Wilson X1/Grand Slamm: Still Improving after 20 years!

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#61
Hi. So the constant listening, trials of improving around the margins continues. I noticed that the X1 construction, while excellent, still seems to 'suffer' a bit from internally driven vibration. While no doubt, this was always incorporated into the final 'voicing' of the speaker...i decided on the basis of 2 years of constant isolation work on the rest of the system...to keep trying vibration isolation on the Wilsons as well.

As recorded earlier, we have 2 big Entreq Vibb Eaters on each Wilson (one on top and one on top of the crossover module on the back of the speaker).

I have also found that the lower-most bass has a nice rounded decay...but sometimes, i felt that on instruments i knew reasonably well, that there was also a kind of 'shimmer' which i intuitively sensed was from vibration. After putting ankle weights (3lbs) inside the bass ports, I discovered that 10lb weights were much better and allowed bass drum kicks to maintain a nice decay...but with a much tighter, more detailed upfront kick. The problem, was that doing so also created a weird 'warble' higher up in the bass range but only only at certain specific registers.

I lived with this for some time because the tightness outweighed the upper bass warble.

Recently, i have replaced the 10lb handweights (which no doubt are totally changing tuning frequency of the bass port or something similar)...with 11 lbs of leadshot...laid out flat against the bottom of the bass port so as to (hopefully) reduce any interference in the air flow of the bass port.

I also then took the 10lb hand weights and 'mass damped' the Entreq Vibb Eaters on top of the crossover boxes.

PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION:
- The lower bass remains as tight as when the 10lb hand weights were in the bass port.
- However, the upper bass frequency 'warble' is now gone
- the weight on top of the crossover has created a more defined, stronger mid and upper presentation. the two hands of the piano on Glenn Gould are now much more independent of each other so that you can enjoy either hand separately, or listen to the combination
- I went back and forth with/without those handweights, and i realized that while at first 'without' seems softer, more organic...in truth 'with' is not 'harder' but actually making the piano sound more like a live piano as i remember from my years of studying piano...and going back to without loses a fair amount of transient detail

Stayed tuned...wish to ensure the tonal qualities of notes is maintained or improved.

...to the theme of this thread...the speaker continues to show improvements after 20+ years...
 
Last edited:

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#62
Good work, Lloyd!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
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#63
Thanks Ron!

Have listened a lot more, and the leadshot in the bass port is staying for sure...however, i am still double checking on moving the old 10lb weights to sit on top of the Entreq Vibbs on the back of the crossover module.

Yes, there is a clarity on certain notes both piano and electronic house...but as i listen, there seems to be almost an inconsistency in the frequency range. Without the added weight...organic with decay and music melds together well. With weight, more 'apparent delineation'...but having listened to music with very, very difficult words to hear in the background...it turns out it is easier to understand them with the weights OFF. The 'apparent delineation' was some kind of artifice where the weight must have been 'overdamping' the crossover module such that (since it sits on the same platform as the upper speaker modules) it was affecting the speaker modules. AGain, i presume any vibration was factored into the 'voicing' of the speaker originally.

So it seems the original delineation is NOT all good. More work to be done.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
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#64
Nailed it.

1. So the Vibb Eater on top of the Wilson Crossover module located in the back was 'very good' in reducing shimmer.
2. Adding a 10lb weight on top sharpened the presentation...but I discovered that it was an artifice that was emphasizing treble notes but not others, and there was also a teeny loss of decay detail as evidenced by subtle words becoming LESS understandable, even while certain notes became sharper/clearer. It also made the presentation 'detailed but hard'.

Clearly something 'positive' was possible in clarifying the treble...but the 10lb weight was also screwing up other things. Net, net, not a winner for me.

3. I then took the Vibb Eater and repositioned it so that it could still damp the top of the Crossover module but now ALSO slightly abut/damp the back of the treble speaker module at the same time (without blocking the rear-firing tweeters).

Bingo...Glenn Gould Bach, Fink, Deep House, Pink Floyd...absolutely spot on treble/mid/bass balance and detail (FINALLY! after months of settling into the new room). Much tighter treble, clearer and yet without any hardness...while maintaining the mellifluous quality of the mids.

I have no doubt many of these are personal choices...but I am also convinced that many of the minor 'edits' have long been solved in subsequent generations of the X-Series, culminating in the XLF. Its just nice to discover them in the current system and enjoy better and better sound.
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#65
LL21,
As a owner of a first generation X1, I read the 7 page conversation with your colleague-members with very high interest.
It would be nice to get an answer form you.
-What kind of resistors (brand & reference) you and your local distributor used to fine tune the speaker´s crossover to your taste.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#66
LL21,
As a owner of a first generation X1, I read the 7 page conversation with your colleague-members with very high interest.
It would be nice to get an answer form you.
-What kind of resistors (brand & reference) you and your local distributor used to fine tune the speaker´s crossover to your taste.
Hi...great to hear the thread was interesting. Your question is also interesting. I remember the distributor saying that because of the resistor values we eventually chose (after trying 2 others), he happened to have one that was particularly good at that third, final value. But I cannot recall the make. I will try to find out.
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#67
Hello LL21,
Thank you for trying to help.
If possible, also kindly inform their values too.
According to the information I understood from what you said, changing resistor values up & down, we can change the way speaker behaves, or characther. It would be of great interest, if you could describe the process that either you and your friend local agent did at home in order to get the balance desired.
I have read in an old interview from John Atkinson to David Wilson, he fine tune the Whamm begining first with the tweeter, than middle section, tec... i.e, from high to low.
I am in less good situation than your´s. Found a second hand X-1 but, unfortunatly don´t have a friend local agent to help.
Thank you in advance.
All the best for the group
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#68
Dear LL21,
I forgot to ask in my last post, if is possible for you to give more detailed information concerning bi-wiring procedure with X-1.
I know you did all this research long time ago, but for me, your help would be very usefull at this moment .
You also promised us "as readers" to inform about bi-amp the X-1 . Did you collect any more info about this?
Thank you
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#69
Dear LL21,
I forgot to ask in my last post, if is possible for you to give more detailed information concerning bi-wiring procedure with X-1.
I know you did all this research long time ago, but for me, your help would be very usefull at this moment .
You also promised us "as readers" to inform about bi-amp the X-1 . Did you collect any more info about this?
Thank you
Hi Clouseau1,

Here is the little I know:

1. DDK, who is a member here, knows quite a lot about bi-amping X1s, and in fact has actually done it with clients.

2. Below are 3 photos: the first two are of a fellow X1 owner who has bi-amp'd his speakers...this is his configuration. I will not confirm if it works (or will hurt your speakers!) i have never done it myself.

3. The last and third photo is of my own speakers where the TA Ref XL jumper wires are used IN ADDITION to the copper busbar, and i really, really like this upgrade which the Wilson/TA reps i spoke with seemed to support...and the Wilson dealer uses TA Ref XL jumpers to replace the standard jumpers used on the big Focal Grande Utopia EMs.

Regarding resistors, the X1 we own requires a professional to resolder the resistor each time...i do not have such knowledge or skills. However, I CAN confirm it made a big, big difference as you may have read me say in the past. And in my case, a big, big IMPROVEMENT when we found the resistor level that i liked. Each time, the dealer soldered, but it was worth it.

Regarding your situation...if you have a good relationship with a local Wilson dealer you think is super-knowledgeable...you may wish to pay them to come over. It may save you a lot of time...and also a lot of learning.

To me, the single greatest thing about big Wilsons is that they were designed to be adjusted (location of speaker, location/position of each module and resistor level of each module)...this makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. You possess this flexibility...but you may wish to pay for the professional experience to actually finetune it to your liking. Entirely your choice of course, and you may already have much of your own experience. I do not, and have appreciated such service here.

Hope that helps a little.

Wilson Bi-Amp.jpg
Wilson Bi-Amp 2.jpg
Wilson TA Ref XL Jumpers.jpg
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#70
Hello LL21.
It was with great satisfaction that I read all information you sent today. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences that, I imagine, took weeks maybe monthes to get.
I will go deep this night into your information and let you know later.
All the best
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
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#71
Clouseau1

Enjoy! If you wish to keep reading, here is a copy/paste from an owner who did the bi-amping of his X1s:

"Upgrade plans? No!
The X-1 Grand SLAMM is the perfect speaker in all respects. I heard the X-2 Alexandria Level 2 with the complete McIntosh Reference components. The X-2 has no bi-wiring option. Without the bi-wiring option I would have sold my X-1! As the X-2 appeared in the market in 2004 I wrote to Wilson Audio, David A. Wilson himself and asked him to arrange at least a bi-wiring option for the X-2.
The newer speaker cables Transparent Opus MM2 are very good but a dealer! told me to be careful. This highest (newest) level of Transparent is only more analytical /too analytical or can act in this way.
NBS Cable Black Label Series II or III could be an alternative... They could be an alternative for the interconnects, too.
But, Wilson Audio uses special engineered Transparent Cables for the interconnection. In the Grand SLAMM they are similar to the higher (highest) series of Transparent Cable.
The Mark Levinson Reference Components could not be outperformed by any other components in the market up to now. This is my opinion after hearing a lot of the best components on earth. (Krell, McIntosh, MBL, Convergent Audio Technology an so one)
The current ML No 512 CD/SACD player is not better than the older ML 31.5/30.6 combination. A technician with an established reputation and one of the very best experts for ML in Germany confirmed this/my opinion.

Two pairs of the ML 33! (four monaural amplifiers) for bi-amping could be an option. The X-1 requires current and once more current for the perfect dynamic. Of course the X-1 sounds great with less power. But for me the sound must be as real as possible, as dynamic as possible. Unfortunately bi-amping is not possible with bridged amplifiers. Nearly all good amplifiers are bridged amplifiers. I can give a detailed technical description on demand. But my family is happy not to have two furthermore of this 200 kg-monsters. The radiated heat of each monaural amplifier is extreme. Only my father is always cold. So he asked me really seriously, if it is possible to install one or both of them in his room beside my listening room. But to feed the bulky cables through the wall and put the amp monsters in his room could not be a real option.

So the only an best way is to enjoy the system!"
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#72
Esteemed LL21,
Your aditional information was very wellcome. Thank you.
So, Bi- amp is the way to go? Our colleague was not clear about it. He offered "detailed technical description " on demand. Is it possible to ask him this?
According to the picture you sent and, from what I can see, we just pull out the copper jumper, and plug a second spkr cable across the neutral(-) binding post & neutral(-) main output speaker and that´s all?
I found very interesting all the experience with cables your german colleague (supposed to be DDK) shared with us.
Concerning the mantainance of the speaker, more specifically with drivers & surface damping material, would like to share your experience in case you have already chaged them?
I am also in need of an alternative foam replacement for bass drivers. My local technician changed the mid bass surround foams and they were perfetly aligned and has donne a good job. We cannot visually distiguish any diference, however I feel these new foams are slighly harder comparing to originals.
The question is: any source to get the surroundings
All the best
 
Last edited:

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#73
Esteemed LL21,
Your aditional information was very wellcome. Thank you.
So, Bi- amp is the way to go? Our colleague was not clear about it. He offered "detailed technical description " on demand. Is it possible to ask him this?
According to the picture you sent and, from what I can see, we just pull out the copper jumper, and plug a second spkr cable across the neutral(-) binding post & neutral(-) main output speaker and that´s all?
I found very interesting all the experience with cables your german colleague (supposed to be DDK) shared with us.
Concerning the mantainance of the speaker, more specifically with drivers & surface damping material, would like to share your experience in case you have already chaged them?
I am also in need of an alternative foam replacement for bass drivers. My local technician changed the mid bass surround foams and they were perfetly aligned and has donne a good job. We cannot visually distiguish any diference, however I feel these new foams are slighly harder comparing to originals.
The question is: any source to get the surroundings
All the best
Hi Clouseau1,

I cannot speak too much more about bi-amping as i have never done it. I have only spoken with other people who have. I know of a Wilson dealer who said it would be quite a dramatic improvement on the X1s. That surprised me since Wilson is quite strict about not doing this.

As for woofers, yes it seems quite common for the foam surrounds to deteriorate over time, and I know a few owners (including us) who have changed the speaker cones. I do not have a source, because the Wilson Distributor did it for us. But they did suggest that when they change...they change BOTH cones, not just one since a new one playing opposite a 10-year or 20 year old cone will not be correct.

In terms of sound, they said to play them at moderate volume first for 100 hours after they are installed...do not crank the volume as soon as they come home from repair. they also said the cone will open up a bit during this 100 hour period of moderate play. hope that helps a little.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#75
Thank you LL21 for your information.
I did both at same time.
Concerning the front grilles, any idea? The originals are so expensive...
For the 3 front grilles, i am aware of 3 options:

1. Do not use any...let the cones show. A lot of people do this. We dont but most Wilsons i see show the cones (no grilles)...or cover some but not others if looks are important and you want to cover some.
2. Use the original (ugly?) foam grilles which apparently were more transparent than the later fixed (better looking?) grilles. It is apparently what David Wilson chose originally...for its transparency
3. Use the better looking, new framed grilles (which is what i do)...since they're in our living room. As transparent as no grilles (or even the original ugly ones?)...no, but its a compromise i have made and now dont even think about it.

Hope that helps.
 

clouseau1

New Member
Jun 28, 2017
12
0
1
Portugal
#76
Hi LL21.
Many thanks once again for your advices and time invested in my questions.
Hope you understand....I am new in the forum, and have acumulated so many questions along these years.
Hope in the future to replicate with same enthusiasm.
Cheers.
Luis
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#77
Clouseau1

Enjoy your big Wilsons!
 
Apr 20, 2018
53
19
8
OKC,USA
#78
LL21, I am a new member, although have been lurking, and enjoying, WBF for about 3 months.
Your progress with X1s is valuable to me as I have the viii Grand Slamms and will keep.
Next for me is the 'jumpers'
THANKS
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,935
143
63
#79
LL21, I am a new member, although have been lurking, and enjoying, WBF for about 3 months.
Your progress with X1s is valuable to me as I have the viii Grand Slamms and will keep.
Next for me is the 'jumpers'
THANKS
fantastic! great speakers...let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!
 
Apr 20, 2018
53
19
8
OKC,USA
#80
LL21,
Yes a question for your advice/opinion:
My viii X1s, do not have the combo spade/banana input jacks as yours but are only spade.
Would you still double the jumpers with two tightened down to the stock Wilson brass jumper bar?
I am anxious to order the jumpers and try.
It was disappointing to learn of Dave Wilson's passing and although I never has personal contact with him, there have been occasions talking with staff who reflected his commitment to his customers.
Again thanks and I am grateful for your trial and work toward the improvement of these great speakers and especially your gracious sharing of knowledge.
Dave Beauchamp
 

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