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The Insider with Robert Harley – Wilson MAXX 2, the $10K Megabyte, More

Wilson MAXX 2 Loudspeaker: Further Thoughts

Dec 19 – I’ve lived with Wilson’s MAXX 2 loudspeaker for nearly two years now and can report that I’m just as thrilled with this loudspeaker as when I wrote my review in TAS Issue 155. The MAXX 2 gets right an aspect of music reproduction that one rarely hearsâa dynamic coherence in the bottom octaves that makes it speak with once voice dynamically. That is, the bottom-end doesn’t sound like it lags the midrange and treble, both in the way notes start and stop. When combined with the MAXX 2’s extraordinary bottom-end extension, sheer weight and power, and seemingly unlimited dynamic headroom, the result is a visceral thrill ride that never ceases to amaze me. I wouldn’t have thought this possible from a ported system with 13″ and 10″ bass drivers.

Speaking of Wilson, I spent some time with the Sophia 2 (driven by Audio Research electronics) in a retailer’s showroom and was greatly impressed not just by the overall presentation, but also by the improvement rendered over the original Sophia. I lived with the first Sophia for several months, and can say that this new iteration is a significant advancement.

Interesting but Useless Audio Trivia

Recording engineer Roger Nichols was commissioned by Steely Dan to build a device that would store digitized drum sounds in solid-state memory. It sounds easy today, but this was 1979. Nichols found someone in Silicon Valley who would part with one megabyte of RAM for the sum of $10,000. Nichols flew to the San Francisco airport with a duffle bag containing $10k in cash and exchanged the bag in the airport for a much larger bag containing multiple circuit boards loaded with rows and rows of memory chips. 

Notable Audio Quotation

“If the first watt doesn’t sound good, why would you want 199 more of them?” Designer of a 3W single-ended triode amplifier, commenting on high-powered solid-state amps.

By Robert Harley

My older brother Stephen introduced me to music when I was about 12 years old. Stephen was a prodigious musical talent (he went on to get a degree in Composition) who generously shared his records and passion for music with his little brother.

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