Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX First Impressions

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#1
I just spent over six hours today listening to my friend's new Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX loudspeakers. Consistent with being blown away by the Master Chronosonic + Master Subsonic system at Maier Shadi's demo in Santa Monica, and consistent with a couple of reports by people who auditioned at Maier's both the Master Chronosonic and later the XVX and preferred the XVX, I am here to report officially that I think the XVX is now my favorite conventional cone driver speaker system. I think I prefer the XVX even to my longtime favorite dynamic driver loudspeaker, the mighty Rockport Arrakis.

Prior to the XVX, my friend had the Alexx. The height alone of the XVX over the Alexx affords the system the height and scale and grandeur I always notice and appreciate from very tall loudspeakers.

I don't know why the XVX is an order of magnitude better -- next level better -- than the Alexx. But I am certain that it is.

I think the XVX is the first dynamic driver speaker of which I was very aware that you can hear seemingly almost everything at fairly low listening volumes. It doesn't need to be played loudly to be heard comfortably.

In much the same way that people like to applaud their digital playback systems by saying "it sounds like analog," dynamic driver loudspeaker aficionados like to say their cone speakers have "electrostatic-like transparency." Believe me, if most dynamic driver speakers had "electrostatic-like transparency" we would not need electrostatic speakers.

As somebody who loves electrostatic speakers I have always been aware that speakers of other topologies are one or two steps less transparent than electrostatic speakers. I feel like the XVX truly has "electrostatic-like transparency" -- at least credibly so, and more so than any other cone speaker I've ever heard.

Just like I felt about the Master Chronosonic the XVX gives one the sense of unlimited dynamic capability. There is a limitlessness and an effortlessness to the sound that I do not hear from other box speakers. Other heroically inert box speakers sound tightly wrapped or button-downed by comparison -- like some portion of the sound is trapped in the box and having trouble freeing itself. The XVX sounds open somehow -- a sonic presentation I associate with planar speakers, not with big box speakers.

I know, I know, I know. I am thinking and saying the same things you are: these are meaningless statements as you can't compare loudspeakers in different systems from fault-prone memory; you will never be able to hear an XVX versus a Rockport Arrakis, or an XVX versus a VSA Ultra 11, in the same room with the same associated components at the same time, etc., etc. I know, and I agree with you.

All I am saying is that if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to buy a dynamic driver loudspeaker system for my personal system and cost was not a factor. . . I would say take the gun away from my head. Then I would tell you I will order XVX + Master Subsonics.

Without intending to be coy, I couch this is terms of "the XVX is the box speaker I would I buy if I had to buy a box speaker for myself" rather than "the XVX is the best box speaker I've ever heard," because I cannot hear the Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 11 and the Evolution Acoustics MM7 and the Rockport Arrakis and the YG XV in the same room in the same system as the XVX + Subsonics. So it just does not make any sense to declare, and it is analytically defective to declare, that the XVX is the best speaker I have ever heard.

My view that if I had to buy a box speaker I would buy the XVX + Subsonics is a combination of what I heard from the XVX, what I vaguely remember from hearing these other other speakers in other systems, and my slight prejudice against ceramic drivers which I would be worried I might find uncomfortable over a long period of time. (I would worry the same about beryllium drivers and about diamond encrusted drivers.)

I have owned only planar loudspeakers my entire life. I literally couldn't bear to listen to Wilson Audio speakers with metal dome tweeters. I have never been a big fan of Wilson Audio speakers in general. But I thought I heard magic from Maier's demo of the Master Chronosonic, and my experience today proves that that inkling was correct.

I don't know how or what Daryl Wilson did to achieve it, but I am reporting that to my ears the XVX is a very, very special speaker. It is a stunning achievement in dynamic driver loudspeaker design specifically, and in loudspeaker design in general.

PS: Assuming they physically fit in Michael Fremer's listening room, I have no doubt that Michael will upgrade his Alexx to XVX. He might go in not wanting to upgrade, but after hearing these there is no way he's going to be happy without the XVX.
 
Last edited:

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
3,826
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495
Bangkok
#3
I just spent over six hours today listening to my friend's new Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX loudspeakers. Consistent with being blown away by the Master Chronosonic + Master Subsonic system at Maier Shadi's demo in Santa Monica, and consistent with a couple of reports by people who auditioned at Maier's both the Master Chronosonic and later the XVX and preferred the XVX, I am here to report officially that I think the XVX is now my favorite conventional cone driver speaker system. I think I prefer the XVX even to my longtime favorite dynamic driver loudspeaker, the mighty Rockport Arrakis.

Prior to the XVX, my friend had the Alexx. The height alone of the XVX over the Alexx affords the system the height and scale and grandeur I always notice and appreciate from very tall loudspeakers.

I don't know why the XVX is an order of magnitude better -- next level better -- than the Alexx. But I am certain that it is.

I think the XVX is the first dynamic driver speaker of which I was very aware that you can hear seemingly almost everything at fairly low listening volumes. It doesn't need to be played loudly to be heard comfortably.

In much the same way that people like to applaud their digital playback systems by saying "it sounds like analog," dynamic driver loudspeaker aficionados like to say their cone speakers have "electrostatic-like transparency." Believe me, if most dynamic driver speakers had "electrostatic-like transparency" we would not need electrostatic speakers.

As somebody who loves electrostatic speakers I have always been aware that speakers of other topologies are one or two steps less transparent than electrostatic speakers. I feel like the XVX truly has "electrostatic-like transparency" -- at least credibly so, and more so than any other cone speaker I've ever heard.

Just like I felt about the Master Chronosonic the XVX gives one the sense of unlimited dynamic capability. There is a limitlessness and an effortlessness to the sound that I do not hear from other box speakers. Other heroically inert box speakers sound tightly wrapped or button-downed by comparison -- like some portion of the sound is trapped in the box and having trouble freeing itself. The XVX sounds open somehow -- a sonic presentation I associate with planar speakers, not with big box speakers.

I know, I know, I know. I am thinking and saying the same things you are: these are meaningless statements as you can't compare loudspeakers in different systems from fault-prone memory; you will never be able to hear an XVX versus a Rockport Arrakis, or an XVX versus a VSA Ultra 11, in the same room with the same associated components at the same time, etc., etc. I know, and I agree with you.

All I am saying is that if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to buy a dynamic driver loudspeaker system for my personal system and cost was not a factor. . . I would say take the gun away from my head. Then I would tell you I will order XVX + Master Subsonics.

I have owned only planar loudspeakers my entire life. I literally couldn't bear to listen to Wilson Audio speakers with metal dome tweeters. I have never been a big fan of Wilson Audio speakers in general. But I thought I heard magic from Maier's demo of the Master Chronosonic, and my experience today proves that that inkling was correct.

I don't know how or what Daryl Wilson did to achieve it, but I am reporting that to my ears the XVX is very, very special speaker. It is a stunning achievement in dynamic driver loudspeaker design specifically, and in loudspeaker design in general.

PS: Assuming they physically fit in Michael Fremer's listening room, I have no doubt that Michael will upgrade his Alexx to XVX. He might go in not wanting to upgrade, but after hearing these there is no way he's going to be happy without the XVX.
If you could return your Gryphon at no cost would you buy this XVX instead?
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
11,457
2,327
603
E. England
#4
That is SUCH an evil question, Tang. Lol.
 

ashandger

Well-Known Member
Jun 15, 2013
191
20
248
#5
I just spent over six hours today listening to my friend's new Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX loudspeakers. Consistent with being blown away by the Master Chronosonic + Master Subsonic system at Maier Shadi's demo in Santa Monica, and consistent with a couple of reports by people who auditioned at Maier's both the Master Chronosonic and later the XVX and preferred the XVX, I am here to report officially that I think the XVX is now my favorite conventional cone driver speaker system. I think I prefer the XVX even to my longtime favorite dynamic driver loudspeaker, the mighty Rockport Arrakis.

Prior to the XVX, my friend had the Alexx. The height alone of the XVX over the Alexx affords the system the height and scale and grandeur I always notice and appreciate from very tall loudspeakers.

I don't know why the XVX is an order of magnitude better -- next level better -- than the Alexx. But I am certain that it is.

I think the XVX is the first dynamic driver speaker of which I was very aware that you can hear seemingly almost everything at fairly low listening volumes. It doesn't need to be played loudly to be heard comfortably.

In much the same way that people like to applaud their digital playback systems by saying "it sounds like analog," dynamic driver loudspeaker aficionados like to say their cone speakers have "electrostatic-like transparency." Believe me, if most dynamic driver speakers had "electrostatic-like transparency" we would not need electrostatic speakers.

As somebody who loves electrostatic speakers I have always been aware that speakers of other topologies are one or two steps less transparent than electrostatic speakers. I feel like the XVX truly has "electrostatic-like transparency" -- at least credibly so, and more so than any other cone speaker I've ever heard.

Just like I felt about the Master Chronosonic the XVX gives one the sense of unlimited dynamic capability. There is a limitlessness and an effortlessness to the sound that I do not hear from other box speakers. Other heroically inert box speakers sound tightly wrapped or button-downed by comparison -- like some portion of the sound is trapped in the box and having trouble freeing itself. The XVX sounds open somehow -- a sonic presentation I associate with planar speakers, not with big box speakers.

I know, I know, I know. I am thinking and saying the same things you are: these are meaningless statements as you can't compare loudspeakers in different systems from fault-prone memory; you will never be able to hear an XVX versus a Rockport Arrakis, or an XVX versus a VSA Ultra 11, in the same room with the same associated components at the same time, etc., etc. I know, and I agree with you.

All I am saying is that if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to buy a dynamic driver loudspeaker system for my personal system and cost was not a factor. . . I would say take the gun away from my head. Then I would tell you I will order XVX + Master Subsonics.

I have owned only planar loudspeakers my entire life. I literally couldn't bear to listen to Wilson Audio speakers with metal dome tweeters. I have never been a big fan of Wilson Audio speakers in general. But I thought I heard magic from Maier's demo of the Master Chronosonic, and my experience today proves that that inkling was correct.

I don't know how or what Daryl Wilson did to achieve it, but I am reporting that to my ears the XVX is very, very special speaker. It is a stunning achievement in dynamic driver loudspeaker design specifically, and in loudspeaker design in general.

PS: Assuming they physically fit in Michael Fremer's listening room, I have no doubt that Michael will upgrade his Alexx to XVX. He might go in not wanting to upgrade, but after hearing these there is no way he's going to be happy without the XVX.
Many thanks for your wonderful feedback. May I ask what size is your friends room? I believe Robert Harley's review will be in the next issue of TAS.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,849
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North Shore of Boston
#6
Nice report Ron. Could you share some details about the rest of the system, and what music did you listen to?
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
8,002
2,397
680
Beverly Hills, CA
#7
Thanks for a very enthusiastic report, Ron. I enjoyed reading it.

What did your friend use to drive his new XVX speakers?
Thank you, Tim. I did not set out to like them as much as I do, or to find them as remarkable as I do, or to find reasons to write such an enthusiastic report. But I like to think I go into auditions relatively bias-free. I like to think I am open-minded (except, admittedly, about listening to all-analog high-end audio systems on smartphones and computers through youtube videos).

Wilson Audio is not a brand I personally have cottoned to generally over the years. Dynamic driver speakers in general are not my favorite speaker topology (especially for my musical genre preference of solo vocalist with simple acoustic instrument accompaniment). I have never owned high-end cones-in-boxes speakers. Non-D'Appolito driver array cone speakers are not my favorite design within the dynamic driver speaker category.

Yet, I was blown away by Maier's original Master Chronosonic demonstration (and, interestingly, more so even than some Wilson Audio owners who were there, but maybe they were value-adjusting the price of the system in their heads), and I found my friend's speakers to be similarly remarkable.

Wilson marketing literature aside the XVX does not look to me to be a radically new design for Wilson (midranges and tweeters are still above woofers on movable platforms for time alignment in inert boxes made of fancy resins), nor is Wilson using radically new drivers, nor does anything else about the XVX appear to be radically new.

It all looks evolutionary to me, not revolutionary. Yet, somehow, the whole thing together doesn't sound like any Wilson speaker I've ever heard (other than the earlier Master Chronosonic, of course).

Have you heard the Master or the XVX yet?

My friend has a variety of amplifiers. He has two elaborate and completely separate systems, including six turntables and two open reel tape machines. I call his listening room "The Laboratory."

Last night we used the Einstein Silver Bullet OTL and the McIntosh MC611. Sonically I much preferred the Einstein, but it ran out of power except on low-demand music.
 
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May 30, 2010
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#8
(...) PS: Assuming they physically fit in Michael Fremer's listening room, I have no doubt that Michael will upgrade his Alexx to XVX. He might go in not wanting to upgrade, but after hearing these there is no way he's going to be happy without the XVX.
Nice to read your report, Ron. I went through the same in the WAMM demos - transparency in the voices and being there at whispering levels. I really look to listen to the XVX later this year.
 
#9
Great report Ron. I have only listened briefly to both the Chronosonic and XVX, in the Definitive showrooms in Seattle & Bellevue (not the best rooms to be sure.) I came away liking the XVX better, perhaps I was value adjusting in my head.

But, you mentioned “like some portion of the sound is trapped in the box and having trouble freeing itself.” This was what I experienced when I heard Diesis Roma at Bob’s Rhapsody in Manhattan. I was unaware before that what ease and effortlessness sounded like, and my Wilson Alexia seem to have to work so hard to get the sound out in comparison. The XVX are well out of my league, stretching to Roma or (when I am finally able to audition) Alsyvox will indeed be a stretch (or others in that price range I’ve yet to hear). But, that sense of ease and effortlessness will be a box on my checklist for sure.

Also out of my league would be the new M9 of Magico. If there was a brand I felt struggled to the sound out of the box it would be Magico (IMHO). Can the new M9 free the music?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#10
I have to admit that the XVX was highest on my list should I upgrade my speakers. ......until I read one most important spec.o_O Minimum power to drive the speaker is 100 watts. This immediately ruled me out as my Lamm ML3's which are a permanent part of my system are only 32 wpc
 

asiufy

Industry Expert/VIP Donor
Jul 8, 2011
3,604
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485
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#11
Ron,

You're making me want a XVX :) Like Francisco, your impressions match mine when I heard the WAMM. It was simply next level, in all aspects.

cheers,
Alex
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#13
If you could return your Gryphon at no cost would you buy this XVX instead?
A dagger at the heart of the matter! :)

Answer: no.

All I can say, Tang, is that I really, really, really want to hear the Pendragons again! I have not heard them in four years.

I have always loved planar speakers. If I were designing a loudspeaker myself primarily for solo vocals the Pendragon is exactly what I would design: a dipole ribbon used as a nearly full-range driver (200Hz to 18kHz); no cross-over to air motion tweeters above 18kHz; and a self-powered woofer tower <200Hz consisting of a large number of small cones.
 
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ALF

Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2012
435
124
385
Southwest
#14
Ha! Ron hurry that contractor along; if not, the Pendragon may be out of production before he finishes your room :)

All kidding aside, very nice writeup here with your visit to hear the new Wilson speakers!

vbw,
-a
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
8,002
2,397
680
Beverly Hills, CA
#15
Ha! Ron hurry that contractor along; if not, the Pendragon may be out of production before he finishes your room :)

All kidding aside, very nice writeup here with your visit to hear the new Wilson speakers!

vbw,
-a
The Pendragon has been out of production for several years now. My speakers have been stored in Torrance, CA, with great patience and understanding by Jason Lord of The Source AV.
 
May 30, 2010
16,755
1,589
720
Portugal
#16
I have to admit that the XVX was highest on my list should I upgrade my speakers. ......until I read one most important spec.o_O Minimum power to drive the speaker is 100 watts. This immediately ruled me out as my Lamm ML3's which are a permanent part of my system are only 32 wpc
Well, if it was not for the high price of the XVX I would happily have them with the Lamm LL1 and M1.2REF! ;)
 
Likes: ALF

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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North Shore of Boston
#19
The Pendragon has been out of production for several years now. My speakers have been stored in Torrance, CA, with great patience and understanding by Jason Lord of The Source AV.
New Old Stock. :eek: That is in vogue these days. I just commissioned my signal cables out of NOS wires. Couldn't be happier. You are going to love the Pendragons again some time very soon. I hope to visit to hear your super system with the SOTA AS2000. Can't wait. And given your reviewing background, all of us here expect some fantastic photos of the system and write ups of your listening impressions.
 
Likes: KeithR
May 30, 2010
16,755
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#20
My Lamm Signature Series will be buried with me
Well, I hope I manage to sell mine before ... The idea of being burried with high end does not appeal to me. ;) And I could use it as an installment for the XVX! :cool:
 

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