It’s hard to discuss high-end audio without bringing up Utah-based Wilson Audio. The company’s name has been practically synonymous with performance-oriented no-holds-barred high-end home-audio speakers for three-plus decades. At AXPONA 2016 I had a chance to audition the company’s latest creation—the hand-built Alexx ($109,000/pair)—along with Dennis Young and Wayne Myers from Home Theater Shack.

The three of us pleaded our way into a Sunday morning VIP listening session, which afforded us a rare chance to hear a system without the typical distractions of an audio show. We had our choice of seats, and the room was silent, aside from the sound the speakers produced.

Wilson Audio Alexx speaker system an AXPONA 2016.
The result—while potentially not worth the asking price—nonetheless set a very high bar for a cone-and-dome loudspeaker system. It’s a 4-way design that has two different-sized woofers sharing the same ported chamber, and you can choose whether the speakers vent forward or to the rear. The Alexx sports two different midranges as well—a 5" and a 7"—in what was described as a D’Appolito-like array. A 1" silk soft-dome tweeter rounds out the driver compliment.
Wilson Alexx speakers.
The specs reveal a speaker that will challenge lesser amps. Nominal impedance is 4 ohms with a minimum of 1.5 ohms at 2850 Hz. Rated sensitivity is 91 dB/W/m and the frequency response is listed at 20 Hz – 31 kHz +/- 3 dB making it a true full-range speaker system.

It’s hard to find fault in the performance of the Alexx. From imaging to dynamics to frequency response, they handle music with great confidence. I particularly enjoyed how wide the sweet-spot was—so long as I sat somewhere between the two speakers, the soundfield did not collapse.

A Studer reel-to-reel deck fed unamplified signal directly from the tape heads to a Doshi preamp and amplifiers. As far as source material goes,  it was pristine analog sound.

Wayne appeared captivated by the system, which his comments confirmed. He said "Vocals from the Beauty And The Beast theme song were accurate and intimately present." and "Roger Waters, "It’s a Miracle" from Amused To Death—another example of vocals that could not be better presented. Almost bigger than life, yet still so honest with such detail. I got chills on this track, first time at the show."

The Wilsons dished out classical music the way it’s supposed to be heard, with power, clarity, and finesse. “String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp” by Brooklyn Rider stayed coherent despite the musical complexity that would surely trip up some lesser speakers.

I can’t say I had a physiological reaction to the Wilsons like Wayne did. In fact I did not get goosebumps even once during the show. But among the speaker systems I heard this past weekend, there was no way to deny that Wilson’s Alexx towers slotted into the topmost tier.

Click here to check out more reports from AXPONA 2016.