My expert tips on building a sensible world class audio system.


My pursuit of audio perfection has become an obsession. Perhaps some of you can relate. As a hobby of passion, it's easy to get caught up in all the hype and emotion and I can only wince at the many poor and irrational decisions that I see other audiophiles make. Fortunately, by reading through the forums and speaking with the experts, I believe I have rapidly gained superior knowledge and have put together an audio system that is both world class and sensible. I felt it was time to share the wisdom of my experience so that others may benefit.

Here's my system. My dedicated audio room doubles as my home theater and so I have a 5 channel setup. My L+R channels consist of a pair of Wilson WAMM Master Chronosonics. My center channel is a single Wilson Alexx. My rear surrounds are a pair of Wilson Alexandria XLFs. I thought about doing a Dolby Atmos setup by suspending a pair of Wilson Alexias on the ceiling but that seemed over the top and so I felt it was best to show some restraint.

I need to tell you about my room. Unfortunately, it's kind of small. It measures only 12' x 12' and the ceiling is only 6.5' high. It's a tough fit for all of these speakers but I got such a great deal on all of these Wilsons, only $750,000 with free delivery for all 5 speakers and so I couldn't say no. I had to sell both kidneys and my beloved Ford Fiesta to pay for them but I'm sure any of you rational audiophiles would have done the same thing.

One big problem I had to overcome was that the WAMMs are 7' tall and my ceiling is only 6.5' high. I had to be creative and so I punched holes in my ceiling and I made it work. Yeah, it's not pretty and some of the output from the top driver leaks into the attic but I suspect Wilson anticipated that certain audiophiles would face this problem and so they designed this speaker with lots of drivers.  In the end, it's not about how it looks or how your wife may no longer speak to you, it about how it sounds.

As far as I could tell, this system was sounding pretty darn terrific, definitely better than the Bose Acoustimass 10 that were in the room before the Wilsons. But I was also wary that my mind could be playing tricks on me because how on Earth could 5 Wilson speakers sound better than 10 Bose speakers? The math didn't add up and so I went next door and got my neighbor. He owns Sansui separates and so it was obvious that he knows a thing or two about high end audio.  After listening to my system for about 10 minutes, I was convinced he was in awe because his eyes were bulging wide open as if in disbelief! I then found out he has a medical condition called Grave's disease that cause his eyes to bulge wide open like that all the time.

Fortunately, he thought my system sounded pretty decent although he told me if I really wanted to have a world class setup, I needed more bass. It would be pretty foolish to bring in an expert and not follow his advice and so I went out and bought a pair of Wilson Thor's Hammer subwoofers. I had to sell my spleen to pay for them and these giant subwoofers are a super tight fit in my small room but it's the best thing I ever did because now I am world class in the eyes of my neighbor and that's what matters!

Unfortunately, with such a small room and with the Wilsons eating up nearly every square inch, I had very little space left for any components and so I knew I needed a good "all in one." This component had to have a powerful amp that could drive all of the speakers. It also had to have a built-in EQ with lots of sliders, CD/DVD, 8-track, VHS, and a beverage cooler. I happened to find exactly what I wanted on Audiogon.  

To my surprise, the amp uses the latest super fast gallium cyanide JFET transistors that everyone's talking about. These transistors make the amp so fast that I can now listen to all 10 of Mahler's symphonies in 42 seconds. Incredibly efficient. Of course, musicality is what's most important and to be honest, the amp was sounding initially thin and off-key but after splicing into the output stage a few 300B tubes I had lying around and upgrading to the latest Organic Reference Poodle Wax Ultra Fuse (a fuse infiltrated with wax from the ears of wild poodles raised in the Himalayas), I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of 3D harmonic musicality and realism that would smack me in the face. Barry Manilow wasn't just in the room singing Mandy to me, he was now also sitting on my lap and giving me a massage. Happy ending, indeed.

I hope what I have done inspires you as you build your own system. If the demand is there, I may consider doing a hands-on workshop on system building at the next AXPONA.
viber7
What is the point of the thread? Comedy? I suppose it's a response to all of the anger about your posts on the whitecamaross thread.
When i have a few hours i will read this.
Lol, @roxy54 , I think you're mistaking me for the other Viber.
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In the spirit of the post I can only ask: Is it more Barry Manilow singing Brandy in your room? Or you are in the room where Barry is singing Mandy?
LOL! Grave's!!! LMAO!!! Made my day. This post is better than 90% of the others, including my own...

Tom
Well let's see how long it takes for someone to deam it inappropriate or it touches a nerve with them and they ask the moderators to have it removed.
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@tooblue , this is all tongue-in-cheek and meant to poke fun at all audiophiles, myself included. If I have offended anyone who owns a Bose Acoustimass 10, I apologize. Yes, the Wilsons are better but that doesn't take away from just how good the Bose are.
viber7 you clearly have the most practical experience, can you recommend the best 5.1 system for a walk-in closet in a guest bedroom? The closet is 6 by 12 by 12 same as your room except for the 12 foot ceiling in the closet. 
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@viber7, I didn't look but you must be new, just sayin.
@millercarbon, the importance of top quality sound in a walk-in closet cannot be overstated and so this is not the place to compromise.  @elizabeth recommendation is spot on but Magico Ultimates would work well, too.  
Frankly speaking this thread is crazy.

Your system will sound better in my spacious listening room with high vault.

My system of Lansche 4.1 driven with SET amplifiers will work better in your small listening room

Haha

Thomas
Tbh Tooblue, this at least has the decency to be humorous and audio related.

Unlike some other threads that admin may have seen the light over.

If you want to push buttons be my guest.
So much excellent advice! Can the Magnepans be wireless? And what is the best wireless server for streaming movies? Also I was told when streaming to use Creek?
Great post!I need some of those Poodle wax fuses:)
Your neighbor is Marty Feldman?
viber7 ...

You have the speaker placements backward.

For a more organic sound, patch the holes in the ceiling and dig holes in the floor to fit the speakers into. Be sure to dig down deep, as that is where the earthy organic sound originates from.

Frank
@liftwaltz, it certainly is telling that you see it that way. Cheers
Tooblue.

Certainly more entertaining than watching you and Tim piffle on about nothing.
But I digress, enjoy!

Cheers Mate!
@liftwaltz, now your getting it. Cheers

viber7,

My apologies. I did think that you were the other viber!

Tooblue
You are hilarious!

BTW your "liftwaltz" MIGHT have raised a chuckle IF you had used a Y!

Fair dinkum cobber.
Why a y? Really it's nothing to get your panties in a wad.

Viber7
I think you have made a mistake. You had the right brand (Bose) before you bought the Wilson Max. But you should have gotten the Bose Wave radios. You can sell the Wilsons and put 14 Bose Wave radios in the room and put on the SAME radio station for all of them. Now you will have a WAVE of perfect sound.
One assumed you were attempting to make a funny by substituting Uber for Lyft.

Maybe I was being too generous.......
Anyways you are correct.
My panties are not in a wad or bunched or even slightly wedge like but thank you for your concern.

I will leave you to your musings as no intent to drag this thread down with boring, meaninglessness chatter.

Ciao.
@viber7, 

So far so good, did you forget the cables??? I suggest you reach out to @roberjerman for cables. He will ‘hook’ you up with SOTA IC’s and PC’s that will only cost you pennies on the dollar 😉
@lftwaltz, I thought that was what these throw away threads were for. You can always contact the site moderators and have it removed, right.
@millercarbon, streaming movies is a whole other topic. With all the Wilsons in the room, I found I had no room for a big screen but we found a totally acceptable solution. My wife and I stream movies on my new Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus smartphone. Make sure you get the Plus model since it has the bigger screen. Anyway, the Wilsons make you forget you’re watching such a small screen and since this new phone has a curved screen, we have found it to be a very immersive movie viewing experience.
Might be my favorite post ever. 
As coincidence would have it, I have precisely the same set up! Small world. Except when the wife and I watch a movie on her Galaxy s10 Plus, we each use a small pair of binoculars. Identical to an Imax theater experience. Also, how does she feel about Barry Manilow sitting in your lap? Don’t really wish to dwell on the happy ending part......
Sadly its almost a believable story. I couldnt finish it. 
I’d barely be able to stand in your room! Also, low ceilings couple bass frequencies to the universe 😁
Sadly, I feel the frustration of the OP. I too made a very big mistake when I bought a Basis Work of The Art turntable (look up the price) and installed it into the trunk of my car since I love my treasured vinyl. To my disappointment, every time I drove over a pothole, speed bump, or flattened dead squirrel, the turntable would skip. What else has an audio lover have to do to enjoy their music?

This is a fun thread. Nice that we can all be crazy at times.

@2psyop , I know what you're saying about the Bose Waves. I almost bought them since they were on sale at the local Best Buy but in head-to-head double blind testing performed by my dentist friends between the Bose Waves and the Wilsons, 4 out of 5 dentists preferred the Wilsons. I can't stress enough how important it is to make buying decisions based on proven scientific methods, otherwise, audiophiles would be no better than squirrels.
LMFAO,

NOT because its funny, but because I am fortunate to have your setup, but I am in a 24x24x6.5 foot room so I was able to add the $2.2 million, 1.5 tonne Opera Only amplifier by Andrea Pivetta. I was worried someone matched my exact system and I would have to somehow find something more expensive so I could still have the absolute BEST system ever.  But since my system costs more than yours, I can be assured I have the best sounding system......
@viber7

Great flash back!

You should tell us about your mentor...…….. Or maybe it is better that be left a mystery.
The Sphynx fuses are superior 

what is Sphynx you ask? Hairless Cat 
Too blue.
Shame you have not figured out the difference between this thread that contains some clever auduo related humour and the crap yourself and Noble were engaging in.

Btw a hint, LYFT......
Nothing from Lirpa Labs?

a good tongue-in-cheek response to all of the pompous asses bragging about their systems and their "expertise" here on AG!  Very funny.
Tongue in cheek? This is a serious thread! 
You know, one of my favorite room tuning devices was mentioned.. No one knows this but road kill, like squirrels, owls, and raccoons  make really great tuning devices for small rooms.
Truly an inspired write up, however...
I tried Google and baidu.com for three hours to find the Poodle ear wax infused fuses.
Talk about hard to find as rocking horse poo, what brand is it please?

Elizabeth, I think you're pulling our legs, I doubt an owl or two would make any significant improvement in small room treatment. However, the rest makes perfect sense. Do you have any advice on furry animal per cubic foot, and what ratios? Squirrels : racoons : road kill
Thanks in advance.
The benefit is that you are forced to stand in the sweet spot. Not for basketball players however.

Serious indeed! Remember those sleeper speakers from Radio Shack, you know, the 8 inch high two ways? Real sleepers. Well, when RS took a nose dive I bought out their entire inventory of said speakers! I don't have room in my house, so I built my system on the patio (no need for room treatment!). This way the neighbors can also enjoy the fine system and excellent music I play. So 30 speakers in an array derived from the golden ratio. Talk about being there! 

And you know they really need power to open up properly, so I have a 200w pure class A mono block driving each speaker. I also had to sell one kidney and half my liver to pay for the great deal I got from a Russian I met online for a small 5 megawatt nuclear power plant (salvaged from an old submarine, I think) to power my class A amps and the air conditioning required to keep the house from melting. Talk about pure clean power! Not quite sure what is going on, though. The power plant keeps steaming and sinking into the ground. I didn’t think it was that heavy.