Drivers are what actually makes the sound...drivers can be very different in quality and cost. For example, several of the woofers in the speakers you mention cost less than $100 (retail)....i.e not much raw material costs (wholesale). So don't simply judge a speaker by driver size, number of drivers and cabinetry.
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There were lots of speakers using that shape fifteen years ago, some of the Genesis models come to mind. The idea is not to have parallel surfaces on the upper range drivers. This prevents standing waves inside the cabinet. A few companies have used the same idea in their bass cabinets too.
Drivers are not what actaully makes the distinctive sound of a particular speaker. The sound is ALWAYS a combination of speaker cabinet material, crossover network, including the binding posts, internal cables, cabinet geometry, and the drivers. That's why the same drivers do not sound the same in different speakers.
For example, the same drivers in the same speaker cabinets will sound different by altering something as seemingly simple as a crossover slope. There are soo many variables to take into account...
I agree with all the reply's, thank you.
Different drivers,crossovers, cabinet construction would surely make for a different sound.
I guess I thought that by using the same designs perhaps the other Companies were trying to make a speaker that could match or exceed the Watt/Puppy design.
So, I guess I will ask the loaded question..., do any of these other Speakers that were mentioned match or exceed the sound quality of the Watt/Puupy ?
Ozzy, what do you want that you don't have with the Legacy speakers? Are you really just looking for something that looks like a WP? You haven't said, do you like the WP sound? And which WP did you hear?
To my ear, the VR4Sr and the Hyperion 938--have not heard the 968, but once drove a 928--do not perform at or beyond the level of the WP7 or WP8. Does that mean you would/would not be happy with an alternative to the WP? See comments above regarding hearing them for yourself.
Now, if you really want the definitive answer, you'll find it on the Wilson Audio site:
My goal remains to build products that are so good that our competition is rendered irrelevant.
I'd love to see a Wilson vs Von Schweikert matchoff review. Would be great to read about the battle of the two often compared titans. Watt Puppy vs VR 4 or 5 would be really interesting reading.
Also, you never see reviews about Von Schweikert speakers in the major pubs. It seems they don't play the marketing game that Dave does by advertising in the national pubs and insisting on the dealer doing everything for you. Wilson won't sell you a pair of speaks without sending someone to the house to set them up, something that I think is a bit extreme given that most of us audiophiles love to read about the stuff and tweak ourselves.
Of course, to listen to the Von Schweikerts one pretty much needs to travel to the factory, which can't help their sales any. I need to hear a speaker before I buy it. Yet, I hear they are pretty awesome and look forward to listening at CES. Too bad I can't fin anyone in the Bay Area to give me a listen.
I have heard the Watt Puppy 8's. I did like the looks, and the bass quality was outstanding.
Then I started checking into the Von Schweirkert and others, they look so similair....
You guys hit the nail on the head about comparing the Von Schweirkert to the Watt/Puppys that would be a great challenge !!!
I guess this is my problem. The new Watt/Puppys go for ($$$$) 2+ times the amount of the Von Schweirkert.
I can afford to buy the new Von Schweikert but not the new Watt/Puppy 8's.
I thought about buying used 6 or 7 Watt/Puppy versions, but, again are the new Von Schweikerts the way to go.
My New Years Resolution ...I will do my best to find someone, someplace, somewhere that I can demo the Von Schweikerts VR 4SR Mk2.
My New Years Resolution ...I will do my best to find someone, someplace, somewhere that I can demo the Von Schweikerts VR 4SR Mk2.Excellent plan. Also, would it be worthwhile for you to seek out a Wilson Sophia II for comparison? And if you don't mind another recommendation, try and hear a Joseph Audio Pearl. It's physically similar to the Wilson, and sounds phenomenal. Really an amazing speaker, IMO.
Just my two cents, FWIW.
I have heard the WP8, WP7 and WP6. The WP 8 are clearly better than the WP7 and WP6. More coherent, organic sound, and better, more refined highs with less bite. It's a slippery slope to make a WP7 buying decision based on hearing WP8, IMO.
My gut tells me anyone considering any iteration of Watt/Puppy loudspeakers will not be satisfied buying Von Schweikert loudspeakers; not because Von Schweikert wouldn't be satisfactory in every regard, but because the buyer will always be aware of the nagging "what if".
Are you going to be able to compare WP7 with VR4 SR loudspeakers? Unlikely.
So, what to do?
Pick one, and buy used. I'd suggest starting with WP7. If you have any objection to their sound, then sell them and buy used VR4 Sr.
Getting back to the configuration used in the Watt/Puppy and others, it's a very intelligent way to meet several design goals.
One thing designers often try to do is minimze the baffle width. Midranges are narrower than woofers, and tweeters narrower than midranges, so this configuration is an elegant way of keeping baffle width to a reasonable minimum for the various drivers.
Another consideration is ease of construction - it's hard to build a cabinet that's straight-sided for the lower half and then has a kink and tapers for the upper half. Two separate enclosures, with differently-angled sides, are much easier to build.
Building two separate enclosures allows optimizing each cabinet's construction for its frequency range.
And finally, two admittedly fairly heavy enclosures are easier to ship and move around than one bigger and even heavier enclosure.
It's not surprising that several manufacturers converged towards very similar configurations. I don't think it means that anyone is copying anyone else. My own limited experience leads me to believe that speaker designers do not aspire to copy - they aspire to be original, and will do something that resembles a competitor's product only if they have very good reason to believe that that's the best approach.
Some interesting advice above. I agree with Duke, although with a budget of 7k, any used watt puppy from 5.1 on would probably impress. Of course the 8's sound best. They're the latest model. And they cost 24k or more. WP 7's don't seem to go for less than $12500. Personnaly I'd stretch and get the 7's used.
Somebody above suggested flying to Vegas CES for a demo. I read that Wilson has some major introduction planned and you'll get a sense of what the WP can do. Does anyone know if Von Schweikert will be there as well (or at T.H.E.)? I know they'll be represented since Jadis has a room at the Venetian and is using I think the VR-5. Also, Magico is introducing the massive Model 6. I have to hear these. Will be worth the trip.
I promise I will do what I can to compare these two great speakers: VR-4 MkII or VR-5 versus the WP. I'll report back to the thread next week.
Anyone else going? Please chime in. Let's settle this once and for all.