So, I listened to a $1Million Dollar System

So, I listened to a $1Million dollar system.

A somewhat local dealer had an event that showcased the Dan D’Agostino Relentless Epic mono block amps, Relentless Preamplifier, Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX speakers and subsonic subwoofer. Along with the Transparent cabling, HRS stands, DCS Dac and other accessories I estimate the total cost to be over $1Miilion.

I was able to sit in the front row center. The speakers estimated to weigh over 700 lbs. were toed in quite a bit towards the listener.

The demonstrator played a lot of obscure music that centered on some very deep bass. I must admit the bass was quite impressive.

Eventually (reluctantly) the demonstrator played a few tunes that I requested, and I was quite surprised.

With this million-dollar system the music sounded quite dull, the rep called it “mellow”, but to me it was dull. There was no life to the music, limited highs and zero music coming from the extreme left- right.

For instance, I use the Linda Ronstadt track “Blue Bayou” as a reference. Within this track at about the 40-60 second mark there is a mandolin that plays in the extreme left channel. On many systems that information is buried deep into the mix. However, systems with high resolution can play it clearly. Unfortunately, with this million-dollar system I could not even detect it.

So why is it? Can the Wilson speakers be adjusted in such a way as to accent the bass and attenuate the mid-treble? If so, why would they demonstrate that way? Were the speakers too toed in? Or was it because there were about 10 people in the room (btw, a large room) which muted some of the speaker’s energy? Whatever, I was NOT impressed.



Possibly over priced, useless expensive hardware, comparable’s available for 1/10th the cost ? Pick it apart and a very well detailed system from 5 or so years ago would pound it ! Marking, pretty names, boxes, BS, it all sells.

Does your recording sound good with other systems?  I’ve got two completely different systems set up and there are some recordings that sound great on one system and just so so on the other and vice versa.  There are recordings that really sound exceptional on all systems and others that seem to only respond to certain setups.  Could it have been that?

Well, setup is a big part of any system and obviously they cant do that very well "on the road".  I'd also mention that good systems make bad recordings sound as they should (or maybe the word is "as they do").... bad.

But what you recount is different.  Something that was present and audible on other systems was 100% missing. I frankly find this hard to believe, but can't really say any more. Gross errors like that simply don't happen.

Something more is up.


So sorry you had a bad experience!  I know I’d be excited to hear all the cool toys I’ve read about! And I’d be really bummed if they didn’t live up to the hype. 

There’s probably fifty reasons for the lack of treble. The first thing that came my mind you mentioned, the electronics don’t play well with Wilson. The second thing I thought of, was everything “broken in”? Third,  The source.  There are many copies of Blue Bayou out there and even though it might say it’s HR, it could have been a crappy copy. And  was the room well treated? Maybe over treated? 

Basically  in my opinion  Basically  with hi fi you are turning a formula  one car. When it is all done right it is very impressive  but wrong all you have is an old Chevy, Ford or Pontiac. So quite likely setup or matching  etc etc was wrong or parts of many different  small things.  But no question  the amount of money spent is not how good it sounds the best formula  one car needs the crew and the driver to win.