Quality plus hype!
Like in many other fields. Take a sports car: a Porsche sure is great but $130.00O? Gimme a break.
Sure there are speakers out there which kill the wilsons. That's why I didn't buy them! :-)
It depends who you talk to.Personaly I find them overpriced and I overwhelming..There are a good deal of people who who do not like them,and as you can see there are plenty for sale on this sight alone.So maybe they are not the highly regarded after all.
They do use the more expensive Focal Drivers "Audiom" series. This doesn't account for their price. I personally think they are overpriced for their performance, but there are a lot of people who disagree with me (some 400 X-1 owners most likely).
Well, for me they are fistly made of the absoultly best materials and finishing I have seen on any equipment period.
Secondly, the sound was what I was looking for in a set of speakers. they go down to about 23db so slam is not an issue and they send shivers down my spine when matched with the perfect amp
Take a look at sound stage mag online..Marc talks about Wilson and how they are put together and why there is a cost factor ...
It maybe viewed at http://www.soundstagelive.com/factorytours/wilson/
Its true, lots of folks either hate or love these, not sure why, for me, they rank right up there as the best speakers you can find !
BTW : my WP6 and WATCH Centre are painted with 9 coats of Mercedes Light Titanium ...simple beautiful
I've only heard the WATT/Puppies as the nearest dealer is about 450 miles away & only stocks the WATT/Puppies. My impression is that the speaker is very well made. The cabinets are NOT MDF. They are a cast resin with the WATT unit (mid-range/tweeter)is made from a different formulation than the Puppy (bass cabinet).
The cabinets are about as "dead" acoustically as any material I've experienced. Even at relatively high volumes the Puppy has barely the slightest amount of vibration that can be felt on the outside of the cabinet.
The speakers have very good imaging, extremely fast/powerful bass, and when setup correctly, are time-aligned better than most other speakers. The WATT unit can be moved front to back and tilted up/down to time-align the WATT with the Puppy. This requires a certified Wilson technician to perform in the room where they are to be setup.
All that said, I found the sound stage to be really small - like 6-feet wide by about 3-feet high. If you weren't in the "sweet spot" you'd wonder what all the fuss was about regarding these speakers. If you are sitting in the sweet spot, they are incredible to hear.
Finally, there is the mystique or "cachet" surrounding them as they are low production volume item, and are found in numerous sound studios and surround sound mixing studios as monitors. Are they worth $18K? If you have $18K and the right room to put them in - sure. Are there other speakers that sound "just as good"? That's a value judgement that only you can make after listening to a lot of speakers.
Wilson Audio afficiandos will spend $275K for WAAMs after working their way though the other Wilson models - so, a true Wilson devotee cannot be counted on to be impartial - but then, who is in regards to their favorite speaker?
"Highly Regarded?" - In America, perception becomes reality.
Wilson's are mentioned by many magazine reviewers, etc.. sometimes just because of their price and status of being at the top of the audiophile price chain.
Just like ultra priced Krell and Levinson gear, you can find respected reviewers DON'T think that these companies are the "Gestalt of audio". Wilson is in the same boat. It just SEEEEMS that everybody thinks they are great, because when something is written about them, it is usually done by a reviewer who PREFERS them (the same goes for companies like Krell).
(BTW: I'm NOT saying that Wilson, Krell, etc.. is bad, just that there are respected reviewers who do NOT think that they are the "BEST", or "REFERENCE", as compared to everything currently available.)
Something else to consider; If the largest source of income from ultra high end magazines comes from the overpriced ultra hyped high end companies, why would they want to print less than stellar reviews about this gear? NEVER BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU!
i doubt that the majority of the posters on this thread have ever listened critically to dave wilson's products. i don't own them, never have. but i do respect this line and have listened to many varieties of wilson speakers in many settings with numerous frontends and electronics. to my ears, the best sound of any system at ces2001 came from watt/puppy 6's driven by nagra tube monos and a pl-p; source was a nagra analogue reel-to-reel playing second generation master tapes. yes, wilson products are relatively pricey, as are any number of other lines, including avalons, of which i've owned 3 different pairs over the last 12 years or so. bashing a whole product line because you can't afford it and then blaming reviewers for your opinions manifests an absence of discretion or intelligence, or both. IMO, audiogon is dead wrong allowing obvious trolls like this one to get past their moderators. as with everything, YMMV. -cfb
I have the Wilsons 5.1. They gave me lots of heartburns but after considerable tuning, I will live with them for a long time. They demand top notch upstream components, interconnects, clean power lines, vibration control, and top notch source. I listen exclusively to LPs with tube pre-amp and tube amp. The loudspeakers can reproduce the transience, presence, and delicacy of the guitars, strings, voice, and piano with such 3d and palpability that never ceased to amaze me. In my room, the sound stage is huge and at 20 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 7 feet high is certainly way beyond the loudspeakers. I do have to tune my room with ASC tube traps and RPG diffusors quite extensively to bring the best out of them. Before Wilson Watts, I had Apogee Calipers and was listening extensively with Thiels CS5.1i. I was not prepared for the ardous task of upgrading and tuning. So, unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money for the component upgrades and a lot of time for tuning, you would want to think twice about buying these loudspeakers. I doubt if dealers would invest enough time to set them up properly. Overall, I felt the end result is worth it and am very happy now.
thanks everyone for the responses. as for cornfedboy i have jm lab utopias. so i am not bashing wilson, just trying to figure out why the maxxes for instence are 40k and utopias 30k. why are the mezzos 14k and the 6.0s 20k. in all truth everything in high end is overpriced, but the reason i choose to talk about wilson is because i could not understand what is the big deal. lets take for instince , the second time i heard the grand slamms was in a store in miami. they were using top notch levinson all the way through. i first thought hey nice depth, lots of bass. something did not sound right. i got up walked around the room and found the surrond sound speakers to be playing. the sound stage collasped. then i found a sunfire sub playing. the bass was gone. now for 75k i better get a full range speaker. i would love to hear the x1s set up properly in a 2 channel system so i could give my opinon on what they can do. any body want to invite me over? i would love to be proven wrong.
I had owned B&W801 MatrixIII for years, but then bought Wilson Watt/Puppies 5.1 four years ago because the sound stage, imaging, dynamics ate B&W's lunch. The only thing they miss is the lowest octave of bass. However the bass produced is clean, articulate and detailed...very satisfying. Two weeks ago I upgraded to the MAXX, (fortunately due to the recession I got a screaming deal on a demo pair) and absolutely love them. Neutral, detailed VERY Dynamic from top to bottom, with all the bass I need. A superb speaker. I have heard the Grand Utopia's and Utopia's at shows and think they are fine, however, they were driven with tube equipment (I use solid state) and not it the best of rooms, so I can't give an honest opinion. However, the Wilson's cabinet material really does eliminate the cabinet sound other speakers suffer from and as a result really are neutral. Another commenter had it right. You must give Wilsons the finest eletronics possible because they will reveal all the flaws of your cabling, amps, preamp and source. Most people on this thread have probably never heard 'Wilson's setup right because when they are with the right components they are incredible. If you don't like the price, buy them used. As for why so many for sale, Wilson sells more than the others.
The dealer set up in Miami is criminal. And what you described is exactly my point. Wilson demands extreme care in setup and component matching.
I listen to Wilson speakers a lot. They are awesome speakers. Very focused and transparent. I own Piega's which are a different sound.It will depend on your room and your tastes. Check out the 6's and you may not buy another speaker. I also agree with a following post of eating the B&W's lunch
One more comment on a strength of Wilson speakers. They sound fantastic at every volume level. What is so amazing is when you turn them down low and you're still able to hear the full spectrum of sound. Try that the next time you demo them. No other speaker gets this part right. Other manufacturers require you to turn them up to get decent sound,at lower volumes the detail on top and bottom disappear.