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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

Galliardist

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How the TuneTot become having deeper bass response than M106?
Possibly an illusion caused by low distortion and the peak, emphasising second and third harmonic of low bass notes (part of the instrument sound, not harmonic distortion). If the ear can detect the difference between the harmonics and the fundamentals of notes an octave higher, then the brain can add or "hear" the fundamentals, suggesting lower bass.

Also, there are more reflections around when the TuneTot is used as described - note the slot "port" will output to or near the angle of the desk/shelf and the wall behind it. That may make the port act differently to the measurement shown here. The plug may be needed where the port doesn't operate as expected, or on a surface with space between it and the wall (like on a stand close to the wall).

Whatever they are doing, it appears to be a deliberate choice. It would be informative to compare its measurements to the previous small Wilson speaker, the Duette, which I remember as being a bit more conventional. I don't have time to look now though.
 

sutantoroy

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Possibly an illusion caused by low distortion and the peak, emphasising second and third harmonic of low bass notes (part of the instrument sound, not harmonic distortion). If the ear can detect the difference between the harmonics and the fundamentals of notes an octave higher, then the brain can add or "hear" the fundamentals, suggesting lower bass.

Also, there are more reflections around when the TuneTot is used as described - note the slot "port" will output to or near the angle of the desk/shelf and the wall behind it. That may make the port act differently to the measurement shown here. The plug may be needed where the port doesn't operate as expected, or on a surface with space between it and the wall (like on a stand close to the wall).

Whatever they are doing, it appears to be a deliberate choice. It would be informative to compare its measurements to the previous small Wilson speaker, the Duette, which I remember as being a bit more conventional. I don't have time to look now though.
Ah... so it just a subjective evaluation there... because i compare the data and cant find the answer. Surely if you want to compare it (subjectively), should be under the same system and test, otherwise it will mean nothing.
 

Juhazi

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Wilson Alexx V measured and listened to in HifiNews, report published today. Mid-treble response has some resemblance to the little one, but with 120.000 more Euros you will get better bass response...


222wilson.lab1.jpg
 

DanielT

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Wilson Alexx V measured and listened to in HifiNews, report published today. Mid-treble response has some resemblance to the little one, but with 120.000 more Euros you will get better bass response...


222wilson.lab1.jpg
Hifi, this bissara part of our world.

Edit:
Compared to these speakers (check price and performance):


:oops:

SF-0150_po-reg-medium_orig.jpg

...or...


... and so on and so forth..
 
Last edited:

fineMen

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Voted hastily for headless panther. In nearly every respect this is accentuated engineering. It looks like someone eagerly tried her very best to trash otherwise reasonable material from Scan Speak.

(1) enclosure
  • (a) aligment for the bass; words fail me, everthing deviates from usable
  • (b) cabinet edges generate diffraction, to the max pronounced by shape
(2) x-over
  • (a) out of phase, which makes it look like a production failure; no excuse at this price point, hence intended
  • (b) way to high fx considered the anyway diminutive bass capabilities, even if the aligment was any good

This speaker is a new pinnacle of high end (pun intended).

When it comes to the less cheap offerings, the design of Wilson's reminds me of floodlights. If they 'feel' loudspearkers this way, the spectacle is expected. As was said back in the time: "Form follows function!"

Why does it sound like hifi? Because it focusses on on the previously un-heard, non-standard. While the good ol' Scan Speaks prevent from sounding just cheap due to limited distortion. This wasn't available to change as Scan Speak is an iconic ingre(a)dient since Puppy's fame.
 

Galliardist

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Hifi, this bissara part of our world.

Edit:
Compared to these speakers (check price and performance):


:oops:

View attachment 183581
...or...


... and so on and so forth..
Did you read the text of the lab report, or just look at the graph and wince?

I'd really like to see a much more detailed report. But I took a couple of things away from it:

1) Wilson are designing speakers at what appear ludicrously high prices, to work for far field listening in untreated, reflective rooms. As the report says:

"Thus the ~6dB notch in the Alexx V's forward response at 2.7kHz [see Graph 1, below] is indicative only of very nearfield listening, this midrange suckout progressively filling in with distance, tightening the ±3.3dB response error to a superior ±2.5dB".

2) The speakers require powerful amps, like so many high end speakers these days, as a result of their design choices. So these speakers are designed for, well, wealthy people. The target room is probably an expensive apartment, also explaining their design choices around limiting the bass response (though I often feel that the limitations there arise from listening sessions using vinyl that get used in some high end designs, I have no idea whether Wilson fall into that bracket)

3) If the response shown for the Alexxa is really about far field listening, repeating that response in the TuneTot says that despite some of the marketing, it too should be treated as a far field device for a similar environment. This may explain the subjective component of the TuneTot review here? Of course the Kilppel and the measurements should tell us how the speaker works, but I assume that there is an element of the figures telling us about one type of room/environment and Wilson targeting a different one.

Unless someone turns up with a device that can properly and objectively evaluate the far field response of a system in a room, I guess we are in "dark arts" territory here. Designing a very expensive speaker for (casual?) listening in an unoptimised environment probably makes no sense to us because we would not only reject the speaker, but also the "targeted room" as inadequate. But if you live in a minimalist Manhattan apartment and want to add a decent cost-no-object stereo system, you might just find that Wilson's product is a good option.

But then again, that graph... and of course, the "ASR" approach would still yield better results even without environmental treatment - EQ adapting what you use to your room, It may be that the Wilsons provide a better starting point in some rooms at a cost, but you could say that about any "badly designed" speaker that doesn't distort badly once optimised.
 
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pablolie

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Wow this topic never stops :)
Let's just say it - with currently available, even no-cost-concerns tech - nobody will be the perfect linear speaker that all these measurements are benchmarked against. That said, of course bizarre non-linearity doesn't make sense in a design, unless they did thorough research into the fact that performs best in a typical room they somehow target, kinda built-in EQ... but nah, doesn't seem like a good design guideline. It's a bit like Lamborghini sells you a 100HP car because they observe that's really all you do when driving a 300k car and drive like a grandmother (which many of their customers do).
Clearly perceptions on speakers will always be all over the place - that's where the airwave that hits your ears is produced. I often think that old-fashioned perceptions ("tubes sound more musical", "analog is superior" etc ad nauseam) are better handled if you have totally linear electronics but simply chose the right speakers to finetune to your preference. Clearly that's what's going on here.
Because let's also recall that many recordings are very flawed. So do you need AI to optimize a recording to its ideal linear original? What, the reverberations in the Vienna Opera House not good enough for you? Where does it stop?
I totally believe measurements are a good benchmark. The conclusions after that are personal opinions that may not apply to everybody, and furthermore may not be the best possible vehicle for many recordings that were flawed to begin with.
 

DanielT

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Did you read the text of the lab report, or just look at the graph and wince?

I'd really like to see a much more detailed report. But I took a couple of things away from it:

1) Wilson are designing speakers at what appear ludicrously high prices, to work for far field listening in untreated, reflective rooms. As the report says:

"Thus the ~6dB notch in the Alexx V's forward response at 2.7kHz [see Graph 1, below] is indicative only of very nearfield listening, this midrange suckout progressively filling in with distance, tightening the ±3.3dB response error to a superior ±2.5dB".

2) The speakers require powerful amps, like so many high end speakers these days, as a result of their design choices. So these speakers are designed for, well, wealthy people. The target room is probably an expensive apartment, also explaining their design choices around limiting the bass response (though I often feel that the limitations there arise from listening sessions using vinyl that get used in some high end designs, I have no idea whether Wilson fall into that bracket)

3) If the response shown for the Alexxa is really about far field listening, repeating that response in the TuneTot says that despite some of the marketing, it too should be treated as a far field device for a similar environment. This may explain the subjective component of the TuneTot review here? Of course the Kilppel and the measurements should tell us how the speaker works, but I assume that there is an element of the figures telling us about one type of room/environment and Wilson targeting a different one.

Unless someone turns up with a device that can properly and objectively evaluate the far field response of a system in a room, I guess we are in "dark arts" territory here. Designing a very expensive speaker for (casual?) listening in an unoptimised environment probably makes no sense to us because we would not only reject the speaker, but also the "targeted room" as inadequate. But if you live in a minimalist Manhattan apartment and want to add a decent cost-no-object stereo system, you might just find that Wilson's product is a good option.

But then again, that graph... and of course, the "ASR" approach would still yield better results even without environmental treatment - EQ adapting what you use to your room, It may be that the Wilsons provide a better starting point in some rooms at a cost, but you could say that about any "badly designed" speaker that doesn't distort badly once optimised.
I whined. But okay now I took a closer look. Even saw which speaker it was.

Three factors determine a sound in a speaker:
FR (on axes)
Directivity
Distortion

FR can be solved with EQ.
Directivity, you look at them how they need to be placed.
The distortion is low, which of course is good.

Costs a bit, price $ 187 650

Sure, forward with EQ (if needed).Do you have room for them, suitable listening room so....

You can compare with the speakers that got the best in score here at ASR. In terms of test results, how do you think Aleex V performs then? Incidentally, compared to Alexx V, they cost almost nothing:


shot_2022-02-02_03-36-01.png
 

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Axo1989

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Did you read the text of the lab report, or just look at the graph and wince?

I'd really like to see a much more detailed report. But I took a couple of things away from it:

1) Wilson are designing speakers at what appear ludicrously high prices, to work for far field listening in untreated, reflective rooms. As the report says:

"Thus the ~6dB notch in the Alexx V's forward response at 2.7kHz [see Graph 1, below] is indicative only of very nearfield listening, this midrange suckout progressively filling in with distance, tightening the ±3.3dB response error to a superior ±2.5dB".

2) The speakers require powerful amps, like so many high end speakers these days, as a result of their design choices. So these speakers are designed for, well, wealthy people. The target room is probably an expensive apartment, also explaining their design choices around limiting the bass response (though I often feel that the limitations there arise from listening sessions using vinyl that get used in some high end designs, I have no idea whether Wilson fall into that bracket)

3) If the response shown for the Alexxa is really about far field listening, repeating that response in the TuneTot says that despite some of the marketing, it too should be treated as a far field device for a similar environment. This may explain the subjective component of the TuneTot review here? Of course the Kilppel and the measurements should tell us how the speaker works, but I assume that there is an element of the figures telling us about one type of room/environment and Wilson targeting a different one.

Unless someone turns up with a device that can properly and objectively evaluate the far field response of a system in a room, I guess we are in "dark arts" territory here. Designing a very expensive speaker for (casual?) listening in an unoptimised environment probably makes no sense to us because we would not only reject the speaker, but also the "targeted room" as inadequate. But if you live in a minimalist Manhattan apartment and want to add a decent cost-no-object stereo system, you might just find that Wilson's product is a good option.

But then again, that graph... and of course, the "ASR" approach would still yield better results even without environmental treatment - EQ adapting what you use to your room, It may be that the Wilsons provide a better starting point in some rooms at a cost, but you could say that about any "badly designed" speaker that doesn't distort badly once optimised.
Certainly many responses here can't see past their own budget constraints, and concomitant expectations of "value" but the actual ASR review commentary didn't fall down over the issue. Regarding the Klippel measurement, I'd be surprised if the data couldn't be analysed to deliver curves at various virtual listening distances, but I'm only guessing.
 

Galliardist

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Certainly many responses here can't see past their own budget constraints, and concomitant expectations of "value" but the actual ASR review commentary didn't fall down over the issue. Regarding the Klippel measurement, I'd be surprised if the data couldn't be analysed to deliver curves at various virtual listening distances, but I'm only guessing.
On the subject of value (and that related claim of wealth envy) - I get that you may spend extra on electronics to get bulletproof or longer lasting equipment. But passive speakers? Most are long lasting, or easily repairable (foam surrounds and such), so paying a very high price should get you something special. Are the Alexx speakers really "price of a house" special? Are the TuneTots worth the same as ten pairs of well measuring active bookshelf speakers?

I never liked the "nothing wrong with it at the price" review conclusions that often get in the printed reviews of even some pricey items, and prefer Amir's approach of ignoring the price when giving his conclusions. You can hide a lot about an item (or the failings of the most expensive alternatives) with that term "at the price".

However, there's nothing wrong with looking at the price of expensive items after the conclusion in absolute terms has been drawn.
 

Axo1989

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On the subject of value (and that related claim of wealth envy) - I get that you may spend extra on electronics to get bulletproof or longer lasting equipment. But passive speakers? Most are long lasting, or easily repairable (foam surrounds and such), so paying a very high price should get you something special. Are the Alexx speakers really "price of a house" special? Are the TuneTots worth the same as ten pairs of well measuring active bookshelf speakers?

I never liked the "nothing wrong with it at the price" review conclusions that often get in the printed reviews of even some pricey items, and prefer Amir's approach of ignoring the price when giving his conclusions. You can hide a lot about an item (or the failings of the most expensive alternatives) with that term "at the price".

However, there's nothing wrong with looking at the price of expensive items after the conclusion in absolute terms has been drawn.
If you are in the market for Veblen goods questions like "are the TuneTots worth the same as ten pairs of well measuring active bookshelf speakers" are dispositive. The value equation is different: you presumably value the craftsmanship, white glove service, brand cachet and impressive but idiosyncratic sound. You especially value the fact that most people can't afford them.
 

DanielT

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Understatement of the year?
It was deliberately written, yes.:)

I thought we were talking about TuneTot, but it was Alexx V.

This was good:

Moreover the Alexx V can go very loud, broadly achieving its rated 92dB / 2.83V sensitivity at 92.8dB / 1kHz and 91.3dB from 500Hz-8kHz. A pair of Alexx V's will sustain ~ 109dB SPL at 4m listening distance, incurring <0.4% THD (200Hz-20kHz) while 'ticking over' at 90dB SPL.



But with that said, ... price.:oops:o_O
 

Galliardist

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If you are in the market for Veblen goods questions like "are the TuneTots worth the same as ten pairs of well measuring active bookshelf speakers" are dispositive. The value equation is different: you presumably value the craftsmanship, white glove service, brand cachet and impressive but idiosyncratic sound. You especially value the fact that most people can't afford them.
I question whether Wilson speakers (especoally the smaller ones) are really Veblen goods, based on an understanding (which may be wrong) that the more expensive Duette 2 standmount sold in fewer numbers than the original Duette.

And the only Wilson Audio customers I've ever met were two dyed in the wool audiophiles who went into serious debt to buy their Wilsons, using the dreaded term "endgame speakers". I'm not in touch with either now, but I understand both moved on, continuing their "audiophile journey" with even more outlandish alternatives.
 

phoenixdogfan

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I whined. But okay now I took a closer look. Even saw which speaker it was.

Three factors determine a sound in a speaker:
FR (on axes)
Directivity
Distortion

FR can be solved with EQ.
Directivity, you look at them how they need to be placed.
The distortion is low, which of course is good.

Costs a bit, price $ 187 650

Sure, forward with EQ (if needed).Do you have room for them, suitable listening room so....

You can compare with the speakers that got the best in score here at ASR. In terms of test results, how do you think Aleex V performs then? Incidentally, compared to Alexx V, they cost almost nothing:


View attachment 183633
index.php


Do you realize how much you have to be worth to put something like that in your living room and not have your wife leave you?
 

chris719

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index.php


Do you realize how much you have to be worth to put something like that in your living room and not have your wife leave you?

Worth enough that they don't go in your only living room, at least. They are hideous, I don't care how well-made they are. Maybe in black they could be put in a cinema room, otherwise no way.
 

DanielT

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index.php


Do you realize how much you have to be worth to put something like that in your living room and not have your wife leave you?
Hm, futuristic? Or no, ..just ugly.

Usually, these speakers have a fairly high voltage sensitivity and a relatively low distortion, which is a good starting point for a dynamic sound. A prerequisite, however, is that the speakers are powered by a relatively current-capable amplifier because the impedance is usually low. An excessive midbas and some irregularities in higher registers give the illusion of a more dynamic sound, but only if one is not paying attention.

By the way, I have not heard a Wilson Audio creation that has sounded particularly good, regardless of price.
_____
Technical consultant in acoustics and audio technology


 

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Axo1989

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I question whether Wilson speakers (especoally the smaller ones) are really Veblen goods, based on an understanding (which may be wrong) that the more expensive Duette 2 standmount sold in fewer numbers than the original Duette.

And the only Wilson Audio customers I've ever met were two dyed in the wool audiophiles who went into serious debt to buy their Wilsons, using the dreaded term "endgame speakers". I'm not in touch with either now, but I understand both moved on, continuing their "audiophile journey" with even more outlandish alternatives.
That's a fair comment. Do I think the Veblen effect dominates for all purchases (and purchasers) of Wilson speakers? Probably not. Do I think we can be definitive based on a few anecdotes? Probably not.

To clarify, the Veblen effect means that for a significant portion of the demand curve, the curve slopes upward (demand increasing with price) but it does not suggest infinite price elasticity of demand (so the curve will not slop upwards forever). Veblen doesn't actually violate the law of demand, but higher price (to a point) increases desirability of an item as a status symbol. Not all Veblen goods are positional goods (something few can own) but a number of Wilson's speaker models are. Both positional status and conspicuous consumption characteristics of Veblen goods would be applicable. I am basically suggesting that the relatively high price of Wilson versus other speakers is positive with respect to the value equation for a significant cohort of buyers (but not for most people posting in this thread).

Microeconomics is like engineering in that first-order models are used because they are sufficiently workable, not because they are perfect with respect to complex phenomena and behaviour. For the Duette 2 the picture would be complex. They were less versatile than the original Duette, placement-wise, so the user applications may have been limited, and the floor standing Sasha was offered at the same price, so a substitute of equivalent status was available for potential buyers who didn't require close-to-the-front-wall placement. I don't think the Duette comparison is sufficient to conclude that Veblen effect is insignificant for Wilson. This is conjecture of course, I don't have extensive market data.
 

DavidEdwinAston

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Axo I do hope that the last sentence of your post. 1392 isn't true! I don't want to think that the top 1% of the mega rich are simply a***holes!
 

fineMen

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Did you read the text of the lab report, or just look at the graph and wince?

Yes. The 'cutting edge design' not just deviates from common wisdom, but it frankly contradicts any established 'good practice'


> reflex tuning at about 90Hz, lower bass than that leads to extreme excursion, hence strong harmonic distortion and intermodulation
> big hump in bass response generates exagerated group delay, hence vastly inferior 'impulse response', if there is an ideal


> obviously the tweeter is out of phase, most probably with a shallow slope to make it more effective. Floor bounce is, around 1kHz, some 8dB stronger than direct sound.
> diffraction sideways again, way more sound towards the room bounderies than direct

This is, assumably, intended. It renders the speaker most sensitive to room placement. It sounds different, of course, in any place.

The philosophy reminds me of experiments with square wheels on a car. It has been done. Yes, it adds a lot of drama and excitement to the experience of driving. But would anybody choose such for daily commuting?

Same here. I can tell, because I often had failed designs on my bench. Namely my own DIY stuff, doing it for decades. These errors don't sound too bad for about a day or two. But then, hmm, nasty it appears more and more. Would anybody, after the purchase of a 10k speaker pair admit the wrong decision?

My advice would be to stay away from 'alternative wisdom' in speaker design, how fancy it may appear. Better stick to standards like Neuman 120A for 800$ each, active, digital. That would spare tons of cash for other excitements like sky diving, scuba diving, a yacht even. Let alone the music.
 
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