Wilson Audio Alexia vs. Vivid Audio Giya G1 or G2

To Doug Schneider,

I've read your review of the Vivid Audio Giya G2. I have listened to the speakers and, like you, am very impressed. I am considering buying them but am thinking about Giya G1s and Wilson Audio Alexias. You have probably had more experience with them than I and with other speakers so I hope you will indulge me in a few questions:

Vivid rates the G2’s frequency response as down to 29Hz, but your review suggested that it is much lower than this and deeper than the Revel Ultima Salon2, which is rated down to 25Hz. I get that measurements are not to be taken at face value, but do you think Vivid is just being conservative?

The measurements section of the [Giya G2] review shows a large dip at about 60Hz or so. Do you think this is audible in any way?

I am thinking about the Giya G1s specifically for their deeper bass and the potential for this to add to soundstage breadth and depth. My reservation is that they are huge, making them not very versatile in terms of rooms. Would you personally plump for that extra low-end dimension?

Have you heard the Wilson Alexias and, if so, how would you compare them to the Giya G2s, accepting that you have not done a full review of the former?

Thanks very much,
Ray Farris

BTW: I love SoundStage! Hi-Fi and have been an avid reader for as long I can remember. My first SoundStage! Hi-Fi-influenced product was the Esoteric DV-50, which I bought because of the review (I did listen to it before buying, but because of the review) and absolutely loved it.

I’m glad you like our publication!

I’ll answer your question about Wilson’s Alexia to get that out of the way, but first I need to say this, since it will help to understand a few things: price doesn't necessarily correlate with performance. I’ve heard the Alexia at shows a few times and, in my opinion, it sounded pretty poor each time, not to mention not at all worth what they’re asking for it: $48,500/pair. Mostly what I noticed was a disjointed sound between drivers (the tweeter, midrange, and woofers sounded like disparate drivers, which indicates poor driver-to-driver integration, since they should blend acoustically as if they were one), along with bass that wasn’t very deep but was very boomy and not at all defined. The midrange didn’t sound right, either; in fact, the midrange on the KEF R500, which I reviewed last year and sells for only $2600/pair, sounded more neutral and natural. The Alexia’s highs did sound better than other Wilson speakers I’ve heard such as the Sasha and MAXX Series 3, but, frankly, that didn’t surprise me at all because that old Focal titanium-dome tweeter they use in those models has always sounded hard and shrill.

I could go on, but I’ll just say that the Revel Salon2, which is what I use as a reference, is, in my opinion, twice the speaker that the Alexia is in all performance areas for less than half the price (about $22,000/pair). The Giya G2, which retails for $50,000/pair, is more than twice the speaker the Alexia is and is around the same price (I’ll explain more about the G2 below). If you choose to still pursue the Alexia, listen specifically for those things that I mentioned and see if you agree with what I said above.

Insofar as the Giya G2 goes, ignore the bump at 60Hz, since it’s a measurement artifact that occurs in the anechoic chamber when the woofer and/or port aren’t both front firing. If we were able to hoist the Giya G2s up on a 100’ pole and measure them up there, it would more than likely disappear. So you wouldn’t hear it in a room. In hindsight, if I still had the speakers here, I’d take one back to the chamber and do multiple measurements on the woofers and ports and average them together, which would give a better indication of how it performs in the bass.

It’s hard to say whether the Salon2 or Giya G2 goes deeper in the bass, but what I do know is the tightness that the Giya G2 exhibits in the bass not only surpasses the Salon2 by a large margin but any speaker I’ve heard other than the G1, which can obviously deliver the same kind of low-end slam and impact but can also go deeper than the G2, due to the larger woofers and cabinet size. That Giya slam and impact, once experienced, sets a high standard that few speakers can match, if any. The G2 also plays louder than the Salon2 and exhibits greater transparency and detail. These are a few of the many reasons that I feel that the Giya G2 is one of the very best speakers you can buy today and wholly deserving of its not-so-insignificant asking price. That’s no knock against the Salon2, since it’s still one of the best speakers you can buy around its price; it’s just that the Giya G2 is better, albeit at more than twice the price.

Finally, the G1 and G2 conundrum, which can’t be easily solved because it comes down mostly to room size and budget. They’re cut from the same cloth and the main performance difference is the bass -- as I mentioned, the G1 can reach deeper in the bass and likely play louder down there. So if you want all the bass depth you can get and your room can accommodate that extra low end and the larger cabinet size, I say go for the Giya G1, providing your budget will allow for it (they’re $68,000/pair!). In my room, though, the Giya G2s fit perfectly and the pair’s bass performance riveted me, so that’s what I’d choose. Whichever one you end up with, though, I’m confident of this: you’ll have some of the best speakers you can buy, regardless of price. . . . Doug Schneider