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Alexandria XLF joins the Alexandria family, not as a replacement for the Series 2, but as its measurably more ambitious sibling. While maintaining the recognizable Alexandria form factor, it is physically larger, with 14% greater bass volume. Thicker cabinet walls and added bracing for an even more inert enclosure.It introduces passive bass management technology unique in the audio world. It introduces a new Convergent Synergy tweeter, a new crossover, and a host of parts all chosen through sedulous listening trials.
From the time he started building loudspeakers in his garage, Dave Wilson had one motivating passion: to make the reproduction of music sound as much like the real thing as possible. Although he is acutely aware of the limitations imposed on his dream by available driver technology, cabinet materials and the laws of physics, the goal remains the same. Dave is an idealist. Wilson Audio has always rejected the notion of "perceived value." Our only metric is intrinsic value. In a market increasingly crowded with over $100k loudspeakers, how does the discerning audiophile distinguish authentic value from products merely wrapped in the mystique of exclusivity and high price?
If one's goal is to reproduce the sound of live music, logic suggests that at some point the designer must listen to his creation in order to understand how much (or how little) it sounds like the live event. Some designers in the industry maintain that making judgments on the success of one's design through listening is subjective and unscientific. They believe that only through the application of the right theories, or the strict adherence to a certain set of measurements can one reliably approach the ideal.
Alexandria XLF Yet the history of high-end audio is littered with electronics and loudspeakers that achieve sterling performance on the test bench, and yet, to the ears of even the average listener, fail to produce life-like sound. They lack the ineffable sense of rightness that momentarily suspends disbelief.
Dave is unapologetic about using his ears as a design tool because while fidelity of the live event may be difficult to measure, it is not difficult for even the casual listener to hear. But when listening becomes rigorous and disciplined - that is to say, empirical - it can bear even greater benefits. Dave makes an annual pilgrimage to the great concert halls of Europe, particularly Vienna's Musikverein, as he puts it, "to recalibrate his ears." It is more than personal taste that justifies live classical music as the summum bonum of his musical reference. Besides the sophisticated interplay of tonal and harmonic color and wide dynamics typical of the orchestral repertoire, classical music performed in a hall such as the Musikverein takes on the quality of the venue itself.
By luck or design, the builders of this concert hall created a space that enlivens the sound of musical instruments in a particularly beguiling manner. Dave Wilson - The Observer Dave spent a great deal of time analyzing the Musikverein's acoustics. He discovered its sonic signature was largely defined by the length of time between the orchestra's initial sound and the earliest reflections in the hall. He then set out to build a new midrange driver that was capable of resolving these subtle timedomain cues.
The result was the Wilson midrange driver, first deployed in Alexandria Series 2. Since then, a modified version has been designed into every other Wilson floorstanding loudspeaker. Regardless of the type of music played through it, Wilson's midrange driver reveals new layers of detail and subtlety that the ear recognizes as qualities of live music. It was the direct result of meticulous scientific research and experimentation followed by comparative listening on the macro scale. An engineering challenge Years of design experience taught Dave Wilson that practically no detail is too trivial to examine. What about the twist ratios in the internal wiring? Or the metallurgy of the resistor heat sinks, since eddy currents in the mount can induce currents in neighboring resistors. He's meticulously tested capacitors and inductors.and even the solder used to bind all these parts together.
After all these tests, he listens to each part in a controlled and repeatable environment.Although the new loudspeaker retains the unmistakable form and lines of Alexandria Series 2 (seen on the left), the architecture of the XLF (on the right) has evolved to support new technology.The Cross Load Firing port system (XLF) dictated a larger bass enclosure. It is 14% larger than the Series 2. The increased volume enabled the engineers to carefully shape the XLF.s bass response to be even more linear and room-friendly.Using the latest analysis technology, Wilson.s mechanical engineers reworked the woofer cabinet, thickening the enclosure walls and redesigning the internal bracing geometry. Cabinet contribution in the bass region is extremely low in the Alexandria X-2. The Alexandria XLF is even more inert. Wilson has a long tradition of cross populating advancements from one design to the rest of the line.
This sometimes means that a more expensive model benefits from technology introduced in a less expensive loudspeaker. First introduced in Wilson's venerable WATT/Puppy replacement, the Sasha W/P, S-material is a highly rigid, critically damped, epoxy-based composite. It was developed specifically for midrange beauty and ultra-low resonance. In combination with X-material, S-material reduces measurable and audible noise and coloration in the midrange. Without question, Alexandria XLF is the most complex loudspeaker Wilson Audio has ever produced. According to mechanical engineer, Blake Schmutz, CNC milling the pieces for an XLF requires an entire week of eight hour shifts just to complete one channel. But for Dave Wilson the idealist, size, weight, and manufacturing complexity are all of little consequence when the task at hand is to make a loudspeaker that outperforms the Series 2 Alexandria in every significant measure, and brings the listener an unmistakable step closer to the exhilaration of a live musical event.