Congrats, I bet tbese do sound fantastic! And I bet you did get a super price on em...
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Thanks, Jfrech and Brf!
Jfrech - great system!!! i noticed you use a clock with your DCS. What differences did it make? one of the weakest links in my audio chain is the transport. given where digital is going, i am hesistant to spend a lot on dedicated transport...but i would consider clock/re-clock to upgrade whatever signal is coming from the transport.
What would i expect to hear from using a clock as good as your must be? thanks for your advice!
Hi Samhar! Happy New Year (almost)!
Continue to read your posts/system updates with anticipation! Nice to hear from you.
Part of the trade-in was a Nordost QX4 which i am looking forward to plugging in when it arrives. i have had really, really positive experiences with this in the form of the Nordost Thor in my own system pre-X1s and also in auditioning the QX4 in-store once before. Given the resolution quality of your system and your evident experience in audio...i wonder if you've ever auditioned it? will post when it arrives.
Hi, thanks for the compliment. That dcs clock is a big deal for me. Things seem much better portrayed in space. Seems to make a bigger improvement on sacd, but its noticable everywhere. Just like on your wilsons, if you don't have the modules aligned right the music isn't as coherent as it can be...might be the best analogy.
I haven't heard your dac but have read good things, I suspect a better transport might make a big diff. I've heard the dcs separates, even keeping the same dac, the dcs transports as u step up in their line offer improvemnts.
This dcs clock "u clock" also has their usb asynch with a pc/mac and outputs it on spdif. This is killer good and may be a nice add to your zanden (does it have a clock input to?)
Hope this helps
Hi, this will need more insight. But for a dcs system there is one cable (bnc to bnc) that connects the u clock output to my dcs puccini clock input. Very simple.
I am guessing this is the same for you, but it should be confirmed before you buy...
If you have a transport tha accepts a clock input, then it will work to. The dCS u clock has 4 clock outputs...
A quick update having now had the speakers in situ for around 35 hours of listening.
1) They are sooo effortless, you can easily turn the volume up with no distortion...so even though the music does not FEEL loud, it actually is. very dangerous to your hearing!!!!!!!!!
2) believe it or not, i find i still use the Velodyne DD18 sub on music! The key is i need to turn the low-pass crossover to 35 hz with a steep cutoff (48db). And i do NOT use the internal crossover!...but run the Velodyne in parallel.
What happens with the Velodyne is that it provides a very controlled tight rumble on deep bass tracks (a lot more than one would think if you listen to electronic, even orchesteral) that is very satisfying and fills the void (for bass freaks).
in fact, i find having put that back into my system, i do not feel the need to turn the volume up as much anymore. save my hearing!
3) muting and unmuting the Velodyne on the same tracks...i can confirm i get all of the detail on the bass drum kick from the Slamms.
4) Note, on the volume scale, i keep the Velodyne on 8...extremely low. Even going up one notch to 9 (out of 40+?) starts to overpower the Wilsons and i lose a touch of the bass drum kick detail in the rumble.
5) hence, i can see why Wilson developed their own subs...not just for video but even for certain audio.
hope that is helpful to those looking at full range speakers and subs.
Nice system! i never had the chance to hear the Thiel 2.3s but one of my favorites of the earlier line was the 2.2. I recall comparing it to a good whisky. Great punch, linearity and also body to the music. Looks like the 2.3 came out around 5 years later. i see you're contemplating 3.7 at some point in the future. have heard equally great things about those. enjoy!
Update: after just under 100 hours of listening, the speakers actually seem to be breaking in! Partly, this is because 2 drivers had their foam surrounds replaced...partly could it be that the original owner really did not spend that much time listening to them?
in any event, the lower mids/upper bass (where the new foam surrounds breaking in would be critical), is "warming up and filling out". The rich sound/reverb from the body of the cello is filling in now...in addition to the playing of the strings on the cello.
I stand by my original statement of nearly 3 years ago...the Grand Slamm matches my Sonus Faber Strads for musicality, warmth and delivers greater detail, much greater microdynamics...and significantly greater scale, macrodynamics. i did not think this musicality/warmth that i enjoyed so much with the Strads was possible to hear in these speakers, but having had the benefit of truly expert set-up by Pedro and Arif (Absolute Sounds and KJ West One), it is. Enjoy everyone!!!!!
Roughly 150 hours...i can say the Wilson X1s definitively and unequivocally (to these ears) best my former Sonus Faber Strads in every aspect. Including midrange magic where i simply did not think this was possible.
I am enjoying my music and forgetting the system entirely. and i am rediscovering my music which has in many cases been transformed in unexpected ways. Unique patterns of music, backup vocals, soft cymbals in the back, and enormous micro-dynamic changes in the way Clapton or Nirvana played their guitars on their MTV Unplugged albums...both of which are excellent btw. I think Nirvana's Teen Spirit album is good and i own it...but i think their MTV Unplugged album is sensational.
i guess its a good sign when i spend more of the post talking about music than the system! Enjoy everyone!
I have stopped counting how many hours of burn-in...the Wilsons are sensational and allowing me to make minor adjustments throughout my system...and hear them immediately. I have tweaked a couple of power cables and ugpraded my tubes in my Zanden DAC PSU to Mullards from the 1950s...thanks to Brent Jessie!...the old ones were getting old and buzzy anyway. Wow! So resolving but ultimately a touch of midrange sweetness in my system! I would never have thought i would be saying that about a pair of big Wilsons...but true.
i suppose it is not the Wilsons so much as the electronics (Zanden/CJ) which are coming thru an exceptional transducer (Wilsons). As Martin Colloms kindly advised me when i emailed him about these speakers, even with the older X-1s. you will continue to explore the depths of these older speakers' capabilities with the improvements in today's modern electronic sources...the music they produce continues to improve with the better electronics...they are that good.
One year to the day since I posted here congradulating you on your new speakers and now your writing a very positive review of your time with the Grand Slamm speakers!!! I think one needs to live with speakers to learn what they can do, I know with my WP 8 the more I listen the more I learn what is possible from them, I think they have the same characteristics on a smaller scale as your Wilsons and respond well to gear and room upgrades. I dream of a dedicated room but at this point no can do! Happy Holidays!
Just a quick update...I have since worked with my local distributor/dealers on the X1s. Amazing improvements on such an older speaker...far more electrostatic-like articulation...far greater EASE and effortlessness of presentation, along with much greater detail being picked up (to be fair, also due to isolation and grounding of the electronics as well). Here are the changes to the speakers:
- Stillpoints Ultra 5s underneath
- Entreq Vibb Eaters (25 lbs of strategically placed mass damping on top of the upper modules in front and back)
- Tweeters broke, so have latest gen Focal Titanium tweeter replacement with the 'Wilson damped chamber' inside that came with the Alexandria Series 2 and Maxx 3 tweeters
I am now thinking of a custom mass damping solution largely based on the Entreq Vibb Eaters on top for the X1s. The improvements they have wrought are that good.
The most impressive changes from damping against vibration (from underneath and on top) are really, really eliminating a small blur, haze and unsure imaging from what appears to have been not an entirely inert cabinetry...notes do not 'pull to the speakers' as much which means they disappear better along with more sure-footed, solid soundstage...plus of course micro, micro details have come out now that I do not hear in other SOTA systems at local dealers (not entirely fair...they're constantly moving equipment around for auditions but these systems are nevertheless superb equipment: Naim Statement, Metronome Kalista Ref, Focal Grande EM-type superb...
Feel very fortunate indeed...and for all those who 'tweak' because it is more affordable (and fun)...I say if you've got fundamentally good equipment...carefully done work can really, really improve what you might already have!!
Thanks! Yes, you got it...more natural treble. I know the Wilson has its limitations in treble and is not standard setting...but set up well, it is excellent. And I admit it has been absolutely fascinating to take components I really like...and isolate each one mechanically and also in terms of grounding. The chance to do a custom job for the X1s now is good fun.
Gotta find a pair of 2nd hand Opus SCs!!
As above, I have described 3 tweaks/mods I made to my X1s which continue show great improvements after all these years (Latest Focal Tweeter, Entreq Vibb Eaters on top of Upper Modules, Ultra 5s. I have discovered another which tentatively I consider a success.
Transp Ref Jumper Cables
At the bottom of the X1s are 3 sets of binding posts: 1 for the amp, 1 which is connected internally via Transparent Audio cables to (I think?) the crossover, and 1 where the 2 binding posts are connected to each other via a 1/4" thick copper plate. It is this last one where I did some experimenting.
Just because I had Transp Ref Jumpers from my old SF Guarneris, I pulled them and decided to try them in 3 ways and settled on one:
1. Replace the copper plate with 1 Transp Ref Jumper.
Copper Plate Wins. The TA Ref Jumper smoothed things out and 'quieted'/'stilled' some images in the upper mids and treble which was nice, but I lost sharp dynamic attack and decay, as well as detail around the strike of piano notes. The piano sounds more real with the copper plate. But I could not forget how nicely images stilled and somehow individual notes seemed more distinguishable with the lack of shimmer.
2. KEEP Wilson copper plate, ADD 1 TA Ref Jumper
Better than just Wilson Copper Plate. The sharp dynamic attack, detail and decay all returned...but now the stillness of upper mid on complex, loud piano had more stillness to it, more the way I hear it in real life (i studied piano for 12 years...was surely not gifted, but i definitely heard the piano keyboard up close and personal 5-7 days a week for 12 years).
3. KEEP Wilson copper plate, ADD 2 TA Ref Jumpers
Because the Wilson binding posts take spades and bananas, (and my TA jumpers are spade to banana)...i decided to connect 2 TA Ref Jumpers to see if it was 'too much' or more improvement.
It turned out to be the latter.
In addition to the above improvements (which did improve in terms of quietness/black background) i got the following improvements:
- MICRO dynamics improved greatly, where suddenly teeny tiny nuances and inflections in violins, softer piano key strikes became fully infused with nuances, pauses, gradations of force...and they are now quite obvious where before there was simply a note or a note with some volume change
- the MIDBASS has now become MUCH more nimble...it is the best word i can think of. It is every bit as powerful as before, but suddenly the dexterity of the upper/mids which is expected in good speakers today is now much more matched by an equally mellifluous bass, with texture, nuance, and decay...decay in powerful bass is tough in my system due to the room. It can boom, stop/start...but gentle and nuanced decay not so much. Now it has made a very nice leap forward in this, and it adds a real musical element to all my bass which is a joy to listen to.
I used to enjoy the bass for its beat, power, rhythm and yes detail...but not so much for the cues, nuances, inflections...now i can.
I honestly cannot say if it is anathema to Wilson or not, but i can say (perhaps because they are TA Ref jumpers and the speaker is wired with TA cabling?)...it works quite clearly to these ears/taste.
All for now...but more to come...
Good review. Think about it, the laws of physics have not changed, only our way of interpreting them, that is with 'new' speaker designs. Yes, material science has improved but not to the point it overcomes great designs. Ask Paul K. His products still thrill, and its been eighty years. Now if I could get my hands on a original K horn, in Brazilian rosewood, I would be in heaven.