Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy v5.1 Floorstanding Speakers

Watt/Puppy v5.1

Woofer:2 - 8 inch per unit, Midrange:1 - 7 inch, Tweeter:1 - 1 inch Inverted Titanium Dome

User Reviews (57)

Showing 1-10 of 57  
Chris Koffend   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 20, 2009]

Having owned many speaker brands (Von Schweikert, B&W, Thiel, Totem, . . . .) and have listened to many, many more both in and out of my system(s), I have a pretty good feel for what I like in performance. I have owned 3 models of Wilson speakers (W/P 3/2, Duettes, W/P 5.1). I have owned many brands of amps (Krell, Levinson, BAT, CJ, Pass and others) and many more brands of preamps and source components than either amps or speakers.

The 5.1s can sound absolutely aweful, I would agree. However, if they do sound aweful it is the result of one of three things: 1: upstream components that don't match or are just not good enough; 2: inproper room integration/set-up; 3: the listener just doesn't like the type of sound that a detailed speaker delivers (by default, they will likely not like speakers from Thiel and several other brands as well that have a similar sonic characteristic).

In terms of value, these have been the highest value component of anything I have every owned (stereo system). I can't find anything at twice the price (used) that I paid for the W/P that I like as much. They are the longest standing component in my listening room and the one that is subjected to the least thought of upgrading or changing.

For the record, I think they are a phenominal value if purchased used, at the new price, they are too expensive for me (I did buy the Duettes new, but at a very good price). However, if you don't have $10K+ in other components, cabling, etc. . . or the space to properly position these in your room, you would be wasting you money to buy them. You are not going to be satisfied running these with some Denon HT receiver or some mid level amplifier. However, one should not complain about having to have excellent equipment to support $20K speakers either. That would be like taking your Ferrari to Jiffy lube for a tune-up and oil change or complaining about the insurance or the poor gas mileage. That argument carries no weight and can only be made out of ignorance.

What are the specific strengths of these speakers in my system: detailed without being bright, bass is tight (when they are properly positioned) without being bloated, mid-bass hump that many report is not apparent in my set-up but I sit in a quasi nearfield environment that alleviates this (I have heard this in other set-ups though). Sound stage depth, width, height and focus is very, very good. There is a lot of air and they do not get congested like many other speakers based on large scale recordings, when played very loud or are pushed too hard (assuming your amp is capable).

What do I sometimes miss by owning these? Every once in a while I will miss that tubey softness and lack of focus that can make the music sound beautiful (but when I really miss this, I can hook up my Audio Aero Capitole direct to my amps and get plenty of this type of sound - which to me grows old in a couple of days when I want to hear all of the music). They could go a little bit deeper, but I don't want that if it means loosing the bass speed and tightness (to me, there is nothing worse that a loose bass, again if I want that I can go with an all "traditional" tube system). I don't run a sub with these, but on occassions I have installed my Rel when I am really looking to pump out some extremely bass heavy music (not very often though).

Overall, my satisfaction with the speakers has been higher than with any other item in my system. I have in the past or currently owned $10K+ amps, $7K+ preamps, $10-15K+ digital front ends (fortunately I buy this stuff used and wisely). There are a lot of other speakers I like, but just none that I have found that I like better or better enough to justify spending the large amount more I would need to spend to get them.

I have listened to the 6s, 7s, and 8s and while I don't dispute that the 7s are possibly a hair better, I don't find them significantly better and certainly not enough better to justify the difference in price between my selling revenue versus the cost of the 7s.

Does Wilson overcharge? No more so than Ferrari. In fact, I am more suspect of GM overcharging and delivering less than Wilson/Ferrari overcharging and delivering more value.

Wilson service? I have spoken with various people at Wilson on multiple occassions, only once when I actually needed service. In every single instance I have received terrific support, opinions and never felt that I was a pain for their time. I once needed service for my Duettes (I overtightened the speaker binding post, using a socket wrench [I know, my fault, stupid method] and snapped it off). Called my dealer the next day, that afternoon I received a call from Wilson directly confirming my shipping/mailing address for all new binding posts (all 8, for both pairs of speakers) at no charge for the parts or the shipping. If that is bad service, I am confused. If you want bad service, call up Audio Aero in France - there is the definition of bad service! Wilson, I'll take any day. BAT, I'll take anyday. ARC, I'll take anyday. Krell, I'll take anyday. McIntosh and B&K, I'll take anyday. Wow, all are made in the USA, what a surprise and concidence.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
pangl   AudioPhile [Jul 24, 2005]
Strength:

Non-fatigue musical sound that would just *melt* in your ears. Superb soundstage, imaging and dynamics. Makes bad recordings and OK-equipments sound better. Superb resale value....and pride of ownership. Tube friendly (try 30w or above)

Weakness:

Careful placement needed: Those people with no patience please don't waste your money. Go get some fat cables for good sound.

I must be nut to buy this. I once listened to the Swan ??? which is an Watt Puppy rip-off (isn't that always from Swan?), and it is among the most crappy sounding speakers I have encountered. And of course, I tried the poor-man's Wilson Watt Puppy: SOTA's own Time Domain speakers. The oak finish really turns the wife off, and the sound is so-so to a point I'd better buy Infinity (old) RS series instead. So...........I spent $$$$ on an used Wilson Watt Puppy 5, knowing all the bashing going on here in Audioreview.com. What many people said is true: This pair of speakers require very careful placement. Big deal. If you spend this amount of money, you'd better spend some time too. But I don't find this bright, agressive, nor boxy as some people claimed. Even more so, I don't have issue with coherence (some people claimed this sounds like 2 speakers). There is definitely some coloration in the mid, and you need very careful equipment matches to get good bass. I'd say this is NOT your reference speakers in terms of faithful reproduction. Go get the B&W 801 instead. I did owned the 801. I hated it because it makes many recordings sound so bad. I just not planned to spend $$$$$ to upset my ears. But......do you want to buy a pair of $$$$ speakers just to get the most faithful sound reproduction, or a pair you would *enjoy* the sound, and a great piece of furniture? (stupid analogy question: do you wanna eat steak the most faithful way without any seasoning, or do you want to put tenderlizer and A1 etc) I prefer to just sit down, and have a great time listening to *music*, not *equipment*. In this case, the Wilson Watt Puppy 5 is *the* best sounding speakers I ever owned, and something I could say an keeper (until I go broke and needs to liquidate.....) (not going to repeat all those positive reviews before me) Associated Equipments: KORA Kermes 24/192 DAC (heavy level1 mod) KORA Equinox Preamp Sony DVD7700 (heavily level 2 mod) Jeff Rowland Model 5 amp (balanced version) Welborne Lab Apollo monoblocks All NBS cables

Similar Products Used: Taylor Acoustics 7U; B&W 801; Silverline Sonata; Alon IV; SOTA Time/Domain; Legacy Audio Classics; Magnepan 3.5R; JMLab 906; Revel F30; so many others I can't even recall (sob sob.....where's all my money gone!?!?)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Erik L   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 18, 2005]
Strength:

2+2's, We'll see, 3's, Gotta love the clarity and the way they don't kill you listeneing to them loud.

Weakness:

Once filled in with a high quality sub, None. But Help yourself out ad get a powered sub so you can save that amp power for the Acoustats!

Actually, I haven't hooked up the 2+2 Meds yet, On thier way! I have been running the 6 Ft. tall model 3s. told thet were mod 3s when I bought them off a friend in the 80's. And love the clarity. Recently purchased a Klipsch rsw 15 sub to pair up in a home theater and stereo setup. The sub finishes what the acoustat's find difficult to do, Low Lows. Rattles the silverware upstairs! And it's on a carpeted cement floor! Killer. Can't wait to get the 2+2 meds for the front channel and move the others to the rear channels. Anyone have any info on the 3's for me? Saw a pic of three's on here and they were smaller? Makes me wonder? Looking forward to a very dynamic lower listening room!!! Actually, The sub in this post is the most annoying part of the setup, unless you, God forbid, Turn it down!

Similar Products Used: 3's On an old Sansui and recently on a higher end Tosiba.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
xancor   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 29, 2003]
Strength:

sharp highs thanks to the wats inverted titanium done , no cabinet signature

Weakness:

Puppies can be quite buckety sounding and lacks the desired attack

i own a pair of wilson watt and puppy , quite frankly the sound stage is wide and and the stereo imaging top class , however it requires carefully planned amplification- i am using audio research tubes-Vt100 and it delivers the highs with great clarity , but the bass is weak on lacks the punch

Similar Products Used: sonus faber grand piano listened to apogee stage
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
2
Mossad   an Audiophile [Nov 05, 1997]

I HAVE LISTENED TO THESE SUPPOSSEDLY GREAT SPEAKER. THEY ARE VERY TRANSPARENT TO THE SOURCE I HAVE TO AGREE TO THAT, BUT VERY BRIGHT NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT; LISTENER FATIGUE IS APPARENT. MY SYSTEM WAS ALL MARK LEVENSION SYSTEM ( LATEST)DIGITAL IS OUT WITH THIS SPEAKER FOR SURE, BUT ANALOGUE IS STORY. FOR SAME MONEY PROac RESPONSE 4 IS MUCH BETTER, OR DUNLEVY'S AND ALSO VR4 OR AERIEL OR ARTEMIEST FOR MUCH LESS GET BETTER OR EQUAL SOUND FOR SURE. I HAVE LISTENED PERSONALY

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Eric Teitelman   an Audiophile [Feb 19, 1997]

I recently reviewed the Wilson Watt Puppys with a Mark Levinson No. 333 Amp and No. 39 CD player, and using Transparant Reference cables. The sound in the mid and upper range was absolutely the best I have ever heard. Soundstaging and musical transparancy were excellent. This was about the most realistic and neutral sound ever. Base was adequate, but very bloated in the midbase area. It was not crystal clear and precise like the Theil CS7s or ESP Concert Grands. One possible problem was their placement, which were too far apart and way too close to the back and side walls. I definately noticed feedback which distorted the lower frequencies.
I spoke with a person who recently purchased these units, and later added a subwoofer to enhance the base output. Incedentaly, Wilson Audio's sub sells for between $10-13k, extremely overpriced, which brings the ideal Watt Puppy setup to between $26-29k. Ouch!!! For this price, I would say they are almost not worth it, and are likely over rated by a hungry audience of music enthusiast such as myself. Further, they are not particularly attractive, which makes the purchase that much harder to sell to your spousal unit.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Joseph Vogt   an Audiophile [Mar 01, 1997]

I recently auditioned the WATT/Puppy 5.1's with a complete Mark Levinsonsetup: 31.5, 38S, 36S, 33H monoblocks ($22,000!), Transparent Reference
cables. The sound was mediocre at best. The speakers has a PRONOUNCED
midbass hump which blurred imaging and ovrepowered the sound. It did not
sound neutral or musical at all. We changed to Magnepan 3.5's (same electronics)
and the sound was much improved. Also, Platinum Solo monitors sounded
excellent. I believe the WATT/Puppy's might sound decent in the perfect
room and properly setup, however they're overpriced for the performance.
Genesis V's are superior for the money. A friend has owned WATT/Puppy
2, 3 and 5.1's, and believes each subsequent iteration was worse than the
preceeding model.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
dave   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 19, 1999]
Strength:

transparent, dynamic and liquid-sounding

Weakness:

costly, demanding of upstream components

I've read all the opinions posted here but must say that these seemingly controversial speakers perform fabulously for me. I moved to the Wilsons after living with Martin Logans from Aerius to SL3 to CLS IIZ and finally to ReQuest. Maybe my experience with the electrostats conditioned me to be ready for placement sensitivities and the profound effect of upstream components, but to me the Watt/Puppies haven't proven to be overly problematical in either setup or performance. Sure, they'll reveal the weaknesses of a bad recording, but the portrayal of good source material borders on the phenomenal. I use Cary SLM-200 amps running in triode and a conrad johnson premier 16 preamp, with Transparent Ultra cables and interconnects. Through either the Linn Ikemi or Benz/VPI front ends, I get vast, transparent soundstage that extends well outside and behind the speakers, and that is as fast as the Martin Logans yet with the solid, visceral impact of dynamic mids and bass. Although the electrostats could be very addictive, the ability of the Wilsons to accurately portray a wider range of music, from rock to full orchestra, and to render the illusion of a live performer, physically present in the listening room with you, really precludes any comparison between the speakers. Actually, given the prices I see on the used market, I think these speakers can be considered a great value, if you find a well-treated pair. The value rating is for used equipment since my model has now been superceded by the version 6.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Edgar Kramer   Audiophile [Sep 21, 2000]
Strength:

great dynamics, massive soundstage, good timbral qualities

Weakness:

price, Puppy finish

I purchased a pair of Wilson Watt/Puppy 5.1's from a very kind friend who himself upgraded to the System 6. I was a little hesitant due to my fairly small room. Since the day I got them, and at every occasion when sitting down to a listening session, I have been amazed at the detail, nuance and general listening pleasure I am enjoying with these speakers. Quick points: huge soundstage, incredibly accurate images (even more than the superb imaging I was already used to with my Thiel CS2.3), accurate timbral qualities, great detail throughout the whole frequency range, bass power without a hint of boom (if you experience boom with these speakers, believe me, it's your room), dynamics to blow your hat off, etc. I have owned Tannoy Gold Monitors, Infinity Kappa, Duntech Statesman, Thiel CS2.3, and I have listened to lots of other brands (Vienna Acoustics, B&W Nautilus, JM Lab Utopia, etc) and the Watt/Puppy 5.1 would be the one I would still keep. Build quality is awesome, I guess that's why they are a little expensive. If you are looking for speakers in this price range, listen to classical, jazz, rock, whatever, PLEASE AUDITION!!! If you own a pair, ENJOY!!!

Similar Products Used: Duntech, Thiel, Infinity
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
shamanjr   Audiophile [Jan 26, 2000]
Strength:

dynamic, transparent sound that is very revealing and detailed. small size

Weakness:

pathetic customer service; way, way overpriced; upgrades/replacement parts expensive; aesthetically ugly

While this speaker does have some redeeming qualities like the detailed, wide soundstaging and dynamic sound, it does not make-up for the ludicrous pricing and policies set by Dave Wilson. Wilson Audio does not stand behind their products, and obviously tries to make money from their clients after the sale by overpricing upgrades and parts. They also offer pathetic service and do not work with the customer after the sale (unlike every other high-end company I have dealt with). The customer service manager, Greg, is obnoxious and obviously represents the company's view of it's customers. There are many alternative speakers in the marketplace that sound as good or better, and are made by companies that have more concern about their image and customer satisfaction than Wilson. And the quality and style of these speakers is aesthetically poor. Dave Wilson obviously has no experience in design, just look at the cheap and ugly foam grills included with the watt/puppies for many years. And products like the XS subwoofer have to be among the least aesthetically appealing speaker I have ever seen.

Similar Products Used: watt/puupy 6.0, b&w, jbl, martin logan
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
Showing 1-10 of 57  

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