It Was 20 Years Ago Today

David Wilson remarked that he debuted the original Wilson WATT (Wilson Audio Tiny Transducer) almost 20 years ago to the day. Today, he showed us the WATT/Puppy 8 ($27,900/pair). Wilson, as always, a polished presenter, also noted that it was appropriate for him to give the new speaker its premier in a city noted for producing sequels, although he promised that, unlike Hollywood sequels, the WATT/Puppies have gotten better with each new chapter.

For me, the most memorable line of the presentation was Wilson's remark that the original WATT was noted for being unforgiving. "Wilson has never claimed perfection," he said. "We only claimed excellence."

The new EU RoHS legislation made the removal of the WATT's lead ingots a necessity, so Wilson responded with a new combination of its X and M materials to create a new laminate, with an improved bracing structure and geometry, resulting, Wilson said, in increased rigidity and inertness.

The WP8 has new recessed damping pads on the baffle, as well as Wilson's best looking grille yet—which uses stainless steel mounting pins to affix it to the cabinets.

The WATT/Puppy 8's new tweeter was developed for the MAXX series 2 loudspeaker and offers the WP8 lower audible and measurable distortion.

The crossover is also new, a legacy of the MAXX and Sophia designs. Wilson says the technology eliminates a group-delay interaction between high- and loss-pass filters that he dubbed "crossover jitter." The new crossover offers greater resolution and transparency, Wilson claims.

He just might be right. In a brief demonstration, that was designed to show off a wide range of speaker attributes, I was struck first by how precise the WATT/Puppy 8s were and immediately after by how expansive their soundstage was. Add relaxed, articulate, and dynamic to the list of superlatives. After the demo was officially over, John Atkinson asked if he could hear "Shenandoah" from the soon-to-be-released Cantus CD There Lies the Home. People listened in rapt astonishment at the tonal beauty of the Cantus guys' voices launching into the Washington Pavilion's acoustic and clamored for the release date when the track ended. So, I think it is safe to say that the WATT/Puppy 8 just might be the WATT/Puppy for music lovers—at least 20 music lovers were more wowed by the music they played than the guests of honor themselves. That's no mean feat at a hi-fi show.

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