Wilson Watt Puppy, which version?

I am thinking of getting into the WIlson line with the Watt Puppy's. I have heard a few before in showrooms and I enjoyed them. I can not afford a new one, so looking at the previous ones there were several versions produced over the years. Can anyone explain the differences and if there are any "sweet spots" in the line up. ie is every newer version better or was there a point of diminishing return with the introduction of newer versions? I am trying to stay under 10k for a used pair. Thank you
I never liked any of them until the 6 and 7. To my ears, the 3/2 was a painful listen and the 5.1 wasn't much better. Things changed with the 6 and 7 which are two of the best speakers I have ever heard. In my opinion the 8 was a step backwards and, if memory serves, it didn't stay in production as long as the others. I actually prefer the iterations of the Sophia. Good luck with your search.

Vdosc...I would go with a Sophia 2. They are easier to drive and probably a better match for your ARC VT100 Mk II than the Watt Puppies. You should be able to get a used Sophia 2 under $10K.
I agree with Narrod. I think that up until the Sasha, the 7 was the best Watt Puppy.
IME, lot of folks (not just those above) like the 7 best of the W/P lineage. I have somewhat limited experience with the progression of the WATT/Puppy, but off my auditioning, I'd agree with that assessment. IMO, that conclusion also squares with a general preference for the Sophia in that the earlier W/P versions always struck me as slightly lean, until the 7s which are IMO a bit fuller in the mid/upper bass. The Sophias (particularly the original) sounded fuller yet. The later Sophias and the W/P 7 seem to converge on an octave to octave balance that works for a lot of folks.

Caveat: Above conclusion qualified for limited auditioning at different dealers, different systems, and different times - so a big FWIW.

Good Luck

I have owned several Wilson speakers over the years, all but one pair was purchased used. I actually like the 5.1s better than the 6s but not as much as the 7s. Maybe it was the set-up of my system versus the systems I listened to the 6s in.

I do not like the Sophia 1 or 2s as much as the W/P series, but that is a personal preference. I find the Sophia's to be a kindler, gentler Wilson speaker - sort of like taking one 75% of the way into the Wilson House sound, but leaving some "forgiveness" in the speaker. In my opinion, the Sophia is a transitioning speaker to the Wilson house sound in this manner. Don't get me wrong, it/they are very good speakers, but for me that did not deliver enough of what I like most about Wilson speakers.

Price wise, the 5s are the proverbial "bargain" in the Wilson line up. I would not trade out my 5s for 6s straight out (unless my plan was to sell the 6s for more $ and buy the 7s).

All this is said based on personal preferences and my preferences may (probably) not match others. I find that one must be willing to spend some time setting up the Wilson speakers to get the best sound, and to be honest, doing this with the Sophia's is easier (mostly because they are a single piece speaker and also IME a bit more forgiving).

I think the key is to listen to them, and in more than just one system. If you are listening at somebody's house, you need to determine what that persons goals are with the speakers - as they may not match yours and therefore set-up for different goals and objectives. It is also extremely important to note the amp and preamp used - the W/P are very responsive to changes in components, cables, etc. . . Again, recognizing the owners objectives or performance goals.

Finally, unless you like/want detailed sound I would not buy Wilson W/P speakers. To me, there is little point in buying them and then using all sorts of other components that are just going to soften them up/down. I like Wilson matched with neutral (not overly warm) amps. If you want rolled off highs, buy a different brand of speaker, IMO. Buying W/P and overly doing this with the other components is counter productive in my mind.
Sorry, one addition (for some reason I couldn't edit the above after clicking "preview first"). I said I preferred the 5s over the 6s. I wanted to add that the people who owned the 6s also preferred the 5s in my room over the 6s in their rooms - obviously each with our own associated equipment. This may say as much about synergy and room as it does the performance of the 5s vs. the 6s. I have also heard the 6s at dealers and liked my 5s in my system better. Though that wasn't the case at the very same dealers with the 7s!
Hard to audition past generations. I owned Wilson's since 3/2s. 5s, are both worthwhile. I would stick with the 7s as the better choice in your price range.
Wilson Watt Puppy, which version? IMO ,none.The Sophia 2 and 3 is where I would go if buying Wilson..again thats a big IF!
Buy the 7's in VA a great deal @$8500 and driving distance from you!!! Why do people that don't like WP's respond to questions about WP's!!!.
Why do people that don't like WP's (Wilson) respond to questions about WP's!!!.
Good question, but it is a given they will.
It's also interesting that people that don't like Wilson also aways recommend the Sophia's among the Wilson line-up.

Wilson isn't for everybody, just like Sonus, B&W, panel speakers, etc. . .

People shouldn't buy any of them without not having heard them first - unless of course they are willing to sell them if not satisfied. Speakers are tougher than amps, etc. . . to sell due to their difficult shipping nature.

I think it should be fairly easy to audition past generations. OP should post his general location and seek member invitations. I would be more than happy to accomodate somebody seeking such an invitiation.
I also suggest the Sophia 2 unless Vdosc is considering a different power amp. At one point I owned a VT100Mk2 and WP5.1's. The ARC doesn't have enough juice to drive the WP, the 5's through 8's are a similar load, to their full potential. Yes it will sound good, but you won't get the bass control and slam you'll get with a amp with more beef.

With his amp the Sophia 2 would be a better match.
I have heard and owned both the WP7 and the WP8 and feel the 8 is clearly superior to the 7 in transparency, musicality. In other words, the WP7 is harsh and a bit metallic.

Majority of praises for the WP7 (versus the WP8) are from Wilson dealers and/or Wilson dealer/owners who are/were keen to sell their older and inferior WP7, especially the trade-ins and store demos.

The short life of the WP8 had everything to do with its performance - the improvement over the WP7 was tremendous that Wilson wanted a NEW name rather than the implication of incremental benefits which the "8" version may allude to. In short, the WP8 is closer to the SASHA than the WP7.

Current availability of the WP8 in the 13-15K range (depending upon finish) offers a tremedous opportunity to attain near SASHA sound. Hours and hours of smooth, non-fatiguing musical bliss awaits the purchasers of WP8.
Upgrade1394 - I obviously don't agree with you that the 7 sounds harsh and a bit metallic, as I don't think the 5s sound that way either. But as to the 8 vs. 7 or the 8 vs. the Sasha, I think you may be correct in your assessment that they are closer to the Sasha and may have had a short life for the reasons you indicate. Though I have not listened to either enough to offer my comment - both models are above what I am willing to pay and also above the OPs budget.

As to what the Wilson dealers say, I would be very careful about listening too closely to those comments. For the most part they carry the Wilson marketing and reasoning script. I don't necessarily fault them for this, but just beware it is hard to find a dealer (of any brand) who will tell you that you are better off going out and buying used equipment of a prior generation vs. the current model of the same brand - which they carry.
Upgrade1394---you are mistaken. the short life of the 8 was due to the Magico V3 which was a better speaker at a lower price.
Wilson 5.1 can sound terrific. Easy job to switch out the interconnect between the crossover and Puppy enclosure which can produce a much cleaner lower midrange.

One warning: Wilson international dealer support can be terrible. I've been trying for two months to buy a set of correction resistors listed as a standard option. UK Wilson importer has so far not even managed to get them on order. ~Wilson US cannot supply direct because of their dealer contracts so rather than just pop them in a bag and mail them, they are happy to see customers like me move away to other manufacturers because of Wilson's poor overall service.

With the service point in mind, if you are outside the US, take care with older Wilsons because parts are impossible to get hold of.
Only one of the above posters addresses the primary weakness of the WattPuppy, and only does so indirectly - up through and including version 7, the speaker used a Focal tweeter that suffers from an audible resonance in the mid-treble, and this makes these speakers sound fatiguing to many people. The version 8 and Sasha use a different tweeter that is much smoother. This problem has been widely written about - I suggest that you go back and read the Stereophile reviews of the various versions of the speakers, and especially, John Atkinson's measurements in those reviews.

I think the WattPuppy 6 and 7 are great speakers, don't get me wrong, and I seriously considered buying a pair of 7's, but the dirty tweeter is the main knock against them, and it is a legitimate criticism. Not to pile on, but the midbass hump, the low impedance in the bass, and their phase performance tend to be the other complaints - these issues remain with the 8 and the Sasha. They do many things extremely well, however, and it's important to judge them on the totality of their performance, which, overall, is excellent.
Raquel, I'm fairly certain that the Wilsons still use that nasty tweet-- sourced from Focal...an 'inverted titanium dome'. Rings like crazy and gives me a serious headache. Which of course drives my hubby a little crazy also..;0)

Why DW cannot hear past this thing is a little surprising, but it is not a very expensive driver and I wander if he bought up a large lot and wants to use them up....Can't think of any other reason a sane man would put this thing in his speaker?
Custodian - I feel for you and the poor support in the EU. Here in the States my experience with both my local dealer and Wilson directly has been terrific. It surprises me they don't have better support over there. Have you heard anything about support in Asia? I think they do well in Asia in terms of sales?

Raquel, there is (can be) the midbass hump. I think this contributes to the difficulty in setting them up. Is the tweeter perfect? No, and if one isn't careful in all regards the speakers can sound overly bright. But along with this, I think its important to recognize the things the tweeter does do so well.

The Wilson sound is a specific sound for specific tastes and not everybody will or should like them. But I have learned long ago that a product that measures perfectly doesn't always sound good and one that doesn't measure perfectly - doesn't necessarily sound bad.

I find the Wilson sound to be energetic, activating, exciting. I have owned SET systems and other systems without Wilson speakers, some very good, some great sounding. But there is just something about the Wilson sound that in the end, I keep coming back to. While not for everybody or what a lot of people are seeking, but for me and others like me (ie. my tastes and goals), the Wilson sound is exciting, energizing, etc. . . I never get bored with their sound and find myself more engaged with Wilsons in my system that others.

Poorly set-up, they can sound bad - to me that is there biggest weakness. Few other speakers that I have owned respond so strongly to miniscule changes in placement and positioning. But once in place they are wonderful IMO.

I had a pair of Duettes for a while, I like their external cross overs and the ease in changing the resistors to taylor the sound. It would be nice if the W/P had the resistors so accessible for the same purposes.
The short life of the WP8 had everything to do with its performance - the improvement over the WP7 was tremendous that Wilson wanted a NEW name rather than the implication of incremental benefits which the "8" version may allude to. In short, the WP8 is closer to the SASHA than the WP7.
Upgrade1394---you are mistaken. the short life of the 8 was due to the Magico V3 which was a better speaker at a lower price.
Both of these statements are baseless, but hey, it is the 'net.
What tweeter is the Sasha using? Is it the Focal tweeter.
I never understood why Wilson on the Watt Puppies since it used the Scanspeak Carbon Fiber mid, why it didn't use the Scanspeak revelator tweeter or Scanspeak ring radiator tweeter which are great.
The Sasha and Sophia 3 use a Focal tweeter developed for MAXX Series 3, "a new topology that reduces the back-wave reflections which otherwise propagate through the diaphragm, adding noise and distortion to the primary signal. By significantly reducing this source of distortion, the highs have more dynamics, air, and resolution -- free of the grain nearly all other tweeters exhibit."
I've had 5's 6's 7's and sophias. In my opinion the best buys are the 7's. The 6's and 5's are good but seem over priced right now. There are lots of 7's avialable and that seems to bring the price down.

I have never seen the Sophisas as eveen close to the watt puppies. Maybe thats becasue I like a strong base and like to listen to rock and roll on occasion. If you like classical music the sophias might do but if you want strong bass go watt puppy, period
i will agree that when i first got the 7's the tweater was a little shrill at high volume but it was also easily fixed by buying better interconnects. If I was going to buy speakers in the ten grand range 7's would be very hard to beat. I did just buy some mbl 111e's and they are quite nice. They don't rock like Wilsons but do sound a little cleaner at normal listening levels.

I also think the shrillness was often caused by poor recoding qualities of the source, whether it be a cd, dvd or album.
"Upgrade1394---you are mistaken. the short life of the 8 was due to the Magico V3 which was a better speaker at a lower price."

Obviously you have never auditioned the V3, W8 or Sasha or you listened to the Wilsons in less than ideal conditions. I lived with both Wilson's and auditioned the V3 extensively. Not even close.

BTW, your room looks really cool. Congrats!

I personally would try to stretch a bit and get the W8. IMO it is smoother on the top end and has a more natural bottom end. it is a more coherent speaker.

If this is not possible then I would go W7. The Sopia 2 could also be a possibility but I have not had any experience with this speaker but I have read great things. I have auditioned the Sophia 1 and I would go W7 over Sophia 1.

One more thing. You may want to upgrade your CDP as the W7's will let you hear all of the good and bad of your upstream gear.

My biggest suggestion is that you try to by these speakers through an authorized dealer and and have them professionally installed. Proper instillation of these speakers is key and you most likely will not get optimum performance if you do it yourself
Bjbcab - With the better dealers you are absolutely correct about assistance in set-up. Though I know there are some dealers that don't do nearly as good of a job. If you talk to most dealers (assuming decent proximity), they are willing to perform this service for a fee. Just something to keep in mind.

Do the W8s still sell from the dealers? If you find a dealer that still has some, maybe you could get a good deal from them.
Well I doubt any dealer will stock prior W/P series speakers but they do have a customer base and from time to time their customers will want to trade up to another Wilson speaker. You would be helping facilitate this move. You may pay a premium to what you can find on the Gon but I think it would be well wort the investment.

Vdosc, where do you live?
If you want to stick to the ten figure go with the 7's. The eight's might be a little better but your going to pay $3 to 4g's more for them.

And yes some dealers get refurbished 7's and 8's for sale. You can even get a warranty and set up. Personaly I think the set up thing is over rated. You can do it yourself. And beside most rooms will dictate within a few feet where you will want to put them. I had the 6's and then bought the 7's from a dealer. they came and set them up and they were put exactly where I had the 6's. I did a little clap test and moved them around for a few hours and accomplished everything the dealer did without the expense.
Thank you for all your responses. I am very seriously researching The Sophia vrs. the WP 6 or 7 (again looking at used below 10K). I have an Audio Research VT100MKII. One of you said that the Sophia was easer to drive, but I see that the WP is more efficient (87db vrs 90 or 91). I could of course look at a bigger power amp but I am trying to keep the whole thing somewhat manageable :) Where as I like to occasionally "crank it" I mostly listen to music at lower comfortable levels, lot of late night listening. So it is important to have a speaker system that can play and sound full at lower volumes! I listen to a lot of classic rock (ie Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, etc. ) Thank you
I recommended the 7's when I thought you were going to upgrade the whole system, but after reading your last post and your desire to keep it "manageable" I will recommend the Sophia 2 over the 7!!! You could just about plug in and play with the Sophia 2 and you would have a very good speaker/system. If you were to go to the 7's I think you'll be upgrading the amps then the cables then the source etc, etc, etc that is what the WP's can do, reveal everything, the good the bad and the just ok. I owned/enjoyed the Sophia 1 for three years.
I forgot. I think your amps will drive the Sophia 2 easier then the WP 7's!!! I wouldn't go by the db#'s in this case, the 2's aren't hard to drive.
Thanks Samhar, and a very nice system you have!

Your welcome. I know how crazy it can get trying to factor in everything!!!

Thanks for the kind comment!!!

The Sophia 2 is a very good speaker that should be enjoyable for years in your system!!! I listened at low levels at night with the 1's and enjoyed it, and the 2 has a "bigger" (tighter?) low end if I'm not mistaken. What db do you listen at? Sometimes I would turn on the SPL meter and be surprised how low I was listening at!!! Then I'd turn it up some, walk down the hall and check at the bedroom door, it still wasn't that loud!!! Was it as dynamic as higher db's, no. I think the Wilson's speed and clarity help create the perception of more dynamics at lower db's
Samhar, Average SPL listening levels range from mids 80's to below 70db C weighted. Occasionally get louder but even if the system and ROOM can handle it, I can't. I am a live sound engineer so I get enough high SPL at work ;) Thats one thing I have liked about my Martin Logans is they sound very good and image really well at low SPL I tried some Vandersteen 3Asigs but them seemed to need be driven to reall sound full (in my room with my gear) and then it was too loud. So thats why I am thinking its time to make the next big jump to Wilson's
First I had 3A Sigs, then added a pair of 2Wq's before the Sophia 1's!!! Funny!!
I was in the mid 65's, sometimes even in low 60's!!! Usually in the mid 70's during the day.
I gather the Sophia's were a big improvement over the Vandy's...
At the time I likened the change to putting on a pair of distance glasses and realizing what I hadn't been seeing!!! So yes!!!
 Since this is an old post let's hope this message gets to you, Vdosc!  I am in the same position as you were, I own an audio research VT100 Mark 2,  and I am looking at Wilson speakers. The watt puppy 7 and the Sophia 2  are both on my shopping list.  May I ask, did you end up purchasing a pair of Wilson's?   Which ones did you go with? Were you able to addition any of the speakers with your VT100 amplifier ?  From a research standpoint,  The Watt Puppy 7 seems like a great way to go, if the VT100 can handle it.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.