Wilson Audio? Nashville
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Murillo...I don't think your observation that Wilson only showcases the Maxx's with SS (Krell or others) is accurate. Here are blog entries from a few audio shows showing the Maxx 3s being driven by tubes:
CES 2010: http://blog.stereophile.com/ces2010/super_priced_lamm_system/
SSI 2009: http://blog.stereophile.com/ssi2009/wilsons_to_the_maxx/
Best amp/Wilson combination I ever heard was the VTL Siegfried Reference mono's driving the Alexandria X-2. Next best was an all-tube Audio Research chain driving the Maxx 3's. Wilsons like tubes, especially well regulated tube amps with wide bandwidth. My favorite is the high powered, highly regulated VTLs for either the Maxx's or Alexandria's.
Dirtydenny - Audio Buys in Nashville carries Wilson, and they provide some pretty good discounts.
Murillo - I have heard Wilson Sophia 2, Maxx 3, and Sasha with McIntosh (SS and tube), VTL MB450, Musical Fidelity, and Lamm hybrids. I have not heard the Krell. My preference is Lamm M1.2 Hybrids which to me have the best virtues of both tubes and solid state. Note that I own Sashas, not Maxx. From what I understand, the Sashas are harder to drive than Maxx.
Do some research on what people at the Wilson factory own, you will find that many own Lamm and that Vladimir Lamm owns Wilsons (when he could own any speaker he wanted).
It is my understanding that some of the very best synergy available with Wilson speakers is with the CAT amps - one of my dealers in Manhattan said that the best system the store ever put together was based around the CAT monoblocks and big Wilsons. In addition to having great finesse, the CAT's remarkable output transformer (at 55 lbs., it weighs as much as many amps) and power supplies (the amp weighs 192 lbs.) can deal with the low impedances that the bigger Wilsons present to an amplifier.
I use a Kell FPB 600c with Maxx 2's at the moment. One thing I can say for sure is that regardless of what you may read about low power amps and Maxx's, these speakers love power and you will need it to get the full potential. I am pleased with the Krell + Maxx combo but am also looking at other options. I am seriously considering Spectral DMA 360's. Wilson uses these amps in their playback system and has for many many years. That says quite a bit about their accuracy and the wide bandwidth seems ideal for the Maxx. I have also been more than impressed with every Spectral piece of gear I have ever heard. Nothing has come close to the speed and accuracy.
The Wilson speakers have always been friendly to tubes; if you look at what Wilson employees are using, expect to see tubes.
Its a good idea to have an amplifier with some power behind it. The larger ARCs, CAT, Manley as well as our own amplifiers get plenty of use on the MAXXs. I recommend something with at least 150 watts for best results, but it should be an amplifier built with the best intentions possible- the MAXX is a great speaker and it will easily show off limitations in the amplification. If you deal with that properly, you will have an outstanding setup.
I am using Krell late 90's gear and B&W N802's, I have to say that even though I have never been a huge Wilson fan. One of the most convincing systems I ever heard was years ago at Chicago dealer who at the time had Wilson WP 3's and all Spectral (I think it was just a 250w stereo amp). I was listening to Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture done by the Cincinnati orchestra (Tel Arc-CD) and it was unbelievable and blown away. It always stayed in my mind as a great match with the Wilson's, I then heard the MAXX and WP at Progressive Audio in Ohio a few years later and was very disappointed and they were using all Krell with them.
I was friends with a Wilson dealer in a medium-sized city, and he hosted several Wilson-sponsored open house events. After the presentation/demo, they would just play music for the rest of the evening, first using the solid state amp they'd done the demo's with, and then after a while they'd hook up a tube amp. It was interesting to observe the room empty out when the solid state amp was in play, and the fill back up when the tube amp was hooked up. I'm not sure people were aware of the change in amplification, but evidently they were hearing a change for the better with the tubes. The solid state amps were more expensive than the tube amps, just for the record.
Not saying this trend would necessarily apply to all tube amps or all solid state amps, but to address at least part of the original question, tubes can work quite well on various model Wilsons, including the MAXX.
When demoing at shows, ambient noise levels and traffic are usual higher than that of a normal demo, i can see Wilson using high powered SS amps to achieve the necessary Db levels required to show off the Maxx's dynamic capabilities and qualities.
Based on the Maxx's tested efficiency you will need 500 watts min for 98 db music peaks at a listening distance of 9 ft.
Unless you listen to music moderately and very rarely venture beyond 92 dB you will need an amplifier with at least 500 watts /ch IMO.. Bi-amping might be the best choice...