Wilson Alexia 20x15 Room


Hi,

I have vandersteen 5A and thinking of changing speaker to Alexia for bigger sound. Will there be any problem with my small 20x15 room. My other gear is all Audio Research

ARC Ref 250
ARC Ref 5 SE
ARC Ref DAC
ARC Ref 2 SE .
veerapaneni
I do not see any problem with those dimensions especially in light of the Alexia's adjustability.
My room is 22 x 13 and I don't have a problem. I wish I had 15' to work with.
I'm not sure the Wilson will give you a bigger sound than your 5a. Different yes, bigger, not sure.
If Michael Fremer can squeeze Wilsons in a small room, you probably can too.

Shakey
For this kind of money I would try it first at your home. And I would take some time to audition to more spakers in this range. You could take a listen to Magico as well. The S5 is sealed, plays easier in a smaller room.
Thank You. I tried that but Could not find any dealers in SF bay Area who will allow home audition.
I love this discussion because my only problem throughout the years with Vandersteens (5, 5A, 7) has been their poor soundstage height reproduction. By chance, that is one of the best characteristics of Wilson's latest creations (Alexia, Sasha II, Duette II). Therefore, yes, I think you will get a bigger sound from Alexias. And your room isn't small at all! But I also agree with Bo1972, the Magico S5s are at least as good as the Alexias and perhaps better for your room, but you have to try both in your room.
I've had several models from both brands, but I do feel that Vandersteen is a better speaker. I can't really tell you what to do because you may not have the same taste's as me, but I can give you 1 piece of advice that may help. The one thing about Vandersteen that most people don't get, even some of the people who own them, is how transparent they are. They let you hear more of what your electronics sound like than any other speaker I know of. With a Vandersteen based system, you can usually change what you don't like with electronics.

But you shouldn't take my word on something like this. You're talking about too much money to just guess. If you can, borrow some gear from people you know, or a dealer. It doesn't really matter if its something you would actually buy, or not. Just do it to confirm my comments on the transparency of your Model 5's. If you don't hear things the same way I do, then maybe new speakers would be a better choice.
I recently heard sasha 2 at a dealer and it definitely made me think about my speaker choice. But as you all said I need to test the new speakers with my setup in my rom. That is hard part as locally there are no dealers who allow in home audition.
My room is 33x15 ft using Alexia driven by ARC Ref250. The bass can be too heavy sometimes but can be managed with tuning devices like stillpoints and more forward speaker placement.

It is not a matter whether you can use an Alexia or not. You certainly can but I think you will have a easier time tuning your system with Sasha II. The only difference between Alexia and Sasha II is the reduced bass performance and lower sound stage.
I had this problem in the past as well. What I did was that I took all my stuff ( amp/source/cables/conditioner) with me to the person who sold the speakers. It was a very good combo so I bought them. And my house it also did very well. I hope this can help you, good luck.
While your room isn't small, my Revel Studio 2's sound much larger in my 17x21x10 room than they did in my old one which was 14x18x9. If the Vandy has a restriction in height I can see the vertical stage getting bigger, but I'm not really sure a speaker change is warranted solely because you desire a bigger soundstage. If you have a 10' ceiling or more, perhaps so.

I see this similar to Tli. The Sasha II would likely work just as well in your room as the Alexia. Still, the only way to know is to hear the speaker in your room with your stuff. Which is awfully nice! I can see the dealers point of view on a home addition. Delivery and set up on the chance you might buy is a material risk/cost to a dealer. Still, you ought to be able to get the dealer to give you a home addition of the Sasha II for a fee. I'm sure they must have a pair on the floor, is $500, credited toward a purchase, for a weekend audition worth it to you? It would be to me.

If you can come to terms for a demo of the Sasha II you could also try this. Tell the dealer, in advance, that if you decide to buy the Sasha II you'd also like to hear the Alexia. Tell them you'll pay for the Sasha II upfront. They then give you a demo of the Alexia. If you decide to get the Alexia, you pay the difference. If they have floor demo pairs I suspect they'd do it.

If the Wilson dealer won't play ball, perhaps the Magico dealer would. Finally, the Vandy 7's?
The one thing about Vandersteen that most people don't get, even some of the people who own them, is how transparent they are.
Don't trust your ears? All you Vandersteen owners GOT that?

But you shouldn't take my word on something like this.
OK.
The newer Wilson are better in smaller rooms, but still not easy. In the past I visit many Wilson owners. Almost all had acoustic problems. Even in a bigger room. When you spend this kind of money you need to be very sure if it will be a succes. Don't take any risk!!

In 1999 I bought a new set of B&W 802 Nautilus. They were not so high. I wanted the stage higher and moe free from the spaker. So I made a granite plate of 42 kg in the shape of the Nautilus. Even with the logo on the front side. And I used dempers. The difference was big and the improvelent the same. The stage became higher just as I wanted. The music was more free from the loudspeaker. I remember that I had contact with B&W that time. And I adviced them to higher the next version. I don't say they did it cause of my emails send to them. But the 802S in 2005 was a lot higher. This is also what you can do with your speaker.
Knghifi,

"Don't trust your ears? All you Vandersteen owners GOT that?"

I was actually thinking of a meaningful response to your post because you clearly didn't understand mine. Not to mention that the OP is trying to make a difficult decision. But the only thing I can think of that makes any sense is, you're an idiot. Sorry, but nothing else fits.

To anyone else, if I wasn't clear on something, just ask and I'll explain. Most of us post to help each other, not to see who can split the smallest hair for no purpose at all.
I do have 10ft Ceiling and definitely my 5As don't sound big. They do sound very sweet but definitely not big. all my components are acquired based on my speakers and now I want to change my speakers . I don't want to change anything else at this point except speakers . I have already spent too much money and don't want to start over :)
Clear, but I still advice you to test the speakers with your own equipment. Even if you cannot try it at home.

I met too many people who spend a lot of money on audio who were not happy. You need to test something. What I said; just don't take any risk!
Veerapaneni
You have spent a lot of money exactly..
Does it also make sense to choke the system with the following choice web jockey type cables in your system?
YOUR PRICE: $399.00/ Pair
Easy Pay: 3 payments of $133.00
SAVINGS COUPON available
85 k system with a pr of 399 speaker cables WTF ?
As I told you before if you put a double shotgun Bi wire of AQ Meteor w/ DBS you will have not only have height but hear how good the ARC/Vandersteen combo is.
Best JohnnyR
Audioconnection,
That's an interesting observation and implies you're familiar with this system.If better quality cables resolve this problem it's certainly cheaper than replacing the speakers. Or perhaps the OP just simply wants new speakers.
The OP has been very clear, he wants big sound.
Well it seems according to JohnnyR big sound is possible with his suggested speaker cables.
Furthermore OP has absorption everywhere front wall,side walls and absorption at rear walls behind listening chair.

It should be Diffusion at least w/side walls for best performance or nothing is even better that absorption.

Test by removing all absorption front side and back remove out of the room insert AQ DBW and listen,and see how you like it.
Replacing absorption with diffusion will get the joy and magic back in the system.
With too much Absorption we are killing the music's leading edge attack,overtones,harmonics even/perception on Height.
This is why OP also found that band aiding the system with a ringy wire kinda helped.
Try the experiment of Absorption removal and In-cert AQ
add Diffusion
Best JohnnyR
Yes,
Excessive room absorption takes the life and natural vibrancy of music away. The resulting sound is dead and uninvolving.I'd give JohnnyR's suggestion a shot.
John,

All my cables are AQ Sky and I upgraded to AQ speaker cables as you suggested . I have AQ Meteor in the system now ( I have to update my system details on audiogon )

I have absorption on first reflection points and front wall and diffusion on back wall. Might me I need to change that. I bought some core Audio diffusor for back wall.
I would try taking the absorption out in front- usually that's only for dipoles. I can't imagine absorption at first reflections being negative.
Veerapaneni
Take the core diffusors units and put them at the first reflecting points on the side walls.
To find the FRP place a mirror on the right side wall, sit down in your listening chair,
when you see the right speaker,
that's the place for the Diffusor.
next do the same for the left.
When you hear the improvement take it up a step further by diffusing the left speakers reflection off the right wall find this by placing the mirror on the right wall, when you see the left speaker that's where you place the next diffusor and repeat for the other side.
Keithr You got it half right, I see you ((cant imagine absorption harming)) Lets see what happens when he does diffuse Best, JohnnyR
I took a look at your room. While it may create other problems, putting your speakers on the long wall will give you a bigger soundstage. You're lucky in that the Vandy's bass can be adjusted to make a long wall placement work.

I owned and sold a lot of AQ Sky. You need to be aware that this interconnect has a very open mid freq. With some tweeters it can sound a little harsh. That is why you need to need to bring in your own stuff when you have no option to audition it at home.

The Meteor is a nive cable. But the better AQ loudspeakercables reveal so much more details and have a sharper individual focus.

A few months ago I bought 2 pair of the new AQ Wel Signature xlr cables. They give a much better insight in height of a recording. They also give a much higher level of black and individual focus. These parts cannot be revealed by a very expensive loudspeaker. I was amazed that it took listening to a new and much higher level. I never had this before during any show or test I did with other expensive cables.

The first cable AQ makes who can reveal better heights of a recording is the Wild. But the Wel goes even a lot further in this part. It also gives a much sharper physical image than the Wild. The best cables influence the overall sound a lot more than in the past.
I own a pair of Wilson Alexia’s and absolutely love them. They will work extremely well in that size room.
@Skinzy; you have a different room and a lot of height. That is a very good room for your speaker.
11-17-14: Vladimir
But I also agree with Bo1972, the Magico S5s are at least as good as the Alexias and perhaps better for your room, but you have to try both in your room.
It becomes a matter of taste at this level. I find the S5's wonderfully engaging and able to convey the emotion of music (atleast paired with Vitus gear). The Alexia's are much fussier speakers with room set up and can sound very average with the wrong amps. I heard the Alexia's with your amps and thought that was not a good match. But i'm not sure the S5's would be a good match with your ARC gear either. If I was going for tubes, I would lean toward the top level Vac amps.
Come to think of it, I would rank Absolare and Conrad Johnson (Art/Gat) ahead of Vac to pair with the Magico S5's. Both have great synergy.
I have always followed John Rutan's @Audioconnection advice to setup my cables and speaker. Changing speaker cables at this point is expensive as well. I have moved the diffusers to first reflection points and waiting for couple of more diffusers.

John, sorry I missed your call yesterday . Will call you over the weekend. Thank you for all your help.
I've heard the Magico S5 in about 5 different systems. They sounded better driven by the Absolare Passion 845 PSET than any other amplifier.2nd best IMO was their match with a Constellation amplifier. It was just okay with the VAC amplifiers. It's truly subjective of course.
Your system with Alexias will sound fabulous. This is a very popular combination and for good reason. Wilson uses ARC among others in their listening room and ARC uses Wilson in theirs. I've used various Wilsons (Sophias, Watt Puppys Sashas) with various electronics over the past decade or so and, for me, ARC is my favorite tube combo with Wilson and D'agostino my favorite ss combo. In fact, I like the Wilson/ARC so much that I have gone for 3 years without a change in my electronics which for me is an eternity. Not that I don't always keep my ears open. I might add that I have heard your exact system at a dealer and was awed by the presentation.
@Charles, I agree and not sure what I was thinking when I mentioned Vac. Lovely amps yes, and a better choice than ARC, but in valve amps they would be my 3rd choice with the S5's. In tubes, I would rate the CJ Gat and Art mono blocks 2nd (particularly in a bigger size room). But for similar money, I would personally go for a Vitus SS-102 and SL-102, together with a Vitus SCD-025 for synergy with the S5's. The SL-102 is a true balanced linestage which has a serious optional phono stage, pre-out to integrate with a surround sound processor & one the best metal remotes i've ever seen. Horses for courses as they say.
I auditioned 2 days ago the Rockport Aquila with the Absolore
best pre amp with their monoblocks. ( 50 watt) This was also
not the best combo in control and authority. You could not
play that loud. You lost control, tweeters became difficulties
and the overall sound became less involving. Sensitivity of
the Aquila is 89db.

When you have no option to audition it at home you need to
bring in your own stuff to the shop who sells them. Here you
can see if the combo is a good match and you will hear if your
set can drive the Wilsons well.

There is one thing I want to make clear. I have tested many
cables in over 16 years of time. These days it is a lot easier
to create a higher endresult with expensive and stunning
cables with less expensive poweramps. This against a very
expensive poweramp with less espensive cables for the same
amount of money. I have proven this in many blind tests. My
focus is always on the endresults. This counts most.

I give you another example; I use the latest Audioquest
Redwood with the brand new AQ Wel Signature xlr cables and the
Purist Audio Limited powercables. These cables give a superior
level in details, blacklevel, dynamics, differences in height
of a recording and a much more physical 3d image against the
Meteor and Sky interconnects. This difference is huge.

With these cables you can reveal details which will not be
there even if you bought a very expensive set of speakers.

Most people who have this as a hobby play at an average level
in % of the whole capability what a speaker is capable of. In
16 years of time I have showed many people that they miss a
lot of what their speaker is capable of. You need a good
balance in how you created your system. The most common
mistake in audio is that peopole spend a lot of money on
speakers against less money on their equipment. Be aware of
this!!
I always marvel when a person asks a specific question about a specific speaker folks chime in to offer opinions about other speakers! Its an interesting phenomena. Is this an example of cognitive dissonance? In any event one of the Alexia’s strengths is its ability to play well at low levels and still have an extremely rich sound. This combined with its ability to be tailored to a variety of listing positions makes it ideal in almost any “normal” listening room.
11-21-14: Bo1972
I auditioned 2 days ago the Rockport Aquila with the Absolore best pre amp with their monoblocks. ( 50 watt) This was also not the best combo in control and authority. You could not play that loud. You lost control, tweeters became difficulties and the overall sound became less involving. Sensitivity of the Aquila is 89db.
That's an important consideration Bol. No doubt the Absolare amps sound lovely, but even robust 50 watt tube amps have limitations because an SET design can only produce so much current. In a larger room, with a moderately demanding load I advocate ss amps which sound warm and tube-like, but have high current and an efficient psu.
11-21-14: Bo1972
There is one thing I want to make clear. I have tested many
cables in over 16 years of time. These days it is a lot easier to create a higher end result with expensive and stunning cables with less expensive power amps. This against a very expensive power amp with less expensive cables for the same amount of money. I have proven this in many blind tests. My focus is always on the end results. This counts most.

I give you another example; I use the latest Audioquest
Redwood with the brand new AQ Wel Signature xlr cables and the Purist Audio Limited powercables. These cables give a superior level in details, blacklevel, dynamics, differences in height of a recording and a much more physical 3d image against the Meteor and Sky interconnects. This difference is huge.

With these cables you can reveal details which will not be
there even if you bought a very expensive set of speakers.

Most people who have this as a hobby play at an average level in % of the whole capability what a speaker is capable of. In 16 years of time I have showed many people that they miss a lot of what their speaker is capable of. You need a good balance in how you created your system. The most common mistake in audio is that people spend a lot of money on speakers against less money on their equipment. Be aware of this!!
Spot on. I have advocated for some time that your system needs to be balanced (and by that I don't mean using true balanced components or xlr cables, though they help). That has been my approach since I started building my new system about 2 years ago. I could have bought better speakers such as the YG Hailey, but I knew to do justice to them I would have needed separates as they need more juice, and as I couldn't afford the Vitus Sig series separates, so I thought to myself "The S5's are good enough. I'll build my system around the S5's and fully optimize my system, leaving no weak links". For example, many audiophiles ignore the importance of cables as you said, AC power, isolation and room treatments in their pursuit of better speakers. I run a Vitus SIA-025 integrated which is a peach & allowed me to spend more on my cables and isolation with one less box. I am using Jorma Prime & Statement cables. The Statement sc's, though very expensive, have been a revelation. I was shocked how much more resolving they were and how the sound stage opened up! Similarly, when I recently addressed AC power by adding a Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo conditioner & Furutech GTX-D wpo my system moved up another level. That is why i'm confident when my system is finished it will challenge systems boasting much more impressive speakers and front ends.
AQ Wel Signature xlr @ $7499/1 mt ? I have no plans to spend 50K to on cables :) .
@Veerapaneni, $7.5k isn't too bad. Jorma Prime xlr's are $10.5k ;)
That is what I understand. But you need to be aware that what you connect to the speaker is the quality what comes out of the speaker.

Beside this your used equipment have their own properties togheter.

This means that they have an overall sound and a kind of image.

Like the Alexia have his own kind of overall sound and way of image.

The combination will create a new overall sound and a new kind of image. Because all the different properties togheter will create the new sound and image.

That is why you need to find out how the combination in sound and image will work out.
I'll put in my 2 cents. I'm going to try and be objective and fair here (even though like everyone I have my biases).

I just sold my Alexias. Before that I owned Sashas (and still own Sophia 2's in my home theater).

My friend owns Vandersteen 5A's which I have heard many times over the years (with different electronics) and I feel I know the differences between these speakers fairly well.

The Alexias will give you a bigger sound. They also have much more slam (they can really rock).

BUT, they come with some tradeoffs. The 5As will give you more articulate bass. The fact that you can EQ the low frequencies is might powerful. You can also drive them with tube amps (if you like tubes) and still have the low frequencies powered by solid state.

The Alexias require careful room placement in order to not obscure the midrange with their abundant bass.

In my opinion, the 5As are a LOT easier to listen to because they don't have distortion in the upper midrange. Maybe it won't bother you (i.e. you might not detect it), but I couldn't listen to a lot of rock or pop with my Sashas or Alexias without wincing at vocals. I first thought it was my room or other gear and I spent a lot of money trying to correct it. I then upgraded to Alexias because of the better tweeter and more adjustable upper cabinet. I spent a solid year trying to understand why certain frequencies hurt my ears...

Whenever I went over to my friend's house and heard his 5A's, I didn't hear any of these issues. I could just sit back, relax and enjoy the music.

Then a friend pointed out that I was probably hearing driver breakup and pointed me at the Stereophile measurements where not only did the upper frequencies look pretty jagged but you could clearly see the midrange driver breakup as it was crossed over into the tweeter's range. It was 20db lower in volume (which is either a lot or not enough depending on your ears).

In any case, as an experiment I got in a pair of Magico S5's. All the issues I was hearing in the upper frequencies were just... gone. It was clean, linear. I could enjoy vocals again. Even clarinet and other instruments were more enjoyable.

I am NOT trying to sway you to Magicos. I'm not even trying to tell you to stay away from Wilsons. I'm just trying to help you make sure you like them. My advice is to listen to a bunch of music at the dealer and ensure that this 'issue' that I'm describing (whether real or just in my mind) is not going to bother you.

Apart from this complaint about the Alexias, I think they are dynamite speakers. They have a lot of presence and body and can do everything from piano to symphonies to rock to acoustic music very well.

Good luck!
Madfloyd,
Posts such as yours are what make audiogon a valued resource,perspective from actual owners of various products. It doesn't mean that the OP will have the same or similar outcome, but it's certainly worthwhile information.
Charles,
One of my favorite recordings is Rebecca Pidgeon’s “Spanish Harlem” from The Raven. Have heard it on many systems/speakers but I have never thought it sounded more beautiful than it does on my Alexia’s. Sweet and warm, and pure with no harshness or distortion. Before buying my Wilson’s 6 months ago I did extensive research on them and other competitors. What came out of it was quite binary. It seems folks either love or hate Wilson. It always amazes me that a speaker that has won a Golden Ear award at TAS and received Product of the year from Stereophile can be described as “distorted”(knowing all speakers distort).
One last observation has to do with listener fatigue. When I first received my Alexia’s I found I had fatigue after long listening sessions. Then I pulled out my sound level meter and discovered the problem....way to many Db’s. These speakers play so clean and effortlessly with my 500 watt per channel SS amps I simply had the volume to high. Problem solved when I wrestled them down to normal listening levels (85-90 db).
@Melbguy; nice to read that there are more people who are
capable to look further. From 2005 till 2007 I have visited
about 40-50 sets between 10.000 euro and above 150.000 euro.
Only one I found well balanced.

In my eyes and insight they all make different mistakes. Many
had acoustic limitations. But most create wrong combinations
of properties which does not fitt with eachother. So here you
see that most are not capable of creating the right balance.

That is why I always say; when you are not aware of all the
different properties of each different tool in your system you
never know how the overall sound and image is being build. And
you need a lot of luck to get a good balance.

Why you want and need to play loud. I still think 85-90 db is
loud during a long period of listening!
"Why you want and need to play loud. I still think 85-90 db is
loud during a long period of listening!
Bo1972 (Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

I've always thought that playing a system loud is a way to make up for flaws. If something is missing in one area, the extra volume may be a way to compensate. I think most people may not realize that this is the case. I found that when I have a system that sounds right for me, I don't listen as loud.