Wilson Audio Debuts the TuneTot

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LeeS, May 10, 2018.

  1. Two problems with this analysis:

    1). Buying audio equipment is not an investment. Rather, it is a purchase of goods meant to be used and enjoyed by the owner;

    2). You (or me, or anyone else) have no idea what an individual TuneTot buyer’s motivations are and therefore have no basis to consider whether they are reasonable. They might not buy them to show off as a status symbol. Rather, they might like the sound (or even the look, bleh!) of Wilson speakers and want that same sound in a smaller setting. Maybe they have put the TuneTots on a breakfront or console in perhaps their dining room? The applications for smaller speakers are endless because they can fit anywhere, not just on a desk. I think that’s Wilson’s point for this product—the Wilson sound for use in unconventional locations.
     
  2. Jtycho

    Jtycho Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    You make some good points here, but if you’re really just looking at personal desktop audio then there’s a whole world of powered studio monitors and I tend to think we see far more value from pro audio than we do from home audio.

    But hey if someone loves the Wilson sound and wants it on their desktop I can’t really fault them. It just seems like an extremely limited market, even more so than a standard Wilson speaker.
     
  3. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Many audiophiles find much of pro audio gear is poor sounding. Remember this is the industry that used Yamaha NS-10s for a reference for many years.

    I also think you underestimate the brand and the amount of luxury customers desiring a desktop system.
     
  4. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    the biggest difference between 4-6k headphone and the tunetot is:
    the TOTL headphones are fullrange

    again in reference to headphone, I own a Focal Utopia so im guilty here, when you pay 4 or 6k headphone, those headphone while pricey truly offer the best there is available in terms of headphone experience.

    sadly, the tunetot, being a minimonitor, is restricted by the physics of its small woofer. therefore, in bass performance, extension, impact, they cannot compete with the best 2-ways out there, priced even much cheaper. the tunetot is a minimonitor. There are big 2 ways using 6.5inch or 8 inch woofer in bigger box priced around the Tunetot msrp, but I have never seen a minimonitor priced that highly, thats why people complain
     
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  5. JNTEX

    JNTEX Lava Police

    Location:
    TX
    Yep, their overpriced vs substitutes. Yep, their a 2 way. Yep, might not fit everyones decor.

    1. They will sell.
    2. They will be available a'plenty used in about 14 months (my guess, 4K)

    I don't understand the spite. It's not like it's an insurance policy your legislated to purchase.
     
  6. dolstein

    dolstein Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlingon, VA

    Not true. The Duette 1’s can be used on a shelf or on a stand. More flexible than the Tot’s, fuller range, and much less expensive on the secondary market,

    You’re probably thinking of the Duette 2.
     
  7. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Each person gets to decide for themselves whether the product offers them enough value for the dollar, remembering that $10,000 to one person is the same "HIT" to the bank account as $1 is to someone else.

    When I review gear the first question I ask at the end of the review is "would I pay the full retail price for this item" - if yes then I can recommend the item. Not all companies give the same reviewer discounts as Sue Craft noted TAS reviewers and others got FREE VPI turntables. So now every time I see a reviewer with a VPI I have to wonder a little bit how honest their raves were. Getting a free $5k VPI versus a $5k Clearaudio that you have to pay $3,000 for - well I wonder which turntable the reviewer is going to get behind.

    I have not heard the Tune Tot (never been impressed by any other Wilson even in the $200k+ price points) but personal opinions aside, it's up to the individual to determine value against their prior experiences with other speakers at less money.

    I remember auditioning the $27,000 Magico standmount (driven by some hugely expensive SS system) that sounded considerably worse than the $2300 Audio Note K/LX (which was being driven by a $400,000+ system) - and reviewers can talk all day about "build quality" but most speakers even $300 speakers will last you well over 20 years - you may have to change the surrounds for $200 after 15 years or so - big deal.

    I have never heard a Wilson sound even remotely cohesive through the frequency spectrum or offer an insightful delicate nuanced sound. When I audition a $200k+ speaker I expect it to sound better than the $10k speakers in the same kinds of rooms. For $9900 you can get the Pure Audio Project Quintett 15 at 100dB sensitive. I have yet to hear ANY Wilson at any price that sounds even remotely close to as good. I have heard a lot of Wilson over the last 20 years. So it mystifies me.

    But hey so does Magnepan. Different Strokes for Different Folks.
     
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  8. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    Every loudspeaker has a signature sound and every big brand claims ”We build the best speakers.“

    I have heard Audio Note UK speakers. Nice speakers, but not on the top of the best speakers IMO.
     
  9. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    And that is fine - not everyone likes the same things. Room sizes and a desire for state of the art hi-fi pyrotechnics come into play for many people. Still I've heard very expensive Wilson and have yet to hear one sound as good "musically" as an AN E (or a J for that matter) or Pure Audio Projects, or Acapellas, or or and or.
     
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  10. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    Have you ever heard Living Voice Olympian paired with Audio Note Japan amps? That’s my reference and the best combination I’ve ever heard. By the way I also like Marten, YG, Magico, Sonus Faber, Tidal Audio and of course the smaller Wilson‘s (Alexx, Alexia, Duette, Sasha).
     
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  11. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I'm a reviewer. I have heard every brand you just listed and some of the best ones are not "manufacturer made" loudspeakers. I live in Hong Kong where most every major hi-fi brand is easily accessible with flagship equipment often in dedicated showrooms JUST for the one loudspeaker. Tidal's flagship, YG Acoustics Flagship, You name it it's probably here.

    Which isn't to say I don't love a bunch of them myself, but when we talk $350,000 loudspeakers then my expectations are a helluva lot higher than what is available at $10,000 and a $350,000 loudspeaker MUST do EVERYTHING that a $10k speaker does and it must do it better. Well guess what a Wilson (enter any of them here) isn't remotely cohesive - you always hear the tweeter and the woofer out of step. Always - all models. A Teresonic Ingenium Single driver is spot on perfect - it's a single driver.

    Now the Ingenium has weaknesses too but the point is that at $19k the weaknesses are to the frequency extremes and since most buyers listen to classical/jazz it doesn't give up much. Wilson at $200k+ doesn't capture remotely what the Ingenium is capable of and while it can blow bass at you and has treble that can peel the enamel off your teeth - so what? So can a Cerwin Vega 215! To me the priorities are messed up.

    It is extraordinarily difficult to find a one size fits all speaker solution. Regardless what you pay. The "ideal sound" in theory should come from a single point in space - the head of a pin. Full frequency response, perfect phase, zero distortion, no crossover, perfect polar response. A single driver speaker gets a part of this very right - cohesive, timing, etc but they all lack bass, treble and dynamics.

    Then the two way - a little less cohesive (if done very well), and brings in dynamics, bass, and treble. AN E, Harbeth SHL5 Plus, Devore, (I typicall prefer the wide baffle bigger woofer bigger two ways because they tend to get down to 30hz which covers most music and at high enough levels to satisfy most people in a normal living space.

    Then you go to 3,4,5+ ways drivers all over the place, big speakers (way way far away from a single point in space). They aren't cohesive (at any price) but they can really BELT volume and Bass and Macro Dynamics. But what are we audiophiles and quality music listeners or glorified boom car listeners?

    FWIW I've had YG Acoustics chosen as best sound of show at an Audio Show a few years back. Magico made my top 5 at another show.

    But for a BIG full range full throttle sound the Acapella High Cellini or horns from Silbatone create an experience that Wilson Audio doesn't even remotely capture - so even if could shift gears to a big room big LOUD presentation - Acapella for much less money sounds vastly VASTLY better. AudioFederation dropped Marten - now carries Acapella - They do need a bigger space unfortunately than they usually get at shows but they are impressive.

    I'll keep an open mind because sometimes one can be surprised and if you think about the QUAD ESL 57 is basically a dynamically inept midrange only medium volume speaker that is revered the world over - it does what it does well and some argue so well that they (and the 2905 etc) are worth the expense even with all the weaknesses. But something tells me that the tune tot isn't going to possess the midrange of Quad since none of their other speakers I would rank higher than a C in the midrange. And it doesn't have any bass - so for $12k I am not sure what you are getting. A famous name plate and a way to brag to people that you spent $12k on a desktop speaker to play music files from a computer?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  12. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    Absolutely, and I agree with that.

    But you can't reproduce the sound of a big symphony orchestra with small boxes (single or 2 drivers) in a big room. That is impossible.... physically limited.
     
  13. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I believe you reviewed all those big multi drivers speakers in Hong Kong? Real estate is very expensive in Hong Kong. Are those speakers being demoed in large enough room?
     
  14. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Richard,

    This is a great, content rich reply so many thanks for that. I think strictly speaking you are right about point sources. However, I think crossover technology and time aligned drivers have gotten so good that I think multi-driver speakers can be equally good. The two best systems I have heard in the last five years were the WAMM Chronosonic and the Vandersteen "9" system at the last LA show. Both offered a very lifelike presentation of music. The Von Schweikert flagship with VAC gear comes close as well.
     
  15. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    That's quite true but the vast majority of music isn't a large symphony and even within a large symphony performance it's not all full crescendo and it's this 99% of all music that big massive multi-way speakers tend to get wrong. Where the Teresonic or AN E and similar speakers utterly trounce $200k Wilson is Eva Cassidy with a guitar or Loreena McKennitt and a harp.

    Of course I agree - in a big room and loud levels and full on large scale symphony - but then I'd still maintain that Wilson isn't any good at this compared to the best horns.
     
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  16. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I moved to Hong Kong in 2011 - before that I lived in British Columbia, Canada - lots of dealers lots of space and I have covered shows in Vegas and California. The demo rooms in Hong Kong are typically big enough and unlike the west the rooms are made out of solid concrete. No sing along walls that audiophiles in the west are stuck with.

    I personally do not live in a space that would accommodate large speakers so until I leave here I shall not be reviewing any. But dealer rooms do have the space for speakers like YG Acoustics and big MBL etc - not speakers like the big Western Electric. Audiophiles here though do rent out commercial buildings and visit their massive stereos on the weekends.
     
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  17. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    As I said... Living Voice Olympian & their sub Elysian is the best horn system I've ever heard.

    Your comparison Teresonic vs big Wilson's isn't fair. I also could say this system can reproduce the sound of deep octaves of a church organ. Every loudspeaker has its own weakness, even the 700K Living Voice.
     
  18. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Well I can't agree - equally good at what? Certainly not cohesiveness. Every time I audition a Wilson I hear a tipped up tweeter that itself impresses me on a holy cow what a powerful tweeter that is pristine and then a bass that is often lightweight considering the size and inefficiency of the loudspeaker. They operate as independent sources - Wilson isn't the worst but it's similar to the Martin Logan problems of matching ESL panels to woofers and B&W's tweeter on top. The bigger the model the more odd the sound becomes with a stage that never seems to credibly put instruments anywhere near reality - oh a cymbal 5 feet over my head and the left. In Vegas I sat front row for Wilson Audio then moved to the middle then the back - I had to stand up, move around. Bizarre. Nothing about that sound I could fathom at $5k let alone $200k+

    Then at CAS several years back - huge room and it all just sounded befuddled.

    At last year's CAS - the Von Sweikert room did little to impress me at $300,000.

    Some people are impressed by size and weight and price. I am not - I expect something more at those prices and I am not on the side of promoting manufacturers or dealers. Which isn't to say high prices bother me that much but I want something special in the presentation when prices get dizzying. Now I would not get on Von Sweikert because I have not heard them enough - any one show or even 2-3 shows can just be poor sound - or varying other factors inhibit a personal reaction against them. It's when you hear a speaker at some shows, and at several dealers and at a home and I am always unimpressed where I make a correlation.

    But then the thing all of us have to remind ourselves is that if we all agreed on what represented the best sound there would only be one loudspeaker maker. We could all probably list 15 loudspeakers at say $8k-$12k (assuming you can afford them) that we all very much like but when it comes down to buying one of them - well -- that IS the one that you liked the best meaning that the other 14 are in some fashion or other - "lesser than."

    For every person I have met who loves a Magnepan I know another who can't stand them. Since they've been selling well for 40+ years - regardless of all the personal opinions of folks who don't like them enough people do. Wilson Audio has been selling for decades so whether I like them is irrelevant and the AN E has been selling for 4 decades as well so whether someone doesn't like those - that opinion too is irrelevant.

    I'm not a capitalist but it would seem capitalism applies as the "market" dictates success to a large degree. As does resale value.
     
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  19. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    That's true but the midrange is vastly more important than being able to reproduce pedal organ. And at least with bass you can add. You can't fix the midrange. So if you want pedal organ you could buy TWO $20,000 subwoofers (best in the world types) and you'd still be under half the price of the Wilsons and you'd get way WAY better and deeper and louder bass than the Wilson's could muster.

    Even most big expensive floorstanding speakers often get augmented with dedicated subwoofers which is a bit of a waste of money since the customer buys a hugely expensive floorstander and then buys subs that replace the bass going to the floorstander!?! Of course we're talking about people spending $200k on speakers so money isn't exactly an issue.
     
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  20. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    I never judge a loudspeaker at audio shows!!! Most of the tweaked rooms are horrible, especially in hotel rooms. I've been at High End in Munich a few days ago..... most demos were poor and faked with easy listening audiophile music!
     
  21. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I differ on this one Claus. I have heard lots of good sound at shows lately. No doubt that there are difficult rooms but many rooms are quite good and often the setup is fantastic as you get top people from the company doing it and/or guys like Stirling Trayle, Jim Smith, Michael Trei on tables, etc.
     
  22. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Hmm, I guess our experiences have been different. The realism and cohesiveness of both the Alexia 2 and Sasha 2 at Axpona was genuine.
     
  23. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    They can trick the room with the music. They play small ensembles, guitar and voices. That sounds good even in difficult rooms. The visitors are mostly impressed :shh:
     
  24. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Wilson speakers have come a long way in the last several years. From the first time I heard them until the last time, the difference is between speakers that were good reproducing sound ones that are good at reproducing music. As someone stated, especially the smaller ones.
     
  25. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    we should get off the idea that these or any other luxury good pricing has anything to do with the cost of manufacturing, parts, design, development, etc. Luxury items are priced at the highest amount that the manufacturer (or whatever) thinks they can sell them for. yeah, a company has to work to be in a position to do this kind of pricing, and they need to know their customer base, but is only tangentially related to things like cost, quality, performance, etc.
     
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