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    Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 | Three Years On

     


    I like to keep people updated on some my more major purchases and product selections. Many of us forgo other things in life, in favor of improving our enjoyment of music at home, through high end audio systems. These are important decisions for all of us, and I believe sharing my experience is helpful, hopefully enjoyable to read, or will even spark conversations about this wonderful hobby of ours. 

     

    I can't believe it has been nearly three years since I upgraded to Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2 loudspeakers, from the TAD Compact Reference One. That was a big change, as speakers are tools of the trade for me. I use them every day to do my job, listening to and evaluating audio components and technologies. A major change can throw me off for a bit, while I recalibrate my ears and reconsider opinions about items to which I've listened previously. In addition, I use speakers every day to enjoy my favorite music. Needless to say, listening music is a major part of my life. I feel very fortunate that I'm able to do what I love, for a career, and it has only increased my love of listening to music for pure enjoyment. 

     

    The fact that I use the Alexia Series 2 as both a "laboratory" tool and important part of my musical enjoyment, can bring up a false dichotomy often discussed in audiophile circles. How can a speaker do everything well? Isn't it a jack of all trades, master of none? After three years of listening to the Alexia in my own room, nearly every single day, for several hours, I can unequivocally say these speakers still amaze me with their ability to do everything right. I kind of feel sad for my fellow audiophiles who still think a loudspeaker must be one or the other, accurate or musical, enjoyable or analytical. It's time to get out of that misinformed mindset, and start listening. 

     

    Like many audiophiles, I occasionally long for the sound of some product I used to own back in the day. I'll never forget the sound of my Polk Audio LS70, my Klipsch KG 5.5, my MartinLogan ReQuest, or my B&W Nautilus 802. I owned them, in that order, starting the day after I graduated high school in June 1994 through 2004. When I think about it, that's a lot of speaker swapping in ten years. Perhaps my fond sonic memories of those products have more to do with other fond memories surrounding my life as a young adult without any responsibilities, than they do with the actual sound of the products. Why else would I have gone through so many speakers with such different technologies and sonic fingerprints? Something(s) was missing from my musical enjoyment, but as a young audiophile I couldn't put my finger on that something. 

     

    Fortunately, I get to taste just about every speaker on the market at trade shows, dealer events, or manufacturer visits. When I think about the sound of my old MartinLogan electrostats, I don't have to wait long for an opportunity to compare my memory of that sound, with the current MartinLogan sound, and my Alexia loudspeakers. There's no better place in the world to satisfy one's need to hear different speakers and technologies than the Munich High End show. This year, I spent quite a bit of time with every type of speaker imaginable. Active, passive, horn, electrostatic, ribbon, wood, metal, carbon fiber and more. I wasn't looking for a new pair of speakers, but I have to know what's out there and I like to get my fix of horns and e-stats. I use the term "fix" because there are some things these types of speakers do really uniquely, but for the most part I have little desire to go back to them. 

     

    I walked the entire Munich show for four days, and never once thought, my Alexia Series 2 speakers were lacking, falling behind others, or that I needed something different. Sure, I want the Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX from the Nagra room that I awarded best of show, but those speakers are too big for my room. It would look a little funny to have gabled dormers built into the sloped roof, so the XVX could stand tall in my listening room. It goes without saying, but must be said, the Alexia Series 2 are every bit as fantastic today, as the day Manny's Piano Movers brought them up the stairs to my listening room. Which, reminds me of the original Wilson WAMM speakers on active display at Axpona this year. I have no doubt those speakers sounded even more magical in 2022, with modern electronics, than they did in 1981. 

     

    In 2019 when I first fired up the Alexia Series 2 in my room, I had zero plans for a 7.1.4 immersive audio system. Now, the Alexias are the heart of this twelve channel system, while simultaneously remaining the heart, body, and soul of my two channel stereo system. I use the same main speakers for both systems, flipping a switch on the back of my Constellation Audio amps to go from immersive to stereo or vice versa. Given that most immersive audio mixes for music, either Dolby Atmos or Auro 3D, use the front right and left channels more than the surround speakers, it's still critical to embrace the laws of physics and employ the biggest speakers one can, in this position. In fact, I recently listened to Eddie Vedder's new solo release Earthling in Atmos, and was a little surprised to hear no audio coming from the center channel on some tracks. The main left and right were the only front speakers used for some reason. This isn't the norm, but does buttress the fact that the front left and right channels are the workhorses of any audio system, immersive or otherwise. 

     

    Installing my immersive 7.1.4 system also gave me another opportunity to measure the speakers in my room. I know, how boring can it get? These things are made for listening! That's partly why I put the measurement microphone away for years at a time. Every immersive system demands measurements and room correction because it's impossible to place every speaker equidistant from the listening position in a normal home. Anyway, in addition to sounding as stellar today as they did on day one, the Alexia Series 2 measured identically, three years later. Yes, it should measure identically, but "should" doesn't cut it when dealing with something as important to me as music reproduction. It was reassuring to see the objective data match my subjection impression, three years after initial installation. 

     


    Wrap Up

     

    Listening to music for pure enjoyment is one of life's luxuries. Listening to that same music as one's career, is something for which I am very grateful. Finding the right tools that enable both, at the highest levels of performance, isn't as hard as it may seem. There are endless options for every type of product available today. Speakers, DACs, cables, etc... with varying build qualities, construction materials, designs, etc... exist at every price point and every level of audio quality. The real challenge is to know yourself, rather than all those products. What's important to you, is the only thing that matters. 

     

    I found speakers in the Alexia Series 2, that I'd still purchase today, because they do absolutely everything right. And, Wilson Audio is a blue chip company that takes care of its customers, long after a purchase is made. These are the things that are important to me as a business owner, if you really want to call what I do "work," and as a person who has loved music and good sound since I brought The Wall to play for my second grade class in 1982. Sorry Mrs. Van DeWeigh, but the music and the sound quality on that album were worthy of playing for the class, despite the lyrics as you may have heard them :~)

     

     


     




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    1 minute ago, AudioDoctor said:

    "since I brought The Wall to play for my second grade class in 1982. Sorry Mrs. Van DeWeigh"

    haha, I bet the other kids loved it from the opening line though!

    They were surprised to say the least :~)

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    They (Wilson) are inching - glacially - towards a semblance of visual symbiosis with human habitats. As soon as they enclose those time-aligned drivers in a single 3D printed sheet of tastefully decorated X-material, I will audition them again. I agree with your assessment of the Wilson sound, which has grabbed my attention going all the back to the Watt / Puppy.

     

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    3 hours ago, all300b said:

    They (Wilson) are inching - glacially - towards a semblance of visual symbiosis with human habitats. As soon as they enclose those time-aligned drivers in a single 3D printed sheet of tastefully decorated X-material, I will audition them again. I agree with your assessment of the Wilson sound, which has grabbed my attention going all the back to the Watt / Puppy.

     

    Ha!  You might give a listen to TuneTots plus a subwoofer

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    You've reminded me it's been now 6 years with mine.  I also came to them from B&W 802s, but with fond memories of the Wilson sound from the 90s with WATT/Puppy Vs and a Krell.  The only thing I don't like, also having mine upstairs, is the thought of moving them with that surprisingly weighty bass enclosure.

     

    PS - I saw a YouTube where a dealer recommended replacing the resistors behind the rear glass panels every year, particularly after alot of high-volume playing.  First I'd heard that, but they've made it easy to do.

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    28 minutes ago, Darryl R said:

    PS - I saw a YouTube where a dealer recommended replacing the resistors behind the rear glass panels every year, particularly after alot of high-volume playing.  First I'd heard that, but they've made it easy to do.


    I know dealers who do this, but it isn’t something I’ve asked them or Wilson about. It is really easy to do, as you say. 
     

    I’m going to ask. Thanks for bringing this up. 

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    Just spoke with Wilson and they only recommend it if you listen loudly.  But for me, at 6 years, they thought it would be a good idea regardless.  Looks like I have some spares in the toolkit.

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    1 hour ago, Darryl R said:

    PS - I saw a YouTube where a dealer recommended replacing the resistors behind the rear glass panels every year, particularly after alot of high-volume playing.  First I'd heard that, but they've made it easy to do.

     

    oh boy, something else to fret about 😜

     

    I suggest you get a variety or resistors at different wattages and compositions to try; wire wound and non-inductive wire wound, carbon composition,  ceramic, metal film, and so on... how about Vishay metal film like Placette uses in their passive volume controls?

     

    here's a source for various audiophile approved resistors

     

    https://www.percyaudio.com/Catalog.pdf

     

     

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    On 6/28/2022 at 11:25 AM, bbosler said:

     

    oh boy, something else to fret about 😜

     

    I suggest you get a variety or resistors at different wattages and compositions to try; wire wound and non-inductive wire wound, carbon composition,  ceramic, metal film, and so on... how about Vishay metal film like Placette uses in their passive volume controls?

     

    here's a source for various audiophile approved resistors

     

    https://www.percyaudio.com/Catalog.pdf

     

     

     

    WIlson is very precise about their purpose, the options, and warns against experimenting here (as if they hadn't), and they were thoughtful enough to include another set of theirs.

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    On 6/29/2022 at 1:01 PM, Darryl R said:

    WIlson is very precise about their purpose, the options, and warns against experimenting here (as if they hadn't), and they were thoughtful enough to include another set of theirs.

     

    My response was a bit tongue in cheek, but then again, not really. If you are willing to try various speaker cables to "tune" the speakers to your liking, it seems reasonable to try various resistors. It certainly can't hurt anything. 

     

    I would expect Wilson to declare they supplied the best resistor. If not, how could you trust that they supplied the best of everything for the task at hand? That said, I once had a set of Witts that was wired internally with Monster cable. Maybe it was the perfect wire for the job, but it did make me wonder.

     

     

     

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    2 hours ago, bbosler said:

     

    My response was a bit tongue in cheek, but then again, not really. If you are willing to try various speaker cables to "tune" the speakers to your liking, it seems reasonable to try various resistors. It certainly can't hurt anything. 

     

    I would expect Wilson to declare they supplied the best resistor. If not, how could you trust that they supplied the best of everything for the task at hand? That said, I once had a set of Witts that was wired internally with Monster cable. Maybe it was the perfect wire for the job, but it did make me wonder.

     

     

     

     

    And after that maybe head out to your garage to tweak the suspension on your BMW....Your chances of improving on the original are about the same

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    43 minutes ago, PeterG said:

    And after that maybe head out to your garage to tweak the suspension on your BMW....Your chances of improving on the original are about the same

     

    actually, there are many high-performance shops that do just that. They take a stock BMW or Mercedes or whatever and elevate it to the next level. Same idea with audio. Everything is built to a price point and tuned to what one person or small team of people believe to be the best they can do at that price point, so the idea that what comes stock can't be improved upon is just wrong. Nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved. 

     

    and I'll leave it at that

     

     

     

     

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    1 hour ago, bbosler said:

     

    actually, there are many high-performance shops that do just that. They take a stock BMW or Mercedes or whatever and elevate it to the next level. Same idea with audio. Everything is built to a price point and tuned to what one person or small team of people believe to be the best they can do at that price point, so the idea that what comes stock can't be improved upon is just wrong. Nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved. 

     

    and I'll leave it at that

     

     

     

     

    Yes, there are many tuners who work on BMW, Mercedes, etc.  They generally lower/stiffen the suspension, allowing for faster cornering, track times, etc.  But two problems here.  First, these shops are professionals, the vast majority of AS readers are not.  Second, a stiffer suspension, like a brighter tweeter or bigger bass, is not necessarily an improvement overall. 

     

    So if you're going to devote years of professional time, and aim to improve one specific aspect of performance while consciously sacrificing others, then you may be able to "improve" on BMW or Wilson.  Other than that, maybe a little humility is in order

     

     

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    Humility? 

     

    so now you want to make it personal?

     

    good day

     

     

     

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    Everything done by a company is a compromise ... it has to be, because their number one goal is to get product out the door, and the overheads of running the organisation need to be covered. An astute enthusiast will always be able to fine tune, because he can bring in an excessively costly part to replace the manufacturer's 'compromise' - expense be hanged, it's his baby! :)

     

    And sometimes a prestige manufacturer compromises, too much. Speaking of BMW, their suspensions may be fine; but there are many, many mechanics who refuse to touch older units of that make. Why? Because they used inferior plastic for many engine parts; and as soon as one touches one of these items on a higher mileage unit, it breaks! A simple repair becomes a multi thousand dollar nightmare, and a very unhappy customer results ...

     

    So, do your research carefully ... just because a company had a name doesn't guarantee anything.

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