Wilson Alexandria X2s in small room

I'm thinking of getting a pair of Wilson Alexandria X-2s. I'm wondering how they will sound in my 13.5 x 22 x 7 foot listening room. I've talked with Wilson and they thought they'ed work. Some dealers I've talked with are not as positive, thinking they will overpower my room. My room has been acoustically treated with Auralex LNRD bass traps in all four corners. I also use diffusors and 6 Room Lens to tune my room which features a pair of Revel Salons and a pair of Revel Sub 30 subwoofers. I figure my current system has about the same radiating area as the Wilsons. A friend has Legacy Focus 20/20s which generate large amounts of bass also, and he's used them successfully in small rooms with tweeks. Will I need to use a unit like the Rives PARC to get the best from these speakers? Or will they fit in with the usual amount of setup care that my Salons took?
Any opinions or educated guesses?
I can't help but think that Wilson told you they would work so they could sell another pair of X-2's. I'd be tempted to trust the dealers in this case. It seems like the WP8 might be a better choice in a room that size.

The width and height are largely your limiting factors here. 7' seems really short even in a finished basement.
The dealers who said the speakers will overpower your room are right. Acoustic treatment is no substitute for room volume when it comes to big cones moving air, although it is better than electronic EQ such as the one you mentioned.
I have not heard the X-2s, so I cannot specifically comment on them. But, as a general observation, one cannot determine if a speaker will work in a particular room just based on the size of the speaker. I've heard lots of big speakers work well in very tiny rooms.

I do know that the X-2 is highly adjustable so that the speakers can be made to align and focus at a range of distances. That means that one is not forced to sit in a narrow range of distance from the speaker. It is therefore not physically limited to playing in a big space with the listener well back of the speaker.

Oviously, a speaker with limited output cannot be made to play loudly in a huge room, but the reverse situation -- a big speaker can play in a tiny room -- is a different matter. In that circumstance, whether or not a speaker can play "small" has to do with whether it resolves properly and has proper dynamics when it is asked to play at lower volumes. A lot of speakers, big and small cannot properly do this. They sound lifeless and anemic at low volume. I have no idea if the X-2 is one of these, but one cannot tell by looking at its size.
Don't do it, it won't work..
Considering the price of the Alexandria (well over 100 grand new) and the possible limitations of your existing listening room, have you given consideration to purchasing something like the Wilson Maxx 2 and taking the cost savings between the Alex and the Maxx at roughly $65,000 and BUILDING a new dedicated listening room to your house? Obviously I have no idea if this is possible in your situation but if so you could have a dedicated listening room built to Wilson's specifications for the Maxx 2. Might be worth asking Wilson if an acoustically designed listening room to the Maxx's specifications would outperform the Alexandria in your currently "compromised" space. Just a thought but when your talking about that kind of money, room construction can become a component as well.
I think that the biggest problem with your room may be the low ceiling. It looks like you have diffusion up there now, but you might find that absorbtion would be more effective. Also, the Auralex bass traps are woefully ineffective at frequencies <100hz where room modes and nulls will be strongest. I recommend that you look at RealTraps bass traps which can be effective down to 50hz.


As far as the X-2's go, bear in mind that many of them are sold in Asian markets where rooms are typically smaller than in the USA, and Wilson certainly takes this into account with the design (notice the venting for the bass is in the front rather than the rear of the cabinet, allowing for closer placement to the wall). However, given your low ceiling, perhaps a line-array type speaker such as the Dali egaline would work better in your room as these types of designs minimize floor and ceiling reflections.
I find it interesting that people who have not heard the speakers give advice on what they sound like. I have set up X-2s in a comparably sized room with Maxx 2's for the rears. Couple of Wilson subs because the owner wanted them. Wilson surrounds on the walls for optional surround use. Place looks like a Wilson showroom. Wilson knows their products better than any dealer, period. They were extremely helpful in set up issuses. The x-2's have more set up options than most any other speaker I know of. How does it sound? Best I have ever heard. Could it over power your room. It is capable of overpowering a good size auditorium. Depends on how loud you turn it up. You can also sit in amazement at a solo violin. The Parc you mention (owner has one) helps with recordings that are recorded with lousy bass. This speaker gives you what you put into it. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't work for Wilson but I sure do respect their commitment to customer satisfaction. If you want, e-mail me and I will send you my phone number so you can ask any questions you like. The Maxx 2's are a world class speaker, think of the audio experts for the mags who own them. The X-2's are just that much better in most every catagory. In audio, they are about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on...
Thanks for the info on the Auralex bass traps. I'll look into the realtraps. I know my ceilings are low, thus the diffusion. The room was contructed using the principles outlined in ASC IsoWalls with two layers of drywall and the room is acoustically sealed. I also believe that the amount of air moved by the Salons (6 8 inch woofers plus the Sub 30s (two 15 inch woofer plus downward firing passive radiators)is close to the same surface areas of the X-2s. With this setup the room sounds very good, but of course I would prefer it to be wider and taller. Now for a different twist. What if the X-2s would be given to you? On one hand, I'd hate to mess up my current setup, but on the other hand I guess I'd like to try. Unfortunately I've never heard the Wilsons and there are no dealers in my area.
If you got the X2 free, you could sell it if you found it was incompatible with your room. I would if I were you.
I dont think big speakers cant work in smaller rooms, my room is 14X18 and I have rather large VMPS FF3SRE speakers and I dont feel they over-power the room. I would not simply ignore most any speaker until it is employed in the specific room it is intended for.
I mention these alot because they really impressed me so here goes again, the Vandersteen 5A is a fantastic speaker wich I feel are more musical than Wilson, wich I went to a demo of a couple times. The really cool part of the 5A besides its excellent performance is its 11 band bass tuning EQ feature wich will allow dealer to dial it in for best performance in most any room. The cost is around $18K
but that is pretty cheap compared to the Wilson's you are thinking of buying. Unless you have already heard or just plain dont think you like Vandersteen then ofcourse ignore my post, if however you have not heard these I bet you would be very pleased you did.
Don't do it! Won't sound good! I sold my MAXX because they didn't sound good in a room your size!
I've never heard them and never will. But how they could sound good in a small room eludes me. Better off with triple QUADS or something like that. Or, gee, I bunch of small stacked Magicos at $22K a pair.
In a lot of places in the U.S., it's hard to build a utility closet for $65k these days -- that sounds extremely optimistic for a dedicated room. I have a close friend who lives in a low-cost part of the country and his dedicated room is coming in around $200k. The idea is right on the mark, however. You'll get dramatically better sound -- absolutely no comparison -- by building a well designed dedicated room and going with a much more modest speaker, as opposed to putting a state-of-the-art, $135k speaker in a regular room.

As for X-2's specifically, whether it will "work" in smaller rooms is beside the point. It is absurd to use a speaker of its abilities in anything other than a purpose-built, dedicated room, with anything other than state-of-the-art componentry, and without giving it the very best set-up job. It's like owning a Ferrari, but putting a $250 set of tires on it. $135k speaker in a regular room? ... You know the answer.
Are you buying these new from an authorized Wilson dealer? If so, then dosen't Dave Wilson come to your house and personally set them up for you? Why don't you fly out to the Wilson factory and spend a few days listening to their products in their optimized listening rooms? Bring details pictures and diagrams of your listening room and ask them if they can match their room's sound quality in your room.

The Wilson may or may not be an optimal match for your room, but if your Salons with dual Revel subs are not overloading your room, then the Wilsons probably won't either.
my room is almost the same dimensions...i cant imagine them in my room.maybe if i shove my couch all the way against the back wall.Wow.i say no..imho.

As per the last post, active sub woofers are much more tunable to work in a room than a lone pair of X2 where you can not easily control room boundary and tune out bass nulls.

If you want to get amazing sound but for mucho less denaro find a pair of Dali Megalines. My friend Clemment Perry of Stereotimes uses them with dual subs in a small room and they sound incredible. Clemment also uses a Tact for room correction.

If you have your heart set on the X2 consider a Tact and you might be able to tune the system to work with this size room.

I do believe in the comments made by the gentleman that sold his Maxxs, but even in a small room anything is possible if you work hard enough on it.
As for the design of my room, I built it myself, (it was still expensive)and other then having to cope with the size of the basement, it was built with plans outlined by the Acoustic Science Corporation for their Iso-Room system. As for the equipment drivng the speakers, the equipment is 95% Levinson Reference.
Oracle, or course, sells Dali so that recommendation must be taken accordingly.
The Megaline's sound pretty darn good but not at retail price...now used price they are worth it for $15-$25K but almost $50000??? They are great but too expensive for a stack of smaller units but they sure are beautiful aswell, and they throw huge clean sound that many would be wowed by. I think it is odd that so many are saying the Wilson is too large in this room and you get a guy wanting to throw a speaker suggestion that SGR's ceiling may be too low for, infact if his room is 7ft tall the Dali is atleast 7ft and from what I saw even bigger isnt it? My neck has been fused for years so I cant move it but I know they were tall as hell when I was up close to them.
As Audiofeil already said Audiooracle sells Dali... you do the math.

Hey Chad,

The Megalines are worth the price in comparison to the sound that comes out of them when they are set up correctly, and they are made in very small qualities and are very well built.

In Clemment's room they are almost touching the ceiling as well and the sound is spectacular. Mr. Perry is very fussy about his sound and the famous Albert Porter also owns the Dali.

A well set up pair of Megalines will easily challenge the X2, and the fact that it is a two way with only one crossover point means it is seemless and very transparent.

The Megaline's do need to be bi-amped which does increase the cost,and they need a subwoofer if you really want them to sing, but even with those caveats the speakers really are amazing and even at $50k plus $3,300-? whatever for a good or pair of subs and a second amplifier this is an absolutly world class reference grade speaker.

A line source array also works extremely well in smaller rooms based on the radiation pattern of the system and considering the price of X2 vs the Dali that might make a huge difference in price.

As I said Clemments room is small and is similar in dimension and his system is unbelievable. I know I have heard it on numerous occasions! He is currently using the Behold electronics, with a Tact room eq and the Megalines, and the system puts you in the space of live music.

I would write to Clemment and maybe he would let you hear his creation.
>>the famous Albert Porter also owns the Dali<<

Famous in these circles.
Purely a subjective observation/opinion.
I listened to a pair of these in a dealer's room last week -- the room was probably a little wider than yours and certainly the ceilings were higher (probably 10ft) but it was not a longer room -- I thought the X-2 looked so imposing in that space that they could not really work but they did, and the dealer told me he has sold them to others who have similarly sized rooms. I did not hear overwhelming sound at any level and they focused really well at the listening seat on most recordings. Closing my eyes I would say this is probably best sound I had ever heard, a truly holographic central image on a solo voice/guitar record. The adjustment possibilities on these speakers mean that working with a trained dealer is a must to get them set up optimally for your space but for the price, you have every right to expect these being tweaked to your total satisfaction anyway. I cannot get over the look, which I find so ugly, you really have to close your eyes but the sound is wonderful. Worth the price? That's a personal decision, but for me, at $100k more than many other great speakers, they are a hard sell.
You`re the biggest whiner in here Audiofeil. I`ve read MUCH in here, but haven`t written much because of bickering and generally grown ups whining and talking trash. They say "Silence is golden"....... Have you ever thought of thinking before posting all over Audiogon? Europeans laugh at grown men whining and complaining like this..................

Dont you know who Albert Porter is? If you did, prior to Audiooracle mentioning his name, then dont you think that he's famous? Isn't he known and discussed?

Well then... your subjective opinion of him is irrelevant. To you, audiooracle, those who know him on this board, and I... AP's pretty "famous".

You're famous too... for all your whining.
Sgr, I have heard the X2s at Innovative Audio in NYC and they are set up there in a room that is larger than your and taller. The room is treated all around. The speakers sounded amazing with all Levinson gear(33H monoblock amps).

By looking at the pictures of your room, I doubt they will work as they should.

The great thing about the X2s is that the soundstage is so wide deep and tall producing an amazing level of realism.
In your room, I think, you may get most of the depth but the height and width will be limited by the size of the room.
In other words, I don't think you'll be getting the performance that would be worth the money.

If you want, give Innovative Audio a call and ask them what they think. They are a long time Wilson dealer.
I, too, have heard the X-2's at Innovative. They were powered by Levinson 33's and the then-new (Summer 2005) Spectral single-box CD player, of course with MIT cabling. The room is a large, purpose built room, probably 35' x 25' x 9'.

The sound to my ears was quite disappointing and I thought the WattPuppy 7's in the other room sounded much better. The X-2's were not dialed in properly and the speakers could be identified as the source of sound. Given that the midrange and tweeter drivers are mounted quite high in the air, the sound was shooting down at me and the presentation totally unnatural. Eliott and his staff are professional, try hard and are super-nice by NYC standards, but I respectfully differ from the above poster about the X-2 set-up at Innovative and would not judge X-2's on that set-up.

Taking the liberty of offering my honest opinion, I have never cared for Levinson amplifiers and do not believe they are appropriate for a speaker of the level of X-2's. As for solid-state, the darTZeel, Tenor or Lamm amps (or vintage Rowland if we're pinching pennies -- Models 2/6/8ti/9ti) are the only solid-state amps I am aware of that can layer space like a great tube amp and that do not denature timbre. That would be my first choice, and second choice would be Spectral or Audio Research, which Wilsons are primarily voiced with. A pair of speakers like X-2's, the top Kharmas, the big Magicos or just released Evolution Acoustics merit the CAT monoblocks or darTZeel (the synergy between Wilsons and CAT's amps are outstanding, by the way). I respect Levinson's 32 preamp and owned a 360S DAC and 37 transport for a couple of years (the latter I bought at Innovative, by the way), but their amps, while being very good solid-state, are not, I believe, in the same league as X-2's. My sincere apologies if any of this is offensive to the person who began this thread or anyone else (that is absolutely not my intention), but the X-2's are both very special and very expensive -- my conscience is now clean.
Wow, it seems my simple question has opened many cans of worms! Thanks for all your opinions and educated gueses. It appears there are more for not doing this than for. So we'll have to see what happens. If I was a betting man I'd have to say these are not the best speakers for my room, but I might get them to work and sound reasonably good until I purchase a new house in the near future with a much larger listening room.
I have heard from more than one knowledgable source that Mr. Wilson owned Levinson 33s for many years personally (using them to voice many of his speaker models)and just sold them this year for the big VTL monoblocks. I believe that it is probably in a designer's best interest to use a variety of top notch equipment when voicing speakers. At any rate, no offence taken from anyone and I hope to read about other audiophiles' experiences or opinons.
Disregard what everyone has told you

They will work just fine in your room

I have X-2's and my room is 31 x 18 x 12. Everyone here has given nothing but their opinion based on no factual data. I own the X-2 and I can tell you that they will be just fine in your room..

IMO there just isn't a better speaker made
04-15-07: Oneobgyn
Disregard what everyone has told you

are you saying that everyone who responded is not as qualified as you are?

They will work just fine in your room

I have X-2's and my room is 31 x 18 x 12. Everyone here has given nothing but their opinion based on no factual data. I own the X-2 and I can tell you that they will be just fine in your room..

What factual data?

Your room is 31x18x12

His room is 13.5x22x7

How can you possibly predict how these speakers will work in his room?

Everyone offered an opinion. What have you offered?
Audphile1 wrote:
Your room is 31x18x12

His room is 13.5x22x7
6696 cu.ft. vs. 2079 cu.ft. -- over 3 times the volume.
How can you possibly predict how these speakers will work in his room?
Thanks for the input Oneobgyn, Essentialaudio, Raquel, Audphile 1 and everyone else too! I really appreciate the continued interest and input. I've been in the hobby too long to know that there are simple answers. Your replies give me lots to think about. It's hard to say how things will turn out until and if the speakers make an appearance. Who knows maybe someone out there has heard them in a room similar to mine and would care make a comment?
If Dave Wilson thinks they can work, they will work. No one knows how Wilson speakers work better than he. I am sure X-2 purchases still include a setup by someone from Wilson, possibly even Dave himself. After visiting the factory/headquarters a few weeks ago, I have even more respect and admiration for Wilson and their products. :) Go for it!
Well, I have, in a slightly larger room + higher ceiling (~350, ceiling @~10') and it was difficult to get coherent low freq out of them. Also, reflected sound was a pain; you can ,maybe, couple midbass -- but at the expense of bass. If you go for bass, then you'll probably have a dip in mid-bass and prominent upper mids onward...

Dunno what'll happen with room treatment though...
I have a good bit of experience with X-2's, their height gives great expansion to the soundstage they create, if your ceiling height is only a few inches higher than the speaker, performance will be compromised. Despite what anyone says, that cannot be disputed. However, there isnt a perfect room, there will always be issues.

I have always enjoyed wilson speakers and i have supported them in my posts over the last few years, but after some of my recent experiences with several other speakers, throughout the price spectrum, i say why spend that much money?

Is the price of the speakers the determining factor? Do you feel that you need to spend that much money to qualify your audiophile credentials? I am in no way slamming you, but, it is a fair question. Speaker prices have gone through the roof and a great deal of the speakers dont warrant it. Manufactures seem to think they can build a speaker, name it a reference level speaker and then slap a reference level price tag on it. That is BS.

My suggestion is to consider other alternatives. A speaker that i have heard lately that is THE Best speaker i have heard up to this point is the Rockport Technologies Mira. For only 14k, "only", you can have a speaker that is as capable as any speaker made. It has an MDF cabinet that is engineered like no other MDF cabinet made. It has dampening factors that leave the box almost completely neutral.

While Wilson cabinets are exceptional, the build and finish quality of their boxes are no better. Rockport does build speakers that are much more expensive that are not MDF, their cabinets are truly the standard that all other reference speakers stand to be measured.

I am not here to bash Wilson. They are a GREAT company. They build great speakers that have a popular "house" sound. It is widely known that Wilson speakers do not measure particularly well. They have exceptional build quality, but not the best. My point is, there is no need to spend 135k on a pair of speakers that will be compromised by a less than par room. There are other options that can save you lots of money and perform much better in your room.
"Everyone offered an opinion. What have you offered?"

I suppose it could be called experience. I own the speaker...you don't

I would also sincerely believe that Wilson Audio would not have made that recommendation if they felt that the speaker wouldn't work in that room

Finally and most importantly when that speaker was built it is front ported. The reason for this is very simple....when I toured the Wilson factory and heard the speaker in Dave Wilson's living room I was told that they are cognizant that a significant part of their market is Asia and Europe wher the rooms are much smaller than those here in America. Because of the front porting the speaker can literally be placed up against the front wall with no loss of soundstage.

So I will repeat my initial comment and that the speaker will work just fine in his room
Oneobgyn, despite the fact that your room is 3 times the volume of the room in question you are still 100% sure?

And I suppose what you have offered is not an opinion but a guarantee, based on your experience?

Also, front porting and soundstage have very little to do with one another. Front ported speakers CAN be placed closer to the wall behind them with less negative impact only to lower frequencies vs. the rear ported speakers, which may become boomy and disintegrated in the bass when placed closer to the front wall.
Soundstage depth with dynamic speakers, in my experience, have always increased when the speakers were placed further away from the wall.

But I guess if Wilson says that the X2s can work wonders under the 7' ceiling and can also be placed right up against the wall without any impact to soundstage height and depth, then I rest my case.
In any case, for my lack of desire to argue with you any further, you win! Congrats!
I agree with Audphile1, Oneobgyn wins the argument.
I do agree with you with respect to front porting and bass energy (not soundstage as I had written).

I had posted my response 3 different times before the mods let it through that I was leaving my house and thought I would try to post my thoughts once again and hastily typed away

Nonetheless the X-2 was made with big consideration given to the much smaller rooms in Asia and Europe so in all honesty I don't believe that Wilson Audio would have given out inaccurate information.
BTW, this IMO was not an argument only a meeting of the minds.
It is very rare for a driver to blow. Usually the resistor will blow before the driver.
Have you looked at the resistor panel to see if that is the problem. All too often I see posts here where people claim that they have blown a driver and instead it is the resistor.

No Dave Wilson does not set up X-2's. He used to set up his now discontinued WAMM (at $250K). Your dealer is the one who sets up speakers. They are trained at Wilson Audio how to do this. To me your dealer's non responsiveness is the problem. Because the speaker is still under warranty it is up to your dealer to determine the problem and deal with it appropriately with Wilson Audio who,IMO, has the best group of people working there and will always make a customer happy no matter what speaker he has purchased. That is why I have owned them all. You need to speak to your dealer and aim your sour grapes in the correct direction. Your post is somewhat ambiguous because you state that your 7" midrange driver is gone on your "speakers" implying it is both sides???

I would still bet that you blew a resistor and not the driver and the problem can be rectified in 15 minutes. If so then you need to turn down the volume. If you blew both sides then maybe the wrong amps for the speaker.
If you blew both sides then maybe the wrong amps for the speaker
Wrong amp would have most likely blown the tweets... not the lower mids.
>>Wrong amp would have most likely blown the tweets... not the lower mids.<<

Absolutely agree.
Speakers at $14000 should take a lot of abuse before it blows, IMO.