Wilson WATT/Puppy System 8 Loudspeaker

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by Josh Ray on May 24 '06

Wilson Audio, the hi-fi industry's top ultra luxury brand, has just released their new WATT/Puppy 8 speaker at $27,900. The WATT/Puppy is not only the best selling speaker over $10k and the standard by which all other speakers are judged, but also one of the most controversial speakers out there. Unlike that Ferrari boombox system, Wilson really is the Ferrari of audio for no other reason than whenever a new WATT/Puppy is released, the audio industry goes into a frenzy discussing the changes. The forums are already abuzz with gossip, speculation and armchair reviewing. It is, in fact, one of the biggest events in audio.

So what's up with the "WATT/Puppy" name, you ask? 20 years ago Wilson's original product was the WATT bookshelf speaker. Rather than just creating a new full-range floorstanding speaker, they added a separate subwoofer called the Puppy. Despite being around for years now as a single model, the Watt/Puppy sticks with its world-famous electro-canine name.

Changes include a new inverted titanium tweeter found in their $50,000 Maxx speaker as well as new crossover, cabinet and grills. Like always, you can order your Wilsons to color coordinate with your sports cars, jets and other necessities.

Specs are 21-21k Hz (+/- 3), 93dB sensitivity and 4 ohm impedance.

If you're in Los Angeles come June 2-4, be sure to hit up the HE show where the Wilson WATT/Puppy 8 makes its world debut. Visit Wilson Audio for more company details, though no WATT/Puppy 8 info yet. Keep reading for the full press release...

For Immediate Release

Wilson Audio Announces WATT/Puppy System 8 – A New Floor Standing Loudspeaker

Provo, Utah (May 22, 2006) – Wilson Audio will formally introduce to North America its new floor standing loudspeaker, the WATT/Puppy® System 8, at the Home Entertainment Event held in Los Angeles, June 1-4. Room: Salon 219.

This year marks the twentieth year since David Wilson built the first WATT®. The original WATT was built as a tool; Dave needed a high-resolution location monitor for his acclaimed recordings. The WATT was never intended as a commercial product but as an extremely informative and accurate evaluative instrument for the recording process. The result was nothing short of revolutionary. Later, the WATT was paired with a dedicated woofer; the combination WATT/Puppy® has become a high-end audio icon. In the intervening years, literally thousands of music lovers, recording engineers, audio reviewers, and audiophiles have acquired and used WATT/Puppys, prizing them for their ability to unravel the beauty and nuance of recordings.

The past five years have been extraordinarily fruitful for the Wilson Audio design team. Time-domain jitter reduction, strategic use of new enclosure materials, and new drivers are among the myriad of technologies developed, each of which advance the state-of-the-art of music reproduction. It’s safe to say – in the years following the introduction of the original WATT/Puppy – that Wilson Audio has conducted more research and development in the field of loudspeaker enclosure materials, on the effects of Propagation Delay Correction™, and on other important speaker design parameters than any other company in the industry. The design team at Wilson knew it was time to apply some of these new technologies to the WATT/Puppy.

Wilson Audio introduces the WATT/Puppy System 8.

New Tweeter:

It has never been Wilson’s philosophy to follow market-driven technologies – most recently the audio industry’s obsession with exotic, wide bandwidth tweeters. Instead, Wilson Audio has always pursued technology that supports its design goals, ultimately judged valid only by a truly musical end result. In the MAXX Series 2, the Wilson design team, headed by Dave Wilson, rigorously compared existing technologies, including many exotic materials such as diamond. While these designs proved interesting and performed well in some, but not all parameters, Wilson ultimately chose a different path more suited to our vision of musical beauty and truth. The result included a much-improved tweeter, which made its debut in the MAXX Series 2. Subsequently, this same technology was successfully applied to the Sophia Series 2. The System 8 uses the tweeter from the MAXX Series 2. The resulting improvement in the System 8 is at least as profound as in the MAXX Series 2. Since there is less time-domain distortion and diffraction originating from the tweeter, high frequency noise and grain is reduced. The tweeter features lower audible and measurable distortion. Transients and overtones emerge from a deep silence devoid of mechanical artifice. Details resolve from a velvety, black background. The perception of air and extension, combined with sweetness and listenability, far surpasses any other design on the market.

Revised Crossover:

The Wilson engineering team’s ongoing research into the causes of time-domain distortion have lead to many breakthroughs, including adjustable propagation delay arrays featured in WATT/Puppy, MAXX, and Alexandria. During the development of Alexandria, Wilson discovered that the interaction between the high and low pass filters created group delay noise they dubbed “crossover jitter.” Dave and the engineers have discovered the cause of this deleterious interaction within the crossover. The breakthrough technology that reduces jitter generated by all crossovers was in part responsible vast sonic improvements in the Series 2 MAXX and Sophia. The resulting reduction in noise allowed Dave and the design team to hear further into the loudspeaker, detect and parse out problems previously obscured. This crossover strategy is now employed in the System 8. The transition from midrange to treble is much more coherent and seamless – smoother. Transients are more cleanly delineated, starting and stopping without audible overshoot and grain. Bass linearity, impact, and speed are improved. Transparency and dimensionality in the soundstage is expanded. The System 8 has much greater tonal beauty, but also exhibits greater resolution – much like the MAXX Series 2.

New Cabinet Structure:

In compliance with European Union requirements, the use of strategically placed lead ingots in the WATT cabinet has been discontinued. This regulatory mandate inspired a new combination of X material (prized for its lack of coloration and resonance) and M material (prized for its midrange clarity) in a sophisticated internal bracing configuration. The System 8 sounds more effortless, has greater transient impact, and achieves added tonal beauty and purity as a result.
The R & D as to how to replace the strategically positioned lead ingots in the WATT resulted in profound improvements in the structure. New geometries in the internal bracing & structure, with new combinations of X and M material improve the rigidity and inertness of the cabinet.

Recessed Diffraction Pad and Alexandria-Style Pin Grill:

Introduced in the Alexandria and subsequently employed in the MAXX Series 2 and Sophia Series 2, the austenitic stainless steel pin system ensures non-resonant and reliable grill attachment. The diffraction pad, which previously sat atop the WATT/Puppy’s baffle, is now recessed flush with the façade. WATT/Puppy’s shape is enhanced taking on a more finely sculpted and integrated profile.

Price: U.S. Retail – $27,900.00

A fair price, based on the actual cost of goods sold, has always been a significant component of Wilson Audio’s culture. Wilson continues this tradition by pricing the System 8 using the same relationship to Wilson’s cost versus retail price as it did on the System 7. The increase is a reflection of the cost of the improvements made to the System 8 as well as price increases of materials, parts, and even shipping (attributed to increased energy costs) over the past four years since the introduction of the System 7.


First shipments for existing orders are scheduled for the third quarter, 2006. Please place orders for demo and sell-through needs as soon as possible to reserve your shipment position. The orders will be filled and shipped on a first come, first serve basis. Demo orders will be the first priority so all of Wilson’s dealers and distributors can begin showing the System 8. Customer sell-through orders will be scheduled after demo orders have been filled. Check with Jerron Marchant for specific ship dates for your order.

Upgrade Program:

Wilson has a long tradition of supporting and protecting its loyal constituency of clients’ investment in Wilson products. Because of massive changes in cabinet structure as well as the material being used in the construction of the enclosure, it is not possible to upgrade System 7s to 8s. As it has done in the past, Wilson is offering an upgrade/trade program for the WATT/Puppy 8 that is priced progressively based on date of purchase.


For $27900 you only get a choice of 4 colors. And if you want one of the 12 specialty colors you have to pay more? Sad so sad.
Wilson is the Ferrari of audio for no other reason that if you own either you're a jackass with too much money and no taste.
Wilson is the Ferrari of audio for no other reason that if you own either you're a jackass with too much money and no EAR!
Wilson is the Ferrari of audio for no other reason that if you own either you're a jackass with too much money and no EARS!
Who in their right mind can honestly invest in Wilson these days? What kind of long-term stability can they possibly have? The W/P 6 was introduced in 2000 so we've got three models in 6 years? Crazy. I got off the endless WIlson Upgrade-Go-Round with the 5.1 and never looked back. They seem to just like churning out new versions of their speakers over and over again to get old customers to sell the last model in order to get the new model. I hate hifi companies that do that. Ferrari at least introduces new models when they want to improve something. Besides, it looks like Ferrari is now the Ferrari of audio.
Just because something new is introduced doesn’t mean that the predecessor is inferior. Just because someone drives a Ferrari doesn’t mean that they are a jackass. Just because Wilson speakers are a tool that many measure by doesn’t mean they have no ears. I have a pair on order and I must say that I did have my head examined after that purchase but realized that life is about passion and the 7’s were outstanding. I don't have a Ferrari.
I don't own a Ferrari either, in fact I drive a 3/4 ton pickup truck. Many things in this life require sacrifice, and in this case it happens to be $28,000.00. The sacrifices I made concerning the choice of my automabile allow me to drive to the dealer and pick up my new Ferrari Yellow 8's, Oh, yea, and I have about $300,000.00 left over to pick up some really cool front end components as well. I think I'll just live with my choice and be very, very happy with it. Nobody's fault but my own, yep.
I haven't heard the 8s yet, but the W/P 7 was THE class of the CES last year. This speaker showed up many others in the $100k range. I don't own Wilson speakers due to my own concerns about the cost, but anyone who says that Wilson makes speakers for the auditorily challenged is either jealous or has never heard the product. The issue of whether they are worth the money is debatable, the sound quality is not.
Heard the 8s the other day in LA. Amazing! And I've never previously liked Wilson speakers. I'm now checking under all of the couch pillows for the change to get a pair.
I prefer the mbl 111 E, for 25960$ you get a pair of high-end german handmade Radialstrahler loudspeakers with an amazing three-dimensional sound better than Wilson's