Provo, Utah, USA | 2019 – The ActivXO is the long-awaited and thoroughly updated replacement for Wilson’s revolutionary Controller. It is a two-channel, fully analogue electronic crossover with an array of features. It can be used in conjunction with a dedicated music system, or as the subwoofer control unit in a home theater system. In systems used for enjoyment of music and surround film, the ActivXO is configurable to accommodate both —optimally and simultaneously.
Wilson Audio’s approach to subwoofers, whether to augment a music system or a high-end home theater system, has always been unconventional. Even in the most expensive competing designs, there seems to be a willingness to compromise performance in favor of convenience or lifestyle considerations. In an effort to appeal to a broader audience, they design subwoofers in small enclosures. Perhaps they cater to a particular lifestyle, but the designs also ignore simple physics. For a given frequency, there is an inextricable relationship between woofer size, enclosure volume, and extension and overall efficiency. When enclosure volume is too small, performance inevitably suffers. Installing the amplifier and crossover directly into the subwoofer enclosure exacerbates the problem by further encroaching on internal volume. A high-excursion subwoofer driver installed into an overly small enclosure inevitably truncates bottom-octave extension or reduces efficiency—or both.
Most high-end designers compensate for the resulting truncated low-frequency extension by adding equalization. Often, the level of “boost” required in the deep bass proffered to overcome compromised designs is an order of magnitude more than what would be required than if the subwoofer had been designed from the beginning with the proper internal volume. With equal- ization, distortion increases—by the same magnitude of the boost. To add insult to injury, in- stalling the amplifier and crossover components exposes the circuitry to extreme energy levels.
Wilson Audio has always taken a purist approach to subwoofers. Wilson subs incorporate appropriately designed infra-frequency drivers, which are, in turn, matched to optimized en- closure volumes. As a result, Wilson subwoofers do not need active equalization. Because Wilson’s subwoofer enclosures are properly designed with commensurately optimized volume, they reproduce ultra-deep bass with extremely low distortion—with measured harmonic distor- tion below what many high-quality amplifiers can achieve.
As a part of Wilson’s approach to the two bottom octaves (which we consider 10 to 40hz), we have always offered sophisticated active crossovers (stand-alone as opposed to mounted inside the subwoofer). The primary purpose of an electronic crossover is to facilitate proper and seamless integration of the subwoofer to the main loudspeaker. Measured by this simple metric, the ActivXO is state of the art. Wilson’s “Controller” has long served as the ultimate analog crossover for music lovers and theater aficionados alike. As time passed, we recognized factors, both in the areas of performance and logistics, which were improvable.
The ActivXO is the long-awaited and thoroughly updated replacement for Wilson’s revolu- tionary WATCH Controller. Unlike the previous model, the ActivXO features two fully discrete channels. Wilson’s crossovers have always been analog, eschewing digital circuitry in order to serve ultimate sound quality. Instead, its fully analog circuitry features a complete array of controls, all of which are designed to achieve the best possible integration between the subwoofer and the main loudspeaker.
The ActivXO is equally at home either in conjunction with a dedicated music system, or as the subwoofer control unit in a home theater system. In “hybrid” systems used both for the enjoy- ment of music and surround film, the ActivXO is configurable to accommodate both—optimally and simultaneously. When used within hybrid music and home theater systems, the ActivXO becomes the brains behind that flexibility, whether you’re using one subwoofer or several. In movie mode, the output of the low-frequency effects from your processor goes directly through the ActivXO to the Wilson Subwoofers’ amplifier. New to the ActivXO—passive knob collars with red indicators ensure your critical crossover setup is documented directly on the front panel.
When music is the primary focus, with a simple flick of a switch (accomplished either with a front panel toggle or a 12-volt trigger), the ActivXO becomes a feature-rich active crossover. You can control both crossover frequency and slope for the high-pass and low-pass filters. A continuously variable phase control ensures any Wilson loudspeaker seamlessly integrates with any of Wilson’s subwoofers.
The ActivXO accepts both single-ended and balanced inputs and can output to one or a stereo pair of subwoofers for the most demanding applications. It can be used with any of Wilson’s subwoofers and is included with the purchase of the WAMM Master Chronosonic.
U.S. MSRP: $4,500