What is it about the Wilson designs that the speakers are so hard to drive? (excepting Alexandrias)

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,933
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36
#1
Does anyone understand why Wilson speakers sound best with BIG POWER? Anyone understand the designs of most models, and why is Alexandria different?

P.S. Simple question, guys. Enough of the BS, please stay on topic.
 

steve williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#2
Does anyone understand why Wilson speakers sound best with BIG POWER? Anyone understand the designs of most models, and why is Alexandria different?

P.S. Simple question, guys. Enough of the BS, please stay on topic.
I totally disagree

I've driven Wilson's over the years from Krell Mcx 750 then ARC ref 600 Mk lll, then Lamm ML 2.1 and my present Lamm ML 3 with 32 wpc

Sound was different with each however I'm done with electronics as my Lamm Signatures are lifers. My speakers BTW are 95 DB efficient. Virtually anything can drive them
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,933
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#3
I totally disagree

I've driven Wilson's over the years from Krell Mcx 750 then ARC ref 600 Mk lll, then Lamm ML 2.1 and my present Lamm ML 3 with 32 wpc

Sound was different with each however I'm done with electronics as my Lamm Signatures are lifers. My speakers BTW are 95 DB efficient. Virtually anything can drive them
Hi Steve, I think we are on the same page. Other than Alexandrias, which you are able to drive with low-powered amp, everything else you used has GOBS OF POWER
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,647
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#5
Here’s a thought.( from a marketing perspective)...the typical buyer for Wilson’s may be put off when told that the best amp for them, needs to only put out 15-30 Watts. Probably better to try and sell a mega power amp ( doesn’t it sound a lot better if the amp can put out 500 Watts/ ch!)...naturally at a mega price.:rolleyes:
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,877
59
48
London
#6
Imo only horns sound good with low power - and even there some get better with 50 to 80
 

BMCG

VIP/Donor
Oct 1, 2016
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0
16
United Kingdom
#7
Here’s a thought.( from a marketing perspective)...the typical buyer for Wilson’s may be put off when told that the best amp for them, needs to only put out 15-30 Watts. Probably better to try and sell a mega power amp ( doesn’t it sound a lot better if the amp can put out 500 Watts/ ch!)...naturally at a mega price.:rolleyes:
There's no shortage of low power SETs at mega prices.....
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
320
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Munich
#8
But some are still easy to drive. The likes of XLF.
The other speakers have impedance dips (Alexx,W/P,Alexandria 1) - which create a problem for a vast majority tube amp's and not for big power houses. (exept LAMM because they are briliant in their design (https://www.stereophile.com/content/lamm-ml22-monoblock-power-amplifier-measurements) Look at his conclusion)

Here’s a thought.( from a marketing perspective)...the typical buyer for Wilson’s may be put off when told that the best amp for them, needs to only put out 15-30 Watts. Probably better to try and sell a mega power amp ( doesn’t it sound a lot better if the amp can put out 500 Watts/ ch!)...naturally at a mega price.:rolleyes:
That's a very good guess.... The dealers aren't telling Wilson to build more efficient speakers, because they can sell mega amp's to their customers.
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,550
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38
#9
Personally, I think there is QUALITY power and there is TONS of power. Both have their benefits...but it is ultimately the balance of these kinds of factors...plus the interaction with the speaker that matters. With respect to the Wilsons, I do think that the big Wilsons are different from their smaller bretheren, though i have not heard the Alexx. The smaller ones do come alive with a far greater amount of limitless power...but i do wonder if you had an insanely spec'd 50 watt amp (ie, Aries Cerat 200kg power supply monster, or Steve's 4-box 32-watt reference Lamm) whether the QUALITY and high current of the lower-wattage amp would still make music with the Alexia.

Ultimately, there are going to be things a Naim Statement 746 watt into 8ohm will do that a lower-watt amp wont, but I have to wonder if you've got 'near limitless current/over-spec'd' 50-watt amp if you'd care with a pair of Alexias or ever miss that extra 700 watts of power given the 'sensitivity' of the Alexia from a decibel standpoint.
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
320
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#10
but I have to wonder if you've got 'near limitless current/over-spec'd' 50-watt amp if you'd care with a pair of Alexias or ever miss that extra 700 watts of power given the 'sensitivity' of the Alexia from a decibel standpoint.
Im building such an amp (sort of). It's a single output device (MOSFET Class A) with an operating voltage of 7.75V. But the current capabilitys are greater than 25A. The power supply is massive.... for the prototype it's a lab powersuplly capable of 100A. Im planing on a final powersupply capability of 2000+VA....
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,550
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38
#11
Fantastic! What is your watts/8ohm load? Limitless current Class A, sounds amazing.
Im building such an amp (sort of). It's a single output device (MOSFET Class A) with an operating voltage of 7.75V. But the current capabilitys are greater than 25A. The power supply is massive.... for the prototype it's a lab powersuplly capable of 100A. Im planing on a final powersupply capability of 2000+VA....
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
320
3
18
Munich
#12
20.32W 8Ohms
 

LL21

Active Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,550
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38
#13
Wow...without any tech background, it sounded like it could have been comfortably 140 watts...I would have therefore guessed 50-70 watts in your case. When will it be ready? Photos? Intriguing.

QUOTE=GMKF;478159]20.32W 8Ohms[/QUOTE]
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
320
3
18
Munich
#14
It's finished on paper. But there is another finished amp design I wan't to build aswell (Negative Output Impedance Amp).
When I decide I'll let you know.
I'll start ordering the parts before christmas. The build will start around christmas...
It should work. But you don't know anything before you test.
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#15
Does anyone understand why Wilson speakers sound best with BIG POWER? Anyone understand the designs of most models, and why is Alexandria different?

P.S. Simple question, guys. Enough of the BS, please stay on topic.
No one will understand because the real question is what means big power. Do you want to quantify what it means to you?

Beside it is not true IMHO and experience. It depends on your preferences, system and listening conditions. I have owned several Wilson speakers before the XLF's and I could play them with amplifiers that I do not consider to be BIG POWER.

Today the XLF's are playing with the Constellation Audio Centaur500 II + Virgo III. And yes, I can assure you they love BIG POWER!
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#16
Personally, I think there is QUALITY power and there is TONS of power. Both have their benefits...but it is ultimately the balance of these kinds of factors...plus the interaction with the speaker that matters. With respect to the Wilsons, I do think that the big Wilsons are different from their smaller bretheren, though i have not heard the Alexx. The smaller ones do come alive with a far greater amount of limitless power...but i do wonder if you had an insanely spec'd 50 watt amp (ie, Aries Cerat 200kg power supply monster, or Steve's 4-box 32-watt reference Lamm) whether the QUALITY and high current of the lower-wattage amp would still make music with the Alexia.

Ultimately, there are going to be things a Naim Statement 746 watt into 8ohm will do that a lower-watt amp wont, but I have to wonder if you've got 'near limitless current/over-spec'd' 50-watt amp if you'd care with a pair of Alexias or ever miss that extra 700 watts of power given the 'sensitivity' of the Alexia from a decibel standpoint.
Good points. As always, each case is a difference case. IMHO Wilson speakers are not too different from other box speakers, however people have higher expectations from them, and fulfilling them needs quality power as you refer.
 

steve williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#17
Good points. As always, each case is a difference case. IMHO Wilson speakers are not too different from other box speakers, however people have higher expectations from them, and fulfilling them needs quality power as you refer.
I'll take my 32 wpc Pure class A ML3 Signature with my X2's over the big powered amps. I've used both and prefer SET on my Wilson speakers
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#18
It's finished on paper. But there is another finished amp design I wan't to build aswell (Negative Output Impedance Amp).
When I decide I'll let you know.
I'll start ordering the parts before christmas. The build will start around christmas...
It should work. But you don't know anything before you test.
GMFK,

Can we know why do you want to built a design known to be instable and have higher distortion?
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
320
3
18
Munich
#19
GMFK,

Can we know why do you want to built a design known to be instable and have higher distortion?
Wich one the Class A one ? Or the negative output impedance one ?

Class A -> Because I wan't to build such an amp. For my personal fun ;)
Negative output impedance amp shouldn't have high distortion the way I designed the amp.
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#20
Im building such an amp (sort of). It's a single output device (MOSFET Class A) with an operating voltage of 7.75V. But the current capabilitys are greater than 25A. The power supply is massive.... for the prototype it's a lab powersuplly capable of 100A. Im planing on a final powersupply capability of 2000+VA....
How can you get 20W at 8 ohm from a 7.75V single ended? Do you have an output transformer?
 

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