Review: Wilson Benesch Vector Loudspeakers
The review pair has a carbon fibre body finished in a perfect high gloss with gloss silver trimming. It really looks unique and feels very special. Everything about the speakers, from the packaging, styling, finishing and ultimately the sound, speaks of luxury goods standards of quality. I believe that they would complement almost anyone’s listening room, especially considering that they are available in 14 finishing options. The instruction manual is a bound A4 size booklet of 15 pages, and a copy is also freely available from the Wilson Benesch website. It contains details pertaining to room acoustics, manufacturing information and general use and care.
Contained within the packaging is a small plastic briefcase that contains the metal spikes to go underneath each speaker, along with a spanner to tighten the binding posts. It’s a nice touch and is in keeping with the asking price.
With the Vectors weighing approximately 30 kg each they are not exactly feather weight for a single person, so care needs to be taken when handling them and when setting them up. The manual suggests that it is a task for 2 persons. I placed the Vectors in the usual position for speakers in my listening room and found them to immediately blend in well and sound great without the need to fiddle with the positioning too much. A little ‘toe-in’ was all that was required to fine tune them for my listening position.
The owner’s manual discusses the fine tuning of the vertical angle and toe-in, recommending that you experiment to find what works best for you. Finding that the tweeter was slightly below my ear level, I angled the front of the speaker up about 25-30mm with some Black Diamond Racing pyramid cones, with good success. The speaker binding posts are high quality multi-ways, manufactured in-house from Rhodium plated copper alloy, with two sets of posts, suitable for bi-amping and/or bi-wiring. Supplied are 4 short lengths of connecting wires, rather than solid links, which are of very high quality and Wilson Benesch recommends the use of 8mm ring or spade connector terminations. The terminals will also accept banana plugs, which is what I used.
Burn-in and initial listening impressions
Wilson Benesch recommends a minimum running in time of 70 hours. They state that “like anything of good quality a period of running in tends to see improvements in performance. The drivers require time to bed in physically and relax materially. The carbon panels actually improve in structural integrity as they age.” I found this to be absolutely true, as there were huge improvements in the sound quality over the length of the review period. I felt that even after 300-400 hours, they were still evolving and improving with constant use. If the carbon panels really do improve with age and I have no doubt that they do, it is something to look forward to.
When I first listened to the Vectors, the pair had already had around 50 hours of playing time under their belt. I heard them in a very large listening room and was struck by the ability of the speakers to fill that room with a very large soundstage and to sound full and natural. At this stage, the dynamics were still a little threadbare and not quite filled out as yet, with a slightly flat sound, though still pleasing.
After installing them in my own system with more familiar equipment, the same initial perceptions persisted. I have a habit of giving a helping hand to new equipment by running the speakers with the burn-in track from the Tellurium Q “Cable and System Preparation / Refresh” CD. You can use others, but this one works very well. It particularly assists the speakers by exercising the speaker drivers quite aggressively. The track provides a wide range of sweeping frequencies and tonal changes that heavily work all of the speaker’s components, allowing your equipment to season in a concentrated manner, much faster and more thoroughly than usual. After about a week of playing the track 24/7, the Vectors had noticeably increased their efficiency, i.e. they were playing louder at the same volume setting. They were ready for some critical listening.
Starting his first audio consultancy business in the early 80’s whilst also working professionally in the electronics industry, Mark now manages a boutique audio manufacturer.
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