During my lifetime, I’ve received a lot of appallingly bad financial advice. Some of the dodgy recommendations I’ve been given have included dropping money into a religious time-share in Northern Afghanistan, sinking millions into Nortel stock when it hit $68 CAD a share, and even buying RIM stocks six months before that company’s equity went down in flames like the Hindenburg.
Nope. I just couldn’t commit to stuffing my retirement savings into any of these daft and lunatic investment schemes. I know how hard it is to make money and how easy it is to lose it. As such, when anyone suggests that I “invest” $25,000 CAD dollars into anything, I’m prone to immediately questioning the expenditure with toxic cynicism.
When NOVO asked if I’d review Wilson Benesch’s new Precision P2.0 floorstanding loudspeakers ($19,000 CAD for the standard finish), I was hesitant to accept the assignment. What if the speakers just didn’t sound as good as I hoped a $25K level speaker would? Or, worse still, what I fell hopelessly in love with the P2.0’s sound and suddenly found myself wanting to… gulp… buy them?
The Precision P2.0 sits in the middle of Wilson Benesch’s entry level Precision speaker line. Calling the P2.0 “entry level” is like referring to a Lamborghini as a modestly priced car. Compared to WB’s flagship $250K USD level speakers though, the P2.0 is aimed at a more cost conscious market segment.
The Precision P2.0 measures 43.5” (1105mm) high, 10.6” (269mm) wide, and 18.6” (472mm) deep and is available in white, black, black + graphite, and black + burgundy finishes. This fall, just as this issue of NOVO was going to print, Wilson Benesch also revealed a number of gorgeous architectural finishes. These include Aged Walnut, Burr Walnut, Aged Oak, Silver Birch, Slate, Bronze, Nero Black Leather, Grigio Leather and Verde. Unboxed, each speaker weighs 110 Lbs. The aesthetics of the P2.0 are understated. So much so, that it’s easy to overlook the 25+ years of accrued knowledge into carbon-fibre hybrid technologies that have gone into every damn millimetre of these floorstanders.
All of the drivers are custom fabricated in-house by Wilson Benesch. The P2.0 has three front panel drivers including a 1” (25mm) Leonardo® tweeter, a 7” (170mm) Tactic mid drive unit, and a 7” (170mm) Tactic bass drive unit.
Wilson Benesch’s Tactic brand name comes from the isotactic polypropylene cone material used in the mid and bass drivers. WB claims that their isotactic woven fabric polypropylene is five times as stiff as conventional polypropylene. Thus, the cones are extremely well damped and remarkably stiff.
Wilson Benesch has deliberately kept the P2.0’s crossover network simple to preserve sonic purity. So much so, that the midrange driver is coupled directly to the amplifier. There is only one pair of binding posts, so this speaker cannot be bi-wired or bi-amped.
The P2.0’s cabinet technology is mind-numbingly complex. The top and bottom caps are CNC-machined from billets of aluminium. These caps ‘lock’ the front and rear aluminium baffles into position with the left and right side wood panels. The caps are tied along the north-south vertical axis with threaded aluminium alloy bars. These bars brace the enclosure and compress the entire structure to ensure that it’s as sonically inert and mechanically stiff as possible.
To achieve greater bass articulation, the Precision P2.0 uses a 3” diameter downward firing bass port and conical spikes. It has an 89dB sensitivity rating with a nominal 6 Ohm impedance load. Thus, it’s easy to drive with even low wattage amps.
As each P2.0 weighs 110Lbs, you will need two people to set them up. Germane to their considerable weight, just unboxing the speakers is a challenge. Although WB includes a small plastic removable ‘bar’ to protect the dome tweeter, there isn’t anything else guarding the front panel drivers from accidental damage.
After levelling both speakers and tightening the spikes, I played with toeing them in and tilting them back. Even tiny adjustments caused significant changes in the P2.0’s soundstaging and stereo imaging. In my listening room, they sounded best perfectly level and toed-in about 30 degrees. So… how does the P2.0 sound?