Wildly expensive aspirational hi-fi often ventures down two distinctly different paths. On the one hand, you the have long-established horn speakers, traditionally braced beautiful wooden cabinets and craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation – the heritage philosophy.
And on the other, you have Wilson Audio – which makes the kind of fantastically futuristic high-ticket audio gear I want in my life.
How to describe the new Alexia V standmount speakers? Some of the best stereo speakers in the world? Undoubtedly – I heard a set of Wilson Audio Alexx V bright orange floorstanders hooked up to a VTL amp at High End Munich earlier this year (picture supplied as proof, check the Avantegardes too) and was both blown away and mildly terrified.
Let's face it, the Alexia V might be Daleks based on their looks. They might harvest your vital organs while you sleep for their own nefarious ends; the curious unease one gets from being in a room with them is quite unique in audio and I applaud it. Give me the wild, the arrogant, the forward-thinking, the edgy and the downright scarily good when it comes to high fidelity!
Remixed supercars is another idea that springs to mind, and because they're finished in Wilson Audio’s automotive-class paint facility in Utah, it's an apt comparison.
At £79,888 per pair (roughly $91,069 or AU$136,000) they're around the same price as a new Lexus LC500 too…
Analysis: the look and power of a supercar – and also the price
Wilson Audio says that “windswept fields and towering arches served as points of inspiration for the more svelte lines and thoughtfully distilled design of Alexia V”. Well yes, I got that too…
Where other speaker manufacturers might use copper-clad aluminum voice coils, silk dome tweeters and oak cabinets, Alexia V ’s enclosures are crafted from “the latest versions of X-Material and S-Material, with V-Material strategically nested throughout its form.” Glad we cleared that up. It is not our place to know these materials. Wilson creates; we just enjoy.
You're also getting carbon fiber, aerospace grade aluminum, austenitic stainless steel, and gold connections throughout the entire signal path – so there are some components made from known elements, at least.
But this isn't a design plucked from a lucid dream or dictated under the counsel of an oracle. Wilson Audio's approach is a surgical one – the company identified and refined more than 30 areas for this, its latest release, using its top-tier £139,000 Alexx V as inspiration.
How surgical are we talking? The mid enclosure internal volume was increased 6.4% to allow a more open sounding midrange. The woofer enclosure internal volume is now 8.9% larger compared with Alexia Series 2, creating deeper low frequency reproduction and faster transient settling. Pretty exacting then.
There is now an integrated bubble level on the top of the woofer cabinet which makes leveling the loudspeaker much easier and more convenient too. Why a level? Wilson Audio is giving you precision and driver-integration gold here; you'd better make sure you do your bit. You wouldn't put cheap motor oil in an Aston Martin Vulcan now, would you?
Again, that's £79,888 per pair (roughly $91,069 or AU$136,000) for the Wilson Audio Alexia V in any of the standard colorways – custom finishes are available for an extra fee. In the UK, the sole distributor is Absolute Sounds.
Want the ones I heard – the Alexx V? They're £139,000 (around $159,400, AU$237,000) or a tad dearer than a new Audi R8. A set for the lounge and a set for the studio? Why not.