• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Wilson Audio TuneTot Review (high-end bookshelf speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 304 57.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 169 31.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 37 7.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 19 3.6%

  • Total voters
    529

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,380
Likes
156,167
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Wilson Audio TuneTot stand-mount/bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs around US $10,000 (varies due to color).
Wilson Audio TuneTot Review Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.jpg


I am not a fan of the way the front looks without the grill. The sides though sport probably the best finish I have seen on a speaker with deep gloss and polish. Speaker is also incredibly heavy and stiff for its size (29 pounds or 13 Kg). Drivers are custom versions of Scan-speak Revelator.

There is a down title rectangular port in the back:
Wilson Audio TuneTot Review Back Panel High-end Port Plug Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.jpg


I put in the very well designed dense foam plug that fits the port exceptionally well. In testing it really plugged the port unlike foam ones which half of the time feel like they are not doing anything.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the center of the tweeter (aligned by eye). The grill was not used. It is getting colder with the measurement room temp at 14 degrees C. Accuracy is better than 1% for almost entire audio spectrum indicating a well designed speaker.

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Frequency Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


On-axis response clearly doesn't look even. There is a massive peak around 115 Hz then real messiness around or near the crossover region. Directivity is lost around 3 kHz as well. Exploring the impact of the port, we see why that peak is there in bass:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Port Frequency Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Very strange to see the port tuned to boost the response at such a high frequency rather than extending it lower.

Oddly again, the sum of the early reflections is better behaved than on-axis:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Early Window Measurement Frequency Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


This causes the predicted in-room response to be much smoother than you would expect from looking at our original spin graph:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Predicted In-room Frequency Response Stand-mount Bookshelf sp...png


As we could already guess, beamwidth is not uniform indicating room dependency:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Horizontal Beamwidth Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Radiation pattern is wider than usual though which should give a more spacious impression than a point source around the speaker:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Horizontal Directivity Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Vertically you lose some margin due to slanted baffle so best to not go above tweeter axis:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Vertical Directivity Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Distortion is kept very low at 86 dBSPL but I could hear a resonance during 96 dPSPL:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement THD Distortion Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Distortion Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


To rule out the Klippel stand from contributing to this, I literally held the speaker above it as the sweep ran and I could hear the resonance at a specific frequency. Strangely the frequency response drops there so the resonance must be out of phase. Here is the near-field response:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Near field Frequency Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


I only see minor variations of the woofer response so hard to say if the above is really the problem. I did like the fact that the port/cabinet resonances are kept low. Woofer response does step up some though and is reflected in the frequency response (between 700 Hz and 1 kHz). Is this due to too little baffle compensation?

Impedance is above average which should make it easier on the amplifier:
Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Impedance and Phase Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


There is a sign of that resonance at 2.6 kHz that we saw in the distortion measurements.

Waterfall response shows a number of resonances corresponding with peaks in response:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement CSD Waterfall Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


For fans of timing analysis, here are the impulse and step response (yes, phase is inverted -- I need to fix this):

Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Impulse Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Wilson Audio TuneTot Measurement Step Response Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


Wilson TuneTot Listening Tests and Equalization
Listening test system was a custom, silent Roon Server/Player ($2,000) connected to Matrix X-Sabre MQA DAC ($2,000), and Mark Levinson Reference Amplifier ($20,000, 400 watts/channel) playing custom tracks developed for testing headphones and speakers.

I started playing with the port open. With my female vocal tracks, the extra bass was not all that bad and compensated partially the slight brightness of the speaker. But when I played content with much bass content, it became overwhelming. I plugged the port but then there was not much bass to satisfy. So I removed the plug and deployed a few filters:

Wilson Audio TuneTot Equalization EQ Stand-mount Bookshelf speaker.png


The first dip should be self-explanatory to remove the extra bass boost. Doing this from anechoic measurements is tricky though as in-room response likely looks very different. So I adjusted this by ear and admittedly on some tracks I wanted slightly more of it. With this filter in place the bass was now tighter and overall sound of the speaker more open. Per above though, there was some brightness that gave me hell to deal with. Likely due to bad directivity and mismatch of on and off-axis, using an electronic filter that impacts both is very challenging.

I eventually gave up on optimizing using on-axis response and roughly used the Predicted In-Room Response (by eye) to develop the two other mild filters. I performed a number of blind tests and overall I preferred the equalized response. There is a caveat that you need to know what good and clean bass is and the overall proper tonality. Otherwise, the "showroom sound" aspect of this speaker can be seductive making you want to listen to boosted bass and slightly elevated highs.

For comparison, I switched back and forth a dozen times with Revel M106 speaker ($2,000). The Revel had a smaller halo and sounded more focused than the TuneTot. It had none of the brilliance of the Tunetot but his was a dual edged sword in that the TuneTot constantly gave the impression of a more detailed, and "audiophile" high frequency notes that were very nicely delineated. TuneTot also had deeper and cleaner bass response than the M106. Overall, I preferred the TuneTot over Revel.

I briefly compared the TuneTot to my Revel Salon 2 ($23,000). Revel did not have the exaggerated spatial qualities of the high frequencies that TuneTot had but overall presented a much more balanced tonality and of course, much more bass impact. Its midrange was so smooth and nice. Still, I was amazed how the TuneTot did not sound small compared to it whereas the M106 did.

Sub-bass response on TuneTot was better than I expect from a small speaker. Push it though and the woofer starts to make bad sounds as they all do in this size factor and playback levels.

Conclusions
There is no question that there are some clear objective/engineering errors in the design of Wilson TuneTot. The port is tuned too high and the on-axis/directivity response is poor. What is strange though that the impact of these on the fidelity of the speaker is not at all this obvious. Either I am influenced by the showroom sound as much as the next guy or getting off-axis to be right in my rather reflective room overcomes issues in on-axis response. It is also possible that all the money that has gone to building such an extremely dense speaker and keeping distortion low is paying benefit here. One wonders how much better these would sound if they had had preserved all of this and at the same time didn't have the design errors.

If I were to just goy by the measurements, the Tunetot would not get good marks. But I have promised you all that I won't lie about what I hear no matter how much of a conflict this provides. To that end, I am going to recommend the Wilson TuneTot with equalization (cost not considered).
 

Attachments

  • Wilson Audio TuneTot.zip
    62.1 KB · Views: 86

sweetchaos

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
The Curator
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
2,652
Likes
6,992
Location
BC, Canada

pierre

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
707
Likes
1,739
Location
Switzerland
Score is 2.6 (5.6 with a perfect subwoofer) not great for the price.
With an EQ it goes to 4.3 (7.5 with a perfect subwoofer).

The EQ is trying to flatten the LW and the PIR.

Score components details are:
Code:
         SPK auEQ                                                                                             
-----------------                                                                                             
NBD  ON 0.81 0.59                                                                                             
NBD  LW 0.61 0.37                                                                                             
NBD PIR 0.58 0.29                                                                                             
SM  PIR 0.71 0.92                                                                                             
SM   SP 0.82 0.96                                                                                             
LFX       72   78                                                                                             
LFQ     0.36 0.37                                                                                             
-----------------                                                                                             
Score    2.6  4.4                                                                                             
-----------------                                                                                             
+2.61 +4.35 Wilson Audio TuneTot

The EQ is tracking the target well: the bass peak is gone and the PIR is within +/-3dB, not great but ok-ish.
filters_eq.png


Code:
EQ for Wilson Audio TuneTot computed from ASR data
Preference Score 2.6 with EQ 4.4
Generated from http://github.com/pierreaubert/spinorama/generate_peqs.py v0.14
Dated: 2021-12-21-07:19:13


Preamp: -5.9 dB


Filter  1: ON PK Fc   396 Hz Gain +3.64 dB Q 0.05
Filter  2: ON PK Fc   126 Hz Gain -8.60 dB Q 2.93
Filter  3: ON PK Fc 13717 Hz Gain +4.50 dB Q 0.57
Filter  4: ON PK Fc  2458 Hz Gain +2.49 dB Q 4.00
Filter  5: ON PK Fc   823 Hz Gain -1.92 dB Q 3.41
Filter  6: ON PK Fc  1449 Hz Gain +1.40 dB Q 3.74
Filter  7: ON PK Fc   314 Hz Gain +1.20 dB Q 3.38
Filter  8: ON PK Fc  3834 Hz Gain -0.66 dB Q 0.92
Filter  9: ON PK Fc   113 Hz Gain -1.19 dB Q 3.99
 
Last edited:

Sancus

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Messages
2,277
Likes
5,663
Location
Canada
I voted headless because:
a) It costs $10K.
b) The directivity is a mess.
c) The dispersion width is not enough to justify that. We have Focals that cost a fraction as much, with similar width and much better directivity.
d) This thing is ugly, and I mean that as a person who thinks Genelecs look pretty good! I'd rather have the chunkiest, most boring black studio monitor in my place than one of these.
e) "TuneTot"? Really?

Very disappoint.
 
Last edited:

jhaider

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
1,851
Likes
2,605
I think this is the first ASR speaker review where the review system equipment was listed with price tags. I guess that's a prophylactic against the types of comments audio snobs might lob at such a review, but it's still sad.

Also, who wouldn't love to see a blind test between this speaker and...maybe a JBL 705P?
 

Pearljam5000

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
2,176
Likes
2,307
What is that black stuff they glue on all of their speakers?
MUNICH_HIGHEND_2018_HIFIPIG-_LIN0115.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
37,380
Likes
156,167
Location
Seattle Area
I think this is the first ASR speaker review where the review system equipment was listed with price tags. I guess that's a prophylactic against the types of comments audio snobs might lob at such a review, but it's still sad.
That's precisely why I did it. Didn't want the grief of "you used cheap gear to test it."
 

H-713

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
356
Likes
583
I'm not sure that any 2-way is worth 10k... really not a great implementation of the Scanspeak drivers, unfortunately. I'm not going to call it headless, but I wouldn't go above "not terrible" for this one.
 

Momotaro

Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2021
Messages
85
Likes
92
I was expecting the speaker to get hammered, being an audiophile brand. But the review is quite candid about both shortcomings and (perhaps surprising) positive sonic performance aspects. Interesting too how the sound comes together in-room, and how the various measurements reveal a somewhat complex picture, and how this is correlated via listening. Nicely done.
 

Tom C

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
858
Likes
746
Location
USA
It’s not a complete catastrophe. It’s aimed at an executive type with gobs of $$$ who wants an impressive, unique looking desktop speaker. It fills the bill for the intended audience.
 

DHT 845

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
357
Likes
251
$80 Pioneer SP-BS22-LR measure better :)
 

Eetu

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
597
Likes
802
Location
Helsinki
Hi-fi News also measured these. Even though the resolution is not close 1-10kHz seems to track quite well:
IMG_20211221_083218.jpg


I wouldn't buy these at any price let alone 10k. The foam/felt looks cheap too. I believe Darko has these :facepalm:
 

Galliardist

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
396
Likes
399
Location
Sydney. NSW, Australia
I seem to remember back when I started in hifi in the early 1980s, quite a lot of small British speakers exhibited this sort of mid to upper bass hump, and with some of the cheaper LP playback systems then being a bit bass light, they fooled the ear nicely into thinking there was more bass.

It's something of a surprise to see a similar speaker today, especially for this much money. But if the trick still works, they should convince their users that "vinyls" sound better than digital - especially modern digital remasters with the bass restored.
 
Top Bottom