Letters • February 2017

Alexx or Alexandria XLF?

February 25, 2017

Marc,

I hope you’re enjoying your time with the Wilson Audio Alexx.

So here’s a question for you; I might be the first to ask, but I’m sure it will be asked: without regard to price, which would you take, Alexx or Alexandria XLF?

I'm just curious to know if Wilson’s reported advances in materials, drivers and so on actually translate into something one can hear.

Larry Phillips

The answer to your question, which I've asked myself more than once, is an honest, I don't know. It has been years since the Alexandria XLF has been in my system, and when it was, it was with completely different electronics than I'm using right now with the Alexx. I've also done much of my listening to the Alexx with the full dCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, and that skews things greatly, because it's by far the best digital source I've heard.

I can say that both speakers are very coherent, dynamic and colorful; they both do musical subtlety and power very well. I think the Alexandria XLF is easier to drive, both in terms of its load and sensitivity, but I would love to test this hypothesis by trying the Alexx with Lamm ML3 amps.

Given all of this, and the difference in the speakers' prices (the Alexx is roughly half the cost of the Alexandria XLF), I suppose the Alexx is the real winner here. It's also worth noting that Wilson may believe the same thing, given that they have said the Alexandria XLF's replacement is coming. -Marc Mickelson

Nagra and Wilson at CES

February 14, 2017

Jim,

I just read your great report on CES, and I'm very interested in your highly positive comments about the Nagra/Wilson Alexx system, where you say, “It was as if the Alexx towers were on silent display and the music just arose at the front of the room.” May I ask if this quality occurred with digital or analog or both?

Ash Varma

As I recall, we listened to both digital and analog recordings of different material, so I was unable to A/B the two playback systems. Also, the music was unfamiliar to me, including a homemade recording of Argentine percussion instruments which, nevertheless, sounded superb. The main thing is that whether it was CD or vinyl, the music had the "breath of life" to it. -Jim Saxon

Audio Reseach-Lamm synergy?

February 10, 2017

Marc,

You have a lot of experience with Audio Research and Lamm products. Do you see synergy between an Audio Research preamp and Lamm hybrid amplifiers, or do I need a Lamm preamp to extract the best from the Lamm amps?

Cristiano Berera

Audio Research and Lamm products work well together -- far better than most, in fact. I've used Lamm M1.2 hybrid monoblocks with many Audio Research preamps -- Reference 3, Reference 5, Reference Anniversary, Reference 5 SE, Reference 10 and Reference 6 -- and there is great complementariness between the brands. First, Lamm hybrid amps have very high voltage gain, and this is offset by the low-gain Audio Research preamps. In sonic terms -- tonal mostly -- there is similarity, while in others -- the portrayal of space, image density -- the sonic signatures of both brands combine to produce a very compelling outcome. Of course, using a Lamm preamp with Lamm amps will bring its own set of virtues, but you will lose the remote control and balanced inputs of the Audio Research Reference preamps. -Marc Mickelson

Living Voice OBX-RW?

February 6, 2017

Roy,

We’ve met a couple of times at RMAF in Denver. Although I didn’t see you at this year’s show, I thought I’d write you with a question.

In 2015, you brought the Living Voice speakers to your seminar on cartridge alignment, and they sounded quite nice. I am considering purchasing a pair of the OBX-RW for my home system. What are your thoughts on the separate crossovers? Are they worth the extra money and space?

My system is currently a JA Michell Orbe SE turntable with a Benz Micro Ruby cartridge on an SME IV tonearm, Shelter step-up transformer, Air Tight ATE-2 phono equalizer (preamp) and Air Tight ATM-1 power amp. I currently own a pair of Silverline SR-17 monitors, which are a two-way with a sensitivity of 89dB/1W/1m. My listening room is small, approximately 16’x 13’ with a sloped ceiling.

Eric Stern

Is the OBX better than the IBX? The short answer is "Yes, but. . . ."

As with any speaker, the greater the separation you can achieve between the crossover and the mechanical environment of the cabinet the better the performance. But then there’s the “but”: the added cost and complexity are only worthwhile if you actually realize the benefits -- and that means that you need to keep cabling consistent right from amp to speaker terminals and you need to provide proper mechanical isolation/grounding for the crossover boxes. If cost or space constraints mean that you can’t achieve both of these goals, then, frankly, you may be better off going with the IBX-RW -- which is hardly slumming it.

There is one other thing to consider. The OBX-RW has quietly been elevated to RW3 status -- with new crossovers. An OBX makes the upgrade at a later date an awful lot easier.

So yes, the OBX is worth the extra cost, but make sure you pay attention to the support and installation details -- and look forward to a future crossover upgrade down the road. -Roy Gregory

Reader list

February 1, 2017

Marc,

Please add me to TAB’s reader list!

Charles Murphy

You're on! To be added to TAB's reader list and find out about new articles first, send e-mail to rl@theaudiobeat.com. -Marc Mickelson

 

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