WILSON AUDIO SETS NEW HIGH-END SPEAKER STANDARD
From the perspective of nearly four decades of audio journalism, the late Dave Wilson, founder of Wilson Audio, can be rightly accorded the honour of creating the High-End loudspeaker as we know it today.
If Magico and the upper reaches of other elite speaker ranges scale the heights of High-End performance, it’s in my opinion solely because they’re standing on the shoulders of Dave Wilson.
Wilson’s greatest achievement is his cost-no-object WAMM Master Chronosonic loudspeaker that sells for US$850,000.
The WAMM elevated High-End loudspeaker sound quality to a level where it had no equivalent rivals.
Now, with the imminent arrival of the Chronosonic XVX speaker, the idea of what constitutes a High-End speaker has to be reappraised because this new Wilson Audio speaker sets new standards.
New standards in material build quality and presentation, new standards in driver and crossover design but most of all, the Chronosonic XVX model has been designed to raise the sound quality bar so high, it’s unlikely to have any challenger anytime soon.
The Chronosonic XVX is also much more than a new High-End speaker category. It’s most significant feature for Wilson devotees is that this model, along with the recently released Sasha DAW model, signals a passing of the baton from father to son at Wilson Audio.
Having completed the DAW model in 2018, Daryl Wilson, Dave’s son, looked at the original WAMM speaker, his father’s masterpiece and decided to honour his late father with a new flagship model.
He urged and encouraged the Wilson Audio engineering team to push their skills, passion and experience to a whole new level. After five years of intensive research, the Chronosonic XVX is no longer a theoretical ideal. It’s here in the flesh waiting to take on all comers.
Anyone taking even a cursory tour of the new Wilson Audio flagship is bound to ask if it embodies some of the benchmark features of Dave Wilson’s masterpiece, the WAMM Chronosonic.
The answer, according to Daryl, is “yes”, the XVX model does pay homage to the WAMM’s design, but the technology it incorporates is used in a simpler form.
Take this to read that after a long apprenticeship with his father, Daryl firstly completed the DAW model and was now ready to explore his own vision of what a statement loudspeaker ought to entail.
Like the WAMM, the new Daryl Wilson statement model had to make music sound real, and it had also to communicate the emotional intensity of the artists with consummate ease.
This required a new Midrange driver. Itself no mere trifle given the existing Wilson midrange driver has the stamp of quality right through it.
But higher standards require unique technological solutions. These solutions are provided by a totally new Alnico (Aluminium, Nickel, Cobalt) QuadraMag Midrange driver. Significantly, this new driver that combines Alnico magnets in a completely, revamped geometry, was co-developed by Dave Wilson (his last project) and Vern Credille, Dave’s driver design partner.
After a year of intensive research and trials, the pair settled on a Midrange driver design that uses four separate magnets arranged in a novel quadrature geometry said to improve efficiency and lower distortion.
Along with a new Mid-range river, the Chronosonic XVX also leapfrogs the WAMM’s two-way, midrange system and replaces this with what Wilson Audio call an MTMM Upper Array Geometry that comprises four elements - midrange, tweeter and two lower-midrange drivers.
The new QuadraMag driver works with a modified version of the WAMM’s 4-inch midrange to form the lower section of the Chronosonic XVX’s driver complement.
With a cost-no-object speaker project, attention to detail takes on a whole new meaning. So the new flagship receives new Wilson designed and manufactured capacitors called AudioCapX-WA.
These are bespoke versions of the brand’s highly regarded AudioCapX capacitors. The improved versions bring sonic gains thanks to tighter tolerances and a lower noise floor when used in a Wilson crossover.
Painstaking is a description that rightly applies to the new Wilson Audio benchmark model. To aid the critical setup of the Chronosonic XVX’s time-domain array, a new fully integrated system called the Sono 1 had to be developed by Dave Livingston, owner of Coolfall which is the world’s leading maker of exotic custom flashlights.
A new micrometre also had to be developed to ensure the ultra-precise and minute adjustment of the new speaker’s modules in the time domain. The role of the new micrometre was to provide time-domain accuracy in the two-millionths-of-a-second range and do this easily and simply.
Daryl Wilson thought long and hard about tweeters for Wilson Audio’s dream speakers before settling on up specced Mk 5 Convergent Synergy solution. This, he believes, provides a seamless match with the brand’s new QuadraMag midrange. The up specced Mk5 tweeter is also used as a rear-firing ambience tweeter.
The woofers chosen for the Chronosonic are the ten and twelve-inch models initially developed by Wilson Audio’s Vern Credille and these work nicely in the Chronosonic XVX’s volume optimised, ultra-low resonance woofer enclosures.
The Chronosonic XVX will go on sale in the US in October with an RRP of US$329,000.
For more information visit Wilson Audio.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.