Wilson Benesch Resolution

Constantly Surprising

Equipment report
Wilson Benesch Resolution
Wilson Benesch Resolution

As it happens, though, Wilson Benesch knows a thing or two about carbon fiber. The company has used the material in its turntables and tonearms since 1989, and began employing it in speakers in 1994. In the case of the Resolution, the entire monocoque enclosure is made of CF, which is visible along portions of the speaker’s rear, sides, and forward-canted top surface. Carbon fiber gives the Resolution a uniquely cool look, but it also imbues the speaker with uniquely serious stiffness.

As mentioned earlier, lavishing this much carbon fiber on a product isn’t cheap. The Resolution runs $75k per pair. But, aside from their uncommon sonic virtues, they are something that most speakers in their price range are not: slim, lithe, and elegant. Say what you will about the Resolution’s massive competitors, none of those words typically come to mind. Deploying carbon fiber enabled Wilson Benesch to build unimposing towers that nonetheless boasted plenty of internal air space for the woofers.

Yet the company wanted to do even more to ensure that the Resolution’s svelte proportions didn’t compromise low-end energy, clarity, or extension. This brings us to the second rarely seen design element: isobaric woofer loading. Unlike carbon fiber, this technology goes way back. Robert Harley’s sidebar explains how it works, but the gist is that an isobaric configuration involves two mechanically coupled woofers with an air gap between them. The result of this seemingly simple arrangement is that, for a given front baffle area and internal air volume, an isobaric configuration will deliver twice the bass output of a non-isobaric system. The Resolution incorporates two isobaric pairs, for a total of four woofers, each measuring 7" in diameter. This quartet is complemented by a 7" upper-bass driver, a 7" midrange unit, and a 1" tweeter, all in a modified D’Appolito configuration.

The two design elements I’ve described bestow upon the Resolution two corresponding visual cues. I’ve already mentioned the carbon fiber peeking through in various spots. In addition, the use of isobaric loading explains why, when facing the speaker, you see the back end of two woofers pointing toward you. You see, isobaric woofer pairs can either face the same direction (an “in-line” configuration), which is the scenario Robert’s sidebar describes, or they can face each other (a “clamshell” configuration). In the first scenario, both woofers face forward, though you only see the one in front. But in a clamshell arrangement, the one used in the Resolution, it’s impossible not to have one woofer magnet per isobaric pair facing the listener.

The Resolution’s unique aesthetic took some adjustment on my part. I just wasn’t used to looking at a speaker and seeing the backsides of drivers. When Wilson Benesch told me that Resolution customers love the reverse-woofer configuration, I was initially skeptical. However, over time I joined their camp. A woofer’s magnet, I decided, is no less attractive than its cone. Plus, it’s kind of fun to see the working end of a driver for a change. For those who can’t go there, the manufacturer provides grille covers.

In sum, the Wilson Benesch Resolution is a speaker that’s full of surprises. The use of carbon fiber is surprising. The melding of this new-world technology with old-world isobaric loading is surprising. The speaker’s slender appearance is surprising, as are the unique views it affords of carbon fiber and woofer butts. Most surprising of all is the Resolution’s chameleon-like ability to change its colors to reflect the music and the recording it’s playing. This is a speaker that never gets old, familiar, or boring. It’s a speaker you really can live with over the long run.

Specs & Pricing

Type: Four-way floorstanding tower
Drivers: 1" Semisphere silk-carbon hybrid dome tweeter; 7" Tactic II midrange; 7" Tactic II upper bass driver; 4x7" Tactic II isobaric woofers
Frequency response: 30Hz–30kHz +/-2dB on axis
Sensitivity: 90dB/1W
Impedance: 6 ohms
Dimensions: 20.5" x 62.6" x 21.5"
Weight: 209.5 lbs. each
Price: $69,500/pr.

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