Owen: Same thing. A bit more refined. SET's are OUT! You know better :)
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Thanks, Jonathan. You're right, but was wondering, hoping that there might be a way... ;^)
I know you had the originals at one point and probably went through many amps with them before going the Kharma Tenor route. With 95 db they start to become interesting for lower powered amps, but looking at those big woofers makes me wonder...
They were a big step up from my WP7's in that they produced a wall of sound.. versus just the pinpoint soundstage the WP7's provide. I still enjoy and believe no other speaker short of large Stators or Magnepans can provide the imaging or quickness with Dynamic that the WP7's provide...
I like the original Maxx's but the new ones make me want to upgrade (but that will be 2 years+ to save that kind of money for me.. )
I listend to the original Maxx 2's with Rowland 302 amp (not a small powered set..) I listened with the original Maxx with Halcro, both systems were in treated rooms and running Transparent XL or higher...
if you didn't like the maxx-I you're not going to like the maxx-II any better. wilson's are appropriately priced IF the sound they make is your cup of tea (as the build quality is the best there is), but they are grossly overpriced if that's not the case. it's really too bad because they are absolutely gorgeous speakers...
I owned the 7's and Sophias prior to purchasing the Maxx 2's, and have listened at length with the Alexandrias under very controlled conditions.
In my opinion, the 7's and Sophias represented a giant leap toward a more coherent and harmonically pure center, from earlier designs such as the WATT 6 and 5.1's. The MAXX 2's and X2's represent these fundamental changes in the larger Wilson designs. Along with the incredible dynamic scale they also possess a delicacy and harmonic purity that was missing in earlier iterations. Comparing the original MAXX 2's to the MAXX's, I'd say that the original models were cool and dry in the treble, and slightly forward and pronounced in the mid-upper bass. The MAXX 2's possess a richness and refinement in the treble that is clearly superior to the MAXX's and the X1's, and they present a more coherent whole.
I also find the MAXX 2's to be more precise at staging and imaging compared to the WATT 7's because the low-freq of the MAXX 2 paints the rear of the stage in a way the 7's and Sophias were incapable of.
I find it is no longer possible to categorize the Wilson speakers as many have in the past, as cold or analytical. To me they have evolved into complete performers and are on a par with the best speakers I've had up close experience with. Of course, personal preference is what drives us, but as a former Audio Physic owner (Caldera, Avanti, Virgo) I find the new Wilson models to be on a par in terms of tonal balance, timing and delicacy, and without peer in terms of dynamic shadings, immediacy and impact... JMHO
Samuel. Thanks for sharing your experience. Very interesting that i've also have been through the Sophias and 7's and was left looking for something more. The wp7 was an absolutely outstanding speaker, but was still a small speaker that was trying to sound like a big speaker. In hearing the Maxx's on 2 different occasions in very different setups and rooms, I felt like the speakers coherence was a major issue. The drivers did not integrate and was left hearing crossover points, tweeters, and a lack of the pinpoint precise imaging I crave and expect from Wilson. I went for the 7's. What did interest me about the Maxx's was that they were quite exciting to listen to and as stated above created a huge wall of sound effect with quite startingly powerful bass. It was fun to listen to but felt like it was just a bunch of drivers that never came together to sound like a whole.
BTW, How do the Alexandrias compare to the Maxx2? How close do the 2's come ? ;^)
I cannot explain the difference in perception, other than to assume variables associated to systems/room differences etc.
I used the word coherent specifically to address the superb driver integration and phase-correct presentation that I hear with the 2's, not unlike my memory of the Kharma 1.0's I had in my home some years ago (coherence was the 1.0's strong-suit). Others that have visited recently commented on this performance attribute without a word from me, and were former detractors, as I was, of older Wilson designs (5.1's).
There is no question that in my set-up, the MAXX 2's layer images more precisely and offer more pinpoint center imaging --with proper scale, dimension and height than the 7's could. There is far better hall and ambient information present (and I used the WATCH with the 7's) and a more realistic rendition of the "event" or studio environment. One startling element was the way the 2's carried off resolving the weight, and fundamental harmonic, the tone of piano and voice. Different listeners, different times, commented on that as well.
Most of all, I simply forget the system when listening and enjoy the music in a way that connects me completely. The system relaxes and enervates -- and that's what all this is about.
The Alexandrias have subjectively more upper-freq air and mini-monitor-like low-level rez and image specificity. They also throw a more wrap-around-you stage, and distribute slightly more pitch defined mid/low bass and "touch" in the upper bass, but these are only gross impressions as I have not had them in my home, and unless I win lotto, never will.
Thanks again Samuel and to clarify my comments above on the Maxx's are on the originals not the 2's which I have not heard yet. I share your opinion that the newest generation of Wilson is less mechanical sounding than the previous as evidenced by yourself. They truly have eliminated the ever so slightly mechanical and hifi characteristics of earlier models that were initially quite impressive in the "sound" category and transition their line into the truly musical camp. That's a real accomplishment as they've maintained the traits like slam and imaging that make them impressive and appealing from an audiophool mentality to pushing true musical instrument capability in their newer models. The coherence of the Sophia and WP7 were truly remarkable for the design and if the Maxx2 has picked up the mantle then you truly are a happy man. I myself am chomping at the bit to hear them. Anyone in New England with these willing to open up their casa and host an Audiogon listening session? ;^) I'll bring the adult beverages...
What did you think of the Rowland 302 with the Maxx's? Was it the new Maxx 2?
I currently have the Rowland 302 with the Wilson Watt PUPPY 7's.
Do you own the Rowland 302? What do you use it with?
There are so few Rowland 302 owners....I enjoy it but feel a tad lonely....seems most rowland users have other products by Rowland (perhaps it the price of the 302....I got it used so made it affordable somewhat)
It's interesting to read all these comments started by a listen to my home system. Thx Cyto.
The Maxx-1 was very good until I heard the Maxx-2. The Series 2 has better integration of the drivers, faster, and better resolution of the silence between the notes. More control and slam in the bass with more extension too.
Each generation of Wilson's gets better, more musical (which is more accurate) and more fun to listen to for hours on end (if I only had the time!)
Only one correction- the amps are Rowland 301's not 302. The 302 is the stereo version, these are mono. How do they sound? Quick, fast, even, and controlled throughout the range. Incredible dynamics and pace. Solid bass and control. Smooth and articulate highs. Wide and deep soundstage. What more could one ask for from a power amp? Lower price?! Try the 201's, a bargain priced version with 250wpc into 8ohms and similar sonic signature and don't fare too badly on the Maxx's. The 301's and derivatives are probably the best sounding amps Jeff has done yet. The 301's are seemingly unlimited in power on the Maxx (either series)too.
And just to be on the up and up- I am an authorized dealer for Wilson, Rowland, Vandersteen and more.
Bottom line for anyone owning a pair of Maxx-1: upgrade NOW. Don't wait, there is no sonic negative, only positives. Onward, upward, and forward to audio nirvana!
BTW- the initial question was: are the Maxx Series 2 sensitive enough for an SET amp? I'd say so but haven't tried one IMS. Specs call out an 8ohm nominal with a 3ohm minimum; 92 db@1W (2.83V) @ 1meter. Factory minimum power amp size: 7 Watts!
If your SET amp is equipped with an XLR input, email me and we can arrange a listen in Scottsdale using your amp(s).