Stereophile review of the Wilson Audio MAXX2 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here are some review excerpts, a link to the full review,and the Frequency response graph of the $45,000 Wilson Audio MAXX2.

For those who wonder if one can make a qualitative analysis of a loudspeaker from the FR graph, this is must reading :

The excerpts :

Quote:
found the MAXX2's overall timbral balance to be nearly ideal in my well-treated but not entirely dead room—though if I had to pick a nit, I'd say the speaker was slightly warm. Not because there was too much bass or midbass—from the mids down, the MAXX2 was as perfectly balanced a loudspeaker as I've heard in this space—but because the top octaves were not quite as airy and well resolved as I've heard from some other speakers: the Mårten Design Coltrane, which uses a Thiel and Partner (Accuton in the US) inverted-dome diamond tweeter; and the Aerial 20T, which uses a modified Raven Ribbon
Quote:
In my space, the Wilson MAXX2 was easily the best overall loudspeaker I have ever heard, though others may have bested it in specific performance parameters.
Quote:
Slightly more than twice as expensive as the WATT/Puppy 7, the review pair of which I ended up buying, Wilson Audio's MAXX2 is easily worth the difference, and more. If you've got the money—and even if you don't think your space can accommodate a pair of them—don't hesitate. But first, go listen for yourself. I have every confidence you'll agree that, even if it's not the speaker for you, with the MAXX2 Wilson Audio Specialties has hit one out of the park
The link - http://stereophile.com/loudspeakerre...son/index.html

The Specs -
Quote:
Description: Three-way, floorstanding loudspeaker. Drive-units: 1" inverted titanium-dome tweeter, two 7" carbon-fiber/paper-cone midranges, 10.5" carbon-fiber/paper-cone woofer, 13" carbon-fiber/paper-cone woofer. Crossover frequencies: not disclosed. Sensitivity: 92dB/2.83V/m. Impedance: 8 ohms nominal, 3 ohms minimum. Minimum amplifier power: 7Wpc. Frequency response (including port contribution): 20Hz–21kHz, +0/–3dB.
Finally - The response graph :

http://stereophile.com/images/archiv...lmaxx2fig3.jpg

Yes, It measures +7/-10dB over the 20Hz to 21KHz operating range, but WHAT a well written review on a great product.

I am looking forward to Audiogon having them for $20,000 next year. :)
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post #2 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:10 PM
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Those are some notable measurements.

It will be interesting to see if the same people that trash other speakers for having less than ruler flat frequency responses will heave scorn at these speakers as well.
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post #3 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:14 PM
 
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The Proac Response 2.5 is a text book example of how a speaker should measure in order to sound musical. A perfectly flat measurement will typically sound rather awful.
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post #4 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:19 PM
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I've heard the Watt Puppy 6, and let's just say that while impressive in some respects, I believe the similarly priced Revel Salons did a better job of conveying accuracy.

There's some guys on the 20,000 forum who swear Wilson is the best thing ever. There is no question that they do some things very well. I wouldn't say a flat freq response has ever been considered its strong suit, however.

Hal
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post #5 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:24 PM
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fr graph is only 2 dimensional on macroacoustics

there are microacoustics, transient response, phase shift etc do not depict in fr measurements

cpu8088 - OLD and SLOW !!!
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post #6 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpu8088
fr graph is only 2 dimensional on macroacoustics

there are microacoustics, transient response, phase shift etc do not depict in fr measurements
Agreed. Unfortunately, there has been a trend lately to grade speakers from a graph of the FR only. One of the WORST speakers I ever heard was the Energy C-9. Its graph is quite flat across its frequency range, but music was so totally flat and lifeless that I found them to be unlistenable.

The same store had Totem Hawks, which sounded wonderful. I even got the store owner angry when I asked if the Energies were wired out of phase.

Back to the review - The MAXX2's seem to be a great speaker. I hope to see some of those lower prices in the near future like other Wilsons have had in the past.
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post #7 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub
Yes, It measures +7/-10dB over the 20Hz to 21KHz operating range, but WHAT a well written review on a great product.
Take note that these measurements were made in Fremer's room and not under Stereophile's usual conditions.

Kal

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http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #8 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson
Take note that these measurements were made in Fremer's room and not under Stereophile's usual conditions.

Kal
At 410 pound each, I wonder why ... ;)

This review is the first of a "super-speaker" that made me want to get a pair. Fremer seemed to be having FUN listening to them. Great stuff.
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post #9 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:45 PM
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Actually all it tells you is that's the fr of the combo of speaker and room. Surely from your experimenting with TrueRTA and all that you've seen the effects of the room (although from some of the graph's you've posted it seems that the room you've done you're measuring in is pretty darn free of issues; no weird cancellations or high peaks in the bass, etc; that room is not the norm, however; which is why everyone usually tries to measure either anechoically or quasi-anachoic (Stereophile's normal method of splicing a close-mic'd curve of low freq to the upper freq curve). Kal, I haven't read the article yet, and maybe it explains it, but why weren't these measured using the usual technique?

Hal
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post #10 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub
At 410 pound each, I wonder why ... ;)

Seriously, The fact they were measured in the listening room is even BETTER. This gives more of a snap shot of what Mr. Fremer was hearing.

This review is the first of a "super-speaker" that made me want to get a pair. Fremer seemed to be having FUN listening to them. Great stuff.
OMG!!! How in the H*** could someone ACTUALLY just "enjoy" listening to those speakers?!? :eek:

LOOK.... just LOOK at the FR of those things! I mean that reviewer either "didn't know what to listen for" or his IQ is under 163 (or was it 165? ;) )!

:p

John W.
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post #11 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma
Actually all it tells you is that's the fr of the combo of speaker and room. Surely from your experimenting with TrueRTA and all that you've seen the effects of the room (although from some of the graph's you've posted it seems that the room you've done you're measuring in is pretty darn free of issues; no weird cancellations or high peaks in the bass, etc; that room is not the norm, however; which is why everyone usually tries to measure either anechoically or quasi-anachoic (Stereophile's normal method of splicing a close-mic'd curve of low freq to the upper freq curve). Kal, I haven't read the article yet, and maybe it explains it, but why weren't these measured using the usual technique?
Hal - The combo of the speaker FR and "room response" IS what we hear. That is why I like to see both (Quasi)anechoic and in room response curves.

And our room is not a "special" room - it took several years of living here before finding the "subwoofer sweet spot" from which the graphs were posted... :)

Here is the nearfield graph on the MAXX2:

http://stereophile.com/images/archiv...lmaxx2fig2.jpg
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post #12 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson
Take note that these measurements were made in Fremer's room and not under Stereophile's usual conditions.

Kal
Details of the graph from the review as posted in the opening of this thread :

Quote:
Fig.3 Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX2, anechoic response on axis 36" from the floor, corrected for microphone response, with the complex sum of the nearfield midrange, woofer, and port responses, taking into account acoustic phase and distance from the nominal farfield point, plotted below 300Hz.
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post #13 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 05:06 PM
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Hmm, well that does sound like the usual method. Kal?

Hal
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post #14 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Sr.
The Proac Response 2.5 is a text book example of how a speaker should measure in order to sound musical. A perfectly flat measurement will typically sound rather awful.
Actually, that's not true at all. A perfectly flat speaker with good dispersion and low distortion and low energy storage will sound just fantastic. Most FR colorations in most speakers are there to hide the rather awful things they do in other areas. There's nothing wrong with accuracy. It's the other stuff that annoys people, not accuracy. There's no such thing as "too accurate" or "too detailed" and certainly not "too revealing". That's simply a misinterpretation of what you're hearing.

John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma
Hmm, well that does sound like the usual method. Kal?
Hal - It looks like the nearfield measurements were taken in Mr. Fremer's room, of course, with the intent of "eliminating" room effect. Dismantling the MAXX2 and sending them to the measuring facilitiy would be .... daunting.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buddyhinton
It will be interesting to see if the same people that trash other speakers for having less than ruler flat frequency responses will heave scorn at these speakers as well.
I'm sure they sound better than they measure, but that's not saying much :)

Actually, in their defense, the bass peak could be because they couldn't gate out the bass reflections from the floor since the woofers are so close (one might think Wilson would think of that though and tune accordingly) and/or the fact that these speakers are probably tuned for a bigger room than most audio reviewers own. The midrange funkyness very probably has a lot to do with the fact that the microphone should have been at ~48", not 36" which will cause lobing effects which would show up as a pretty serious peak/dip combo. No shortage of bad measurements out there.

John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
I'm sure they sound better than they measure, but that's not saying much :)

Actually, in their defense, the bass peak could be because they couldn't gate out the bass reflections from the floor since the woofers are so close (one might think Wilson would think of that though and tune accordingly) and/or the fact that these speakers are probably tuned for a bigger room than most audio reviewers own. The midrange funkyness very probably has a lot to do with the fact that the microphone should have been at ~48", not 36" which will cause lobing effects which would show up as a pretty serious peak/dip combo. No shortage of bad measurements out there.
Joel

You never cease to amaze me how you continue to trash a simply amazing speaker :(
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BTW Joel

If I seem to remember you were promising the collective a disappointing review on the Maxx ll. Wrong again I guess.
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Joel

In case you don't catch up with this thread in the other part of the Forum, I am putting it here as a link for your attention because of the intense debate between you (opponent) and Morbius (proponent) regarding the cabinet manufacture of Wilson speakers

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=570459
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
I'm sure they sound better than they measure, but that's not saying much :)

Actually, in their defense, the bass peak could be because they couldn't gate out the bass reflections from the floor since the woofers are so close (one might think Wilson would think of that though and tune accordingly) and/or the fact that these speakers are probably tuned for a bigger room than most audio reviewers own. The midrange funkyness very probably has a lot to do with the fact that the microphone should have been at ~48", not 36" which will cause lobing effects which would show up as a pretty serious peak/dip combo. No shortage of bad measurements out there.

Here is another graph - and the parameters:

http://stereophile.com/images/archiv...lmaxx2fig4.jpg

Quote:
The exact listening axis is very critical with the MAXX32, which is why the speaker array needs to be aimed so carefully at the listener's ears. Fig.4, for example, shows the speaker's response averaged across a 30º horizontal window on the lower-midrange axis, which is 46" from the floor. I chose this axis because it is where the upper-frequency drive-units seem to integrate best (see the step response). However, a large, narrow peak develops between 1.6kHz and 2.1kHz.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
Joel

You never cease to amaze me how you continue to trash a simply amazing speaker :(
Mr. Fremer sure was enthused by them, and he is usually fairly dry. Taken in its entirety, this was a RAVE.

It also is yet another example of a speaker without a flat response making wonderful music.

Love your system, BTW... All those years of med school paid off, eh ? ... :)
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Quote:
All it will take for trolls to own the boards is for reasonable people to do nothing.
Well said
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All those years of med school paid off
Not so sure about that...Just involved for over 30 years in a hobby that I love.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
Not so sure about that...Just involved for over 30 years in a hobby that I love.
I know what you mean. My first speakers were a pair of Electro-voice 16-B's in the mid 70's.

LOTS of good stuff since then, and for WAY less than a boat ... :p
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I have posted repeatedly here in the Forum about the amazing Maxx ll speakers. I owned the Maxx l's and found them just OK and sold them for the X-1 Series lll's which I owned before the X-2 Alexandria.

Suffice it to say the Maxx ll at its price IMO is the best speaker out there with 80% of the X-2 technology at 1/3 the price of the X-2. Almost certainly this is a factor why Wilson discontinued production of the X-1 because the Maxx ll at 1/2 the price was twice as good. There is a series V upgrade for the X-1 but at $25-$30K. This will be for people who buy used X-1's at a low price and want to do the upgrade
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post #26 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub
Hal - It looks like the nearfield measurements were taken in Mr. Fremer's room, of course, with the intent of "eliminating" room effect. Dismantling the MAXX2 and sending them to the measuring facilitiy would be .... daunting.
That's why they didn't do it. Nonetheless, JA usually does an outdoor quasi-freefield measurement.

Not Hal

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post #27 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
You never cease to amaze me how you continue to trash a simply amazing speaker :(
Hey, I just defended them! No, they don't measure very well. Yes, they probably still sound very good anyway. And, as I said earlier, there's more to life than FR. Still, a $45K speaker probably should measure better than that if it's quasi-anechoic, don't you think?

John
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post #28 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
If I seem to remember you were promising the collective a disappointing review on the Maxx ll. Wrong again I guess.
OB, no, I never said anyting like that. C'mon now.

John
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post #29 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 06:51 PM
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Actually, that's not true at all. A perfectly flat speaker with good dispersion and low distortion and low energy storage will sound just fantastic. [...] There's nothing wrong with accuracy. It's the other stuff that annoys people, not accuracy. There's no such thing as "too accurate" or "too detailed" and certainly not "too revealing". That's simply a misinterpretation of what you're hearing.
++

FR: "A measure of what frequencies can be reproduced and how accurately they are reproduced", "A measure of the quality of reproduction of various frequencies (audio and video) by a circuit or device"

That said, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't want a speaker to accurately reproduce sound... But anyhow :p

In some cases, colored speakers could translate in some kind of nice effect, but in no way does it conveys accurately what is on the recording, or how it was intended to sound in the first place... for example with a colored speaker, or speaker with FR aberrations, some bass/piano/guitar notes will be played louder than others, while others won't be played with enough volume... Personaly, I'm not crazy about hearing a bass riff and hearing 'accents' on notes where there are none, or other notes not played loud enough...

Also IMHO, speakers costing 40k should be held to higher standards than speakers costing 328$ and I do believe that speakers should be fairly accurate...

Given the Wilson FRs, I think if I was in the market for 40k speakers, I would probably look more in the way of JMLabs first :p The Mini Utopias measured at SS seemed to indicate that the JMLabs have a much flatter response (even if its not what the Stereophile reviewer seem to hear in room...), it just seems weird to have 40k speakers with bad FR...

FR is indicative of one of the most important aspect of loudspeaker sound reproduction, if it doesn't get that quite right, you're kinda starting off on the wrong foot...


[edit] But then to open another can of worms, what you hear inroom is never only the speakers, room is a huge factor, so maybe depending on the room, a colored speaker would be better? But then you could just use a digital EQ with accurate speakers to correct room issues... Also I guess it would be hard to find a speaker tuned to your room in particular, and nothing says that a colored speaker would interract negatively with the room also... Nah, accurate also seems to make more sens then...
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post #30 of 515 Old 08-16-2005, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn
In case you don't catch up with this thread in the other part of the Forum, I am putting it here as a link for your attention because of the intense debate between you (opponent) and Morbius (proponent) regarding the cabinet manufacture of Wilson speakers
Actually, the debate was primarily over something else, and I never said the Wilson cabinets were deficient, just that they were big and added substantially to the price. The same drivers in a more conventional cabinet with a good crossover would probably cost more like $10K-$15K and offer most of the performance.

John
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