Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia Series 2 loudspeaker Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I used DRA Labs' MLSSA system and a calibrated DPA 4006 microphone to measure the Wilson Alexia 2's frequency response in the farfield, and an Earthworks QTC-40 for the nearfield and spatially averaged room responses. Because of the speaker's weight, I was unable to raise it off the ground for the measurements, which reduced the resolution of the frequency-response graphs in the midrange. And as with the original Alexia, there was the problem of which axis to place the microphone on for the farfield measurements. I wanted to measure it at my standard 50" microphone distance, which is optimal for midrange resolution in the resultant graphs, even with the speaker sitting on the floor. So I drew a line from the tweeter to the position and 36" height of my ears, 128" away—the original Alexias had been closer, 106"—then moved the mike up along that line until it was 50" from the tweeter. Other than those used to assess the Alexia's vertical dispersion, all the farfield measurements were taken at that point.

My estimate of the Alexia 2's voltage sensitivity was a very high 91.2dB(B)/2.83V/m, which is higher than specified. This speaker will play loudly with just a few volts. However, while it is not quite as difficult a load as the original Alexia, which had a minimum impedance of 1.96 ohms at 86Hz and a combination of 3.6 ohms and –43° phase angle at 54Hz, the Alexia 2 is still a current-hungry design. Its impedance drops to 2.6 ohms at 84Hz (fig.1), and there is a demanding combination of 5.1 ohms and –44° electrical phase angle at 57Hz, both frequencies in regions where music can have high energy levels.


Fig.1 Wilson Alexia 2, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) (2 ohms/vertical div.).

The traces in fig.1 are free from the small wrinkles that would imply the presence of cabinet-wall resonances, and the enclosures were acoustically quiet. I found modes on the woofer enclosure walls just below 400 and 600Hz, but these were low in level. The midrange subenclosure was a little livelier, with two high-Q modes on the sidewalls and rear panel, at 590 and 870Hz. These were relatively low in level, however, and high enough in frequency that, given their high Q, they shouldn't be fully excited with music (as opposed to test tones). Peculiarly, the small module housing the tweeter was the liveliest; fortunately, this module is small enough that it won't couple this behavior to the air very efficiently.

The green trace in fig.2 shows the output of the midrange unit, measured in the nearfield. It appears to cross over to the sum of the woofer outputs (blue trace; these have almost identical responses) at around 200Hz. The sharply defined null at 23Hz in the woofers' nearfield response suggests that this is the tuning frequency of the large rear-facing port. The port's output (red trace) peaks broadly between 10 and 60Hz, and its upper-frequency rolloff is free from any resonance spikes.


Fig.2 Wilson Alexia 2, anechoic response on listening axis at 50", averaged across 30° horizontal window and corrected for microphone response, with nearfield responses of: midrange unit (green), woofers (blue), port (red), respectively plotted below 350Hz, 1kHz, 300Hz, and complex sum of nearfield responses plotted below 300Hz (black).

Higher in frequency in fig.2, the black trace below 300Hz shows the complex sum of the nearfield drive-unit outputs, taking into account both amplitude and phase. The broad peak in the midbass will be mostly due to the nearfield measurement technique, which assumes that the drive-units are mounted in a baffle that extends to infinity in both planes. Above 300Hz, the response, averaged across a 30° horizontal window centered on the listening axis, is very similar to that of the original Alexia, with small peaks throughout the upper midrange and treble balanced by small dips. However, while the new speaker, like the old, has a small suckout between 4 and 5kHz—which, I conjectured in my December 2013 review, was due to destructive interference between the tweeter's direct output and the reflections from the midrange enclosure—the Alexia 2 has about 2dB more energy above 6kHz than the older speaker. The two speakers' farfield responses matched very closely, any difference being 0.5dB or less throughout the treble.

The plot of the Alexia 2's lateral dispersion (fig.3) reveals that the tweeter becomes very directional above 12kHz, which might well make the speaker sound a bit lacking in top-octave air in large or overdamped rooms. The apparent off-axis peak between 4 and 5kHz in this graph is due to the on-axis suckout visible in fig.2 filling in to the speaker's sides. Overall, as with the original speaker, the Alexia 2's off-axis behavior is well controlled and even. In the vertical plane (fig.4), a suckout develops at the upper crossover frequency more than 10° above the listening axis, but the speaker's balance doesn't change by much over a ±5° window centered on the listening axis.


Fig.3 Wilson Alexia 2, lateral response family at 50", normalized to response on listening axis, from back to front: differences in response 90–5° off axis, reference response, differences in response 5–90° off axis.


Fig.4 Wilson Alexia 2, vertical response family at 50", normalized to response on listening axis, from back to front: differences in response 15–5° above axis, reference response, differences in response 5–10° below axis.

Fig.5 compares the spatially averaged response in my room of the new Alexias (red trace) with that of the originals fitted with the revised tweeter resistors (blue). (The traces were generated by averaging 20 1/6-octave–smoothed spectra, taken for the left and right speakers individually using SMUGSoftware's FuzzMeasure 3.0 program and a 96kHz sample rate, in a vertical rectangular grid 36" wide by 18" high and centered on the positions of my ears.) The two speakers again look to be very similar, but you can see that the older Alexias had more presence-region energy and a reduced top-octave output. The new speakers had a little less midbass energy, but excited the lowest-frequency mode in my room a bit more.


Fig.5 Wilson Alexia 2, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room (red); and of Wilson Alexia (blue).

The full-range, floorstanding speaker I most recently reviewed was GoldenEar Technology's Triton Reference, in January 2018. The Triton's in-room response, measured in the identical manner, is shown in fig.6 (blue trace). Above 300Hz, where the spatial averaging has minimized the influence of low-frequency room resonances, it is very close to that of the Alexia 2 (red trace), though with slightly more energy, both in the high treble between 8 and 16kHz, and in the midrange. Both speakers excite the lowest-frequency room mode to the same degree, but the GoldenEar also has a peak at the tuning frequency of its passive radiators. The Wilson has a greater output in the upper bass.


Fig.6 Wilson Alexia 2, spatially averaged, 1/6-octave response in JA's listening room (red); and of GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference (blue).

Turning to the time domain, the Alexia2's step response on its listening axis is shown in fig.7; it reveals that the tweeter is connected in positive acoustic polarity, the midrange driver in negative polarity, and both woofers in positive polarity (confirmed by their nearfield step responses, not shown). The slight discontinuity at 4ms suggests that the woofers' output would be better integrated with that of the midrange slightly below the axis on which I took the measurement. However, this would disturb the excellent integration of the midrange unit's and tweeter's outputs.


Fig.7 Wilson Alexia 2, step response on listening axis at 50" (5ms time window, 30kHz bandwidth).

The cumulative spectral-decay plot on this axis (fig.8) was very similar to that of the original Alexia. While looking not as clean as I expected from what I heard, it doesn't have the significant resonances at 3 and 6.4kHz that Keith Howard found in his measurements of the Alexia 2 published in the March 2018 issue of our sister magazine Hi-Fi News.


Fig.8 Wilson Alexia 2, cumulative spectral-decay plot on listening axis at 50" (0.15ms risetime).

Like its predecessor's, the Alexia 2's measured performance reveals some idiosyncrasies; but overall, there is nothing to contradict the very positive results of my auditioning.—John Atkinson

Wilson Audio Specialties
2233 Mountain Vista Lane
Provo, UT 84606
(801) 377-2233

Bogolu Haranath's picture

How much of the enjoyment is due to the beer, and how much of the enjoyment is due to the loudspeakers? ............

Anton's picture

Can't have one without the other!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

People in recovery, and those who have suffered at the hands of alcoholic parents and partners, as well as inebriated drivers, would disagree. No need for a discussion, please, but I do feel that the presumption that everyone thinks that joy and alcohol are inextricably linked must be challenged.

I already know that you understand where I'm coming from. Let's actually talk about the speaker, shall we?

ok's picture

..wine should be allowed into his ideal state on grounds of letting one being known for what one really is.

Anton's picture

Sadly, I do understand where you are coming from.

You forgot to mention people who get wine headaches, people with unfortunate tattoos, people who have barfed, people who lack alcohol dehydrogenase, etc.

Should I point out that this review may make a deaf person sad?

It's the modern snowflake world where everybody walks around hoping to find offense.

I look forward to your admonishment of JA for his conclusion and his footnote 1:

"But evening after evening, after taking the subway home from the office, I cracked open a beer—Dale's Pale Ale, or New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale, or Firestone-Walker Union Jack IPA, or Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, or even Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA from Flying Dog Brewery (footnote 1)—settled back in my listening chair, fired up my iPad, set the Roon app to its random-play Radio function, and let the Wilson Alexia Series 2s take me far, far away.

Blame my English son-in-law, Joe, for introducing me to Raging Bitch. It is the wonder of the craft-beer age that, here in Brooklyn, all of these great brews are stocked by our local corner grocery store."

I won't even try to imagine what the term "raging Bitch" that he used in his actual article may do to some people's delicate sensibilties!

Think of the people for whom "bitch" is a trigger word!

No need for a discussion, please, but I do feel that the presumption that everyone thinks that any mention of alcohol is a universal call to get loaded must be challenged.

Robin Landseadel's picture

And no one here to extole the virtues of 'ol' Grampa Larry, clearly an oversight.

But I digress.

My experience is that size matters, that my lowly Infinity Primus Floorstanders [5.1, models 360, 250 and change], boosted on stands, give a better impression of the scale of orchestral music than any of my smaller speakers. Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony is something tiny boxes cannot render simply because they are not moving enough air—a major reason why Magnapans and floorstanding electrostats image so beautifully. Knowing how well the little Wilsons image, I can only imagine.

Note to JA: Little Sumpin' Sumpin' from Lagunitas is Sumpin' you want.

spacehound's picture

I like a beer or two but have never had a problem with it. Nevertheless you make some worthwhile and valid points.

The speakers.
I own big dual concentric Tannoys on which improvement is not possible :-)
But Wilson does not have its tremendous reputation for nothing.

Anton's picture

Sadly, out of my budget, but have fallen in love every time I get to hear them.

You are dead right - enjoying a beer does not mean one is endorsing or promoting drunkenness.

I have enjoyed certain reviewers' descriptions of their dogs in the past, but admit it never dawned on me to feign concern for people who have been traumatized in dog attacks, have allergies to dogs, or are phobic. I apologize for thoughtlessly standing by silently while some people have so carelessly promoted these potentially harmful beasts.

I also apologize for having tacitly condoned obesity and overeating by not complaining that Hi Fi Show coverage so frequently included pictures taken after the reviewers have shared a meal. It also does disservice to those who have struggled with bulimia, weight gain, oppose the presence of restaurants that serve animal derived dishes, etc.

volvic's picture

Lots of reviewers across the pond and yours truly, as well as my wife, like a little wine or beer when at a JLCO show, or enjoying Robert Plant or even a little champagne during intermission at the Met. While I normally don't when listening at home, I do believe that a little libation to the musical god's during a listening session at home or at a concert is perfectly appropriate. I am not sure I get the main thrust of your statement, only that I do find it a little too preachy for these pages and think there are plenty shades of grey when discussing such adult issues. BTW, read JA's review yesterday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed his insights into the speakers as well as what Brooklyn has to offer, so excuse me in advance if there is some nuance I have missed.

christophervalle's picture

...snowflake label. It was an innocent comment, and totally consistent with the baby-boomer culture of audiophiles. If you call my comment stupid, I’m going to release the ARC on you. If you call it insensitive, the Stoicism Society will show up at your door.

This world isn’t safe for the hyper-sensitive or whiny crybabies. For you, that’s a lose-lose. I’m listening to Velvet Undergound right now so please shut up. Hey, I said please.

Indydan's picture

Overly sensitive social justice warrior. Eye roll...

Relax a little. Stop walking around looking for injustices and breathe in through the nose.

prerich45's picture

Excellent post Jason! Agreed!

dalethorn's picture

I remember a time when I lived that way - it was fun socially, but hard on my body and other things. I'm lucky to be here, but I didn't seriously consider being here then, as I was totally focused on the fun. I'd be a hypocrite to criticize others who are enjoying their social time and abusing themselves in whatever way, and yet I believe that I owe them the same warnings and post-addiction support that I drew on when my fun ended.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Speaking about alcohol, did anybody see (recent incident) pictures of a lady, who got her head stuck in a tail-pipe, who was intoxicated? ...........

Anton's picture

I've known audiophiles that had that happen with their own sigmoid colon!

georgehifi's picture

JA? or does anyone know how to calculate out the combined impedance and -phase angle to give the "real impedance" at that frequency that the amp will see?
As HiFi News's Keith Howard was able to work it out with the Alexia mkI at those frequencies the combined impedance/-phase angle (EPDR) was a load of just .9ohm!!!. And it looks to have less -phase angle than the MkII has in this review.



Cheers George

SpeakerScott's picture

The real portion is calculated by multiplying the magnitude and the cosine of the phase angle.

The reactive portion is calculated by multiplying the magnitude and the sine of the phase angle.

georgehifi's picture

Don't suppose there's an on line calculator for this Scott?

Cheers George

JRT's picture

There is a scientific calculator built into the Google search functions. Follow the link. Play with the calculator to get used to using it.


Alternatively, if you are using a smart-phone, then consider downloading an emulator for the classic HP48 calculator, and learn to utilize RPN, Reverse Polish Notation.


Ortofan's picture

... the "enclosures were acoustically quiet", where is the plot of the accelerometer output?
Nearly $60K and still using paper cones?
Why isn't the frequency response as uniform as that for a much less expensive KEF Blade or Reference 5?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Remember that old saying "a sucker is born every minute"? ..............

christophervalle's picture

...what qualifies as paper. A certain percentage of wood pulp? I listened to the Alexia 2 and while it is impressive, it felt more like a documentary of the recording and less like the music. That’s been my trouble with Wilson Audio speakers right along. They’re like a lab instrument vs a musical instrument.

tonykaz's picture

It's the highest compliment I ever heard anyone pay to any Product.

It would be meaningless ( Marketing ) nonsense if John Atkinson didn't actually : "mean what he says"
and/or "say what he means"!

But, we all know that our JA is speaking his Truth!

My Truth is that I'll be content & delighted when I discover a Loudspeaker that performs & sounds as good as my various Sennheiser Headphones.

I'm applauding John Atkinson for hearing everything ( since the 1970s ) and realizing these Wilson Loudspeakers are what he's been looking for.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I didn't check to discover JA's support gear for Wilsons, I'll guess that it's substantially pricy.

ps.2) my retirement rig will fit into a Shirt Pocket! but might include a few large pieces from PS Audio.

georgehifi's picture

I hear ya JA they are very good, I heard these last November for a whole day trying different things, this is what I though of them compared to the MkI which he had also.

Cheers George

Ali's picture


Ortofan's picture

... Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Classic 2 amp, you'll have no trouble driving the Alexia 2 speakers.

papermill55's picture

As my enthusiasm for the "audiophile" wanes - cue Wilson Audio/Stereophile - comes ANOTHER review of the latest and greatest (per John), yet another Wilson ubiquitous model update.
I've heard several (over 10 at least) Wilson speakers through the years including factory representative demonstrations. And they inevitably highlight their ability to play loud with no distortion. Really? That's it? Otherwise, as much as a professional reviewer might pontificate, in my mind, Wilsons are the antithesis of a musical presentation.

No doubt, all the audiophile boxes can be checked. But it just goes to demonstrate that reviewers aesthetics and egos need to be evaluated and accounted for when reading these glowing evaluations. One man's food,... another's poison.

It just seems unfortunate, with the multitude of SOTA speakers available, that we get the same manufacturer, cover, precious ink and page counts as a company that just does not seem to get it right and needs to frequently update/fix their lineup. (and with their well-documented research/manufacturing prowess, no less). I suppose the editorial staff have determined Wilson Speakers on the cover sells magazines. But frankly, I would hazard a guess that newsstand purchases are a tiny percentage of overall distribution.

The conclusion I might draw from John's review is that Wilson has developed another speaker which forwards the Wilson Family sound.

(by the way, my comments have nothing related to cost- the best rigs I've heard, upward to $500K can, and do, sound unbelievably stunning while justifying their price)

BillK's picture

If you're talking about the Wilson of old, perhaps a decade ago, I would agree.

However Wilson sound, at least to me, made a distinct change around the time they introduced the original Sasha. Since then their speakers have sounded very musical to me. The original Alexia, and now the Alexia Series Two, are perfect examples of speakers that sound wonderful and yet when it changes are made and a new revision is introduced, it really does improve on the sound of the older model.

papermill55's picture

My reaction to the EVER-improving Wilson line and subsequent extended press reviews does not preclude that improvements surely are possible.
In fact, I heard the "yvette" at a Wilson sponsored event and (admittedly) was quite impressed by it's performance. Well done Wilson! Please forgive my lack of audiophile jargon, but these speakers, powered by Audio Research were quite wonderful and allowed me to be emotionally attached to the music. The others, including the Alexandria, although impressive in scale, lacked - to my sensibilities, a musicality, which I'm surely quick to admit, may check all the audiophile boxes.
Nevertheless, the love affair the audio press (Stereophile) has with Wilson is, noticeably excessive.

PeterMusic's picture

Wilson gets the ink because they produce a line of extraordinary speakers. Your complaint sounds like sour grapes, similar to the guys who carp to Car ad Driver about too many BMWs. Instead of complaining about what virtually all would agree is one of the very best speaker companies, you should move the conversation forward by asking for reviews on speakers that are overlooked, or at least pointing out musical flaws in Wilsons.

papermill55's picture

Evidently, I didn't make myself clear.

Does Wilson manufacture a line of speakers that inspire glowing reviews? Obviously.

No. No sour grapes. If you are referring to the acquisition cost of high priced speakers, or cars for that matter, I freely celebrate audiophiles who have the means and the passion to listen to music at the highest quality sonic levels. ("carping" might be a bit offensive - as I am, and have been an owner of BMW, MB and Audi - a German car thing..) My audio system is a BMW equivalent.

I might differ with your summation that "virtually all" audiophiles think that Wilson makes the best speakers...
There are many that acknowledge Wilson Audio is a fine company, dedicated to manufacturing the best that their technology and "ear" can develop. The attractiveness of the "family sound" of Wilson line of speakers can certainly be subjectively debated by audiophiles who are way more capable than me, but doesn't exclude me.

But, in my granted, unique perspective, I've found Wilsons to lack an emotional communicative nature.
As stated, they check all the audiophile boxes, that I'm sure, you can enumerate, acknowledge and praise.
But to my ears, my sensibilities, they lack a musical communication to the artist. Yes, I'm one of those dreaded "subjectivists"!


How about some other speaker reviews!

Having gone to AXPONA for the last 5 years, I've had the great pleasure of hearing some really fine speakers that accomplished the elusive "musicality" I refer to. And doing an informal search on Stereophile, I looked for FULL blown reviews, (not news "reports") of some speakers that would be deserving. If I've missed something, please, let me know: (I'd love to read about them)
Classic Audio
audio physic


PeterMusic's picture

I did not say Wilson makes "the best speakers", only that they make "extraordinary" speakers. But I think we agree on the rest. I concur that they lack "emotion", at least at the low end. I fell in love with a pair of Sabrinas' ability to deliver soaring vocals, but was then disappointed with their bass on rock and R&B, so did not buy them. (Maybe they need a sub?) I would also enjoy full reviews of the speakers you list, and I don't care much for press releases. Cheers

es347's picture

..is missing from your list...Von Schweikert Audio


Bogolu Haranath's picture

There are several full range, floor standing "class A" loudspeakers mentioned in the Stereophile recommended components lists, which cost 1/2 to 1/3 of these Wilson speakers .......... So ...........

ok's picture

..save for the original watt/puppy –boomy but fun!– I always found Wilson speakers (mostly listened to at audio shows with highly regarded –well, not by me– electronics) consistently unremarkable. My observation is also unremarkable, not only due to the fact that it consists a commonplace between many an audiophile, but also because I always found most high-end gear consistently unremarkable. I tend to believe that in many a case the review is far more interesting and amusing than the actual thing itself. Alcohol is the ultimate tweak in the sense of releasing tons of pure placebo effect that you otherwise have to pay big time for and with no satisfaction guarantee whatsoever.

ok's picture

..dear Jason’s comment, though utterly out of context, admittedly nails down some valid points – but his hypersensitive manner strikes me as, well, not overly sober :-)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

JVS makes some valid points ........ We are talking about drinking alcohol for "enjoyment" in moderation, of course .......... Not "alcohol abuse" ........ As they say "drink responsibly" .............

dalethorn's picture

I have this saying, which was adopted by one of the APICS gurus a few years ago: "If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth opening the bottle." -- Call it satire, sarcasm, or cynicism, but know that there are respected performance artists who push their bodies to the limit - suffering injuries or worse, in the pursuit of art. In our case, we don't have to push as far or spend as much, and we don't have to face a critical audience as long as we don't drive drunk or commit domestic violence.

ok's picture

Tom Waits' "reality is for people who can't face drugs"!

dalethorn's picture

I didn't remember the original quote, but I got a t-shirt with that inscription in Kent just before we drove to SoCal to live in January '81. The first thing I wanted to do when we got there was take a walk down Hollywood Blvd. I had the shirt on, walking on the sidewalk with my wife between Highland and Vine, and a guy reached out of an alley and grabbed my arm and said "Wanna buy some drugs?"

That actually happened, and I didn't stop to chat. Those were the days before they built the mall and cleaned up the area some. It wasn't a safe area at that time.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

So, next time when JVS recommends a recording, am I allowed to enjoy the music with a "Raging B****" beer or not? ..........

christophervalle's picture

Interesting that he seems to insist on the final word, yet his snow-flaky whine produced the opposite affect. Have we learnt anything?

Bogolu Haranath's picture

We have learned that snow-flakes only drink "Kool-Aid" :-) ............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Look at it this way .......... For the price of "Stormy" one can get two pairs of these Wilson speakers and still have enough money left over for a lot of beer ............

ok's picture

so much for the mute button and still defunct..

Axiom05's picture

So far there have been 32 comments posted but little related to the review or these speakers (I guess this is another one). Could it be due to the fact that products costing $60K are not really relevant to the readership? I'm not saying that people aren't buying high ticket products, as they clearly are, but are Stereophile readers buying them? I read this review but it really was just another tweeked Wilson product, not particularly enlightening. Seems the biggest change was a hefty price increase. Maybe these are great speakers but I'm not sure how many of us out here really care. BTW, I always like to read JA's measurements. I find the measurement section more interesting than what a speaker that I will never buy sounds like.

dalethorn's picture

I sometimes buy hi-fi gear that is well outside of my normal budget, because to me it's fundamentally different from other pricy items. For me, having speakers that reproduce a good semblance of a live orchestra is an act of bringing the real thing into my home. It's not perfect yet, but we're getting closer.

OTOH, if I spent the money on a pricy car like the latest Corvette, I could have a few thrills with it, but could never replicate the sensation of performing on a drag strip or oval track. Not legally or safely anyway. There are a *lot* of people who can afford these, and do. And unlike a lot of things that civic leaders promise will trickle down to the average person, the technology that goes into advanced hi-fi designs does trickle down.

hifiluver's picture

Why do anechoic response curves differ so much from the in room one? If someone sold their kidney to buy a pair of these but later found out the bass was overpowering for their den will Wilson accept returns?

John Atkinson's picture
hifiluver wrote:
Why do anechoic response curves differ so much from the in room one?

As the name suggests, the in-room response includes the contribution from the room acoustics, especially below 300Hz, where the spatial averaging has not eliminated resonant modes.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Dave Thomas's picture

A further question about the measurements:

The review says the setup "20Hz warble only faintly audible", but the printed in-room response chart shows +5db at 20Hz. Shouldn't the warble tone have been booming loud in your room during setup?

I'm sure the measurements are correct. I much appreciate them and John's care in developing them. So I'm clearly misunderstanding one (or both!) of these measurements. Any explanation possible would be much appreciated.

Axiom05's picture

I hadn't thought about this before but now I am a bit confused. It is not easy to "hear" 20Hz, it is more something that you feel. JA, are you "listening" for distortion harmonics or are you actually trying to hear the 20Hz warble tone itself (I believe that the warble tones are 1/3-octave wide)? Or possibly, +5dB in-room is not loud enough to compensate for the ear's lack of sensitivity at that frequency.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

The sole purpose of my comment was to dispute the notion that you cannot enjoy music reproduction without imbibing alcohol. That's all. it was hardly a statement in support of prohibition. I'm delighted, however, that I've given so many people opportunities to speak their minds about a host of subjects.

If you feel that I need to be trashed for my comment, please consider me properly trashed. You may have even more opportunities to criticize when my Follow-up review, which compares Alexia 1 to Alexia 2, appears next month. Meanwhile, I would ask that we please refrain from the temptation to engage in ad hominem attacks, and move on to comments about the Alexia 2.

Thank you,

Ortofan's picture

... a pair of op-ed pieces on the topic of experiencing music reproduction with/without imbibing alcohol. Using the word "enjoy" already injects some bias into the debate. JVS would take the "negative/without" side while the "affirmative/with" side would be represented by Rafe Arnott.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

What about JA? .............

Ortofan's picture

... the impartial moderator.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Are any beer tasters, wine tasters or alcohol tasters allowed to attend the event? ............

ok's picture

Listening Under Influence that is, I gradually become insensitive to dbs – and also to other people’s sensitivity to dbs. This can be a problem in case of living in smallish downtown apartments, even though my wife and neighbors proved to be kinder than usual in this particular matter..

Axiom05's picture

Alcohol dulls the senses and I also find I cannot determine loudness/volume level as well after consuming alcohol. It doesn't seem to take very much either. I would never do any serious listening while drinking but each of us should do what makes us happy, life is too short.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

So, is JA's evaluation about the sound valid? .............

Axiom05's picture

I think you are taking his "beer" comments way out of context. There is a big difference between doing a serious detailed evaluation of a product and relaxing to some music at the end of the day. Setting Roon to random play and listening to music constitutes nothing more to me than just relaxing. If you have any doubt, find a dealer and listen for yourself, that is the only thing that really counts in the end.

Ali's picture

And then comparing Alexia 2 with Alex please! Mr. Fremer, are you around?

Ali's picture

Hello Jason, month has been passed and I still waiting for your promise of comparing Alexia 1 and 2. Regards.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Phew ........ That was a great relief .......... At least Steophile doesn't have to face a major lawsuit by the alcohol industry ........... The alcohol industry already has enough problems with possible tariffs to their exports ...........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ad hominem attacks? ......... It is more like ...... Rami al jamarat :-) ...........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

A follow-up review of Alexia2 with the Anthem integrated would be interesting (?) ...........

Bill Leebens's picture

This is the last major project/product from a guy who, like it or not, reshaped high end audio forever. Can we drop the side issues and look at what this means?

RIP, Dave Wilson. One of the most decent human beings I've ever met.

dalethorn's picture

There was an article, possibly in Audio magazine in the 1970's, asking several loudspeaker manufacturers which speakers would be best in various rooms sizes. I can't find the article now, but I do remember a few of the people they questioned opining that there were speakers best suited to certain rooms, i.e. large rooms large speakers etc.

I believe it was Roy Allison who, alone among the others stated that "A good speaker is a good speaker in an auditorium or a broom closet." Although I haven't owned any of Wilson's speakers, I do understand what they can deliver compared to smaller designs like the AR3a, the Advent, and others that Allison helped perfect back in the day. There's a surprising amount of competition for speakers in the Alexia 2's price range, but I'm guessing it will do very well against the others.

Ortofan's picture

... Dave's son Daryl.
There's a separate thread for paying one's respects to Dave Wilson:

Apologies for not being more impressed by a speaker that sports a retail price comparable to that of a Mercedes E-Class.
Again, asking almost $60K for a speaker with paper cones seems absurd and a more neutral frequency response can be had from KEF at a fraction of the price.

ok's picture

..are not a problem per se; there are so many ways of treating paper that render this generic term almost meaningless. What I really find irritating about Wilson speakers is the total lack of documentation concerning their (?) driver technology, which raises suspicions of the latter being rather unremarkable and leaning mostly on costumer's faith to the designer’s integrity and exclusive know-how. Had I ever been inclined to pay king size for a domestic loudspeaker, I would like to hear something more than "X-material cabinet" and "paper-cone driver" nonsensical equivocations.

Ortofan's picture

... newsletters by Bud Fried, going back to the early 1960s, wherein the weaknesses of paper speaker cones were already being identified.

dalethorn's picture

I had the FMI 80's, which were used as the center unit/box in the Fulton J-Modular system of the 1970's. The FMI-80 8-inch (or so) driver was paper-based, but to me it was amazingly neutral, although admittedly a little bland. I can't imagine that here, 40 years later, we can't make a paper cone speaker with sufficient doping to sound really good. But it would be good to know more about this.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

The AQ Night Owls (which you said you have) supposedly have paper cone drivers ............ I think HR mentioned this in his Stereophile review ...........

dalethorn's picture

How would those "cellulose fibre" diaphragms compare to the Alexis paper cones? All I can say for sure is I'm glad I'm not the PR guy or tech writer who has to defend these things. But more to the point:

I opted to use the default-installed pleather earpads on the NightOwl, and I didn't want to have to spend a lot more hours testing the fibrous earpads, since they would sound quite different as well as potentially introduce peaks and dips that would be difficult to EQ.

The NightOwl's accuracy of tone in most cases is better than 93 percent of the headphones I've tested, or at least equal to others in the USD $600-plus range. Unfortunately, as best I could EQ the thing in a reasonable amount of time, there's still a narrow and steep recess just below 2.5 khz, and an equally steep and narrow peak just below 4 khz.

So I'm not using the NightOwl now, and don't know if I ever will. BTW, I had no such issues with the NightHawk - a relatively simple EQ to correct for Skylar/AudioQuest's assertion of "correct bass/treble balance", and the sound was truly sublime.

dalethorn's picture

In other words, the NightOwl's "biocellulose" drivers resolve tones very well.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

As I understand it, "biocellulose" is derived from plants just like paper ............ Are they different in composition? ........ Let me know ......... The only way to know about Alexas is to find a dealer and listen to the speakers ...........

dalethorn's picture

As I understand it, "paper" comes from biocellulose material - i.e., trees. But most paper is chemically treated for its intended purpose, so any existing paper is quite different from its source (trees), even before AudioQuest gets their hands on it. Now I wouldn't second-guess AudioQuest on whether they re-engineer their "paper" to make it more biocellulose-ish and less like the "paper" that originated from biocellulose material in the first place. I think you can see where that goes.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

To add to the above .......... The 2 to 4 KHz region is where most of the multi-driver speakers have crossover between midrange and tweeter ............

dalethorn's picture

Some headphones - v-moda's for example - use multi-diaphragm drivers. Some headphones - Final Audio's Pandora VI and its replacements - use a single dynamic driver with a Balanced Armature driver. There are many different technologies that don't follow typical design thinking used for multiple dynamic drivers with crossovers. If you'll allow me a very modestly educated guess, I'd suggest that the NightOwl design was a mistake. The NightHawk held up fairly well in the marketplace despite reservations among real reviewers about its frequency balance, but the NightOwl went to deep discounts little more than a year after introduction.

Ortofan's picture

... paper cones can certainly be modified by the addition of doping. What material is used and how uniformly it is applied introduces more variables. Likewise, does it prevent, or sufficiently reduce, the effects of moisture on the cone?

This page has an excellent review of the pros and cons of various cone materials:

latinaudio's picture

It is also frustrating for me to read dozens of irrelevant comments related to the product evaluated, by the same old commentators, day after day, who talk about everything ... and at the end of nothing. Some appear in all articles, do not contribute anything and distract the reader of the product analyzed. You know who they are.
Ladies and gentlemen: it's about sound and its technology, quality, appearance, cost, new products ... it's Stereophile.

dalethorn's picture

I hope you take this response in a positive way, as I mean well. But, your comment added the same thing you were complaining about.

TommyTunes's picture

The fact that John said “How did Wilson's Alexia 2 compare with the original Alexia? Five years is too long to be sure of one's aural memory. Heck, under some circumstances, five minutes is too long! “ shows honesty. How many times I’ve read about improvements when the original has been long gone or where a reviewer forms an opinion after only hearing a component at a show.
As an owner of Alexia 1’s and now 2’s I feel that the upgrade is significant is it worth the cost well that’s up to the buyer to decide.

michaelhigh's picture

Moderation in everything, including moderation, is moderately important, as is all moderation, or al least a modicum of it. Take this post (and your music enjoyment) with a little Blue Dream, a single-malt, or a micro-brew, just don't get all preachy about what or what not to do! I'm not telling anyone what to smoke or drink (or not), it's no one's place to impose those opinions on anyone else! SHEESH!!! No more sore hineys on Stereophile, pleeze!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Taking about all the different aspects and components of audio production and reproduction is relevant. Even if we talk about "wax" in the ear canals, it is quite relevant ......... Loudspeakers are one of the many components in the audio chain (albeit a very important one) ........... We are not talking about "space force" here ...........

dalethorn's picture

This article is about the Alexia Series 2 speaker. All of those aspects you mentioned will be useful to the readers of this article if they are correlated to the Alexia speakers. Without that correlation, the comments become a huge chat-room discussion that serious audiophiles (who are interested in the Alexias) will avoid.

And it can get much worse. If the majority of articles that have lots of comments have the chat-room type problem I noted, then it could discourage serious audiophiles from participating. I may make off-topic posts that are in reply to other off-topic posts, but I'll try hard not to start one myself.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed ....... Some of the topics relevant to audio production and reproduction are appropriate for discussion, IMHO ........ We need not have to keep it too narrow to one model loudspeaker by one manufacturer ...... especially when that loudspeaker costs as much as a Mercedes E-class, like one of the readers mentioned .......... How many readers of this forum are willing to spend that kind of money, especially when many great sounding loudspeakers (many of which are reviewed in Stereophile) are available for lot less money? ........

dalethorn's picture

I for one really appreciate the criticism by readers who make those comparisons, with one caveat -- since the readers of this article about a $60k speaker either have enough money to buy it, or they're reading this for educational and entertainment reasons, I would expect their criticisms of the price to be based on facts rather than angst about not being able to afford it.

To clarify some, I have no doubt that the overall costs of making and selling and maintaining these speakers is high enough that when the balance sheet comes in, you'll see that the net profits are not making Wilson and Company extremely wealthy. If you want real wealth, you'll get into real estate or whatever, not speaker manufacturing as a very independent entity. I've seen too many companies that I thought were doing well get gutted, bled, and thrown away.

In the headphone world for example, I've seen real audiophiles like Grado company get harshly criticized for "using cheap parts and drivers for over-priced product", and I've seen non-audiophile vendors like Shinola get the same exact criticism. My experiences with both have been pretty good. I can't tell anyone what to say or not say, but I would like to see some realistic criticism, comparing (for example) the Alexia 2 to competitors, and if the alleged "equally good speaker" is half the cost of the Alexia 2, then why isn't the "equally good" speaker eating Wilson's lunch, and Alexia 2 boxes sitting around unsold?

If a very harsh critic supplies enough information with their criticism to tempt me to look up the other speaker, and if I like the deal I can recommend it to my comrades, that's helpful. But being purely negative isn't helpful, and just drives readers away.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Again agreed ......... So, it comes down to compromises ........ How much money someone wants to spend and how many compromises that person wants to make .......... Same thing for audio components, cars, real estate etc. etc ........... The top of the line Wilson WAMM costs more than 1/2 million ........ For that price one can buy a Rolls-Royce ......... Some people are buying those ......... More power to them ........

dalethorn's picture

BIG HUGE difference. The speakers will cost only at the purchase point. The Rolls just *begins* costing you at the purchase point. The speakers are a bargain!!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I am talking about Rolls without power windows, without auto transmission, without power steering, without umbrella, without panoramic sun roof with star-lights, without wine cooler, without leather reclining seats, without turbo charged V-12 engine ...........The base model ..........

dalethorn's picture

The "base" model needs insurance and maintenance. To keep it looking and performing as good as those speakers, you will need more additional money than most people spend on their entire audio systems.

dalethorn's picture

BTW, I used to rent the deluxe Rolls in Santa Barbara every few weekends or so, and I'd spend the day cruising the beach areas with wife in front and a couple of lipstick lesbians (models) in the back. With the top down and those red leather seats it made quite a splash. "There is nothing like a Rolls - nothing - not even a Bentley" (old Playboy quote).

Bogolu Haranath's picture

BTW, there is some very interesting discussion about amplifier power ratings and usefulness, under Bricasti amp review ...........

dalethorn's picture

I've read it. Generally I agree with the last post, but have maybe a small doubt. The AudioQuest DragonFly Red ($200 USD) and Black ($100) are very different products from the Bricasti, but they do drive fairly expensive headphones. I've tried (like pulling teeth) to get output specs on the DF's as to how many milliwatts they output into specific headphone impedances (they also can act as a Line Out, but that's a separate issue), but all I get back from Mejias and the other AQ guys is *volts*. Worse than that though is the claim that the Red outputs more volts and is more powerful than the Black yadda yadda yadda. In the real world though, the Black is at least 6 db more efficient than the Red. These are thumb-size DACs after all, so it shouldn't be that mysterious.

dalethorn's picture

The bottom line is, side-by-side comparisons work best.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I have AQ-DF Red ....... I only use it to drive my Westone W-60 in-ear model ....... The Red is not self powered and uses the battery power in my lap-top ......... Westone requires very little power ....... I use Chord Mojo and Hugo2 for other headphones because the Chords are self powered ..........

dalethorn's picture

I use the DF Red mostly as a DAC with an external headphone amp. When you switch between DACs, it must get confusing how each sounds different, unless you use only specific headphones with each one.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Yes ... I only use DF- Red for Westone ......... Chords sound great with my other headphones like Audezes and AQ Night Owl ............ You ought to try Chord Mojo with your Night Owls or Night Hawks .......... Mojo can do all resolutions including DSD (not MQA yet) ......... Mojo costs around $600 ............ I got it from Audio Advisor ...........

dalethorn's picture

I bought my NightOwl from Audio Advisor. I doubt that I'll ever use it again, unless I try the fabric pads and discover a smoother sound. I hear the Mojo is good for hotel listening and the like, but I think the DAC/amp combo is way overdone, probably because so many people are using smartphones with them. I never use a phone with any DAC, because of the phone's many channels of interference. When I listen I want everything on battery power, to isolate from the mains. If I get a new DAC to play MQA tracks, it would have to be a full decoder as well as renderer, because I will not likely ever use an MQA player.

dalethorn's picture

BTW-2, I didn't need to add comments on the Bricasti review, since the other guys had everything pretty well covered, and I don't use power amps anymore (integrated only). However, when first reading the review, I nearly choked (glad I didn't have a mouth full of coffee) when I read the negative details on that $18k power amp. I had to wonder who thought that would be a good idea? The amp can't be that bad, or at least it should never have been used the way it was in the review. Somewhere somehow there should have been a reality check before wrapping that thing up.

SpeakerScott's picture

"The Alexia is by a large margin the most time-domain correct loudspeaker in its category."

This drives me nuts...they are not even close to time-domain correct.

Doctor Fine's picture

I refuse to alter my setup while drunk because the changes made whilst intoxicated are mostly done to please my drunk self...
My system DOES improve by a factor of about double---once I am drunk.
It becomes much more "liquid."
And if I get an idea about something to do that has previously escaped me while sober---well in the words of "Rumpole of the Bailey":
"Well of course I figured out who murdered the bishop. But you don't suppose it came to me while SOBER---do you?"

Ali's picture

Thanks John for review, but its been long time that I don’t see any preamp in your “Associated equipments”. Why? Regards.

John Atkinson's picture
Ali wrote:
Thanks John for review . . .

You're welcome.

Ali wrote:
. . . but it's been long time that I don’t see any preamp in your “Associated equipments”. Why?

As the DACS I have been using recently have volume controls, I feed the outputs of the DAC straight into the power amplifiers.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

glamanna's picture

An IPA man and Wilsons. A man after my own heart.

It is now confirmed that you are a stereo reviewer whom I must follow and whose opinions I must listen to carefully.

steve59's picture

Since hearing Wilson at the last Chicago CES where they were demoing a single box solution that sounded amazing but I think never made it to market, it’s been clear the folk at Wilson care how their products sound. More than a few manufacturers could learn from Wilson how to demonstrate their product! I would drive myself nuts with so much adjustability, but the rest of you Enjoy.