So, I listened to a $1Million Dollar System

So, I listened to a $1Million dollar system.

A somewhat local dealer had an event that showcased the Dan D’Agostino Relentless Epic mono block amps, Relentless Preamplifier, Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX speakers and subsonic subwoofer. Along with the Transparent cabling, HRS stands, DCS Dac and other accessories I estimate the total cost to be over $1Miilion.

I was able to sit in the front row center. The speakers estimated to weigh over 700 lbs. were toed in quite a bit towards the listener.

The demonstrator played a lot of obscure music that centered on some very deep bass. I must admit the bass was quite impressive.

Eventually (reluctantly) the demonstrator played a few tunes that I requested, and I was quite surprised.

With this million-dollar system the music sounded quite dull, the rep called it “mellow”, but to me it was dull. There was no life to the music, limited highs and zero music coming from the extreme left- right.

For instance, I use the Linda Ronstadt track “Blue Bayou” as a reference. Within this track at about the 40-60 second mark there is a mandolin that plays in the extreme left channel. On many systems that information is buried deep into the mix. However, systems with high resolution can play it clearly. Unfortunately, with this million-dollar system I could not even detect it.

So why is it? Can the Wilson speakers be adjusted in such a way as to accent the bass and attenuate the mid-treble? If so, why would they demonstrate that way? Were the speakers too toed in? Or was it because there were about 10 people in the room (btw, a large room) which muted some of the speaker’s energy? Whatever, I was NOT impressed.



When I attended Pacicifc Audio Fest 2022, two big 1 M$ systems Genesis and Gebel sounds fine while Accaphela sounds fall short of optimal.


I do not intend to denigrate Accaphela which still sound decent and dynamic.


The point is that it is not easy to optimize big system in room in short time.


Your dealer must fail to optimize big Wilson.



Sounds like the dealer may have set the system up the way they liked it, mellow. I heard systems like this at Axpona sound terrible one year, and then sound great the next year.

I have two anecdotal experiences with uber-expensive systems.

One was at a dealer who had set up some Wilson Alexandria XLFs and didn't have to ask me twice whether I wanted to hear the system.  Having heard some Sophias at a fraction of the cost at the same dealer I waited with nervous, even giddy, anticipation.  Then the sound I heard was wholly disproportionate with what my eyes were telling me.  I could best describe the sound as lean, hyperdetailed, lightweight with small images, remarkably similar to what I had heard with a Watt/Puppy system.  Stunned, I kept looking around for an explanation of why I heard this type of sound but could find none; every piece was of stellar cost and reputation.  When the dealer asked me what I thought I just couldn't voice my disappointment and mumbled some type of platitude on the system's performance.

I had the opposite experience at a stereo show when listening to a fantastic mbl system, the speakers being the ones with the double radiastrahler units.  I have never heard a system that sounded so close to that of a real musical event, as if the band were in the room.  Even some knucklehead asking for his Michael Jackson record to be played didn't deter me from deciding that if this system were rated as an A, every other system I had heard during my life was perhaps a C+ or below.  The dynamics were incredibly stunning as were spaciousness and detail as well as immediacy and tonal color.  

So perhaps the differences in the two systems were largely due to setup and system synergy.

Eventually (reluctantly) the demonstrator played a few tunes that I requested.

The old problem: you wanted to listen to music, he wanted you to listen to the system.


I’m glad I stopped at $950,000. From there, it’s a game of diminishing returns.

Please tell me that this is intended to be ironic, or I might have to slit my wrists.