We had just been confirmed as the new Wilson Audio dealers here in San Diego when we got the call from Peter McGrath, casually inviting us for a factory tour, and a bit of training.
Fun, right? So, we boarded our flights to Salt Lake, half knowing what to expect, and half wanting to be surprised. Actually, even before we boarded, we got a very detailed schedule for the trip, which clearly indicated this was not a casual thing, but a carefully and professionally orchestrated event!
Early on the first day, during breakfast, we meet Bill Peugh, Peter, and our fellow dealers and distributors who’d be part of our group for the next days.
Having received that detailed schedule, we knew the “meat” of the program would happen on the 2nd day, with the factory tour *and* the visit to the Wilson’s home, to experience the WAMMs (or, as they say, “get WAMMed!”.)
But the first day started pretty great, with David and Sheryl Wilson giving us a personal introduction, and a run through Wilson Audio’s 40+ year history. Daryl, their son and current CEO, also warmly greeted us, and gave us a bit of his vision for the company moving forward.
Oh, as soon as we entered the conference room, we saw a gorgeous speaker, the Alexia 2, clad in the new satin finish. We knew right there and then that THAT was going to be the color of our demo pair!
The rest of the day was taken by some in-depth talk about Wilson’s proprietary materials, as well as some listening to the Sabrinas, in the factory’s nicely appointed auditioning room. Peter’s choice of music was exemplary, and fully demonstrated what Wilson’s diminutive speakers can do!
The next day began with the factory tour, and the realization that craftsmanship and attention to detail are two things you’ll see in spades in the Wilson factory. The multiple processes that the speakers go through are simply mind boggling, and once you figure they’re done and ready to go, there’s another step, with even more careful sanding and detailing!
We saw quite a bit of WAMMs being made, including one almost ready to go in the boxing/dispatch area!
I mentioned to the Wilson guys that, in an era when brands and industries are moving towards automatization, robots and machines, Wilson not only sticks, but invests into the skilled, time-intensive, artisanal labour. At the scale they’re currently producing, it’s truly impressive, as the laborious process is extended throughout the entire speaker production, from the cabinet to the wire to the protective lamination.
Well, factory tour concluded, it was time to listen to Alexia 2, and Peter didn’t disappoint. Incredible, thoughtful musical selection, and of course, fantastic performance by the new speaker.
OK, factory tour done, time to get WAMMed! Now, I’ve heard my share of big, impressive speakers, in big, impressive spaces, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what I heard. First, David Wilson gave us some insight into the creation and development process, and then we finally moved into the big room. And there they were...
While we had seen bits and pieces of it earlier at the factory, seeing the whole monolith built in front of you was shocking.
Carefully presenting every musical selection, David guided us through each song. And song after song, we were grinning uncontrollably. It was like discovering high-end audio all over again! Yes, it *can* get better!
One of the things I use to judge whether a system or component is good is how it is able to create the “feel”, or the “texture” of the instrument. A piano, for instance, has certain resonances and a certain “body” that your brain “decodes” into that “ah, that’s a piano” feel. While some systems are able to convey that, nothing was able to do it to the extent of what I heard there.
Most of the session was done without the help of the two WAMM Subsonic woofer modules, but for one fun track, David switched them on. And O-M-G. It felt like he had subs *on the floor*, since the bass wave seemed to come at you, from the speakers to the back of the room. And on the other selections, I couldn’t help but be amazed by all that monstrously tight bass, coming out of the two woofers on each tower…
Basically, we heard a little bit of everything, jazz, classical, on CD and LP, and everything, without exception, was mind-blowing. It was simply impossible to fault what I heard.
Still incredibly humbled by the WAMM, we moved on to Daryl’s home theater setup presentation, with Alexx, Polaris, Yvette as rears. The purpose was to show how you could have a very high-end theater setup based around Wilson speakers and simple AV gear (Oppo and a receiver).
The presentation was fun, and the three movie scenes all sounded incredible and very realistic. But since HT isn’t my thing, I don’t have much to comment on… Still, a perfect cap for an extraordinary night!
Then, on our final day, we visited the Mormon Tabernacle and their associated studios, an impressive operation! The studios we’ve visited all had extremely cutting edge equipment for audio and video, and, of course, Wilson Audio speakers for monitoring!
Again, our thanks go to the Bill Peugh, who organized an incredibly business/fun-packed training program, and all the extremely friendly folks at Wilson Audio, who’ve warmly welcomed us to the fold! We look forward to a productive, fun partnership for years to come!
Alex / Fabio
Alma Music and Audio
PS: for hi-res photos, they're here https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0g55Z2WMGEAXmj