Wilson Audio Specialties Debuts Flagship XVX Loudspeaker At RMAF 2019

The first day of RMAF pointed out to those attending both the promise and the pitfalls of the new Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center located a few miles from Denver International Airport. The hotel is a sprawling, enormous resort. To navigate your way around requires downloading an app. Seriously. It's that big. You have to plan your time carefully because to get from the tower hotel room exhibits to the Convention Center takes at least 10 minutes and once you are there, arriving at the rooms or the seminar space can take another 10.

Unlike at the previous venue, where RMAF "owned" the space, here, multiple conventions were underway. Some conventioneers were caught off guard by the noise in the rooms. I told one "be glad it's not a dog show. Here it's only a bit of noise. It could have been elevators with dog shit all over the floors". I'm joking. I'm writing that only to see if my wife is reading the coverage.

But not joking about the enormity of the venue and the feeling of getting lost in it. Problems began immediately as I learned that some people were told today (Thursday) was "set-up day", while others were told today was "press day". Consequently many if not most of the rooms were either locked or not set up as I walked the halls of the North Tower where the hotel room exhibits were. The 7th 8th, 9th and 11th floors had surprisingly few exhibitors per floor. Not until late in the afternoon was there signage indicating that all exhibitors were to the left upon exiting the elevators. Some attendees (me) walked right, which led to nothing but guest rooms that seemed to stretch into the next time zone, and no exhibitors.

When I went to register in the morning I found a sign pointing me to registration, which was a long walk from where the sign was located. It was the only sign and I had to guess which way to turn to find the table. When I got there no one was there. It wouldn't open for another hour. How difficult would it have been to post on the first sign what time registration would open?

When I returned to register I found that the show guides hadn't arrived and wouldn't be available until late in the afternoon, which was yet another glitch. I'm not trying to be negative. What I'm just telling you is that any new venue presents unforeseen problems as anyone who attended the L.A. and Orange County show near LAX a few years ago could tell you. However, there was no excuse for the opening day confusion about set-up vs. press day, which left many on both sides—press and exhibitor—pissed off.

Nonetheless I managed to shoot an hour's worth of worthwhile video, the editing of which is almost finished and will be posted either later this evening or tomorrow. One thing that's great at this hotel is the Internet upload speed. It's by far the best in the world that I've experienced and by a lot!

The most significant debut so far (but not the only one as the second video will show you) was Wilson Audio Specialties' introduction of the new flagship XVX speaker priced at $329,000. It's not the first speaker designed by David Wilson's son Daryl. Daryl is responsible or mostly responsible for the moderately priced high successful Sabrina (the one I brought to the courtroom for the Quincy Jones vs. the Estate of Michael Jackson trial) as well as the superb Sasha DAWs, among others, but with the new XVX it seems clear that Daryl Wilson has arrived as a "world class" speaker designer, though final judgement must wait until actually hearing it. Only a single not quite finished sample was available and only on static display.

Here are excerpts from the speaker debut press conference video coverage. The photo at the top does not do justice to the speaker's graceful lines and the attention to detail that went into the design. If I can get a better photo I'll replace this one.

Cello High End Audio's picture

It must be so hard to cover a show.

jaime's picture

The price of these speakers has to be viewed in the fact that there are a lot of people that have a LOT of monetary wealth and want a market that provides them with products that meet their needs or more often - desires.

Yes, the pricing in much of the high end sound reproduction industry has become hyper expensive, but even at the lowest price levels, the sound has improved since I started toying in this hobby 45 years ago.

Wilson will probably be running this speaker at capacity with Asian market orders alone!


Anton D's picture

I would wager they could increase the price 100k and sales might actually increase.

Michael Fremer's picture
Most of the people buying expensive audio are both wealthy and discerning. I've met quite a few. If it makes you feel more comfortable to look down upon them as foolish people, be my guest. Most of the people who can't afford it either wish they could or are jealous imbeciles. There are of course some newly wealthy in Asia who need to spend more but your comment is sad.
Anton D's picture

I would wager they’d sell as well or better at a higher price point. This is not an uncommon phenomenon. Neither sad nor silly.

Michael Fremer's picture
There are some newly minted very wealthy Asians who might react as you describe but the people I meet around the world who own costly audio gear including Wilson, Magico, Focal and other brands are well-informed music lovers.
Lorton's picture

They have no clue, and count on you to educate them. Indeed a sad situation.

Michael Fremer's picture
Really? Have you met them?
Michael Fremer's picture
Well I own Wilson speakers and I think I'm pretty well educated on this subject having reviewed countless loudspeakers over the years. There are many good ones. I like these Alexx speakers a lot as do the other owners I encounter. I loved the big Sonus Faber Aidas too. I'm not sure why this is a "sad situation". Is that because people choose other brands than what you own? I don't understand your comment.
Anton D's picture

If someone doesn’t drop 200K on a pair of Wilson Alexandria speakers like a Stereophile reviewer can, it’s because of jealousy?

We all have a “point of ridiculousness” for the price of a good. If the speakers were 200 million dollars would you go along with criticizing it? For some, a third of a million dollars for a Hi Fi toy crosses the border of ‘Ridiculosity.’

You might balk at what I pay for bottles to stock my wine cellar. It doesn’t make you a jealous buffoon. I wouldn’t even call you jealous! I’d likely agree and admit it is crazy!

We are criticizing the price of a speaker (hobby toy,) not criticizing you.

Crap, we are part of a hobby that civilians think is full of buffoons - all of us! The vinyl crazies and the Blu Ray fetishists!

Typed on iPhone, apologies for errors.

Wealthy and discerning.....almost an oxymoron...like health care, or corporate ethics.

Anton D's picture

I don’t endorse the personal aspects of what he said.

Michael Fremer's picture
Wilson speakers are 99.9999999% purchased by consumers, not by "Stereophile reviewers". Not sure why you felt the need to descend there to make your point. It would be one thing had the comment been "these are ridiculously priced" or "I wouldn't pay that much for any speaker." Fair enough! But his was a mindless attack on a reputable company and on a loudspeaker he's never heard yet he claims to know how they image and how they sound. I have many, many Blu-ray and DSD fetishist friends Anton, but they do NOT come here shitting on people who enjoy vinyl, nor do we go to DSD and computer audio sites and behave like Jeff Henning. So while I appreciate your call for civility and tolerance I cannot agree that this troll is deserving of any.
Tom L's picture

My 40 year old ADS L810s also seem to be laughing.

jmsent's picture

That wouldn't be good.

Anton D's picture

If they aren't finished in the same color as your Bugatti, joke's on you.


Tom L's picture

...is in the shop, that beautiful walnut veneer body has termites!
Oh, the horror.

Wimbo's picture

DAW brought out the first WAMM as an experiment and if a customer was interested, he would spend the time at the customers place to set them up 100% in relationship to the room and system.
Personally, I think it was a hobby for him to do this and create something that was a one off on every installation.
Now the market seems to have numerous manufacturers that create outrageous looking speakers and it has become an expensive fad.
To me, DAW is in the same company as Marantz, Fischer,Walker,Harman etc.

cher143's picture

I'll take two, but no anchovies.

brettmendes's picture

It's funny - about 5 years ago, if you had asked me what I thought of Wilson speakers, I'd have told you that they were the ugliest-god-damn things in audio and that it was entirely fitting that their signature finish was basically high-end beige paint.

Now, I absolutely love the aesthetic. If I could have a pair of Sashas in that same high-end beige I'd be friggin' thrilled. I'm not as blown away with the look of the XVX as I was by the images of the Master Chronosonic, but without the side grilles they're quite handsome.

JoeESP9's picture

I don't care how good they may sound. They are IMO BFU. They and the Chronosics make me think of Japanese box monsters. I would never buy them regardless of how wealthy I may become. But then, what do I know. The Technics SL1200 has also always been on my BFU list.

Michael Fremer's picture
Now your comment is 100% fair and reasonable. You don't like how they look. Fair enough. At least you didn't post you don't like how they sound, having never heard them (nor has anyone outside of the company).
Anton D's picture

My apologies for getting involved in the drift...

In our club, one member has WATT/Puppies and another has a lovely pair of ALEXX speakers.

Plus, I've heard them at enough shows and shops to have a good idea about the line and their design philosophy to feel able to make a general comment or two:

The three things I find Wilson gets consistently 'perfect:'

1) They image beautifully at all volume levels. They do not require hitting a certain dB level in order to blossom or come into their own. If you get a chance to hear a pair, start with Muddy waters' "Folk Singer" at low volume and he will mystically appear in full three dimensionality at any volume. At low volume, it's almost eerie. Really well done.

2) They sound effortless. No matter how we flog them, they just seem to say, "Yeah, I can do that." It is an almost universal thing to sense speaker/system strain with certain dB/dynamic levels and the Wilsons just don't do that. They are certainly "over engineered" for those who want to explore high volume settings. They can really deliver "Oh, my God" dynamics and volumes.

3) They give detail up the wazoo. I don't feel like there is anything further to reveal in the small details I am listening to. Other speakers may match them, but there is a line between detailed and etched that Wilson doesn't seem to cross.

Bonus...4) They thrive being single wired.

The person with ALEXX speakers is the single greatest Grateful Dead recordist/collector I have ever encountered, and to hear his tapes on those speakers is a transformative thing. I was at some of the shows he recorded and his tapes are better than the live event. In those moments, there is truly no way to improve on the sound. The quality of bass certainly adds to the "air" of the presentation!

My one issue is that I think the the general Wilson fingerprint adds a bit of lower treble glare...for my ear...that can be a touch fatiguing after 4 albums, or so.

Again, apologies for contributing to any mayhem.

Michael Fremer's picture
No product is for everyone. I heard a pair of Klipsch Horns in Switzerland a few months ago that were mind-blowing for what they did better than my Alexx's but they didn't come close to doing what the Alexx's do so well. You can't have everything....
dhyman's picture

there is nothing graceful here from my view.

Luke's picture

I've just gotta say, why do people feel the need to come onto this website just to get angry about expensive stuff! Half the reason this website is one i visit every day is because i want to hear about the high end stuff. I mean, why the fuck are you taking time out of your day just to diss stuff? Will i ever be able to buy a pair of £330000 speakers? haha, no, but I love reading about them, seeing photos etc. ITS FUN. It's just the same as reading about £500k cars we'll never drive, I WANT TO KNOW! And this website gives us an insight. When the bouderies are no longer being pushed then that would be a sad thing. Some people say it's a joke that a pair of speakers cost the same as a ferrari. I know is if I dropped £300k on a pair pf speakers I'd enjoy them more than a car. And avoid jail ;) Also, this website more often than not reviews perfectly affordable stuff. If Micheal has the best kit to listen to, and can compare that to stuff we can actual buy, then is that not a good thing? Also, unlike a lot of websites Michael and Malachi tell it as it is, there's a distinct lack of bullshit on this website. Personally, I love their reviews of audiophile pressings etc, where else do you find that? Michael and Malachi are into my kind of music as well, it's fucking informative! I've never been let down by their opinions (ok, except for the 2000 (?) pressing of dark side which I thinK is better than the ones that came after, and yes I own them all ;) Keep it going guys. Analogue Planet rules! (and just as a side note, I want a review of a decent AAA pressing at least once a week ;) Keep the good work up lads!

Luke's picture

next time i'm in NYC i'd be happy to take you guys to Keans Steakhouse. I'll get us the chateaubriand steak, a couple of good Bordeauxs and we can talk Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles etc and the superiority of a good AAA pressings vs a cheap digital rip ;)