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Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Version 7 Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 May 2004
Article Index
Wilson Audio WATT Puppy Version 7 Loudspeakers
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TV and the Movies
Because Wilson speakers are so dynamic, fast and punchy, they make for a great home theater speaker. Recently, I have been watching more TV and HDTV in my reference theater. At this time of the year, Philadelphia Flyers hockey games take precedence over all other items saved on my TiVo. When the Orange and Black are blasting players into the boards, you can feel the impact in my living room. Another great example of the punchiness of Version 7s is on “The Sopranos.” In recent episodes this season, there have been gun blasts that had me jump from my seat. But the blasts never sound shrill or overly harsh, although they are loud and detailed. As cool as electrostatic speakers are (every high-end guy should own them at some point), this is where a Wilson steps above the din of other top speakers. Their dynamics are awesome and that translates into a more believable theatrical experience.

At the suggestion of editor Bryan Southard, I spent some time playing DVD-Video concert videos. As he predicted, a number of them are really good and you get to run your projector also with your favorite six speakers. I had a good time watching Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” (Warner Home Video), which reportedly isn’t their best performance, but it is as close as I can come these days to the Zeppelin live experience. On the WATT Puppies, Jimmy Page’s guitars burn with a rich sound. Bonham’s snare hits are live are explosive and exciting. Robert Plant’s vocals sound lively, yet never harsh or over the top.

The Downside
Set-up can be a pain if you are impatient. If you dropped $22,000 on speakers, you should make it clear that you expect to have your dealer set them up without excuses. Most, if not all, Wilson Dealers will oblige your request enthusiastically. To them, setting up WATT Puppies and making them sound good is a matter of personal pride.

Re-crating WATT Puppies is a real pain in the butt. At the factory, it seems as if the crates are built around the speakers. Trying to get your custom-painted Puppies back into their crates is a whole other process. It is possible that you will never re-crate your speakers, but if you ever need to, I would hire your dealer to come over and pack them up for you. One slight mistake and you could ruin the beautiful paint job. More complaints on the crates come from the fact that they are physically large. Perhaps if you have the money for $22,000 speakers, you likely have the room to store four big wooden crates. In my case, the crates have to live outside, wrapped up in plastic. Call me a tree hugger if you must, but I would like to ship the crates back to Wilson for recycling. I have suggested the idea to them. Who knows, they might adopt the policy for Version 8?

I called the Wilson WATT Puppy Version 6.0 the best speaker in the world at the time of the review because of their ability to make unbelievably great sound from a manageably-sized speaker. The Version 7.0 WATT Puppy is an even better version of the best speaker money can buy. The competition is still stiff for the WATT Puppy and I would expect any reader to spend the time to audition other speakers such as Revel, Meridian, B&W, MartinLogan and even MBL before making an investment in Wilson. As with comparing fine wine, it is important to know the differences between the best producers in order to know why you like your favorite speakers the most.

The toughest competition for the WATT Puppy Version 7.0 comes from David Wilson himself. The Sophia, priced at $11,700, is a similarly shaped, one-piece speaker that can hang with WATT Puppies for a lot less money. Clearly, though, the WATT Puppies are better. With the need for a Wilson Center, rear speakers and subwoofer you might need to redistribute your budget a bit to make these speakers fit into your life.

Non-enthusiasts visit my home and often oooh and ahhh over all of the electronic goodies. Predictably, the HDTV wows them, but the sound that I can get in my far-from-perfect room is without exception surprising to them. With a DVD-Audio or SACD disc spinning in all of its glory, it is hard to imagine the sound gets much better.

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