duewey: you'll need them all, of course, but, IMO, THE most important component in a high-quality system is the preamp. if it isn't up to snuff, nothing going into it (sources) and nothing coming out of it (signal to amps) will sound as good as they could. the best i've ever heard wilson speakers sound (watt/puppy 6's ) was with a nagra tube pre (pl/p- also available as a line stage only) and amps (vpa). -cfb
I'm using them with the Pass 600amps and Krell KRC HR preamp. I like a sound but I'm not realy heard them with somthug else. I'm curiouse myself if anything will sound better?
Krell 350 monos
ARC reference monos
Since you have your speakers I would look to amp/preamp next. You need to decide on tubes or solid state and go from there. After that I would think about CD/LP. Followed up by cables.
Just my 0.02 (before taxes)
Your question is perplexing. Why would anyone buy a speaker like the Wilson without already having a firm idea of what they are doing? The Audiogon forums are a marvelous source of information regarding high end audio issues, but I don't think it will be much help with your specific question. YOU NEED THE HELP OF A GOOD DEALER!
I'm sorry if me tone is harsh, but my intentions are to truly help you get the best sound possible from your Wilsons.
I own the MAXX myself and drive them with Krell KPS-25c playback unit and Krell 650 mono blocks. I am biased and love Krell sound, but have also heard Wilsons with Mark Levinson equipment and with Jadis tube equipment and have been impressed. My suggestion is to buy the best front end possible, CD or analog, in addition to a seperate DVD player for your dvd playback. You will want the best of each, a cd for two channel and a good dvd for movies. In my opinion, there isn't a good enough all purpose player available. I disagree with the above statement that the pre-amp is most important, it is the second most important piece after your front end. Nothing along the way will improve the signal the front end sends down stream. In terms of cabling, there are numerous brands, however, Wilson likes the networked cables such as MIT or Transparent and uses them while designing. I run Transparent Reference XL. (Buy it used to save some money)The synergy with Wilson is excellent...very quiet background with great detail, low end control and soundstage. I disagree with Cornfedboy about the Nagra...I was very unimpressed with that tube equipment when I listened to it four weeks ago. It was brighter and more irratating than my Krell has ever been. I was surprised. BAT is my preference for tubes. By the way, the efficiency of the MAXX makes them easy for tubes to drive. Good luck and congratulations on choosing one of the finest speakers I have ever heard. Just be sure to feed them with similar top quality components and you will be in heaven.
duewey: FWIW, the last time i spoke with dave wilson, HE was using nagra electronics in his personal system. there is NOTHING bright about it, as there is with every krell product i've ever heard. but do listen for yourself to as many different components as you can put your hands on. -cfb
i still think the amp is your most important, part of the chain. i would say then preamp then the front end, then cables and power cords. if you heard them with tube research you would never leave your home. next would be cat. then jadis, bat i like as well. conrad, for ss try jeff rowland, or gryphon, or burmiester.
At The Tuscany Hotel during this year's T.H.E. Show (CES) had a pair of Halcro dm58 monoblocks hooked-up to the Wilson Maxx's. It was my favorite room. The folks in the room who were listening actually clapped after the demo. They played cd's, reel-to-reel tapes, and vinyl consisting of classical music, jazz and the Beatles. This set-up was one of the best matched systems that I heard while attending both CES and T.H.E. Show. Across the hall the Halcro dm68 were hooked-up to the high-end Revel speakers. It didn't have near the sound of the Wilson Maxx's. IMHO the Halcro dm58 monoblocks hooked-up to the Wilson Maxx's produced the kind of synergy that one could only hope for in matching components.
As always there are lots of answers. Some people like one amp, other like another amp. I heard that some of the people at Wilson use Atma-Sphere OTL amps. Now I don't know how true this is, just what I heard. You are in a good position in that you have great speakers and can build whatever you want. I wish I was in your position.
Try to obtain a pair ($8000 or so) of BEL Mark-V's. These unassuming amps are the best I've heard (the finest dynamics in the land!). My humble ARC VT-100 Mk III isn't to shabby either.
simple...Halcro Dm58 ..unreal combo at CES
In my opinion, the speaker, the speaker cable and the power amp should be regarded as a "single component" as these three items have a great deal of potential synergy. Thus, I would complete this part of the system before moving on to other components.
As a former owner of Watt/Puppires for several years, when it came to cable and amp selection, I followed "conventional wisdom" in my selection of speaker cable and power amps. Wilson speakers seem to like the net work box cables (i.e. Transparent and MIT).
As far as power amps are concerned, for several years when Wilson displayed their speakers at shows they were typically paired with either ARC or Krell power amps. When I had my Watt/Puppies I initilally had Audio Research Classic 120's and then swithced to Krell Audio Standard-2's. Given your home theatre ambitions I would probably stay away from tubes and go with solid state.
Although the Krells would be a good choice I must echo the sentiments of Mzn50 and Rosstaman on the Halcro dm58's on the Wilson Maxx. I also heard this combo at "The Show" in Vegas and the sound was magnificent. One of my favorite rooms. So if it were me - I'd go with Transparent Reference speaker cable and with the Halcro amps.
In response to Cornfedboys comments on Wilson using the Nagra equipment, that may be true, but Wilson uses a lot of equipment. In the past Dave has favored the Levinson amps and Audio Research Pre and Krell amps. However, now that Krell is building speakers and Levinson is associated with Revel through Harmon International, he is moving away from those brands. Two brands he hasn't used because he doesn't like the sound is Pass and Boulder. And I stick by my listening experience with Nagra pre and amps driven by a VPI 5 and Koetsu Rosewood cartridge into Avalon Eidelons. I had to leave the room because it sounded shrill to me. I am not slamming Nagra, they get great reviews...for me, I was surprised they didn't sound better. The good thing about MAXX speakers is the ability to mate with many different brands.
Is there someone who can give a fairly thorough opinion in general about this speaker from a users perspective?
I am looking for a large "dynamic" speaker such as this. That is, the driver sizes are what I am looking for at this point. But how do they sound with real music like jazz, claasical, and vocals as a full range speaker. I heard them also at CES but only on vocals. The sound was incredible. But it seems to me that many high end speakers can sound great from the midrange up , but cannot produce the lower octaves with the smoothness and ease you would expect especially from a speaker this size.
Any opinions? Thanks.