WILSON AUDIO’S NEW TUNETOT LOUDSPEAKERS
Promising the timbral beauty, dynamic nuance, soundstage resolution, and transparency expected of Wilson Audio loudspeakers, TuneTot captured the imagination of the thousands that caught a glimpse of the latest release.
Wilson Audio originally used the “special applications” nomenclature to describe products designed to solve a specific problem, such as the Wilson Audio Duette, a loudspeaker that wowed audiophiles in near-boundary installations.
Now, Wilson Audio Special Application Engineering (WSAE) describes an entire line of products, each designed to solve a specific installation challenge.
Dave Wilson’s reference loudspeaker, the legendary Wilson Audio Modular Monitor (WAMM) was designed and built to reveal the dynamic nuance, spatial cues, and the degree of spectral authenticity of the recordings played through them.
Unfortunately, they’re not exactly portable. From there Dave created the Wilson Audio Tiny Tot (WATT), a portable monitor designed and built with the same attention to detail, and using exotic mineral-filled methacrylate as an enclosure material. These were never intended to be sold commercially as they could not be replicated at a competitive price.
The Smallest Wilson
Enter TuneTot, the latest product from the WSAE team.
The smallest and least expensive Wilson Audio speaker it may be, but do not mistake the TuneTot for a cheap entry-level offering.
Firstly, they are fabricated and assembled by the same group of craftsmen who build the WAMM Master Chronosonic, using precisely the same processes and techniques.
Secondly, its cabinet and driver technology are derived directly from Alexx and Sabrina. Finally, each TuneTot is held to the same rigorous, industry-leading manufacturing tolerances as its larger siblings. This ensures that each TuneTot is as technically and musically accurate as the reference prototype.
As always, time domain is a critical factor. With TuneTot, Wilson Audio says there were a couple of challenges: Isolating the active loudspeaker from its environment and providing adjustable correction in the time domain. Wilson Audio's engineers cleverly combined both needs into a single solution.
TuneTot utilises austenitic stainless-steel spike hardware that was designed specifically for TuneTot. This spike system also acts as a mechanical diode, cleverly draining the unwanted energy out of TuneTot.
One of the two pairs of spikes is fully adjustable in terms of length. The adjustable spikes are installed in either the front or the rear of the loudspeaker, depending on the speaker’s installation height. The adjustability of the spikes changes the rake angle of TuneTot and accurately facilitates time-domain adjustability.
Wilson Audio provides a simple installation setup technique that allows TuneTot to be corrected in the time domain for each installation.
Naturally, you would expect the TuneTot’s enclosure to be something typically Wilson-esque. First, it was analysed using state-of-the-art Laser Vibrometry system to optimise enclosure-wall thicknesses and the strategic implementation of the proprietary composites. This process aides the engineers in their search for the ideal combination and geometry of the composites for the cabinet.
TuneTot is constructed from two Wilson Audio proprietary composites - the proven combination of Wilson’s X- and S-material.
Additionally, TuneTot’s enclosure is asymmetrical, ensuring no two internal surfaces are parallel. Inspired by technology from the Alexia Series 2 and the WAMM, TuneTot’s cabinet also features a complex internal reflection management system.
A New Special Application Ecosystem
TuneTot has been designed specifically to be installed on counter tops, bookshelves, and desktops. The Special Applications Engineering team apparently spent several months researching the interactions between TuneTot and the surface upon which it is installed.
It quickly became clear that the challenges presented are very different from what exists for a typical floor-standing loudspeaker spiked to the floor; problems that require a different strategy.
A series of accessories were explicitly developed to address furniture-born resonances endemic to these types of installations.
When the TuneTot speakers are positioned on a resonant surface, such as a desk or sideboard, the ISOBase is ideal. It is an interim platform which is placed between TuneTot and surface below.
Wilson Audio says that it reduces spurious interaction and mechanical resonances generated by the loudspeaker. The ISOBase utilises a sandwiched series of constrained layers constructed from Wilson’s proven proprietary composites and some newly developed polymers.
It is available in five different paint colors and four metal-hardware choices.
Tot each their own
Wilson has added five new Wilson Gloss colours created specifically for TuneTot: Quartz, Ivory, Crimson, Carbon, and Teak. In addition to Black and Clear, Wilson has added two new anodized-colour-finish options for TuneTot’s metal hardware.
Many Wilson Audio owners prefer to listen without the grille attached. For these installations, Wilson designed the optional TuneTot Ring. This covers the mounting hardware securing the woofer. The TuneTot Ring is individually milled from 6061-T6 aluminium and is finished in a choice of four anodized colours.
For grille-on fans, each low-diffraction frame is milled from solid billets of ultra-low-resonance X-material composite. Acoustically transparent fabric (available in six colours) is meticulously hand stretched onto each composite frame.
Available from July 2018, manufacturer suggested prices are as follows (inc VAT): TuneTot (£10,998 pair standard finish), ISOBase (£2,398 pair), TuneTot Ring (£698 pair), TuneTot Grille (£335 pair).
For more information visit Wilson Audio.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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