Wilson WP7 vs JM Lab Alto BE vs Avalon Eidolon

I currently own a pair of Vienna mahlers. system is VPI HRX, Dynavector XV 1, pass Xono, VTL 7.5, cj prem 8a monoblocks with transparent ref XL speaker cable.

I am looking for a speaker that will have a tighter bass but maintain extension (Vienna's bass is quite fat and they probably don't have great synergy with my tubes), not as laid back as the Mahlers ( whether that means forward or neutral I am not sure)more transparency and more extenstion in the treble. The mahlers also need a bit of volume to sound exciting.
basically my system sounds warm and laid back. I listen to a lot of pop rock, alternative as well as most other genre's.

looking at my spec's Wilson would probably fit the bill best and I know Wilson's like transparent cables, however I keep hearing that the JM BE tweeter is SOTA.

If anyone has heard all three of both, you thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

I am going to try and listen to the speakers within the next couple of weeks, but big question is what speaker do i take home to listen to.

cheers SR
I have heard the WP7's and the Eidolon's. I have not heard the JM Lab Alto BE's though.

That being said, the Eidolon is one of the finest speakers I have every heard. A friend has some and has a similar set up to your own. He has the same turntable, and runs all tubes as well (ARC Ref. 1 preamp and VTL MB-450 monoblocks) and he uses a Koetus Urushi with a Aesthetix Rhea phono preamp. It is the finest stereo I have heard in my life. (This probably includes stereo dealers and stereo shows, since he has a fairly large dedicated room for his stereo.)

The Eidolons have the rare ability to just disappear from the soundstage. Mid-range and treble are great. The bass is very, very good (it goes down flat to a little below 30hz), but does not go quite down to 20hz. (Plenty deep for most people as only the very largest of rooms can really handle deep bass without sounding boomy.) As far as looks go, it is awesome looking, especially with one of the "fancy finishes", like the bird's eye maple.

The WP7 is a good speaker and it excels at accuracy. It soundstages well, just not as well as the Eidolon, IMHO. Its looks are ok, but not really in the same class as the Eidolons. (But then again, what is?)

I would definitely pick the Eidolons before the WP7 myself. I like the WP7, but love the Eidolons.

My two cents worth anyway/
The WP7 will go lower and will have tighter bass with your tubes because with the purchase of WP7's you will get an extra set of ports for using tube equipment (works with less damping) The transparent cabling Synergy is excellent (just check my system out.. also if you are in Phoenix you are welcome to give it a listen) The WP7's are also more efficent at 92-93db to 1 watt. The CJ warmth will be a perfect match with the WP7's.

Kurt Tank- If you didn't hear the WP7's image then they weren't setup correctly. Eidolons in the curly burl are FINE!

I've heard Eidolons before they are more layed back than the Wilson and less energy with tubes.

There is a Wilson dealer in Dallas (Krystal Clear) that has the VTL 7.5 preamp, VTL 450's and WP7's hooked up with transparent cabling and they actually spent time setting up the system... it sounds amazing (but I still prefer my Lamm's) If you take a pair home to demo, make the dealer set them up and leave you the manual (so you can verify that he did it correctly (Less than half the wilson dealers I have visited have their Wilsons dialed in to image correctly).

I chose the WP7's because I was a Planar/Electrostat fan and I use to play the double bass and the WP7's got that perfectly! but with dynamics, depth and volume! (I didn't have room for soundlabs or want to buy that type of high watt tube amplification)

Enjoy- your at a level where it's hard to be disappointed.
You indicate you get an extra set of ports for using with tube eqyuipment. Could you expand on what that actually means?.
Not sure if the WP7 has extra phyisical ports or additional material to stuff into the ports.

thanks for your help

The ports in the WP's mid tweeter (the WATT part) section are removable aluminum collars. One is tuned for a high power ss amp, the other is for tube amps with a lower damping factor. The result is, you can tailor the sound somewhat to the type of amp you use.

The whole process takes about 1 minute for each speaker. Just several hex screws to remove. Wilson supplies all the tools and ports when you aquire the speakers. Nothing to buy.
Well I have had a listen to each of the speakers trying to justify the huge cost increase over the mahlers.

Can't really comment on the Avalon Diamond as I only heard it quickly in the store and it sounded a little reserved and laid back to me.

The Alto's are luvly speakers. Believe the hype, the tweeter is so clean and extended that it does make all others seem dirty and etched (after breakin that is).
The bottom end was quite extended, but seemed to be slightly smaller in scale than the mahlers. I am sure the Nova's would be perfect, but they are very expensive.
The mid range is nice and slightly laid back. This does not make my alternative and pop music sound quite as forward as they should be - but the speaker may only be exposing the character of my cj amps. I could play the JM's loud to 97db plus with no stress of treble distortion.
I wish the same level of instructions that came with the WP7's came with the Alto's as I am sure I did not set them up to their best before I had to send them back.

Setting up the WP7's was a joy. the setup manual and the way the Wilson's are put together down to the spikes are very very good and easy to understand.
Pity I have not had the same level of enjoyment listening to them. the sound was very transparent and quite good but in my room they just seem to be a bit too bright when I turn up the volume too much. Left to right soundstaging was breathtaking - almost unreal.

I bought a Rives test CD and it does show my room ( with the WP7's) has spikes of 7 to 10 db higher at 639hz, 1600,3150kz, 6300kz which with the Wilson makes for overall fatiguing sound. I think if I ever want to use Wilson I will have to fix my room first in the mid range and upper frequencies.

Bottom line. I want a speaker that has the coherence and smoothness as the treble in the JM Be Alto's. So I will try to listen to the JM Alto's again, but after I try to fix my room up in the midrange.

Any idea's guys

cheers shane

Your perceptions of the Alto's and WP7 are very similar to my auditioning experience. I am still struggling to make a decision on speakers/electronics. Like you, I listen to primarily alternative rock/rock, plus alt.country (e.g. Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams etc.) and a lot of female singers. As much as I loved the Be tweeter on the Alto's and the room filling bass, I found the midrange laid back and lacking in that pop to bring my music to life. THe bass on the Wilson was clearly tighter and punchier (e.g. play White Stripes Elephant), and the imaging laser focused, but I found the overall sound very fatiguing. I kept finding myself hitting next track on the remote. I have listened to a lot of others Dynaudio Confidence C4, Living Voice Avatars, Focus Audio FS888, Vr4 jr but so far none have really done everything well.

Then, I went to audition the Tenor 150HPs amp/Audio Aero Capitole CDP with the Kharma Exquisite Midi's with diamond tweeter at Tenor Audio in Montreal. WOW !!! On stuff like Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams the sound was haunting ... made the hairs on my arms stand up. The midrange was the best I have heard so far. Blows the Alto out of the watter. I finally realized what everyone was talking about when they talked about the massive soundstage, driver coherence, and Kharma disappearing act. The diamond tweeter can compete with the Be. Only two problems ... one I can't afford the Exquisites ... two, I did find the bass on certain test tracks (e.g. White Stripes) somewhat missing in action. The kick drum certainly didn't remind me of what I heard on the Wilson WP7's or Sophias. But, on the other hand everything else I played for 3 hours was phenomenal sounding. Even the new Wilco CD was more enjoyable than I remembered. Modest Mouse "Float On" is a great song, but suddenly I realized just how good it was ... I was ready to start dancing ! Yet, overall the Kharma sound I heard that day made me want to explore the lower priced Kharmas to see if I could get a slice of these Exquisites at a more affordable price. I don't know if you explored the Kharma's at all, but definitely you should give them a try. I don't know about the bass though, whether it will be dynamic enough for you. I am also very anxious to see some of the new offerings from Von Schweikert like the VR4 SR etc... as a number of A'goners here have abandoned their high end Kharmas for Vr9 or VR 11's.

>>This does not make my alternative and pop music sound quite as forward as they should be<<

If this is your music, you're going after the wrong speakers. To play pop music successfuly you need a very different system, otherwise you'll never be fully satisfied. Take this advice anyway you want but you should consider what pop/electronic music really is and how its played live and how its recorded, some of your components are just wrong for this music. I'm not knocking pop music just pointing out a flaw in your approach, your system will always show up the shortcomings of pop recordings and detract from your listening pleasure. Instead you need a system to enhance the positive side of pop recordings and expand your listening experience.

I recommend a couple of changes in your system; to begin with replace the Xono with a tubed unit like the fine EAR 834, this will bring a lot more life to your system. Next get rid of the MIT wires and then look for some large vintage horns or if you prefer new speakers, look at some of JBL's professional speakers, they're a lot more suited to your type of music than any Wilson, Avalon or JM Labs. I understand that after having set your sights set on top names going for products with less caché might seem like a downgrade but you'll be happier in the long run if you can get over this false perception.
Dkarmeli. I am not really that interested in going back to a tubed phono stage. I owned and enjoyed a cj prem 15 for 4 years and auditioned an Aesthetix Rhea and Xono. In my system the Xono was a lot quieter than both the tubed units and musically it was on par or better. bass was a lot better on the Xono.
BTW I listen to all types of music owning 4000 LP's, but pop/rock/alternative does make up 70% of my listening.
Not even sure you can by EAR in Australia and definately can't listen to any JBL speakers.

Thom. Guess I will have to have a listen to the Karma's again, but last time I thought tha bass was very loose and ill defined and that was with tenors running the mid/treble and burmeisters running the bass. BTW the new Modest Mouse is very good. The new Roots LP is excellent and I am enjoying the current Von Bondies, Cure and Strokes LP's a lot. The Strokes LP will sound bright on any system!.
I used to own a pair of VS 4.5's. Honestly the Mahlers are a lot better. The importer does not bring VS into Australia any more so I cannot listen to the current models. I suggest you listen to the VS's at home to see if you like them, for Rock/pop they didn't really do it for me.

I am going to have a listen to rowland 501's and the VTL SW-400's in November. These may bring my Mahler to life. Given the price of the the VTL's they should!. By that time any new models for 2005 will be around to listen to.

Trouble is we are talking a shit load of money for any changes at this level, so if I am not in luv with unit I an not going to buy it.

cheers Shane