Dave Wilson was in a spot of trouble. After I drove to Wilmington, Delaware today to have lunch with him, he went to change into a suit and returned looking somewhat chagrined. He slowly lifted his right trouser leg to reveal the problem—not toe-in, but a sock whose color perfectly matched the new, gleaming white Wilson Maxx 3 loudspeakers he’s demoing tonight at hi fi house in Wilmington, which is chock full of all kinds of audio goodies and recently began to carry the Wilson line. Fortunately, Dan D’Agostino of Krell was there to offer the kind of vital support that his CD player, preamplifier, and mouth-watering 9009 Evolution mono block amplifiers were rendering to Wilson’s loudspeakers. D’Agostino rushed out to his car and returned with an extra set of dark hosiery. Wilson’s brow unfurrowed. Sartorial order had been restored. Wilson and his eponymously named loudspeakers could, well, sock it to the audience that evening.
It’s not very often that you can detect a slip-up with Wilson. Spend a few hours with him and you quickly realize that the man is, at bottom, a detail fanatic, on a perpetual mission to refine and perfect his loudspeakers. Before we headed out to a local Mexican joint, he told the sales staff about his new downdraft painting chambers at the factory back in Provo, Utah. Wilson fairly quivers with excitement when discussing the characteristics of his speakers, which, by contrast, are designed to remain as inert as possible.
At lunch I pummeled him with questions about the virtues of active versus passive crossovers and various capacitors, but his mind was fixed on the evening’s event. Both Wilson and Krell, it seems fair to say, are marquee names that have helped establish the high-end. But it was good to see that neither manufacturer is exactly resting on his laurels. Demonstration events, I’m convinced, are becoming an increasingly vital part of keeping the audio hobby alive and, incidentally, are another reason that brick and mortar stores shouldn’t be dismissed as relics of the past. On the contrary, as the lengths that hi fi house’s staff, including its savvy president Paul Sandquist, went to in order to ensure a seamless demo was further evidence of the value an expert sales staff can have for consumers interested in the high-end. With a speaker and system as complex as the Wilson/Krell set-up, it’s something of a relief, you could say, to have someone else tying up all the threads.