In truth, there aren’t many places to hear a top-end loudspeaker in the UK. Very few of the dealers in the country have the space, the budget, or the clientele to handle loudspeakers costing £100,000 or more, and the opportunities to hear such speaker systems in the wild are usually limited to public shows.
The prestigious KJ West One in the heart of the affluent central London area known as Marylebone is a rare exception, and an ideal venue for the first UK outing of the new £103,000 Wilson Audio Alexx. This new top-end loudspeaker from the range – replacing the long-standing MAXX line – is effectively an amalgamation of what Wilson Audio has learned to date, with a few hints of what’s to come with the upcoming WAMM flagship. And, in a way, this is that rare type of loudspeaker that features both ‘trickle up’ and ‘trickle down’ design criteria in almost equal measure: the Alexx learns from the Sabrina and Alexia below it as it does from the Alexandria XLF and WAMM above, but it also brings new improvements of its own.
In basic terms, the Alexx uses a vertical ‘MTM’ (midrange-tweeter-midrange) layout in the loudspeaker’s upper section, although this is not a conventional MTM or D’Appolito geometry. The 25mm soft-dome ‘Convergent Synergy’ tweeter with the latest version of Wilson’s own rear-wave chamber design is flanked by two midrange units; the top model being a 146mm upper-midrange cone used in the Sabrina, the lower a 179mm cone from the Alexandria Series 2 specifically for the lower midrange. The bass cabinet continues this concept, with a both a 267mm and 312mm woofers. The tweeter enclosure is fully sealed, but both midrange units are ported, and the bass cabinet has the option of front or rear porting, using a deceptively simple port cover that doubles up as a logo. This enables the Alexx to fit in far smaller spaces than its predecessors, and makes for a slightly less demanding installation.
The improvements also extend to the adjustments of the upper sections, with micrometer-precision adjustment of the two midrange and tweeter modules. Wilson first used this alignment of the upper modules – which Wilson calls ‘aspherical propagation delay correction’ – in the Alexandria XLF, but the system has been further refined in the Alexx. Wilson suggests this allows for precise alignment of the time-domain with respect to the listener position and room dimensions; the fine-tuning of loudspeaker position is still paramount, but a further level of alignment tuning is possible with the Alexx that is not available with other models. And, because this twin stair-step adjustment is built to lock in place, the loudspeaker – once set in place – retains the rigidity of a fixed speaker design.
Wilson suggests this is a loudspeaker that can work with amplifiers delivering 50W or more, and in the context of the KJ West One demonstration, that figure was ably exceeded thanks to a set of D’Agostino Momentum amps, with Vertere and dCS front ends, a top Audio Research phono stage, Artesania equipment supports, and best-of-breed Transparent Audio cables, this was a slice of true high-end royalty.