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Wilson Audio Alexandria X2 Loudspeakers Review

By: Jerry Del Colliano

I will never forget begging Christopher Hansen like a kid who desperately wants an ice cream cone or some new matchbox car to order one of the first pairs of the Wilson "Grand SLAMM" speakers back in the early 1990s. Our salon was a leading Wilson dealer and we had a reference room that would be perfect for these insanely expensive (I think they were $67,500 at the time) reference loudspeakers. Through me selling more than my share of WATT Puppy version 3.2 speakers at the time and thanks to some favorable terms put forth to us by Wilson in the middle of a recession - we were the third dealer to get this new level of speaker. Assembly was a major process that three people spent more than a day on including opening upwards of 18 crates, positioning drivers and voicing the speakers in the room. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun.

Today, Wilson has taken the Grand SLAMM concept and renamed it the Alexandra X2. The price is far higher at $128,000 and the speaker is greatly refined. It still stands tall as a conglomerate of many speakers assembled and voiced to match the needs of a room in order to get the maximum musical effect. David Wilson, Wilson Audio's founder, speaks of his experience listening to Mahler's Second in Vienna and how it inspired him to rethink his ultimate level speaker specifically in the midrange. He wanted more speed and even more accuracy for which he sought a new speaker driver manufacturer to work with Wilson Audio to help create a new midrange transducer which has now trickled down to other speakers in the Wilson line today. The Alexandria X2s have in reality replaced the highly customized WAMM system that was even more configurable and even more expensive however it came with Mr. Wilson personally flying to your listening room and tuning the speakers which no longer is viable on many levels.

Wilson speakers are truly a statement. The Alexandrias have a reported frequency response of just below 20 Hz to above 22.5 kHz which goes slightly above and below the threshold of human hearing. Alexandrias are physically large speakers but oddly and like their highly successful little brothers, the WATT Puppy (or Sasha WP) speakers, take up a pretty modest footprint considering their overall size. Colors for the Wilson Audio Alexandria start with any and every exotic car color you can dream of and go from there. Wives and designers alike rave about the color combinations for Wilson Audio speakers. Wilson's Alexandria X2 speakers pack tremendous power efficiency like most Wilson speakers which means you could power them with single ended triode tube amps if you so desired. The chances are you will be looking at more exotic and high powered amps from the likes of Krell (Evolution), Mark Levinson's No. 53, Halcro, Audio Research and or any number of other ultra-level power amplifiers.

Sonically, the Wilson Audio Alexandria present a musical experience the likes most have never heard this side of the Disney Hall or the Kimmel Center - perhaps even the Staples Center. Transient dynamics are second to none when listening to the Wilson Audio Alexandria X2s. These speakers present a tall yet accurate soundstage that is visceral like you would expect listening to a live musical event. Wilson X2s can make a small musical event like a string quartet or a jazz ensemble sound so intimate you wonder if you actually were in the room with the performers but where the X2s go to the next level is with large format music and bombastic movie soundtracks in the new HD audio codecs. Feed Wilson Audio Alexandria X2s high-resolution material for over-the-top dynamic content and prepare to be floored. Their bass performance means you could skip a subwoofer (but you won't - in fact you could buck up for the Wilson Thor's Hammer, which is about as big as a Sub Zero refridgerator) in your system. No matter what the musical content - you are in for an E-ticket ride with the Wilson Alexandria X2s.

High Points
- You need very little power to light up Wilson speakers however you will (trust me, you will) power them with something beefy. A Ferrari Enzo is a light car thanks to all of that carbon fiber but they still put one moo baby moo of a power plant under the hood just for kicks.
- There is no music the Alexandria doesn't sound good with.
- For movies, you likely can't find a better pairing of dynamics and accuracy. The matching center speaker is a little angular looking but it sounds great.
- The fit and finish of these speakers are better than any I have ever seen ever. Period.
- Wilson Audio speakers are proudly made in the United States - specifically Provo, Utah. Do you pay more because of this fact - absolutely - and you should be proud to do so as I have been to the Wilson factory and these men and women are true American artisans.

Low Points
- The Wilson Alexandria X2s are big speakers and demand that they have room to the side and behind them to get the insanely good imaging and depth that they are capable of reproducing.
- You will also want to acoustically treat the room that Alexandrias are installed in. This doesn't mean that you will need to put enough RPG treatments in your living room that it looks like a recording studio. You will however want to have some absorption behind, above and on the back wall of the room. With this kind of investment - hire an acoustician and have him work with your local Wilson dealer who is trained to set these speakers up in your room.
- Prepare to spend the big bucks at every step upstream from the Wilson Alexandria X2s. If you can't afford the amps, the $10,000 (or more) cables, the high end preamp and the uber-premium CD player then may I respectfully suggest that you look at Wilson's MAXX3 speakers which are no slouch in their own right but they are neatly half the price.
- While the X2s would fit into large home theater systems, the are somehow lost when installed behind a perforated or woven video screen. There are other high-end speakers for this application. Wilson's Alexandria X2s are more audio jewelry and less utilitarian than that.

You could technically spend more on a pair of speakers but the question I would ask to you is simple... why? It simply doesn't get any better than Wilson Audio Alexandria X2 loudspeakers. They have tremendous depth, power and finesse. They can reproduce the most complex soundtracks and HD audio sources with ease. Literally, there is nothing you can throw at these speakers that they can't handle from the world of music and film. If you are looking for the state of the art in loudspeaker design and implementation - guess what - you have arrived when you get to Wilson's Alexandria X2.
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