Wilson Audio announcing the Chronosonic XVX. World premiere at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019.
In late 2012, Dave Wilson began work on a new WAMM. His goal was a reference loudspeaker that would not merely be worthy of its namesake —Dave’s industry-changing WAMM from the early 80s—but would redefine the idea of what was possible in music reproduction. His goal was nothing short of a laboratory-grade loudspeaker that would pass a complex music signal through it with unprecedented accuracy. He knew the new model would challenge and test his company in new, potentially unforeseen ways.
What he couldn’t have predicted was how the project would become fraught with enormous obstacles and severe personal challenges. As he set out to complete his dream loudspeaker, Dave experienced several setbacks. His health and bad luck seemed to conspire against him. This perception culminated in catastrophe when, in late 2013, he fell off a roof attempting some minor maintenance to his and Sheryl Lee’s house in Southern Utah. The fall shattered nearly all the bones in one of Dave’s feet, an injury requiring complex surgery and a very long recovery.
Fortunately, he had his wife Sheryl Lee and his son Daryl at his side. Sheryl Lee attended to Dave’s recovery, and Daryl became Dave’s hands and feet as he continued to work on the WAMM.
By this time, Daryl had been working with his father for many years, learning from the master. He had become a formidable loudspeaker designer in his own right, leading the designs for the Duette Series 2 and the Sasha Series 2—among several others. While Dave focused on the WAMM, Daryl tandemly headed design efforts for the rest of Wilson’s main product lineup. Over the course of five years (the total development time for the WAMM), Daryl completed design work on the Sabrina, the Alexia Series 2, and the Yvette. Most significantly, he began work on a MAXX replacement—the ALEXX—which he developed alongside his father’s WAMM. Father and son provided feedback on each other’s designs. As Daryl followed his father’s progress with the WAMM, the seeds for his own flagship were planted. However, subsequent to the WAMM’s completion, a new upgrade to the Sasha platform demanded his attention and would occupy his time for the following year.
As Dave’s life challenges and health issues became increasingly acute, he felt the time was right to hand Daryl his baton. He now managed duties once the bailiwick of his father. Dave promoted his onetime protégé to Vice President of New Product Development—and ultimately to CEO of the company itself. It was a stressful time for the Wilson family at Wilson Audio. As his father focused on his health issues and WAMM, Daryl’s already formidable design and leadership skills were further forged in the furnace of adversity.
Each new loudspeaker from Daryl’s pen engendered critical and commercial success. While all of the models developed under his direction are undeniably excellent, his latest design, the Sasha DAW, introduced in 2018, is arguably his greatest triumph. “DAW” was a reflection of Daryl’s desire to honor his mentor, friend, and father, who passed away just before Daryl began the Sasha project.
The cost-no-object WAMM Master Chronosonic (currently retails for $850,000 U.S.) will always remain as Dave’s statement on music reproduction. From the outset, he understood and even stipulated that its production would be limited to a small number of pairs. For Daryl and all of us at Wilson Audio, each WAMM is a symbolic reminder of Dave’s organizing passion—to categorically redefine the possibilities of music reproduction without any consideration of cost or practicality. Since he was a young child, Daryl has been immersed in this perfectionist culture. The central ideals of which played a significant role in molding his uncompromising principles and standards.
It should come as no surprise, then, when the time was right, Daryl began design work for his own statement loudspeaker. In 2018, having completed work on the Sasha DAW, he knew it was time to push his and his engineering team’s skills, passion, and expertise to further limits and extremes—just as his father had with the WAMM. From this inchoate desire, he began formulating ideas for his new flagship loudspeaker. Ideas that, in turn, launched an unprecedented wave of research and innovation within his design, engineering team, and manufacturing teams. The fruits this intensity have now culminated in a new category of loudspeaker, one that sits comfortably alongside his father’s masterpiece.
Introducing Chronosonic XVX
The format of the flagship loudspeaker fits Daryl Wilson’s attitudes and convictions perfectly. He is extraordinarily compromise-adverse. Removing any constraints of price or practicality within the design equation felt liberating to Daryl. If Daryl had one advantage his father lacked, it was the WAMM itself. Some of the technology developed for the WAMM now resides in the Chronosonic XVX in a simpler form. More than in any other previous loudspeaker, Wilson will introduce more technology, features, and manufacturing processes in the Chronosonic XVX. Short of the WAMM itself, no other loudspeaker reproduces music as realistically or communicates the emotional power of the artists so eloquently.
Following is a partial list of innovative details.
The sound of unamplified, live music has always resided at the heart of Wilson’s driver development. Just as Wilson’s current midrange driver finds its origins in the great concert halls of the world (chief among them the Musikverein in Vienna Austria), the new Wilson midrange driver’s development was driven by a passion for the authentic sound and emotional experience of live music. Originally co-developed by Dave Wilson (his last design project) and Vern Credille, the new QuadraMag midrange combines Alnico magnets in an entirely re-imagined geometry.
Since early in his career, Dave was attracted to the natural beauty exhibited by many drivers using Alnico magnets. Not surprisingly, older Alnico drivers did not meet the desired technical or sound quality requirements Dave demanded. They fell well short of Wilson’s current proprietary midrange driver. Working directly with Wilson’s driver partner, Dave and Vern began experiments and research to answer this question: Could a driver combine the apparent virtues of Alnico magnets in a design that also offered extreme resolution and dynamic expression. The engineers systematically altered motor geometry and magnet configuration through the course of several experimental prototypes. Vern engineered several unusual and technically advanced solutions. After a year of research and development, the engineers produced a design Dave felt met his goal of transcendently beautiful and accurate midrange reproduction in conjunction with the dynamic and penetrating resolution of his current design. Vern and Daryl then conducted further design work and modifications for the driver’s implementation within the XVX. The new driver utilizes four separate magnets arranged in an innovative quadrature geometry, which improves efficiency and lowers distortion.
Wilson’s new mid combines all the warmth and natural timbre of this classic magnet formulation in a thoroughly modern design. The new Alnico QuadraMag driver brings together unparalleled natural beauty, harmonic integrity, musicality, low distortion, and ultra-high resolution in a single design. It possesses a distinctive admixture of musical and technical virtues heretofore unrealized with any other previous design.
MTMM Upper Array Geometry
The Chronosonic XVX array is configured using an unusual MTMM (midrange, tweeter, midrange) arrangement. Wilson’s engineers further refined and perfected the proprietary two-way midrange system first developed in the WAMM and subsequently utilized in a simplified form in the ALEXX. The all-new QuadraMag driver joins forces with a modified version of the 4” midrange from the WAMM to form the lower section of the array. A second QuadraMag midrange driver at the top of the array flanks a Convergent Synergy Mk.5 tweeter, completing the MTMM geometry.
The construction of the Upper Array of the XVX consists of an open-architecture Gantry system constructed from X-Material reinforced, ultra-high-grade aluminum. The Gantry’s primary function is to provide an extremely rigid architecture for all the moving elements and modules that enable the system’s accurately adjustable time-domain. The design team paid particular attention to the triangulated cross-bracing and the strategic use of X-Material composites to improve both rigidity and critical damping. The new scalloped finish on the aluminum elements is both beautiful and functional, acting as a diffuser to further minimize the XVX’s sonic signature within the room. A new magnet system secures the decorative Gantry grille covers, which enables quick and easy attachment or removal of the grille.
AudioCapX—New Wilson Designed and Manufactured Crossover Capacitors
Wilson Audio recently moved its capacitor design and production in-house to control and improve quality and build upon its already industry-leading crossover-to-crossover consistency. Wilson has long been the leader for ultra-tight tolerances in its crossovers, combining the best components available with extremely meticulous execution and testing. Since its inception nearly a year ago, Wilson’s capacitor division resides at the pinnacle of innovative capacitor technology and empirical (music-centric) development. Within the Chronosonic XVX’s crossover, Wilson debuts the all-new AudioCapX-WA (application-specific, bespoke versions of our AudioCapX). AudioCapX-WA capacitors advance the already state-of-the-art harmonic beauty and low noise floor—and simplify the method for even tighter tolerances within Wilson’s crossovers.
Coolfall® Lighting System
A new, fully integrated lighting system aids critical setup of the Chronosonic XVX’s time-domain array. When designing this portion of the upper Gantry, Daryl and Jarom turned to American lighting experts Coolfall, the world’s leading manufacturer of exotic custom flashlights. The custom system—the Sono 1—was designed in collaboration with Dave Livingston, owner of Coolfall, incorporates a precision solution for broad-gamut lighting during the critical adjustment of the complex time-domain mechanisms. Livingston, who is an audiophile himself, resonates with Wilson’s passionate approach. His custom design work for this element of the Chronosonic XVX is a product of his perfectionist mindset.
The Chronosonic XVX Micrometer
When developing the WAMM, the ultra-precise and minute adjustment of the modules in the time domain required more time and resources than any other single element. After more than a year of engineering time, Wilson completed the WAMM Master Chronosonic Micrometer system—a mechanism that facilitated the exact movement of the critical elements within the array. Like the WAMM, the goal for XVX’s time-domain accuracy was to approach the theoretical ideal, with adjustment increments in the two-millionths-of-a-second range with greater ease and simplicity.
The result is an array capable of exceptionally accurate adjustability. Daryl and Blake implemented two Micrometer units within the XVX upper array—one for the upper QuadraMag driver and the Convergent Synergy tweeter, the other for the second QuadraMag and the 4″ midrange. In turn, each of those modules is individually adjustable in relative position within the array. This complex mechanism resides at the heart of the Chronosonic XVX’s time-domain accuracy and facilitates the loudspeaker’s optimization for nearly any soundroom and listening geometry. Only the WAMM matches the XVX’s real-world time-domain accuracy, which in most rooms deviates less than 5-millionths-of-a-second driver to driver. The technology would be academic were it not for the extraordinary musical results it produces. Transient speed, dynamic and harmonic expression, spatial resolution, micro detail, and extreme silence between the notes are all products of the XVX’s time-domain accuracy.
Convergent Synergy Mk.5 Tweeter
Daryl has continued to refine the geometry and other aspects of the Convergent Synergy driver. Daryl spec’d the Mk. 5 version for the Chronosonic XVX. The Convergent Synergy tweeter works seamlessly with the QuadraMag midrange. The coherency and the musicality of the combination set new standards. The rear-firing ambiance tweeter is also a Mk. 5 Convergent Synergy unit. For the first time, the rear-firing tweeter will feature adjustable 0dB to minus 37dB attenuation to enable fine tuning of this element for each installation.
Woofers From the WAMM Master Chronosonic
Wilson Audio originally developed the ten- and twelve-inch woofers appearing in Chronosonic XVX’s in conjunction with the WAMM Master Chronosonic project. Vern Credille designed the two woofers from the ground up to complement each other. He individually optimized the drivers for both speed and authority. Chronosonic XVX’s woofers incorporate all of Wilson’s latest thinking on accurate and musical low-frequency music reproduction. Chronosonic XVX’s volume-optimized, ultra-low resonance woofer enclosure is the perfect home for these state-of-the-art bass drivers. The holistic totality of the various elements significantly raises the bar for bottom octave musicality and accuracy—performance exceeded only by the WAMM.
Cross-Load Flow Port (XLF)
As most audiophiles have experienced, various architectural details within a home affect the way a loudspeaker loads bass into the room. In rooms featuring several large windows, for example, a loudspeaker well-extended in the bass in typical situations can sound lean. Dave Wilson originally conceived of the Cross-Load Firing Port as an effective remedy for this real-world problem. An elegantly simple idea, the Cross-Load system allows the user to choose either a front or rear-firing port configuration. On the front of the XVX, below the woofers, a plate covers a plug for that (one-of-two) port. The port in this configuration is on the rear of the bass enclosure. In rooms where the rear-firing option would tend to overload the bass, it is merely a matter of removing the plate and port plug, switching those items to the rear, and attaching the low-turbulence trim to the front, moving the port exit to the front of the Chronosonic XVX.
Wilson continues its now decades-long research and development into the latest composites. While most loudspeaker designers typically focus on a single material, whether it is a favored formula of aluminum, an exotic wood, or the newest trend in composites, Wilson has long recognized the need for specialized materials for different enclosure applications. Materials research into the actual factors that improve musical accuracy has been the critical focus of Wilson’s ongoing efforts to push the envelope of loudspeaker performance. Wilson uses the latest cutting-edge development tools, including its remarkable Laser Doppler Vibrometry system. With state of-the-art resolution, this measurement technique is capable of revealing the most minuscule of enclosure resonances—music-destroying vibrations undetectable using traditional measurements methods. Like the WAMM, the XVX’s cabinets and modules are constructed using a combination of the company’s proprietary X- and S-Material composites, and aerospace aluminum. Daryl and his team are currently working on several composite innovations for Chronosonic XVX they are not ready to reveal at this time. As Daryl and the design team finalize their research, details will follow.
Other Important Design Details
The crossover housing is now constructed from carbon fiber. An all-new Wilson-designed connecting spades now join Wilson’s proprietary binding posts as a unified connection system. The quick-release time-domain adjustment bolts first developed for the Sasha DAW are utilized in the XVX. The tuning and protection resistors are located on an easily accessible portion of the rear cabinet. Each is mounted to a carbon fiber substrate. Changing resistors is a simple matter of removing a quick-release glass cover and removing the hardware from the heatsinks.
New WilsonGloss™ Premium Pearl
WilsonGloss is a multi-stage process. It starts with a proprietary protective gel coat layer. This is followed by several layers of base color. Next, clear or satin coats are applied to the finish surface. Lastly all the paint surfaces are meticulous hand polished. The final finish is unrivaled—even by the world’s great automobile manufacturers. In conjunction with Chronosonic XVX’s launch, Wilson has pushed its paint process to even greater heights. In addition to our standard and custom processes, we have added a new category of premium colors. WilsonGloss Premium Pearl includes five new options, which involves additional paint steps. Premium Pearl reflects light in a nuanced way—enhancing the depth of color, which changes depending on the angle of view. WilsonGloss Premium Pearl represents the ultimate expression of sophistication and beauty. Contact Wilson Audio for details and pricing.
The Chronosonic XVX will begin shipping to select dealers and distributors in October 2019. Contact a dealer near you for timing and details—or to arrange for a demonstration.
The world premiere of the Chronosonic XVX will be at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 (September 5th – 8th)