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T.H.E. Show 2022: Wilson Benesch & Aaudio Imports

Aaudio Imports brought the Wilson Benesch Discovery II Loudspeakers to T.H.E. Show in Long Beach. Great sound but also very expensive.

Wilson Benesch Discovery II Stand-mount Loudspeakers at T.H.E. Show 2022

More than 20 years ago, I invested thousands of dollars in a new carbon fiber tonearm from a British start-up called Wilson Benesch. My local dealer in Southern Ontario was one of the first to offer the Wilson Bensch Circle Turntable and it sold rather well at the time; it certainly wasn’t inexpensive at a time when turntable manufacturers were struggling and my options in Toronto were Linn, V.P.I., Audiomeca, Rega, and Basis.

In a moment of madness, I ordered a Michell Gyrodeck SE from the manufacturer directly and had the Wilson Benesch 0.5 Tonearm mounted with a Benz Micro Gilder low output MC cartridge.

The sound was the best I had ever experienced from my record collection but it was also $8,000 CDN and not a wise investment at that point in my life as I prepared for a permanent move to the United States where I’ve resided for almost 25 years.

I sold it all at a loss and the component I missed the most was the tonearm.

Wilson Benesch Discovery II Stand-mount Loudspeakers
Wilson Benesch Discovery II Stand-mount Loudspeaker

Wilson Benesch builds very innovative audio components; that innovation comes at rather high price.

Their decision to enter the loudspeaker category many years ago was an interesting and logical transition for them; nobody really foresaw the rebirth of vinyl at the time and they have the engineering and manufacturing capabilities to create excellent sounding equipment.

Wilson Benesch Discovery II Loudspeaker Isobaric
Wilson Benesch Discovery II Stand-mount Loudspeaker

The Wilson Benesch Discovery II Loudspeakers are not new to me; I’ve heard them at multiple shows and have always come away impressed with their scale and dynamic capabilities.

The Ypsilon Phaethon SE Integrated Amplifier ($52,000 USD) and DAC 1000SE Valve DAC ($52,000) were used to drive the Discovery II in a very large space and I’m not sure that it was ideal in terms of bass response which I found to be slightly lean and also exciting the the exhibition walls.

The speakers are excellent transducers; don’t let my views on how vendors continue to make the same mistakes at shows deter you from a listen. I’ve heard the Discovery II in much smaller rooms and left shaking my head at their sense of scale, clarity, and excellent imaging.

The $100,000 worth of Stage III cables were excessive to say the least; the “if you have to ask…” cable looms being used in many rooms were not a good sign if the industry is trying to promote the idea that high-end audio is attainable for a lot more people than ever before.

That’s a much bigger discussion that needs to be had. I hope the industry pays attention to the issue because the feedback on my editorial suggests that I’m actually on the same page as many of you.

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Continue reading: T.H.E. Show 2022 Show Reports

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ORT

    June 17, 2022 at 1:05 am

    These were the first speakers my son and I chanced upon. Of course it was not chance as I heard Karen Carpenter.

    There is but One Karen Carpenter and these speakers reproduced her presence superbly. No, she was not “in the room” but in truth, her non nonpareil voice haunted it superbly. It is no lie to say that my soul wept for her then…and now.

    These speakers were excellente’!


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