefarious plans thwarted...

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Not banana ........ 'Yellow Submarine' or 'Mello Yello' or just 'Yello' :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Yes, the midrange drivers look like the famous ScanSpeak 'sliced paper cones' ......... See AnalogPlanet video :-) ........

Anton's picture

People, there is no way some podunk company like Scanspeak could have designed and built those drivers without an expert stepping in to help.

It's like thinking VPI could design and build a turntable without Shinola or Mark Levinson!

You gotta give proper credit to people who can step up and tell slackers like Scanspeak or SB Acoustics how to do it right.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed ....... Especially, those 'slices' on the cones appear to be custom designed :-) .......

JHL's picture

And who could possibly inform the audio world more than a guy in a comments thread handily reducing the most sophisticated speaker in the high end to a box of parts. I mean, even reviewers with 30 years under their belts can't do that.

ChrisS's picture

...either, Jeff.

You've stated your case.

Just leave.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Those things next to the VTL amps look like kegerators which can dispense cold home-brewed kombucha :-) ........

Indydan's picture

The ugliest speakers in the audio world.

DanGB's picture

You haven't been using Mr Google's useful service much. There are speakers out there that will put a much more serious hurt on your eyes.
http://www.milliondollarstereos.com/speakerlist.php website is good for a giggle. The website design is also enjoyably primitive.

Lorton's picture

The real problem is the press that does not call Wilson up on all this mega BS. Gotten used to JVS and MF Wilson’s hymns, but people like JA should know better. Their pseudoscience marketing nonsense keeps reaching new heights with every new model. It passed charlatanism long time ago. This kind of practices ridicule the entire industry and the poor audiophiles that buy into that.

daveyf's picture

"If sheep are out there, they need to be fleeced". Someone recently stated that to me from this industry...a telling/interesting comment IMO.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Those sheep may be going through kinda 'Stockholm syndrome' :-) .........

Ortofan's picture

... call out Wilson on the performance of their products.
See this review:

JHL's picture

The reviewer exposes his or her enormous, even fatal want of technical chops in the last page of that pseudo-review where there appears an utter technical misnomer. An embarrassing misstep. Speakers don't even remotely work that way, bub, and no credible reviewer - or astute reader - could possibly have not known it, much less hang a smear from it.

Yet again someone resorts to incompetence to support severe bias.

Glotz's picture

Just bless your soul for keeping positive and thinking of all the 'poor audiophiles' that don't work, read or listen well enough to know what Wilson speakers do!

What would WE do without all of you protecting us?!?

(Enjoy Stereophile's online services without the negative, blustering tripe?)

Lorton's picture

But it is hard, when the press are sheep as well :(

daveyf's picture

An interesting observation. Not all of them are sheep, IME,....but unfortunately it seems way too many are.:0(

Anton's picture

I wonder in which ways the lamp feature and circuitry will degrade the sound.

No fair claiming it doesn't make a difference, one of the most ironclad rules in "high end" is that everything makes a difference.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

It will 'lighten-up' the sound ....... So that, we can hear real deep into the sound-stage :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wonder whether they are portable, detachable, rechargable lights are not? ....... In that case no additional wiring is required by Nordost or Synergistic for those lights ......... Of course Tesla could supply the rechargeable batteries and fast charging ports in the customers' homes/condos/penthouses :-) ........