Are Wilson speakers

I have posted under the Amp thread the fact that my Krell KMA 160s are too "mean, lean and sterile" in my sytem and have blamed everything but the speakers. I am currently deciding between a number of tube amps (Atma-sphere, VTL-450, Wolcott, etc - they must have balanced inputs and fill a 23 X 15 room with high resonance. Then I assembled a baby system in a 12X12 room - Jolida 302B (mod Underwood HiFi) and Totem Sig 1's, Naim CD 5, Nordost interconnects and Poeima! speaker wire) and it sounds magical, musical, engaging and glorious. So I blamed the amp only. Now, after listening again and again, and running upstairs and downstairs, to compare, a horrible thought struck me: Maybe it is the Wilson WP 3:2's that are not musical and engaging, rather than all the associated front end and power.........obviously, this is a reluctant conclusion, given all the positives written everywhere about the Wilson speakers and the expense in getting not only a new amp, but new speakers as well - let alone wife factor. So I will change the amp - since it seems to be a universal consensus that the Krell KMA 160s are "lean and clinical" (every dealer I speak to says so and I must have spoken to dozens this last month)and listen to the Wilsons with an Atma-sphere or VTL-450.
I cannot get a Sound Labs or Quad 989 because of wife factor and need the same/similar footprint as the Wilsons - I have seen the thread of someone looking for a pair of speakers under $15K, so will look at those 4 speakers - or try to hear them.
I dont want to bash Wilsons, as I believe they are a wonderful company (I will tell a Dave Wilson story on another thread that confirms what a great guy he is..........) but need A'goners help/input again to sort out my musical non-bliss with this expensive system so that I get the same musicality, involvement and engagement that I dont feel with it, but do with a baby system, costing a tenth or less, in my main listening room.
Thanks in advance for your comments on attaining musical improvement - this and a warm, engagement with reduction of the clinical, sterile sound is the goal.......

Mark Levinson Ref 32
Esoteric DV-50
Krell KMA 160
WWP 3:2
PAD Dominus, Poiema!, PAD Venustas cables
BMI Shark, Michael Wolf PCs
By the way, the title of this post was "Are Wilson Speakers Musical/Engaging?" I guess it was too long......... Oh, and please include B & W speakers in suggestions, as there is a local dealer I have just found who carries them.
I suggest you try the Totems in your big rig . I wouldn't worry about blowing them, you are just comparing them to the Wilsons for tonal differences etc. After you do this, put the Jolida in the big rig and compare the sound. If the Wilsons still sound lean and sterile to you, then your solution will be more clearcut.
You are a mind-reader!! That's exactly what I am in the process of doing........big job, though, as the whole sytem has to moved, including source and stands...........(RCAs downstairs, XLRs in big rig)
Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.
Don't know about the 3/2s, but the 7s were a nice step in every way over the 5.1s.
audition the avolon eidolons or joseph audio pearls these work will with the krell amps. they in no way could be concidered lean.
I really doubt that there is much out there by way of 'unmusical' equipment. There are things that go together better than others, but a lot of that is personal preference, and nit-picking.

You have good gear! Combinations of good gear should sound good (personal preferences aside) regardless of what combination you put together.

The issue more often than not is the room. There are lots of reasons for ignoring this issue, not the least of which is WAF, but there are reasonable compromises that can be made to make any room sound better. Slipknot just completed a room makeover (I wonder if he could get on one of those reality TV shows?) working with Rives Audio. He seems to be very happy with the results (I don't assume to speak for him) and the changes made are not radical or unsightly. I've never seen him though! He might be unsightly. That's why woman marry personalities while men marry looks. Which might be why women are happier as relationships mature. What does this have to do with the question?!?

I think Watt/Puppies are musical speakers, I think Wolcott amps are musical amps, but all of them are capable of sounding bad in a bad room. That is not the fault of the gear. That is the reason though, I think, why people make idiotic claims like 'I heard ____________ (insert any really good audio product here) at CES or my local dealer and they sounded like #$%^*&! There are any number of things that people do not like because it does not meet their set of priorities, but no company sets out to make gear that sounds like #@$%*&. They spend tons of money designing, researching, building, listening to, and finally manufacturing what they have determined is good enough to bear their name.

Good gear while never overcome the limitations of a bad room.

I still think the Wolcotts would sound good with your system. BWDIK.
Maybe I just have the disease we audionuts get - after all, it's been 14 years that I've been living with Krells/WWPs - and got revved up by hearing the tubes/Totems in my little my main rig didn't ring my bells any longer or make me want to listen to music on it and gravitated to the small study with the tubes. I just spoke to a "pro" who has been with all the tubes/speakers one can think of and settled on an Atma-sphere/Utopia combination. That's what I'm looking at to re-ring the bells and energize the soul...if my wife would agree to electrostatics in the living room (she won't) I'd have the Quad 989 and Wolcotts in a heartbeat.
i upgraded my totem model 1's to the totem mani-2's. if you like your model 1's, you will love the mani-2's. from what i rememeber about the sound of an older pair of wwp's, i like the totem sound better. the new wwp 7's are very nice speakers for $22k, i heard them at he2003. for your size room, try out the mani's before the utopia's.
Try listening to Vienna Acoustic Mahler speakers approx 10k new. These are full range speakers with a bit of warmth and very musical sounding.
WAF is very good - these speakers take up a smallish footprint and are furniture quality finish. Should go well with your SS amps.

cheers shane
You have a great sysem, maybe too great. Sometimes more detail is not better to listen to. I think you may prefer a tube system. I am using an ARC SP 16 with Conrad Johnson Premier 12's. The VTL-MB 450's are also awesome. This combination is detailed yet very smooth.
As a Watt/puppy 6 owner, I can say they are a very difficult speaker to get right. Part of the problem is they are so damned revealing of everything. Placement and room treatment being a very big issue. Part of what you are hearing is like resolution in vision. Far away she looks great, up close and umm..revealing, she may give you a different opinion. Your Wilson's are giving you more information than you may want, without proper set up.

A tube amp might help, might change some things, but before you blow a lot of $$'s, really focus on placement and room treatment. Maybe spending some $$'s with Rives Audio or a similar service is your best choice. If you decide the Wilson's are the issue, the room treatment will still benefit what ever you choose...
You must be willing to spend a lot of time with speaker location experimentation with the 3/2's to make them sound their best. And I mean as little as a 1/8" difference in toe in (comb filtering) or placement of the Watt on the Puppy. FYI, setting the Watt back about 1/8" from the lip of the Puppy for instance (time alignment) can make a big difference in tonal balance and in all areas of musical presentation of the Watt 3 Puppy 2. Also the Transparent 5.1 Puppy tail is a big improvement over the stock MIT Puppy Tail. Likewise, the Puppy Paws upgrade in regards to bass presentation is a big improvement as well. I would exhaust all of these relatively inexpensive options before buying any new components or cables otherwise you will NEVER get this speaker right.
I think you have upgradeitis...not that there's anything wrong with that! In fact about 2 1/2 years ago, I felt the exact same thing having lived with WP 2/1's for about ten years. I was using them for the most part with older Rowland electronics and just couldn't get into the sound anymore. My first step was to change the this case to newer Rowlands. While this ameliorated my symptoms somewhat, a certain uneasiness with the sound persisted and in hindsight I think that move was a small but expensive mistake. To cut to the chase, I changed speakers to the Sophias and have since worked to optimize their performance. Because they present a more benign load, this allowed the use of lower powered, quality, tube amps which I think frankly is what will give you some of what you have in your smaller system without sacrificing the detail, transparency and dynamics that the Wilson's afford. This is simply the path I took and I am happy with it.

BTW, I used the KMA 160's for a short while with an ARC SP15 preamp and Martin Logan CLS II's. While this might appear to be an ear bleeder on print, it actually sounded very nice.
Anybody compared the Verity Parsifals and JM Lab Utopias?
May I suggest you listen to the Dali Euphonia MS5s. These spks make music with all the detail and naturalness it makes other spks sound mechanical.
I believe that the Wilson 3/2s are somewhat lean-sounding.
Back in 1992, I had mine updated from the 2/1 version, which was quite warm-sounding. When I got them back, I noticed immediately that they had a very lean profile to them. I didn't care for it myself, so I sold them.
I don't think that toeing them in will change the leanness; it is not a matter of tonal balance. The speakers are lean. When I ran into Dave at a High End show the following year, he asked me how my speakers were. I shuffled my feet, looked at the floor and told him that I had sold them. He was astonished, and asked "Why?" I replied, "Dave, they're pretty lean-sounding." He acknowledged it, and we left it at that.
I'm not suggesting anything about the dynamic makeup of the speakers. I'm simply stating the fact that that particular version IS lean. I had the first three versions of the WATTS, back when the WATTS were being marketed locally (the San Francisco Bay area; Dave's factory was in Novato, 20 miles or so north of The City).
My understanding is that later versions are less lean. And, actually, at that time, Dave used MIT speaker cable and the Spectral DMA-50 amp, along with the Rowland Coherence preamp, which is "lush" sounding from the lower midrange down. I believe these were his main components in designing the WATT. He also used a Goldmund turntable (the Studio). I remember because he did the setup on mine, too.
I see I'm wandering, but I wanted to place the WATTS into the context at that time. The MIT cables are warm-sounding, which compensated for the leanness, and the Rowland absolutely supplied the WATTS with more lower midrange energy. Remember, the Original WATTS came out in 1986. The "Puppy" came out late 1988. Dave may have changed electronics after 1991, but given the sonics, it would seem that the was still using the Rowland preamp, which he thought more accurate to the source (see: TAS, issue 47, for his comments on the Coherence 1). You'll notice that he observed that the Coherence was more accurate in the lower midrange and upper bass, the SP-11 From the midrange and upwards. That was also the same issue that the WATTS were first reviewed.
This might help explain why the earlier WATT/Puppy designs were leaner than later versions.
Hope this helps.
I think you are right. I tried the little Totem Signature 1s in the large room with the KMA 160s and they did sound surprisingly good for baby boxes in a large room - and warmer - so I think it is the speakers rather than the amp and the front-end and room acoustics..........
Please give more details of Dali MS 5speakers. I will try to find some reviews.
There is a review of it here :
Thanks, Cmk. I read it. Very impressive.
Any experience anyone, given Michael Fremer's trashing of the Kharma midi Grande's bass in Stereophile and the rave review by Frank Peraio on the same speakers in Stereotimes, of the Midi Grande's vs 3.2?
springbok10, you are on the right track. Personally, I find tubes more I would consider that as an option. There are a lot of speaker options in your price range. Part of the fun is the "listening search".

As an interim suggestion, less expensive too, is to try audiopoints in place of your wilson points. It will better balance the speaker and give them more dynamics. it's a less expensive proposition that "may" solve the problem and perhaps buy sometime while you shop for tubes!
The hunt - and torture to all of you and my wife is over - Atma-sphere MA-2.2's and Kharma 3.2s it is. The Kharmas are playing right now - burning in with Jolida mod 502Bs - while waiting for the big tube amps to arrive.
Gorgeous, coherent, musical detailed sound from them, at low volumes with the little 60 WPC tube amps. They are still just out of the box but are warm, detailed and throw a huge sound-stage. If I had to choose one word to identify their sound I would use "coherent" - just seamless and flawless down to 35 Hz. Thank you all for your input. What a great, great group! (A'goners)
How did you choose between the Kharma 3.2 and the Wilson WP7
By reading reviews, speaking to many who have had both in their homes and living with WWPs for 12 years. Decided that the Kharmas would provide me with a more "musical", warmer, "less lean" sound, particularly with an OTL amp........
I guess it was an intuitive, gut-feeling decision based on what I've been told and read. Also, it was not possible to try both in my room.
Try either Proac D38's,Audiostatic new DCM 5's or VMPS30 or 40's. Good Luck!
Springbok 10, congrats on the 3.2F's. I recently had the pleasure of listening to these and they sounded wonderful indeed! But,I can't help but think that moving from Krells and W/P's to Atmas and Kharmas might not produce some kind of "audio shock" possibly in a most positive way. Please provide us with your feedback on this combo...especially if you miss anything like dynamics and bass I'm thinking of moving in this direction myself.
Mphnkns, holy cow! Someone that thinks like me. Your explanation reveals just one of the factors that cause intelligent audiophiles to argue.

It is all about balance and I remember Dave using the components you listed, as well as several other high end manufacturers at the time. They are just people and influenced by listening, the same as we are.

I have long contended that given any brand of high quality speakers and a year or so to experiment, I could get them to sound however I want them (within their design limitation). Dave was doing this too, only in reverse :^).
Thank you, Kleech and Albert. I feel like a kid before Christmas Day. Tomorrow I un-pack the Atmas and hook them up. Cant wait. Will keep you posted, Kleech, count on it!!
Wilson speakers ARE cold and sterile. Try some musically engaging speaker lines, like Sonus Faber and ProAc.
To your ears Bigpowerballs--your SFs put me to sleep, so to each his own eh?

To blanket statement any system without regard to components is silly--yes Wilson/Spectral was stale to me. However, Wilsons on VTLs or BAT gear has been phenomenal to these ears.
Let's hear it for tube amps! I really can't see any reason to go SS at this point - too many damn good choices from 2wt SETs through 500wt VTLs and everything in between. You can find an amp to drive any speaker around. I've been delighted with my self biasing AirTight for over three years, no maintanence except for some fun-time tube rolling.

Let us know how the Atmas are working out unless you're spending all free time listening to music!
I think people need to realize that frequently they may be hearing the system AHEAD of the speakers instead of assessing the sound of the speakers themselves. I read the Alons are "bright." Nonsense. I have several models. They're no brighter than I am (not very!). However, if a component ahead in the chain is not, say, isolated properly, it will cause the final effect to sound that way. I learned early on in my audio life not to make a conclusion about the bad stuff based on what I heard, but to definitely pay attention to the good stuff. My experience is that the good stuff can be made better, but if you "see" it immediately in a demonstration, one can rest assured that the speakers MUST be able to pass on that stuff or you wouldn't be hearing it. Therefore, the speakers' most obvious and enjoyable traits are absolutes os sorts. The bad stuff may be an (unfavorable) system interaction, and can be mitigated frequently. Not always, but frequently.
Yes, I am spending all my free time listening to music, but since you were all kind enough to take time to help me make a decison, the least I can do is leave feedback:) The Atma-Spheres and Kharma 3.2s make great music. I changed amps and speakers almost simultaneously (I know, very unscientific) but after 13 years, I think I knew what sound I wanted and didnt want, so I cant tell how much is Amps and how much speakers. The combination, though, gives a coherent, seamlessness to the music, with better detail, crisper imaging, depth, soundstaging and smoother highs, more luscious midrange and a grabbing presence and beat that defines to me, the "musicality" of the sound that I certainly requires both an amp and speaker synergy to do this, and believe me, they do. The background is also pitch black and the dynamics amazing.......
Now, if the tubed preamp that is being loaned to me makes it even more so (compared with that classic of the ss age - the Mark Levinson 32 that I use,) I will post again!
I haven't read all the threads here but as to the original question--yes. I just spent about 3 hrs with the Wilson Sophia's and they are very, very musical. Probably the best speaker I've heard to date. Doesn't do all the audiophile stuff (i.e. image depth is forshortened, not the last word in resolution, etc) but extremely musical speakers that allow you to become completely absorbed. I would highly recommend checking these out if you are in the market at that price range. As good as the Vandy 5's are, IMHO the Sophias are better.