The speakers that cost £200,000 a pair

24 May 2012

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF

It's not often that we get invited to the launch of a £200,000 pair of hi-fi speakers.

But that's exactly where we were this morning. Wilson Audio, and its UK distributor Absolute Sounds, selected the so-recently-refurbished-it-still-smells-vaguely-of-paint KJ West One store in the humid heart of central London for today’s European launch of its extraordinary Alexandria XLF floorstanding loudspeakers.

They're the people to visit if you'd like to buy a pair of these, the Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF speakers to give them their full name.

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF

The good people of Provo, Utah, home town of Wilson Audio owner Dave Wilson and still the company’s HQ, have already enjoyed the prodigious sight of the Alexandria XLFs, but it's the first time the speakers have been heard outside North America – we first saw them at CES in Las Vegas back in January, when we voted them one of our Stars of CES 2012.

KJ West One, a stalwart of the London high-end scene, is an ideal venue for a launch such as this – and after nearly six months as a glorified building site, it’s now looking as fresh as a daisy.

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF

Wilson Audio rather modestly claims that its flagship model is "the world's best speaker". At the price, one would hope so.

So what do you get for your money? Wilson Audio's Peter McGrath and John Giolas were on hand to tell us.

If you’re familiar with Wilson Audio’s Alexandria range, the XLFs will be a recognisable shape – but with the XLF, the architecture has evolved. The segmented cabinet (which is constructed entirely of proprietary composite materials) is larger and thicker than the Alexandria Series 2 speaker the XLF most closely resembles.

There’s a new tweeter (a silk-dome affair dubbed ‘Convergent Synergy’), a reworked midrange baffle and a new crossover. The distinctive ‘wing’ structure of the XLF allows the upper, independent modules to be time-aligned precisely and to provide an inert platform for their support.

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF

The aim is to improve on the Series 2 in every meaningful way: dynamic contrast, harmonic expression, bass performance and linearity are the specific areas Wilson Audio has identified.

‘XLF’ refers to Wilson Audio’s latest innovation: the Cross Load Firing port. The owner can choose to configure the speakers with either a front-firing or rear-firing bass port – optimising the location of the port to suit each speaker’s specific listening environment. The company suggests that ‘lean’ listening rooms (those with a lot of glazing, for example) will benefit from a rear-ported set-up.

Wilson Audio Alexandria XLF

At a not-inconsiderable £200,000 per pair, it almost goes without saying that the Alexandria XLFs are made to order.

Each pair is finished in Wilson Audio’s automotive-class paint facility in any colour you may desire – just supply the Pantone number and Wilson Audio will do the rest.

We'll start saving now...

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Comments

WahWahWeeks wrote:
Is there an upgrade path?

Yes there is – you can add on Wilson's Thor's Hammer subwoofer, plus suitable amplification, to take the frequency response down even lower.

These look interesting. Is there an upgrade path?

Can you get a 10.1 pack for home cinema? Or can I use them as rears?

I am after good sound quality in combination with good aesthetics. If I had 200 000 to blow on speakers it would definitely not be those because they look hideous. They look like they belong in a gaming room. Speakers have become part of the furniture especially in small to mid size houses where you dont have a dedicated room for music or home theatre. I currently use the B&W CM8's. They sound good but boy they look like a super model

They look like a couple of cash machines.  Surprised

Over priced. I suspect the top of range active PMC BB5 XBDA's will outperform this ugly overpriced effort. 

Well something I read back in 2006, shortly before I worked in the HiFi trade (I'm out of it now) money thrown at speakers (or any other HiFi component) is no guarantee that you will obtain good sound. Besdies the obvious of having the rest of the kit to match, the whole system needs to be balanced. And the listener has to like it no matter how perfect the spec sheet etc maybe. 

 

Lawrence, Provo is a town, in the state of Utah.

There's a centre speaker, too...

They look to me like something from the 70s, especially in that orange...urgh! wouldnt pay £200 for these fuglies, even if they sounded like I was sitting in the front row of the concert hall...

If I had that kind of money for speakers, I would be looking for something classy that would blend well in a dedicated listening room.

What are these guys thinking!?

Andy Clough wrote:
Pretty good, from what I can gather, but I wasn't there.

Nor me.

Tease! Tongue out

Pretty good, from what I can gather, but I wasn't there.

Yes, but it would be nice to get at least an idea... Smile

ESP2009 wrote:
Er, is it me?  Did I miss something, but I don't see anything about how they actually sound.

Quite possibly because it's a news story and not a review...

Er, is it me?  Did I miss something, but I don't see anything about how they actually sound.

Horrendous brutes! No way the OH is going to allow those in the home!

Is this why Blue Peter was finally taken off air?  Pass the sticky back plastic and cereal boxes.

Junt like my mother in law... Smile

 

Utah is not a town so above should read 'Utah, home state of Wilson Audio'.

Bet speakers sound awesome. I'm off to check my piggy-bank......

But they look home made. And I don't mean hand made like "oh that's a nice piece of hand made furniture". I mean "home" made.

They could be a bit wobbly in the saloon, if my motor-yacht was caught in a storm making passage to Monaco

certain to blow your socks off if you sit that close!!

Exterminate. Exterminate. 

They don't look great in Tonka Toy yellow.

That's one ugly beast!!