In search of my last great loudspeaker

andromedaaudio

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But Wilson makes good Gear nontheless .
My solution;. have at least four thors at hand to experiment and get a good match , because you might need 2 per channel , in case of a X 2 , A Lamm ml 3 Will probably be insufficient you need something much more stable powerfull to drive all that.
 

Leif S

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But Wilson makes good Gear nontheless .
My solution;. have at least four thors at hand to experiment and get a good match , because you might need 2 per channel , in case of a X 2 , A Lamm ml 3 Will probably be insufficient you need something much more stable powerfull to drive all that.
.

I'm not sure that guy has all the info correct. If he does then there are all kinds of problems with timing. If you set them right beside the mains you will have sub frequencies modulating the pressure off the main towers. And if you set the subs back further behind the mains there will be a timing issues. I still think there is more to the set up of these subs. Does anyone hear have these? Can you tell me how you run these?
 

microstrip

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Its not that easy , the Thor is meant to be driven by the same amps that drive the main speaker.
To get IT into a coherent system , you need your Line level adjustment/ potmeter. Between your amp and the main speakers , in other words you need to being the output down to the passive woofer output level
Im sure not even the most careless audiophile would even think about that

No, as far as I know it is not - even at Wilson room they use Parasound JC-1's to drive the Thor's or other subs. Wilson subs must be used with their crossover/equalizer - the Wilson Controller. Quoting from their site. "The Controller’s comprehensive control allows the Thor’s Hammer to be optimized for both music and multi-channel applications, even within the same system. The Controller’s adjustments allow critical setup, ensuring the best possible performance in a wide range of rooms and with a variety of speakers"

I already have a pair of JC-1's - got them at a nice price, just in case ... Yes, I want them is stereo! :D
 

ddk

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Dear Marty,

Congratulations! Regarding the power cords, they're very neutral, they add nothing and block nothing that was the quest when I started looking. Either because of their low cost or their naturalness many who got them tried very hard to replace them with costlier options but in the end they all returned to Ching Cheng :). There's absolutely no reason for you not to use them with your amps, 14 gauge is plenty for them.

david

Wow Lloyd, I’m impressed that you would dig to find this. The best excuse I can muster for not providing any updates comes from a line a read recently in another magazine where one of their writers said that “his system is almost right. Almost”! That’s sort of where I’m at the moment having changed a few things that makes me inclined to say I haven’t fully wrapped my arms around them yet. But I’ll try and comply with some musings nonetheless.

Starting with some smaller incidentals, I’ve spent a good deal of time studying variants of electrical AC outlets and power cords, some of which I reported previously. But due to several recent system changes, I revisited some AC power cords. Initially I thought the Furutech DPS4 w all copper F11 connectors was excellent but after a month, the sound started to grate on me. It may be that their contacts required frequent cleaning as some have suggested, so I’m still playing around with their terminations in various metals. For the time being, I’m shocked to learn that the best AC cables I’ve come across on my line level gear are from the Great Karmeli. While David’s knowledge of things audio is certainly impressive, he may have pulled off one of his greatest feats by discovering the Ching Cheng power cords which cost, well, let’s just say you’ll probably spend more at McDonald’s. Seriously. According to David, this find was no accident as he has explored countless cords (as have many of us) before finding this one. But finding one that is unassailably uncolored and harmonically natural as this was really pulling a rabbit out of his ass. I’m sure there’s a story there if he wishes to tell it. For now, they are my defacto standard simply because they are so musically correct. One caveat is that I’m not sure they are good for amps that move a lot of current. I know they work well on David’s beloved Lamm ML3’s, but for monster monoblocs, I would probably look elsewhere. However, for my phono stage, preamp, transport and DAC, they’re pretty damn sweet. It’s not they are as good as cables that are more than 100x their cost…they’re better! Then again, I haven’t tried everything out there but honestly, I have bigger fish to fry so let’s move on.

Perhaps the biggest change in the system recently is the acquisition of new power amps. The Spectral 400 DMA are out. My intent was to replace them with the new DMA 500s but much to my surprise and disappointment, Goodwin’s refused to sell them to me unless I bought the commensurate DMC 30SV preamp. Don’t even get me started. My anger knows no bounds here but their policy, as poor as I think it is, was firm. Although I have great respect for Spectral, and in particular for their amps, I am just not enamored with an all Spectral battery tandem of preamp and amp. Too much solid state for me. I was just not willing to give up the VTL 7.5 III preamp to move to a combo that didn’t move me. So, with an open field in front of me, I sorted through the myriad options and budget constraints to see what might be possible. To be honest, my first choice would have been a used pair of CH M1’s. I’ve heard them on several occasions and still remember how impressed I was upon hearing them at Gianluigi’s system in Italy last year. But the odds of finding a used pair are lower than having both parties agree on an immigration bill, so, best to fuggetaboutit and move on.

I ended buying a pair of Soulution 511 monoblocs
https://soulution-audio.com/series5/soulution-511-stereo-amplifier/

I was unfamiliar with these until recently and like most audiophiles, was far more familiar with the their uber amps, the 701 monoblocs. The 511 is actually a newer amp design (about a year old) and hasn’t received much press, but in its Monobloc configuration puts out the same power as their big brother. (I think more than a megawatt per channel for my Wilson Alexandrias is adequate). These are the amps that Soulution was using at the Munich show this year.. The key is that they use the same power supply as the 701 and according to their web site are… “just a razor-thin fraction behind our reference designs of Series 7, this was the design goal we have set for the 511 stereo amplifier.” For a lot less than the 701s and fortunate to have acquired a pristine pair used, that works for me.

Although I think the Soulutions are astonishingly good, I really should take a moment to say that one of the biggest take ways for me is not how good they are, but how damn good the Spectral 400s are by comparison. The Spectral 400s do not do everything the Soulution 511’s do, but honestly, the 400’s do a few things the 511’s don’t do in return. The best assessment of the 511 can be gleaned from reading Valin’s review of the 701’s in TAS last year. There are plenty of reasons he called it the best solid state amp he has ever heard and now I understand why. But it was interesting that in comparing it to the CH M1’s he specifically mentioned that the Soulutions do not reproduce the sound stage with the precision of the M1’s. I found that remark very relevant in the context that I feel the same way about the Soulution 511 with respect to the Spectral 400s. The 400s do space and the sound stage as well as anything I’ve ever heard. No, with the 511’s you can’t tell if that fart you heard on a live recording is from the 4th violinist in the 1st violin section, or the 1st violin in the second violin section like you can with the 400’s. But what the Soulutions offer in return is exceptional tone color and instrument timbre, and musicality that is exceptional. Remember that the 701 as well as the subsequent 511s are a dramatic departure from the sound of the original 700s which were considered somewhat analytical by many. Not so at all in the 701/511, which use a new power supply in lieu of the traditional transformer based supply of the 700s. Although many of us have found Jon Valin’s reviews questionable in several instances, there is one thing I can’t deny which is that he is a gifted audio writer. He expresses himself and what he hears very well. So when he uses a term whereby he calls the Soulution amps “Sui generis” when it comes to bass performance, you can take that to the bank. I have yet to hear any amp that does bass like the Soulution 511 (I haven’t heard the 701). The often-used and abused term “has to be hard to be believed” comes to mind in this case. I’ve only had the amps about a month or so and am continuing to learn their strengths. But enjoying the music while doing so is pretty damn easy. They are superb instruments. Mated with the wonderful VTL 7.5 III, they make an enticing and highly musical pairing.

Because the bass performance of the 511s is truly exceptional, one might think it is easier to combine the Alexandrias with the JL Gotham subwoofers. In fact, paradoxically, its actually harder. I run the Wilsons full range, and the bottom end is certainly improved with the 511’s. So much so, that if they would only go down another 5 cycles or so, I would do away with the Gothams. But getting that last ounce of deep bass from the Gothams is not just hard, it’s essentially impossible without sacrificing something in return. I cross the Gothams over at 31 Hz using a 24 dB/octave slope. To make long story short I think it just may be unrealistic to think that one can combine a ported speaker with an acoustic suspension subwoofer and have the results be entirely coherent. Believe me, I’ve tried. Perhaps it’s my room or perhaps I just haven’t figured it out yet. Perhaps that the 511s are so good at the bottom that what the Wilsons output now is more precise and so I’m more sensitive to errors I’ve previously accepted sonically. But it’s a project that takes up way too much time and frankly is damn frustrating. I always have to remember “perfection is the enemy of good”!

Lastly, I should mention that I’ve incorporated some of the renown Masterbuilt cables into my system. My first foray was replacing my MIT 90.2 speaker wires with the Ultra speaker cables. That improvement was highly significant and beneficial (this was with my Spectral 400’s originally, now with the 511’s). There is no question they are truly superb. I then added an Ultra interconnect between the VTL preamp and the Spectral amps (now 511s of course) and also felt the improvement over my MIT MA-X 60 rev 2 was substantial. And no Dorothy, my Spectral amps did not blow up. (It’s hard to think they could since my tube preamp does not put out much above 100KHz which is far away from the megahertz frequencies that the Spectral pre-amp emits, hence the need for networked, filtered interconnects. But that’s another story I will not dwell on here.)

I’m currently exploring Ultra interconnects in lieu of my MIT SHDs for source components and can’t comment fully as break-in is not complete. But that’s the update for now. So is my system “almost right”? Well, if you believe that, I have good deal on the Brooklyn Bridge for you if you are interested.
 

andromedaaudio

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.

I'm not sure that guy has all the info correct. If he does then there are all kinds of problems with timing. If you set them right beside the mains you will have sub frequencies modulating the pressure off the main towers. And if you set the subs back further behind the mains there will be a timing issues. I still think there is more to the set up of these subs. Does anyone hear have these? Can you tell me how you run these?



I ve just read some info regarding the thor on the Wilson website , they do mention 89 db spec efficiency as well , no where there is mentioned there is an active part in the THor .
They do mention you can mix it with virtually all their Loudspeakers ranging from Alexandria to the Wilson watt puppies , now sasha of course and even duette .
These have off course all different kind of effieciencies , iirc a sasha is around 89 or 90 db eff, so that will be a good match also the alex will be much better , 2 db off is workable remember Wilson states their LS stay within a +-3 db range , but 6 db off like the Alexandria is not good imo , XLF 5 db off also not optimal.
But we are talking Andromeda design bassperformance standards here lol , better then the rest of the industry , you can ask ron and kedar they really like the bass in my speakers , even though the room wasn't acoustically perfect , I' have a old 1900 s appartrement now which sounds much more natural.
 

andromedaaudio

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micro , what you are describing is a active sub .
Meaning there is a seperate Line level input then a controlling device with a seperate amp to drive the Thor , it then become s a active sub system
 

JackD201

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Even a passive sub needs an amp :p I'm pretty sure they call the Thor passive so nobody gets shocked when it arrives at their door without accompanying amplifiers. I really can't add anything to what micro already said. AFAIK he is correct.
 

andromedaaudio

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If you go this road you can also call all loudspeakers active systems .
Because besides a passive x over there is off course An amp that drives it.
 

JackD201

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I didn't say their material was perfect, only what the dealer will eventually tell the client. They could be clearer about a lot of things.
 

ddk

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Are you sure that the subs are supposed to be ran off the same amp as the mains???? I'm seeing an impedance nightmare lol

If the Subs are 4 ohm and the Wilson main speakers are notorious for dipping down close to 2 ohms, I'm seeing an impedance level here most amplifiers can't handle unless 1 ohm stable. I could be wrong but I thought you were supposed to have a separate amplifier just for the subs? Not to mention the HUGE efficiency difference between the subs vs Wilson's main towers. Wilson's website isn't clear on this or I just missed the information. I would love to hear more about how these subs are supposed to be integrated into the system though. I was told that you had to use processing on these and there is no internal crossover. I have no idea if that is accurate or not.

When I saw these at a show I thought I saw the subs had there own dedicated amp to power them and a processor/crossover.

You need separate amp/amps for the Thor and and a matching analog external electronic crossover with low pass filter.

.

I'm not sure that guy has all the info correct. If he does then there are all kinds of problems with timing. If you set them right beside the mains you will have sub frequencies modulating the pressure off the main towers. And if you set the subs back further behind the mains there will be a timing issues. I still think there is more to the set up of these subs. Does anyone hear have these? Can you tell me how you run these?

I don't have those but run my own subs in a similar fashion with an analog electronic crossover. People (ie. end users) mention timing issues like a mantra for the most part IME are chanting nonsense without any expertise. One can place the subs behind main the speakers without any timing issues if you know what you're doing. IMO the worst case scenario is a processor+plate amp driven speaker it's for HT and not high end audio. The fallacy among many is that pushing a button or moving a couple of points on a graph solves the problems of proper placement.

david
 
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microstrip

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If you go this road you can also call all loudspeakers active systems .
Because besides a passive x over there is off course An amp that drives it.

FIY, Wilson had an active subwoofer - the first generation Watchdog, that included a 400W linear amplifier and a filter equalizer designed by Richard Marsh in the speaker box. As people wanted to use other amplifiers and even crossovers, particularly having the crossover near the system, not in the subwoofer box, they separated the units. Now they sell the box with the speaker in one package and the external crossover/equalizer in another. So logically the subwoofer became a passive unit. The active crossover is mono - if you want to have a stereo system you should buy two units.
 

LL21

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Hi Marty,

Thank you! Wow...your remarkably well written description of your latest adventures kicked off quite a response! A few follow ups!

- I am MOST curious about your experiences with the mighty Arrakis at Maine...Rockports HQ. Particularly about the bass. I admit to having been stunned in Hong Kong when i heard them there. Please indicate more about the 'nebulousness of bass' you heard.

- I become more interested in hearing about the CH Precision M1s when i read comments like yours, alongside JackD201s, Gians, all great, great ears imho with tremendous experience. Any particular commentary would be appreciated as well

- finally, absolutely agree perfection is the enemy of good! And i would not part with the Velodyne DD18+, and what it does for the system. The error of commission that might come from imperfect frequency balance/cleanliness in lower registers is FAR smaller for me than the error of OMISSION of losing that absolutely effortless deep-bass thwack even at low levels where it becomes a small but satisfying compression of air.
 

Ron Resnick

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Its not that easy , the Thor is meant to be driven by the same amps that drive the main speaker.

. . .

This is not correct.

The Wilsons drive their Thors with Parasound amplifiers, I am pretty sure, and they do not use Parasound amplifiers on the full-range speakers.
 

andromedaaudio

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This is not correct.

The Wilsons drive their Thors with Parasound amplifiers, I am pretty sure, and they do not use Parasound amplifiers on the full-range speakers.


Thats something else then what the sound and vision review states , in so called ¨ name of wilson ¨ .
It can also be there is a lowpass passive filter in the THOR , you can then use it both ways , passive or active .

But my curiosity has now been sparked im gonna read all the Thor manuals ..... during work :D and report.

By the way we have metaphacts from wilson here on the forum , he should be able to explain it more clearly
 
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Ron Resnick

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There is no filter in the Thor. It is a passive cabinet of drivers.

Wilson subwoofers are utilized typically with Wilson Watch Controllers, which house the low-pass and high-pass filters and phase and other adjustments. Just look at the Wilson website.
 

andromedaaudio

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I just read the thors manual.

Wilson * advizes* it to be used with the wilson controller to get the best results , but leave it open to the customers as how to use it.
At least thats the impression i get from reading the manual

There is also a manual of a thorversion? thats states 93 db in passive state by the way .
There seem to be different versions of the Thor in the past
 

Ron Resnick

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Exactly. Wilson subwoofers are drivers in heroic cabinets — totally passive.
 

andromedaaudio

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In that case if I had a Wilson main loudspeaker set of around 89 db , and I had 2 current versions of Thors hammers at hand I would try/experiment using them passive without the controller
From all the active subs I have ever heard the integration was crap , I have not heard mikes or davids system or a Wilson active sub .
But I heard kharmas magicos RELL etc etc
 

microstrip

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Thats something else then what the sound and vision review states , in so called ¨ name of wilson ¨ .
It can also be there is a lowpass passive filter in the THOR , you can then use it both ways , passive or active .

But my curiosity has now been sparked im gonna read all the Thor manuals ..... during work :D and report.

By the way we have metaphacts from wilson here on the forum , he should be able to explain it more clearly

What is not clear from Ron and my explanations? :confused:
 

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