|Wilson Audio WATT Puppy v6.0 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Friday, 01 December 2000|
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The Wilson WATT Puppy has been the reference standard loudspeaker for high-end consumer use for more than 10 years. David Wilson and his design team have taken a fresh look at their most popular loudspeaker with the version 6.0 release. Priced at $20,000 per pair, the new WATT Puppies are greatly improved over the former version, the 5.1s, in that they utilize new cabinet material and have better cabinet construction and design, as well as improved drivers.
Version 6.0 WATT Puppies share a similar look with the previous versions, although the way the WATT now sits inside of the Puppy is different. Originally, the WATT was designed to be a portable monitor for location recording. It had no real bass, so Wilson ultimately developed the Puppy to extend the WATT’s low frequency performance to nearly full-range status. Version 6.0 finally fully physically integrates the WATT and the Puppy. Another difference between versions 5.1 and 6.0 is that the Puppy is now made of the Phenolic resin used to form the MAXX and Grand SLAMM loudspeakers. This material is far denser than traditional MDF plywood, thus reducing the cabinet’s aural signature on the loudspeaker. The WATT in version 6.0 is pretty much the same as in version 5.1, except for an upgraded one-inch Focal tweeter and a bottom base made of the Phenolic resin. The majority of the changes can be seen in the Puppy. While the Puppy of version 6.0 is only slightly larger than version 5.1, the cabinet space is nearly double and the cabinet itself is far more rigid than the older model. The bracing is completely redesigned, which also factors into the WATT Puppy’s improved low-end performance.
Wilson Gloss paint finishes are nothing short of incredible. My pair are custom-finished in Audi Pearle Scent White (a $2,500 extra) paint, with polished aluminum hardware. They are gorgeous. WATT Puppies are easily integrated into a listening room that is professionally decorated. They can be painted to match nearly any shade of any color. If you want a pair of WATT Puppy v6.0s painted to match your 1952 Ferrari Testarosa in Rosa Forte, no problem. With version 6.0, wood panels for the WATT have been tastefully discontinued.
The WATT Puppy must be properly set up in a room. Both the WATT and the Puppy are rear-ported and therefore tend to work better far out in a room – at least three feet from the back and/or side walls. I do not recommend trying to set up WATT Puppies by yourself. I have set up many pairs on my own and I have realized that it is an art better left for professionals. For $20,000, have your dealer come to your listening room and set up the speakers close to an optimal position for your tastes. The Wilson-trained installation technician can incrementally move your speakers as you critically listen. The fine-tuning process works much faster that way. If it seems like I am nitpicking with these fine adjustments, I am not. Moving a Watt Puppy a quarter of an inch can make a very audible difference and help you get the performance you want from your investment. I went deep when setting up my WATT Puppies, as I hired Bob Hodas, a well-known professional acoustician, to tune my room and set up my speakers. He used the Checkpoint SAS laser device to achieve accurate imaging. He also employed Wilson’s voicing techniques and a z-systems digital EQ and Myers SIMM computer system to attain the best possible performance from my system, based on my rock ‘n’ roll tastes, along with the physical limits of my less than perfect room.
I have long maintained that WATT Puppies are very ownable for a host of reasons, including their diminutive footprint, gorgeous finishes, incredible sound and extremely high-power sensitivity. I designed systems, way back in my days of retail at Christopher Hansen Ltd. in Beverly Hills, around WATT Puppy v3.2s with a $1,000 Acrus integrated amp and a $500 Rotel CD player. WATT Puppies are still capable of being driven by lower-power amps, but considering their now sizable price tags and even more resolute sound, I recommend much better gear upstream when building a system around Wilson WATT Puppy version 6.0s. In my system I used both Jeff Rowland Model 112 ($5,000) and Mark Levinson No. 336 ($9,500) power amps, with Proceed electronics and Transparent Reference cables, with excellent results.
The driver arrangement is the same as on the WATT Puppies of the past, but some of the drivers have changed. The new WATT Puppy v6.0 uses a one-inch Focal inverted dome tweeter, which is an improvement over the one used in the WATT Version 5.1. The midrange drivers are seven-inch Scan Speak drivers and the Puppies are now loaded with two eight-inch Dyn woofers. The result is an even faster-sounding speaker with significantly better bass (bass quality has historically been a source of criticism for many listeners of the WATT Puppy). The WATT Puppy V6.0 also comes complete with a full set of adjustable feet known as "Puppy Paws," as well as with Klein Tools, a guitar cloth for polishing and a leather-bound manual.