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If you want Krell, amps don't buy the Wilsons. It's a harsh combination. I've heard both and I bought WP7's. If your a bass volume freak, get the Vandersteen 5a because of the powered bass. You also won't have to spend as much in electronics as they aren't as revealing as the WP7's. You really have to listen to them and determine what equipment you are going to have upstream.
The Wilsons require careful system matching to achieve the right balance;but the results are outstanding.
So much so I spent more on the speakers than my car. Different priorites. The bass from WP7's is amazing, Planar type impact and quickness with Dynamic volume. It's truely amazing the way they reproduce the upright bass (which I played for a number of years and use a reference when comparing speakers). I'm was a planar guy looking for dynamics who didn't want to fill the whole room with large speakers (Soundlabs). Keep in mind that the WP7's and don't forget the amazing Sophia's for less than half the price sound much more relaxed than the hot tweeters of the older WP 5,6's.
You must listen to each to compare. What out most dealers of the Vandersteen's crank up the sub unit and like to show you how loud they get.. really annoying.. so you might have to have them turn the bass down so that it integrates better with the rest of the drivers.
The 5As are the most musical speakers I have heard (I do own them now). There are many advantages to the 5As not to be overlooked. The ease of driving them with a variety of amps. The fully integrated separately powered subs, that make sub/woofer fully cohesive. The level, Q, and frequency controls on each sub. The quality of the drivers and crossovers, and the time and phase accurate design. Finally, all I hear is the music. I am not aware of a sub or either speaker in the sound stage. This total package is unique in the industry and very hard to beat.
Nmurro, I would not take much stock in what stereophile says or does not say. Many of the rags these days are more concerned about ad dollars than anything else and they do not want to have bad relationships with their main advertisers.
Consider the last paragraph of the sterophile review of the Watt/Puppy where they state the frequency response of the speaker is not flat. If you believe that audiophile speakers are supposed output the signal that was direclty fed to it by the amplifier, then you cannot consider this an audiophile speaker.
In short, if you want to buy something that is truer to the source buy the Vandersteens. If you want to buy a prestige speaker, or you just love that Wilson sound and you can't get it cheaper, buy the Wilsons. Neither will kill you.
The crossovers are in the speakers. The box outside the speaker is a high pass filter between the pre and amp that filters the bass at 6 db per octave below 100 hz. The subs then add it back. This unloads the amp of the high power needed for low frequency amplification and improves the clarity and focus of the mids. It also better integrates the subs and woofers, since the same amp signal goes to both.