What Makes a Speaker a Classic? Our Trip to Hear Chronosonic XVX

TSE Audio Consultant Gale Cooper Next to the 6’4” Chronosonic XVX

By Doug Robinson

What makes a speaker a classic? A speaker you can confidently enjoy in your home for many years, many decades even? I thought about that on a trip Charlie, Gale, and I took to visit a music lover who had just installed Wilson’s new Chronosonic XVXs and thought about it even more on the way home. But before I answer that question, let me tell you about the system, the speaker, and what we heard.

The XVX’s were designed by Daryl Wilson to bring as much of the $850,000 Wilson WAMM Master Chronosonic’s performance into a more realistic price ($329,000), and size. At 6’ 4” the speakers are big but should fit into most larger listening rooms. While there is one less upper-midrange driver on the XVX, it retains the ability to tune the driver’s timing to 2 millionths of a second, and has the same woofers as the WAMM. Also exciting is an all-new Alnico midrange driver that Dave Wilson started designing that his son Daryl has finished.

The room we visited was large and lovely with high ceilings (17ft) and lots of windows looking out on the beautiful area the house occupied. Our host told us the room was a living room first and that since music was a big part of their lives, the music system resided in it. Peter McGrath from Wilson Audio had set up the speakers and was there to demo them for us. While it wasn’t a perfect environment for speakers, it was a good test of the ability of this speaker to be adapted to a less than ideal environment. The system consisted of D’Agostino Momentum Preamp and Relentless amplifiers (capable of 17,000 watts at 1 ohm), DCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock and Transport, Transparent Magnum Opus Interconnects and speaker cables. The source was mostly digital files from a PC through a Berkley Alpha USB converter into the Vivaldi.

From the first note, we recognized we were in for a special day. We heard lots of wonderful files recorded by Peter McGrath and played back without the interference of mastering or compression. On those files, the Chronosonic XVX was a virtual reality machine taking us to the hall and replicating instruments with quiet, purity, and tonality closer to a hearing-it-live experience than any system had a right to. In a Mozart clarinet quintet, we could hear the little “pop” as each valve of the clarinet opened to play the note, yet the sound was so cohesive it just made the instrument seem all that much more in-the-room. Voices had both naturalness and power as they do live. A bass organ recording lit the venue’s size and shape as textured organ bass reminded us of what we’d heard in churches and concert halls. This is an extraordinary speaker which easily overcame the limitations of a less-than-perfect room and took us to lovely musical places. The new midrange driver shined with a perfectly natural musical light that must be heard to be appreciated. The coherence of the system spoke volumes on the effectiveness of the XVX’s time-alignment system.

So after a few hours with the speaker what can we say about it? First, any music lover looking for one of the best speakers in the world would be beyond ecstatic with the Wilson Chronosonic XVX. It’s a keeper that someone could live with for years upon years. Therefore, I would propose that the XVX be proclaimed a classic. A real-world version of the WAMM Master Chronosonic at less than half the price with an improved midrange driver. I’ve had a very few listening session’s that I’ll never forget and recall as I listen to new products in the future — this will be one of them!

Peter McGrath – Wilson Audio

Ultra-precise, Beautifully Engineered Time Alignment System – Chronosonic XVX

Ultra-precise, Beautifully Engineered Time Alignment System – Chronosonic XVX

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