Letters • October 2017

Wilson WAMM MC and subs?

October 23, 2017


I enjoyed your blog on the Wilson Alexx and Thor's Hammer. But given your conclusions, there seem to be obvious questions about using the Wilson WAMM MC as a standalone system without subs, especially given that both the Alexx and WAMM MC use the same drivers in the bass, albeit in a redesigned enclosure. At a Wilson demo (not of the WAMM MC) given by factory personnel, I inquired about using subs such as the Thor's Hammer with the WAMM MC, given that the Alexandria XLF appeared to have superior bass ability, at least in terms of loudness, due to its larger woofers. I was told there would be subs designed specifically for the WAMM MC. I believe the WAMM MC is being shipped, and if I were fortunate enough to be using a set, I'd want the ultimate configuration as soon as possible, especially given the investment in a WAMM MC system. Besides visually remembering the original WAMM, I miss the old four-tower configuration.

It seems your blog begs for an extra paragraph or two commenting on the WAMM MC and subs and perhaps another paragraph if you know anything about subs specific to the WAMM MC system.

Allen Edelstein

It's an interesting point that you make -- and clearly one over which Wilson have expended some energy. Of course, it should be said that although the WAMM MC and Alexx share bass drivers, they occupy a much bigger volume in the flagship design, so the WAMM MC already possesses a low-frequency advantage over its smaller brother. Nor did I feel the need for additional bass when I listened to the WAMM MC. Dimensionality, acoustic space (both around the orchestra and -- uncannily -- around the listener) texture, color and timbre were all exceptional, adding considerably to the sense of a coherent, musical whole.

Would the WAMM MC benefit from subs? Absolutely -- both aesthetically and sonically. Are Wilson working on matching subs for the flagship speaker? Indeed, and I believe that the design is complete, with the final prototypes already seeing the light of day for a few lucky listeners. Meanwhile, I suspect that those who have waited for the WAMM MC will wait for the matching bass units. Certainly, that's the stance of the WAMM MC owners with whom I've spoken. Thankfully, it looks like the wait for subs will be mercifully short. -Roy Gregory

Main Offender

October 17, 2017


You often note Keith Richards' Main Offender in your equipment reviews. I have never heard it, but I guess it is that good. Is there a particular LP mastering/pressing or CD version that I should look for?

Jeff Levine

Main Offender is one of the very best-sounding rock recordings I've ever heard; in fact, a couple of cuts are the best-sounding I've heard, and you can really lean on the volume control with them. I recall discussing the recording with Peter McGrath, of Wilson Audio, who's a very skilled recording engineer, and he agreed with me about its sonic qualities, saying that the engineer "kept it simple," capturing incredible low-bass weight and blazing transient speed. Main Offender is available on CD [Virgin V2-86499], which is easy to find for a few dollars, and LP [Virgin VUSLP 59], which is much harder to find here in the US, because, I believe, it was released only in Europe. I got my LP from a European distributor who admires the recording so much that he was literally buying every copy he could find. Also of note is the music -- Keith Richards playing some searing guitar on some rowdy cuts, a couple of which also have a reggae underpinning. It's great listening all around. -Marc Mickelson

TW-Acustic and Zanden

October 10, 2017


I guess you didn’t know, but TW-Acustic has their own platter mat that is made by Zanden. It’s the same mat as the TPM-1 you wrote about.

Jeff Catalano
Highwater Sound

Actually, Zanden told me this, but my article was on their version, so I purposely didn't get into what you mention. -Marc Mickelson

MQA: "Maybe the jury is still out?"

October 3, 2017


I was wondering what your thoughts are on MQA playback. I'm wondering if it's another SACD-type scenario, or is it something to truly be explored? If so, why haven't all the major DAC manufacturers climbed onboard? Maybe the jury is still out?

Sheldon Simon

I'm not sure I am fully qualified to comment on MQA, because I've had only one demo of it (and a very impressive demo it was). On the other hand, perhaps my slight experience makes me the right person to weigh in, because I haven't picked a side. Issues like MQA baffle me. If it sounds better, then it is better, regardless of whether the product or, in the case of MQA, the process meets some preconceived notion of what's considered proper or right. When it comes to sonic worth, I will continue to rely on evidence -- what I hear -- not biased opinion; at least evidence has a basis in something observable, repeatable and concrete. And in this way, MQA certainly seems to have promise. -Marc Mickelson

"The List" updates

October 2, 2017


It doesn’t seem like “The List” gets updated very often, or am I not looking frequently enough to see changes?

I ask because a careful reading of some of your reviews would seem to indicate that the musical excellence provided by a given piece of audio equipment would warrant inclusion. Specifically, after reading the review of the Grand Prix Monaco 1.5 turntable, I clicked over and was surprised that it was not listed (maybe the assessment needs more seasoning?). Or perhaps some of the new Mobile Fidelity releases that have absolutely smashed the quality of pressings that have preceded them -- the Bill Evans Trio's Sunday at the Village Vanguard or Santana's Abraxas. I would have thought these might be listed. (Not that I am chiding you for what is included; it is, after all, your list, and you can obviously compile it as you choose.) I was just wondering -- that’s all.

By the way, I really do enjoy the reviews: the care that you and the entire The Audio Beat team take to properly evaluate a single piece of equipment and then the thoughtful descriptions that go into the write-ups. It’s all good stuff.

Karl Weiss

This is a very pertinent question, and you are correct that "The List" isn't fully up to date. I have been engaged in the perpetual (or so it seems) task of replacing it with a new and better area of The Audio Beat that will include both equipment and music -- the best that we currently know of. Time is always the impediment here -- I never have enough of it (and the mental energy required to do the work well). Yes, the Grand Prix Monaco 1.5 should be included in "The List," as should the Mobile Fidelity One-Step LPs you cite -- among other products and recordings we've covered.

In any case, I will endeavor to update "The List" in the short term, while I continue to work to replace it with something even better.

Thanks, by the way, for your kind words about our articles. I'm glad the care shows. -Marc Mickelson

Reader list

October 1, 2017


Please add me to your e-mail list.

Rick Brodsky

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


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