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Wilmslow Audio Prestige, Excellence, Centurion mini review
Wilmslow Audio Prestige, Excellence, Centurion mini review
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Old 7th January 2007, 07:02 PM   #1
mazdapowered is offline mazdapowered  United Kingdom
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Default Wilmslow Audio Prestige, Excellence, Centurion mini review

A while back I spent a few hours at Wilmslow Audio auditioning a few of their kits, hereís a mini review.

For the audition I used my own equipment compromising of a Benchmark DAC1 and a modded Restek Fable amp (HighEnd aus Deutshland ;0) www.restek.de .

When reading, please bear in mind that:
1. I didnít hear a bad speaker at Wimlsow Audio
2. Didnít get a huge amount of time with each speaker
3. Iím being hyper-critical.

Prestige Mk II
For:
* Fantastic mid-range and high-end detail
* Great Dynamics
* Nimble and well defined bass
* Open and huge soundstage
* Looks better in real life than in the pics
Against
* Bass a little lean
* Bass resonance from the cabinet.
* Difficult to position for best imaging.
Summary
The mid range and top end excel in this speaker with great dynamics and clarity, the ATC mid showing itís class. As mentioned elsewhere in this site many times, the ATC mid is difficult to integrate well and the Volt RV3143 sounds (to me) a little lean, unable to match the bass weight of an ATC driver. The cabinet is really in need of some extra dampening/bracing, possibly an extra layer of MDF to strengthen it up further, to prevent the cabinet noise. IMHO If some extra effort was put into the cabinet, this speaker would represent great value for money over commercial speakers.

Centurion
For:
* Pin point imaging
* Huge bass weight.
Against:
* Sound doesnít gel well.

Summary
I was expecting great things from these, after hearing the sliced cones revelators and the ring radiator before but for some reason the sum of the parts isnít greater than the whole. Canít explain in words what is happening with the sound of the Centurion but it didnít bring music to life.

Excellence
For
* A beautiful and sweet sounding speaker
Against
* Not the tightest/deepest bass on the block.
Summary
Although not to my personal tastes this speaker has an excellent sweet sound to it, with the right mix of detail, top end sparkle and musicality. For those who want to relax into their music and not get detail thrown at them, these are great speakers.

Custom Customers Speaker:
Treble: Scan-speak D2905/990000
Midrange: ATC SM75-150
Bass: Volt B2500.1
For:
* Fantastic mid-range and high-end detail
* Great Dynamics
* Nimble and well defined bass
* Open and wide soundstage
Against
* Nothing- ok then, cost :0)
Summary
In comparison to the Prestige the sound stage itís quite as big (possibly due to itís smaller physical size) but they were much easier to position for optimum clarity. The B2500.1 does a better job integrating with the ATC mid (than the RV3143), with increased bass weight and no noticeable tonal changes between the ATC mid and Volt B2500.1 driver. If you like the ATC Ďsoundí this is a great combination.

Whilst I had the amp and DAC in the car I decided to take opportunity to see how commercial speakers matched up, so I popped into a dealer to put the Wilmslow Audio offerings into perspective.

B&W 804S
For:
* Smooth Side of neutral suites a wide range of music
* Good tonal balance Ė nothing sticks out
* Well presented soundstage
* One of the better commercial speakers.
Against
* Cost
Summary
Although not initially impressive, these speakers trade initial wow factor for a sound that is well rounded and easy to live with. With a wide range of music from raw metal guitar, pounding dance to flamenco they came across very well, without a hint of strain or edginess. A reason why not to DIY, purchase, go home and enjoy!

Dynaudio Contour S 3.4
For:
* Looks (subjective)
Against
* To me, I found them very difficult to listen to, hard and gritty.
Summary
After a couple of tracks I couldnít take any more, a good example of why you should DIY!

BTW: The WA staff were helpfull and friendly, letting me play in their listening room for a good few hours, so pop along and enjoy.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 07:13 AM   #2
Kreekinteeth is offline Kreekinteeth  England
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Default Wilmslow Prestige

Interesting review. I bought the prestige back in September 05. I front them with Michell Orbe SME V Ortofon Jubilee Cary SLP 98 Cary Anniversary Monoblocks. Also Trichord Delphini phono stage. Problem is at Wilmslow, the dems are done using a front end way below the capability of those speakers. I have never heard any cabinet resonance, they are superbly crafted by a cabinet makers that they use in my case, I did not build my own. These are as good as any I have seen or heard beutifully made.The bottom end bass weight is awsome and very detailed.I cant fault them in my system. Anyone auditioning these at Wilmslow should really take their own front end as that has much to do with it, where Neil is very accomodating.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 06:18 PM   #3
mazdapowered is offline mazdapowered  United Kingdom
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I totally agree about their front end, it is just not upto the job in showing what their speakers can do.

How did you find the Forte? as it was sadly out of commision when I went and I plan to go back for a listen. In the mean time I've started a bookshelf project so I can get build experience before splashing out on ATC mids.

As for the bass on the prestige, I suppose I am being over critical. This has come about as I'd become use to listening to a friends ATC SCM100 ASL's, which have fanstasic slam and weight. Another factor is that the WA demo room is larger than your average UK living room making it more difficult to fill with bass. Plus due to the large amount of other sepakers in the room they had to be pulled well out of the room to prevent 'interference' from the other speakers. This obviously affected the bass balance and I'm sure they would have been happier a bit closer to a rear wall.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 08:41 PM   #4
Kreekinteeth is offline Kreekinteeth  England
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I absolutely understand all you are saying. I wasnt impressed really with the listening room because of all the other speakers present. I think Wilmslow let themselves down with the front end and the Dem room. I am sure if people heard the real capabilities of their speakers they would sell well.
As for the Forte , I was really impressed with these. Lovely balance, I listened for quite a while. I chose the Prestige as I felt they had more bass weight, and I have a large enough listening room for them, or more importantly it is a seperate Hi Fi room so they are not obtrusive, the Hi Fi rules in there.Personally if space was limited I would buy the Forte. I had the speakers built for me , they use a cabinet makers and they do a superb job, in fact the company they use only give these to one particular joiner as he is so good at them.I would have made a balls of the veneer.
I am in the Manchester area and will let people come and listen if they contact me.Let me know how you get on with the Forte.
As for the bass, I am the opposite of what you are used to. I had JM Lab Micro Utopia stand mounts for 3 yrs. I now realise the deepest bottom end and detail was just not there.
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Old 4th March 2007, 07:42 PM   #5
Kreekinteeth is offline Kreekinteeth  England
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Sorry I meant Scanspeak Ring Radiator, Revalator is a Depeche Mode CD I have been listening to a lot lately. I find I cant edit the post.
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Old 4th March 2007, 08:18 PM   #6
mazdapowered is offline mazdapowered  United Kingdom
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I understand what you mean about bass detail, this was one of the reasons in going to WA. Currently have KEF Ref 103/4, although they are getting on a bit they are still (surprisingly) competative with many modern speakers. The lack of top end of the KEF's was easily sorted with a fostex supertweeter but the bottom end? a new speaker is needed. Again spoilt by my friends ATC's I realised that on the KEF's some deep bass lines were non-existant, never mind lacking in detail. Coming back to the WA prestige, I can def say there was no lack of detail in the bottom end, very tight and clean.
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Old 5th March 2007, 07:08 PM   #7
Kreekinteeth is offline Kreekinteeth  England
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Dont know where you are Richard but if you are anywhere near the Manchester area you are welcome to come and have a listen . When I bought my Cary amps I really stuck my neck out , spent a lot of money. I used all my savings at the time plus £3k I got for my old amp plus some other bits. It took me a bit of getting over, I was waking up in the night thinking, I shouldnt have spent all that on amps. But they made a massive difference, totally spoiled me. But I reckon I will never buy any more amps.Matched with the Prestige I am totally happy. But no matter what your system, you always find somthing that sounds crappy, I reckon there are quite a few bad recordings, seems especially so with newer bands on CD.
Malc
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Old 5th March 2007, 08:36 PM   #8
mazdapowered is offline mazdapowered  United Kingdom
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Kreekinteeth, I'm in Wiltshire but I'm bound to be going that way at some point. Please drop me an email (yours is blocked) and we'll arange something

Thanks
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Old 5th March 2007, 09:00 PM   #9
pinkmouse is offline pinkmouse  Europe
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Well, looks like you both need to come along to the UK diy meet!
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Old 5th March 2007, 10:11 PM   #10
Kreekinteeth is offline Kreekinteeth  England
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Yes I think I will come along for a look. I dont do any DIY I joined the forum to read up on opinions on Wilmslow and other speakers really, and dont have much electrical knowledge, I am just into the Hi Fi
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