From the time he started building loudspeakers in his garage, Dave Wilson had one motivating passion: to make the reproduction of music sound as much like the real thing as possible. Size, weight, and manufacturing complexity are all of little consequence when the task at hand is to make a loudspeaker that outperforms the Series 2 Alexandria in every significant measure, and brings the listener an unmistakable step closer to the exhilaration of a live musical event.
If oneäó»s goal is to reproduce the sound of live music, logic suggests that at some point the designer must listen to his creation in order to understand how much (or how little) it sounds like the live event. Some designers in the industry maintain that making judgments on the success of oneäó»s design through listening is subjective and unscientific. They believe that only through the application of the right theories, or the strict adherence to a certain set of measurements can one reliably approach the ideal.
Yet the history of high-end audio is littered with electronics and loudspeakers that achieve sterling performance on the test bench, and yet, to the ears of even the average listener, fail to produce life-like sound. They lack the ineffable sense of rightness that momentarily suspends disbelief.
Dave Wilson is unapologetic about using his ears as a design tool because while fidelity of the live event may be difficult to measure, it is not difficult for even the casual listener to hear. But when listening becomes rigorous and disciplinedäóîthat is to say, empiricaläóîit can bear even greater benefits.
Cabinet and Geometry
Wilson has always taken a purist approach to bass management, focusing on designs that inherently sound right in a wide range of rooms. Critical room placement by trained salespeople and installers has proved to be the most successful and efficient way to overcome most room-induced colorations. But sometimes careful placement is not enough. This is often true for rooms with a lot of glass, and where the desired listening position is close to the center of the roomäóîwhere a natural null zone exists for low frequency sound waves.
Dave conceived of the Cross Load Firing Port as an effective remedy for room artifacts in the bass. An elegantly simple idea, the (patent pending) Cross Load system allows the user to choose either a front or rear firing port configuration. On the front of the XLF, below the woofers, is a distinctive brushed aluminum plate with the Alexandria XLF logo. In rooms where the rear-firing option will tend to overload the bass, it is simply a matter of removing the front plate and port plug, switching those items to the rear, and attaching the low-turbulence trim to the front, moving the port exit to the front of the Alexandria XLF.
The Cross Load Firing port system (XLF) dictated a larger bass enclosure. It is 14% larger than the Series 2. The increased volume enabled the engineers to carefully shape the XLFäó»s bass response to be even more linear and room-friendly. Using the latest analysis technology, Wilsonäó»s mechanical engineers reworked the woofer cabinet, thickening the enclosure walls and redesigning the internal bracing geometry. Cabinet contribution in the bass region is extremely low in the Alexandria X-2. The Alexandria XLF is even more inert.
Wilson has a long tradition of cross populating advancements from one design to the rest of the line. This sometimes means that a more expensive model benefits from technology introduced in a less expensive loudspeaker. First introduced in Wilsonäó»s venerable WATT/Puppy replacement, the Sasha W/P, S-material is a highly rigid, critically damped, epoxy-based composite. It was developed specifically for midrange beauty and ultra-low resonance. In combination with X-material, S- material reduces measurable and audible noise and coloration in the midrange.
Daveäó»s frustration with off-the-shelf drivers led to the decision to design his own tweeter. The result of that effort is the Convergent Synergy tweeter. It maintains all the strengths Wilsonäó»s previous tweeter designs: great dynamic contrast, harmonic expression, exceptional power handling, and low distortion. The Convergent Synergy is extremely flat in its frequency response and has exemplary off-axis dispersion characteristics. With very low moving mass, it adds frequency extension to 37 kHz. As the name implies, these qualities converge with the advantages of the ultra-wide-bandwidth designs, with none of their sonic or technical disadvantages. It is an extremely synergistic companion to the Wilson midrange driver.
Regardless of the type of music played through it, Wilsonäó»s midrange driver reveals new layers of detail and subtlety that the ear recognizes as qualities of live music. It was the direct result of meticulous scientific research and experimentation followed by comparative listening on the macro scale.
Years of design experience taught Dave Wilson that practically no detail is too trivial to examine. What about the twist ratios in the internal wiring? Or the metallurgy of the resistor heat sinks, since eddy currents in the mount can induce currents in neighboring resistors. Heäó»s meticulously tested capacitors and inductorsäóîand even the solder used to bind all these parts together. After all these tests, he listens to each part in a controlled and repeatable environment.
7 inch (17.78 cm)
15 inch, (38.10 cm)