Wilson Audio Duette / Custom Crossover Upgrade


Stereophile review from 2012:

Specifications: Two-way, reflex-loaded bookshelf loudspeaker with separate crossover enclosure. 
Drive-units: 8" cone woofer, 1" silk-dome tweeter. 
Sensitivity: 90dB/W/m/kHz. (Note: Look at this spec compared to the measurements below from Danny at GR-Research)
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms. Minimum impedance: 3.96 ohms at 3.1kHz. 
Recommended amplifier power: >20W.
Dimensions: 18.4" H by 9.4" W by 13.75" D. Weight: 39 lbs.
Finish: Automotive paints in non-metallic black, Diamond Black, Dark Titanium, Desert Silver, and Argento Silver Twelve.
Price: $13,900/pair plus $1795/pair for matching stands. Approximate number of dealers: 50.
Manufacturer: Wilson Audio Specialties, 2233 Mountain Vista Lane, Provo, UT 84606. Tel: (801) 377-2233. Fax: (801) 377-2282. 
Web: www.wilsonaudio.com

"Overall, however, the Wilson Audio Duettes produced a sound that allowed all the music I listened to during my visit to communicate very effectively.—John Atkinson"


I own a pair of Wilson Audio Duette speakers. I found a pair after hearing them at a buddy’s home, who also owns a pair of Wilson Audio Alexia. I thought they were different, cool... sounded BIG. I like 2-way speakers... why not?

Living with them... the Duette are extremely "resolving"... so much "resolution" that I found I needed to listen to them way off axis... speakers spread far apart / pointed straight ahead. With it being a 2-way with 8" woofer, it’s unique. It plays BIG, and is well made... except for the crossover, and the fact that it wants to melt my face.

So, what to do? Well, I sent one of them to Danny Richie at GR-Research. I’ve dealt with Danny before and it’s been a pleasure. One thing Danny will do is measure the speaker you send him, tell you what’s wrong with it, and design a new crossover for it - for Free. There’s no fee for that... you just buy the parts from him and you get a schematic. Fair deal, no doubt.

What Danny found with the Duette is eye opening. The reason the speaker sounds so forward is because the crossover was designed with no baffle step compensation. See the measurements below and the big variance between the low end up thru the midrange volume / highs and explains why they sound so FORWARD and IN YOUR FACE.

So, a new crossover was designed... here is how that has turned out, so far. One issue with the front baffle of the speaker is actually the foam on the front, that is meant to "help". The circular cutout for the foam (not the felt around the tweeter) is contributing to some diffraction / unevenness. I’m going to play with building up the area around the tweeter to smooth that "step" on the front baffle. I’ll measure the difference and see if it helps.

New Measurements for the crossover designed by Danny Richie:

Old Vs New Crossover Measurement


New Crossover Driver Response

Spectral Decay


Issue with the foam around the tweeter...

Another "Interesting" thing... there are 2 different umbilical cords for attaching the external Novel crossover to the Duette. The manual states the following about their use, and threatens warranty coverage if not used properly:


Umbilicals in Question... one for use with "Free Space" resistors and the other for use with "Near Wall" resistors. Different resistors are provided to adjust tweeter output.

So, Danny measured the 2 different umbilicals, to see whether there was a difference. Well, at least in terms of sound... there was ZERO difference.

The language in the manual and this measurement was disappointing, to be kind.

So, on to new crossovers. They are currently being built. I am going to make a custom enclosure for them as they will remain external from the Duette enclosure, like the original design. There will be significant differences in how they connect to the Duette, their orientation, etc. Here is the progress:



Hi @grannyring


Two questions. Why did Danny decide on using the JFX capacitors? Curious about his reasoning here.

I don’t know that it was necessarily "spec’d for a particular reason" and against something else, for a particular reason. An obvious thing would be cost. I think he certainly recommends using better stuff on tweeters, and that’s a common upgrade option for any of his kits, upgrades he designs, etc... Sonicaps. What is here is what he put together, and he put in the higher cost Sonicaps for the tweeter without me asking for them - but I would have done them anyway. I have seen where they and others discuss caps a fair amount, and they play with them. Many will use foil inductors, for instance. I believe the inductors pictured here are US made and from US Coils. If I’m not mistaken, I think they are former guys from ERSE? Whatever the case, this is what we went with and I didn’t push the issue on using foil inductors, Sonicaps everywhere, etc. I wanted to keep some sort of lid on this as the investment can get out of hand pretty quickly. If he thought this setup were inappropriate for the speaker, he wouldn’t have put the package together. We did discuss the bypass caps. Those are not pictured here, for a reason. Danny was out of Miflex .1 caps. JB caps were sent, and I may clip those in and see how everything is. The bypass cap stuff is likely something I will play with... clipping different caps in to see if I like something better. That’s why they aren’t soldered in.

Here is some commentary one of his guys had about this parts topic. He has a pair of the NX-Studio 2 way speakers and has been playing. It’s a sceenshot from his spot elsewhere. If AG doesn’t like it, they can delete it.


Lastly, why did you blackout the values of the capacitors? Not seen that done before on all the crossover pics I have viewed over the decades.

Isn’t it interesting that Wilson Audio has their crossovers potted so that nobody can see the parts, even if you own the speaker? They also will not share a schematic of the crossover, even if you own the speaker. I also know, first hand, that they won’t bother responding to a simple question about the kind of wire used in the speaker. For that matter, I believe the wire is by Transparent, but it’s moot at this point anyway, as I’m "hard wiring" the crossover, to a degree.

With that being said, I assume you aren’t familiar with what Danny does for this stuff, as what I did is quite common among those who appreciate the service Danny offers, for FREE. You’ll find pics in Danny’s forum will be the same. I’ll explain how this works... I spent ~$400 to ship a crate with the Duette in it to and from GR-Research in Texas. Danny makes it well known...in his videos, in commentary in his forum, by calling him, etc. that he will measure and design a crossover, for FREE. EL FREEBO. In fact, he encourages people to send him speakers. He’ll share the measurements, what he thinks is going on, and what he thinks should be done. He will design a new crossover for it, and take measurements. The images you see in this thread are from that process. If you want the crossover schematic, you just buy the parts from him. He may make a video about it, maybe not. Obviously, it’s content he can use to show people what he does, it helps the person who needs help. Parts have to get bought anyway, so Danny makes a few dollars selling the parts. Even so, there is no commitment to move forward on the crossover / buying parts. If you don’t want to have a crossover made for it because of issues / cost / the sky is blue, not a problem. He’ll pack your speaker back up and you’ll pay for shipping back to you. Oh, and you don’t get jammed on shipping - he plays it straight. Sounds like a fair deal to me. In my experience, he’s been an absolute pleasure to work with, and has done everything he said he was going to do.

So, that’s why the values are blacked out. I think it would be unfair to him if they weren’t, and I know that many other people who’ve done business with Danny feel the same way. If someone wants the crossover, you just call and pay the man. If another Wilson Duette owner wants to do this crossover, you don’t have to ship Danny a speaker - I’ve absorbed that expense for you - you’re welcome; however, you do technically owe me a Chic-fil-A sandwich, with cheese.

I like Mills MRA for low cost resistors.They are low noise and even handed. Yes, the ends of the Path Audio are magnetic, but they sound wonderful. Very natural and unforced.

Thank you for sharing that. Maybe I’ll try some one day. That’s part of the fun with this stuff...

Thanks for the great reply. I watch all of his videos and have done so for years. I respect him and he knows his stuff. I also mod gear for myself and others for many years now.  I get the fact that costs can get very high with parts. 

I have worked on many speakers over the years, but not Wilson.  I am sure your newly upgraded speakers will please you for many more years.  Enjoy. 



Thanks for the great reply. I watch all of his videos and have done so for years. I respect him and he knows his stuff. I also mod gear for myself and others for many years now. I get the fact that costs can get very high with parts.

I have worked on many speakers over the years, but not Wilson. I am sure your newly upgraded speakers will please you for many more years. Enjoy.

Thank you. This has been a fun process so far. In a sea of 5.25" to 7" woofer 2-way speakers, the likes of which I still own, I think they are a special speaker. They are different. I’m looking forward to hearing how they turn out. 👍

The crossovers have arrived and I just roughed them in... wires crimped together, bare 16ga solid copper wire direct to Ayre VX-5 Twenty... I am THRILLED with how they sound!!! I set them to 10 degrees off axis with my Merlin VSM tool I’ve had for 25 years and my laser light pen, as that actually showed a little smoother response in Danny’s measurements. That’s before I even start to play with the foam issue around the tweeter noted above.

The dual subs are turned off. Because of the better balance, they sound fuller, the midrange now doesn’t try to bite my head off... so lush... enough to make you wonder if it means softer detail then BAM!... still detail / magic in the treble.

I have a set of Dueland bypass caps on the way and these are just getting started!

So far, this speaker has been absolutely transformed, and it’s absolutely for the better. If you want a pair of 8" woofer laser beams that fatigue you - keep the stock crossover hooked up. If you want a fuller, balanced, lush midrange presentation that still has air, detail, and sparkle that you don’t expect to hear when combined with such midrange... DO THIS.

I am so grateful Danny worked on this for me. My buddy also ordered a pair of crossovers for his Duette and I can’t wait to get his crossovers to him in Sarasota so he can experience them "the way they oughta be"...

It’s so satisfying when something comes together like this, and they aren’t even "done". 🏁🏁🏁



very nice, 


it does make me wonder how these got produced with this sound profile. Seems like it was an easy enough fix from a technical standpoint.