if you refering to first ACT versions I have heard them,comparing to watt puppy 8 watt puyppy have more dynamic, more "easy flowing" sound more midrange grip and imediacy. benesch had more warm sound ,more inviting in lower midrange.
actualy if your music preferences like you mentioned I can recomend WP7 which is greater speakers in this respect than wp8 alowing subtile niuanses even it very low volumes. but are litle bit harder sounding in midrange and uper treble
I do not have direct experience but the audio compression evident on the tweeter (Soundstage Review of the WP8 see measurements) would really concern me if dynamics were important to me. Frankly, for a speaker at this price point and "quality" it is unacceptable design error, IMHO.
Winston50, I am a WP-8 owner. I auditioned the Wilson Sophia-2, W-B Act2, and Wilson WP-8 at my local dealer since he carries both lines. At the time I was a ProAc owner. I listen to jazz, rock, and symphonic works. The WP-8 was MUCH better than the other two; also more expensive. Much more open top end, better bass definition and slam. I run ARC REF electronics.
I thought I hated the WP8's. Heard them locally with Theta blocks; at shows with various tube gear and Pass Labs (Pre-ed with an ARC Ref 3).
Then I heard them with Bat Rex and 150SE's. Best sound at the RMAF two years ago IMHO.
Just an educated guess, but Spectron will sing better IMO with the Puppy 8's.
I've heard the ACT's with Dehavilland (obviously), and with ARC amps and a Shindo pre (not as bad as you might think...). I've never heard them with class D, or ANY solid state. Maybe there's a reason?
Azaud, not sure of the reason no one at shows has paired the ACT's with solid state but I run my ACT's using Accustic Arts power 1 Mk2 with excellent results for both analogue and digital. Prior to the AA I used Accuphase A50v/ C290V combination that sounded good too. The ACT's reflect what is further up the chain - rubbish in - rubbish out. Noticeably better bass extension/definition, greater 3 dimensionality and better dynamics with the AA. To my ears a very nice combination - AA and WB ACT's.
I had the W/P8 for a year with ARC Reference amplification. I couldn't fall in love with the 70-80Hz pick and lack of low bass, forward midrange, lack of detail and transparency.
WB introduced in Munich high end show the ACT C60.
You might consider also Kef 207/2, Magico V3 and Revel Ultima Saloon 2.
I haven't heard the ACTs, but I have heard both the Arc and Discovery, admittedly in a so-so room. For me, the sound was dry and uninvolving, though it may have just been the room.
I am an owner of the ACT1, but I have had the opportunity to listen to the various combinations under different environments:
c) ACT & Torus
d) ACT & 2 Toruses
e) C60 & 2 Toruses
In general, WP8 has a thicker and heavier bottom end which gives the music bottom "heft".
The WB signature sound is generally quick and clean (& leaner, some might say) in presentation. With the Torus or Toruses, its signature sound maintains, but music has better "dimensionality" with firmer bass foundation.
I would be happy with either combination!
Your explanation of WP8s sound like typical ARC sound & bad setup/room. Not saying it is perfect but bass nodes are the room.
I owned the latest version WB ACT with a WB Torus for over a year. The ACT has a somewhat relaxed, lyric sound quality. It is very smooth tonally with a nice, golden top end. I used the ACTs with both Lamm ML1.1s and M1.2Rs as well as Audia, Brinkmann and Nagra solid state amps. The ACTs were transparent enough to cleary reveal the different sonic attributes of the amps mentioned. I would not say the ACTs are up front and fantastically dynamic as WP8s are reputed to be.
I would say ACTs are faster, clearer and more dynamic than Ebens or Veritys at the same price point but I am skeptical that WP8s and ACTs offer the same sonic characteristics and would advise hearing any WB speaker if possible.
ACTs are great for classical and acoustic jazz but they will not offer slam or sharp attack.
See the W/P8's farfield response and averaged response in WP's (Stereophile) listening room.
Part of the problems with the bass I had could be behavior of my room.