What minimum power specifications should I look for in an amplifier to partner with the Wilson Benesch?
Ultimately, there is no universal figure that will be helpful for all listeners, systems and listening rooms. Amplifier power specifications give an indication as to what the amplifier is capable of but the design of the amplifier and the quality of the components used play a large part in how well an amplifier will drive a speaker. Many listeners perceive valve amplifiers and class ”A” amplifiers as having more power and drive than their specifications would suggest and auditions of any such amplifiers can result in finding suitable partnerships that would otherwise be overlooked if a minimum power rating specification was to be strictly adhered to. Upon audition, lower powered amplifiers may lack the drive of higher power amplifiers, particularly when reproducing challenging program material yet, they may excel in other areas such as accurate sound staging or the accurate reproduction of instrument timbres. Ultimately, only you as the listener can decide whether the strengths of a particular system will fit with your listening habits, your personal preferences and of course your listening environment. Every listener, listening room and system combine to make a completely unique set of variables and a combination that works well for one listener may be unsuitable for the next. The audition is the ultimate test of any potential partnering equipment and whilst setting up auditions can be difficult and time consuming, time spent at this stage is well invested before otherwise making financial commitments based purely on specifications, reviews and recommendations.
Is this source component / amplifier / speaker cable a good match with Wilson Benesch?
Which source component / amplifier / speaker cable does Wilson Benesch recommend for use with?
In much the same vein as the answer above, we believe strongly that the listening test is crucial in ascertaining whether or not a partnering piece of equipment meets your tastes and your goals for your system.
Every listener, listening room and system combines to make a completely unique set of variables and a combination that works for one listener of course may be unsuitable for the next.
At Wilson Benesch, in our role as a manufacturer, we have auditioned only a fraction of the many different products that are available. Our global distributor and dealer network are much better placed to make such recommendations having selected brands that work well together to create systems to suit a range of applications and budgets.
Are Wilson Benesch speakers more suited to solid state or valve amplifiers?
Over time we have partnered our speakers with a wide range of different amplifier topologies from valves and hybrid designs through to solid state and class D. There is no specific amplifier type that we would recommend ahead of any others and each should be accessed on its own strengths in that particular application. For lower powered valve designs, the room size, the levels that your listen at, and the number of drivers being driven in the speakers, are key factors in how well the amp will drive the speaker in that particular instance.
Are Wilson Benesch speakers better suited to a particular genre of music?
Wilson Benesch speakers are designed to be quite neutral with regards to both frequency response and coloration of the signal. Due to the advanced composite materials employed the cabinets offer a world class signal to noise ratio allowing for a vanishingly low cabinet noise that is not possible with a conventional speaker cabinet. These elements allow the speaker to perform its job while at the same time “getting out of the way of the music”. As such the speakers simply reproduce what they are fed and do not favour any particular genre of music. Jazz, Opera and classical are often associated as genres favoured by high end systems, usually due to the trend for these to contain a larger dynamic range, being less compressed than more mainstream genres.
What size room do you recommend?
What is the minimum / maximum room size?
There is no fixed maximum or minimum room size that we would recommend for any of our loudspeakers. To provide fixed figures and parameters would rule out rooms that may, in practise, work very well with a given speaker and system.
It should be appreciated that every room is different and will have its own sonic character based on its dimensions, shape, contents and the material and thickness of the boundaries of the room.
What speaker toe-in angle does Wilson Benesch Recommend?
While there is no fixed toe-in angle that we would always aim for, as a general rule we usually do toe our speakers inward and adjust to taste. Bringing the tweeters on axis with your ear will increase the perceived brightness. Up to a point, a large amount of toe-in will sharpen the center image at the expense of soundstage width. This parameter should be adjusted to taste. Working with an assistant can help here while you observe the changes from the listening position. A test track with a strong centrally placed voice is helpful.
What speaker tilt angle does Wilson Benesch Recommend?
Again this is a parameter that should be adjusted based on your own room, setup, taste and the position of your listening chair in relation to the speakers.
Bringing the tweeters on axis with your ear will increase the perceived brightness. Tilting the speaker slightly backward will raise the phantom image in the sound stage and can give a slightly more airy feel to the sound stage.
How much space does my Wilson Benesch speaker need behind and to the sides of it, to perform optimally?
Floor standing designs with their larger air volume and extended bass reach often benefit from a little space in order to avoid sympathetic boosts provided by a near wall or corner speaker placement. Every room is different however and a near wall placement that works in one room may not necessarily work as well in a different room. As a general rule, if there is space to experiment, a floor standing speaker will generally benefit from being brought into the room and away from wall boundaries, especially corners. It should be appreciated that the placement of the listening chair can also be adjusted in the same manner, bringing this into the room can change the perceived bass response as experienced at the listening position.
What distance should I aim for between the speakers and from the speakers to the listening chair?
The classic equilateral triangle is a good starting point before adjusting to taste. This sees an equal distance between speakers and from each speaker to the listening chair. If the distance between the speakers is increased this will provide a perceived increase in the sound stage width and can provide a more involved soundstage. When the listening chair is further away from the speakers, an increase in reflected sound will be experienced at the listening position. Bringing the listening chair a little closer to the speakers can, up to a point, decrease the level of reflected sound that is experienced at the listening position and provide a more balanced response.
How long do you recommend for running in Wilson Benesch loudspeakers?
Like anything of good quality a period of running in tends to see improvements in performance. The speaker cabinet requires time to settle in to its surroundings. Climatic and humidity variations will take time to adjust to and until these changes have been made the speaker will not perform at its best. The drivers require time to bed in physically and relax materially. The carbon panels actually improve in structural integrity as they age. The quality of the sound that you hear when you first use your Wilson Benesch speakers will improve quite significantly over time, though this change will not be instantly perceptible. Allow for one hundred and twenty hours of running in before making any subjective judgements of the speaker’s performance.