Wilson Audio Haters

I've always wondered why there are so many people out there, that more than any other speaker manufacturer, really hate the Wilson line. I own Maxx 2's and also a pair of Watt Puppys. They are IMHO quite wonderful.

Why does Wilson get so much thrashing?

I don't think it's just the Wilsons. There's a lot of hatred for B&W as well. 
I've never heard them, so I have an open mind about their performance. However, the first time I ever saw them, I recoiled at their appearance, as they reminded me of a piece of medical equipment from the 50's-60's. 

Hate is such an ugly word. I have never heard a Wilson speaker but I just couldn't have something that looks like a trash receptacle from a high school gym in my listening room. Just my opinion, humble as it may be. 

I don't think the look of some of the line would appeal to some people. For example ; the new WAMM. For me, I think it's a look of absolute beauty. I don't think others would like the look of a speaker that seems to be looking at the listener as the next meal, like a hungry Tyrannosaurus, but it works for me.

Ultimately it's the sonic characteristics that are the most important aspect of the speaker, and for me, the Wilsons do the job quite well.

@arafiq  I agree that the B&W's  get a lot of bashing as well, but I think the Wilsons get it more. Bye the way, I had an opportunity to audition the 800D3's and thought that they were a fine loudspeaker. They were actually on my consideration list a few weeks ago when I was looking at new speakers.

Wilson deserve their excellent reputation a lot more than B&W. They tend to have a bit of a resonant bump in the bass (which people love) but apart from that I find it hard to fault them. Wilson tend to use traditional driver materials (pulp paper and damped fabric) and my ears are very sensitive to the horrible coloration from modern ceramic or rigid metal drivers and for that reason Wilson will always be a speaker I would not hesitate to recommend.
Great speakers. The only opinion that counts is yours!

Very cool bike by the way.

Best to you crazyeddy,
All products have their fans and detractors. I've heard folks bash ARC, Vandersteen, B&W, VAC, Krell, Mark Levinson, MIT, Nordost, VPI, etc., etc. The more popular the brand, the more fans and the more detractors.

Maybe, as a Wilson fan, you are just more susceptible to Wilson criticism.

From my point of view, Wilson speakers can sound alright with the right gear, but are far to pricey for the sound you get. I certainly do not hate them, but I have no desire to buy them, as I feel I can do as good, or better sonically for less $$$. As with all things in audio, YMMV.

If they make you happy though, that's all that should matter.
Why do you need the approval of others?
So many great speakers out there . This whole what i bought is best mentality is so narrow minded . I can appreciate all speakers big , small , cheap , expensive . Setup with the designers intentions . IE using gear that works with it should produce fine sound . Its only the mis matched system that will have a negative affect on any particular piece hifi .
There is a line in a Genesis song, "....and you kill what you fear".
Maybe it's the have not's wishing they were the have's.
Why the word hate? Everyone can have their own opinon.

I visited many Wilson Audio owners in the last 12 years. They are not easy speakers to drive or use in most houses.

In the past I visited many who had acoustic problems. This is based for a part on the design. The material they use for their drivers is not that fast, this makes it more difficuolt to controle. Beside this theu need current to control it.

Even with Krell amps I often miss the layers other speakers are able to give. 

The thing I don't understand why they use out dated dome tweeters which got till 23khz of 27khz.

A clint of mine owned the Sasha, he had difficulties in the high frequencies. It is ridiculous for the prive they cost that thye use this limited level of tweeters.

Also in stage depth and width there are enough speakers who are able to create a much bigger stange.

This year the Monitor Audio Pl-200 II outperfromed the Sasha like it was a speaker in a lower price range. People have no idea that the technique of the new Platinum series outperforms a Sasha that easy. This is a hard truth for people who spend a lot of money on their speakers.

In the past I also did shootouts between Wilson Audio and the older Platinum series. 

Stereophile is the first magazine who has the gutts to tell the truth. And explains why the Platinum is a better speaker than the Wilson is. I can promiss that they are even polite. In real the difference between the Sasha and Pl-200 II is huge. When people would hear it themselves it will change your thoughts about Wilson and also about audio.

Audio is not about paid stories, but about the real sound and quality during a shootout. These shootouts tell the truth, they are a lot differrent than what you read.

Read it yourself:


In my experience the people who hate Wilson speakers are those who can't afford them. I personally do not own a pair of Wilson speakers. However, I do know they are tremendous, albeit lacking in visual appeal to some people. I remember being at a HiFi show in London once and hearing a guy, who judging by his appearance, was not wealthy, say; "Krell, horrible". Really!
Had Watt Puppy threes for about 10 years. They are excellent if set up correctly. At shows they were fpr many years never set up the right way and the sound suffered. They could float an image independent of the speakers better then almost any other speaker. The cabinets were really works of art but therefore were costly. I have found that most people who "hate" Wilson speakers have never heard them
First let me say I'm glad you found speakers you enjoy. I am not a hater but I really dislike Wilson speakers. I have heard them only in showrooms and not with my music but each time I found them producing impressive sounds but not impressive or immersive music. To me they represent the trend in hi fi toward hyper detail and precision, leading away from sweet, forgiving systems and enjoying great music. To me speakers should make the music I love and have sound great. I dont want my system dictating what I play. I also dont want to have to change every part of my system for the sake of the speakers. I think some of the strong feelings about Wilson relate to the precision vs sweet sound debate, the price of Wilsons, and how finicky they are with components and rooms.

In real audio is a lot different than what you read. Audio should be all about the best quality in each price range.

Most reviews are paid these days and this way consumers do not get the real information about a loudspeaker.

When you compare the new Monitor Audio Platinum with different Wilson Audio loudspeakers there is no other way than conclude that the material they use is outdated. This has nothing to do with personal tast. It can be auditioned and understood by each single person.

Using 'cheap' dometweeters does not make sense at all. Based on the properties it is insane to use this in 2016 (almost 2017)

They should use better materials. Different shootouts showed that the drivers are too slow and are not able to let you hear all the layers you should hear. Again it has nothing to do with persona taste. We are talking about facts.

I am not at all a fan of Monitor Audio and especially the drivers they use. I have never liked metal or ceramic drivers period. I can hear the coloration these type of drivers add but I do respect that many people can not hear their ringing and internal resonances. Are Wilson made in China like Monitor? I don’t like the poor quality of Chinese products - it is very difficult to get consistent quality from China.
Listen to the new Platinum series. These days they use ceramic drivers with carbon fiber.

A client of mine owned the Sasha and only plays classical music. The new Platinum II ouperformed the Sasha in realism. The Sasha was not able to create the realism in sound and layers

The slow drivers coulours the sound of realism. The other limitation is that the layers in the low frequency were missing when we listend to the Sasha.

The Platinum 2 could reveal much more details in the whole frequency range compared to the Sasha.

Monitor Audio has build their own factory in China supervised by English people. The store and shipment is still in England.

Audio is about the quality in sound. In this part it outperforms the Wilson. For example the new AMT tweeter is superior in each part you judge a tweeter for.

The new Platinum can easily let you hear the differences in height of a recording. When you listen to the Sasha, the instruments and voices are played at the same height. This is a lower level in quality. Again this has nothing to do with personal taste.

In the world of highend, stage depth and width are essential parts. The new Platinum series can build a wider and deeper stage. Beside this the individual focus of instruments and voices is more intimate and sharper than the Wilson. This means a higher level in quality.

I also don’t like AMT tweeters - they compress way to easily.

Bo1972, you seem to be fixated on 3D soundstage and their curious artifacts from the artificial stereo reproduction. I respect that many audiophiles are fixated on this but for me I am much more interested in accurate timbre and dynamics that replicate real instruments and voices precisely rather than a 3D holographic sideshow or curiosity. I am interested to reproduce what I hear when I listen to live music and not some artificial creation such as Roger Waters Amused to Death.

I do understand and respect where Bo1972 and many other audiophiles are coming from and what they are chasing. However, I don’t think Bo1972 grasps the awful coloration that myself and others are hearing from his favorite impressive 3D type presentations - to me this sideshow is just a curiosity and as impressive as it sounds - it isn’t musical to my ears!

Now I am not claiming Wilson is perfect and neither do I regard Monitor Audio as a total failure - Monitor make great speakers in China and hopefully they can maintain QC which is so difficult (B&W make their top of the line in the U.K. possibly for QC reasons) However, both designs are targeting different listeners who are looking for different qualities. Both have their place and Wilson has a much more illustrious longer track record than Monitor which is a testament to their ability to meet many listeners specific criteria in terms of sound.

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Is it your experience that 3D soundstaging and accurate timbre/musicality/dynamics are mutually exclusive?


Not exclusve but correct timbre/musicality/dynamics is more important to me. I respect others have a different view and they may place much more importance on 3D effects.

Our brain processes sound for both directionality and the timbre/musicality/dynamics of the sound itself. The two processes are quite different. One seems to be related to the first arrival or first few cycles of a transient sound and how it hits each ear differently in time/phase, while the other appears to be more related to frequency/harmonic analysis (which clearly must examine the sound over many cycles and follows the tonal variations (such as pitch bend) and decay).
Good explanation shadorne. I have to admit to being addicted to venue recreation (imaging, soundstaging, air, and presence) so I go for the time/phase coherent speakers and cables. Something about having a sonic hologram in the room simply amazes me.

Appreciate and respect those that prioritize other qualities.

In the end, I think we want it all, no?

Best to you shadorne,

I remember a few years ago I was just on the verge of writing a check for Wilsons...the sound was glorious.   With curiosity, I ran home and got some of my own records as a final test.   I was glad to run out of there without dropping the check.... not at all musical (to me).  The store demo used records that really showed off his speakers.....I wanted to listen to mine.
I love my Wilson's and they sound wonderful, have to force myself to shut them down and go to bed and isn't that what this music/audio thing is all about? Just saying.
Audio is all about music. Music is all about emotion.

When you want to be able to hear all the emotion the music possess than you need an audio system what can reveal all this information.

That is why we work by Tru-Fi. Tru-Fi consists of 8 parameters you judge sound for. This has nothing to do with personal taste. But is based on the human emotion. Each part of Tru-Fi influences our emotion.

We learned in over 18 years of time to subtract each single part of an audio system. We test each single audio tool on what the DNA is.

We build an audio system by properties of all the tools togheter in each system. We can proof and demo that each audiosystem by Tru-Fi owns a higher level of emotion and intensity.

Audio is normally chosen by trial and error. This means people connect an amp, speaker, source and cables togheter en judge.

The limitation of this all is that you will never understand why the stage and sound is what you hear. For us it is very simple to explain to people who have created an audio system by trial and error that it is incomplete.

Incomplete means it misses parts of Tru-Fi. From experience I can tell that people understand directly what is missing and what this part is and does.

Read what Tru-Fi means:



We want to give each single person the highest level in sound&vision possible. We don’t focus on a name or brand but on the quality and properties we are looking for.

We do a lot of reserach and tests. And we listen to new products to see if the quality would add to our demands. We don’t care about the name or brand. We want the best quality in each price range at the moment we life.

Only the best counts and 2nd and 3th best does not add anything in our world. In vision we work at the same level. We know in each price range what the best screen is. This is the only one we sell. We calibrate each screen with the best calibration system in the world.

Is it true some models come with a divorce kit? Alexandria's left a favorable impression audibly, visually they kept reminding me of the transformers. 


@dlcockrum Thanks for the compliment on my bike. Custom bikes are another obsession of mine :)

If I had no interest in bikes or HiFi gear I would be a wealthy man indeed LOL

@jmcgrogan2  Just wanted to be clear that I am by no means looking for others approval, I could care less what others think about my choices. I painted one of my Harleys pink, for example. How about that? HAHAHA

The reason for the post is that I have noticed over the years, even well before I owned Wilson, a trend towards slamming them and have been curious as to why. You make a valid point on pricing. I have never had the means to by new Wilsons, so I go after the used market and do quite well. You also hit the nail on the head mentioning proper gear upstream. Mostly with power. These are real bears to drive, and need lots of good power up front. I use a pair Bryston 28B STT2's so no issues there. They also keep my listening room nice an toasty warm in the winter months :)

" We don't focus on a name or brand but on the quality and properties we are looking for."  I am confused how you can say this.  You pretty much only focus on a few brands and if others state they like anything but your brands you callously put them down.  I really don't mean to sound rude, but you certainly don't hold back trashing others' purchases when they talk about them here, inlcuding the purchaser of the B&W 800 D(3)s who was asking about amplification.

I mostly think you just copy and paste the same lines.
Who cares you got great speakers enjoy them i have Magico people love to bad rap them as well i really don't care.If you are very happy with the sound as i am enjoy them many people have not heard these speaker set up well mine are in a great set up as I'm sure yours are that is all that counts.Enjoy!!

When a loudspeaker is not able to create a lot of stage depth and width, we will never sell it. Don’t forget that over 99% of all audio systems which are being sold are 2 dimensional.

Yesterday we did a test with the new Esoteric N-05. The person who does Esoteric in the Benelux visited over a week ago a shop who also has the B&W 800D3.

They did test many amps on the 800D3 and they said; we were not able to create more than 1 metre of stage depth. I can garantee for 100% thas this is the max.

When you own a loudspeaker of 30.000 dollar and it only can create 1 metre of stage depth you limit yourself.

I can garantee you 100% that a loudspeaker who creates a stunning 3 dimensional holographic stage will influence your emotion and level of exitement a lot.

I do never copy a text, but yes I write often the same kind of information. I want to keep it as simple as possible.

I visited many people with expensive systems. Most of them were not happy with their system. Now they know that the flat stage was an important part why they did not want to listen to their system anymore.

Based on the experience of people and their information I stopped selling any kind of 2D audio. The level of becoming one with the music is of a much lower level.

Wilson was a pioneer in charging prices that obliterated previous limits and delivering speakers wrapped in (then) exotic automotive finishes.  That combo struck some people as a bad thing - and likely accounts for some of the "haters".

How stuppid can you be to use the word hate. I do not hate any kind of brand. I want people in audio to become more open and honest to consumers.

The focus need to be more on quality instead of making the most money. The way companies work in audio will decrease the market each single year.

When you want to persuade more people to buy audio, you need to give them quality. I met so many people in the last years that were not happy with their system. The main reason is the lack of knowledge and insight in audio. But also the low level of quality you see in many products.

This will only have a bad influence on the market. I would love to see Wilson Audio to use new and beter materials. So consumers will get more value for money.

I think about B&W the same way. They should focus more on quality. For example better crossovers, new design in tweeters. I don’t hate any brand.

They all see that the market is decreasing. But when you focus on short time distance and you use cheaper parts than people will walk away.

I love music and audio to death. I want to share my passion with as many people possible. Giving them the highest level in realism and emotion.

bo1972: "I can garantee you 100% that a loudspeaker who creates a stunning 3 dimensional holographic stage will influence your emotion and level of exitement a lot."

I definitely agree with that one.

Best to you,

This idea of 2D vs. 3D two-channel listening has baffled me through years of system improvements and visits to shows. 3D is easy to rationalize for an omnidirectional speaker. But with a forward-firing speaker, the 3D effect seems to come from reproducing fine shades of volume through which we perceive precise distance between the microphone and the instrument, or subtle ambient cues at the far walls of the recording space through which we perceive an overall stage.

A system that is unresolving or lacking in dynamics can imply a deep stage by veiling and deadening. Everything sounds more or less recessed in depth. This may endear some listeners who prefer a relaxed system or who reliably take the same seats at concerts and like to feel the 20th row replicated in the living room.

A great system jumps forward by virtue of superior dynamics, while communicating depth cues photographically with the optics of a superior lens. It’s a 2D window to 3D. When an improvement in the system reveals subtle details at the far corners of the recording space, this is perceived as more and better 3D.

The effect is not determined simply by speakers, but by every link in the chain.

In 2 years of time when I run a shop I had a huge room with many speakers. I always had a 2 dimensional system ready and a 3 dimensional system.

The difference on how people (many who never spend serious moneu on audio) reacted to the differences made me stop selling 2 dimensional audio.

3 dimensional sound brings you closer to the artists. I talked to many people with 2 dimensional systems. You often hear that after time they are not that interested anymore in listening to music.

The people who own a 3 dimensional system use there sets a lot more. People who work in audio need to give their clients the highest level in sound quality possible. No person will be very happy with a 2 dimensional system. You cannot change this. This is how the human emotion works.

In the last years I have met new clients who were never been that happy with their systems. I brought them all to a 3 dimensional system. Their reactions are priceless.

But this is only a part of Tru-Fi. Because diversity in sound is even more important. Based on a lot of research and tests  we are now able to create a higher of diversity in sound as well.

It is very simple all people will always prefer the sound what reveals the highest level in emotion.

Yesterday we compared the Lumin S1 against the new Esoteric N-05. The stage of the S1 is a lot deeper and wider. So here again you see how important the dna is of each part you judge sound for.

I have been addicted to music and sound all my life. Togheter with friends we frequently visit live concerts. And we see that also overhere there is a lot to improve. Soon we will start doing tests with S.A.P. for live music.
No absolutes in Audio, only preferences. That being said, I’ve owned Wilson Audio Sophia 2’s, 3s, and Sashas. The 2’s developed a very long crack and were replaced with Wilson with Sophia 3s for a nominal cost. I submit Wilson has outstanding customer service, but they have a well documented problem with their paint finish. I currently own Monitor Audio PL500 IIs. The finish on the PL500 IIs is equivalent to any Wilson that I’ve ever owned. To my ears the sound of the PL500 IIs are on an entirely different level. I don’t hate Wilson’s, but I do think they are over rated...just my opinion!
"Don’t forget that over 99% of all audio systems which are being sold are 2 dimensional."

Interesting commentary, considering there is no way to substantiate the claim. 

The other thing is we aren't listening to an individual component. We are listening to a system, which includes the room.
5 weeks ago we visit an audio show with 30 rooms. We were with about 8 persons. Most also work in audio. We all agreed that all systems were 2 dimensional. 

Most products in audio are 2 dimensional, that is fact you cannot change. For an audio system what create a huge 3 dimensional stage each single product needs to be able to create it.

Wilson Audio owns crossovers who are also able to create a good deep and wide stage. These days we also see pictures of Wilson Audio loudspeakers driven by 2 dimensional amps.

Here you see that people have no idea which amps can create a deep and wide stage an which can't.
Always enjoyed auditioning these in the past. I cant afford them now without draining my 401k account . Enjoy them and forget the envious people.
I've heard a number of different Wilson Audio speakers including the Alexandria XLF with several hundred K in supporting gear. My favorite by far is the Sabrina. Heard them with ARC GSi75 tube integrated (Sunny's in Covina) and with D'Agostino electronics (The Show Newport). They sounded beautiful in either setup. I still dream a bit occasionally, especially remembering the ARC tube integrated.
@bo1972 I'm not ready to embrace the 2D/3D distinction as a principal taxonomic category for high end audio.  Is 3D inclusive of other key attributes? What other properties are necessary or sufficient within 3D sound? Surely more than 1% of brands get it?  Santa, I'm here with milk and cookies in trade.
I am a fan of Wilson speakers having owned Sophias, Watt puppy 7s, Sashas and next up, Alexias. The Yvettes and Sabrinas are fairly  forgiving and partner well with a wide range of electronics. As for the upper ranks of Wilson speakers (Sasha, Alexia, Alexx, Alexandria), unless they are set up properly with synergistic partnering equipment, they can sound cavernous, shallow and/or shrill. But with the right equipment and proper setup, they can be sublime in all respects.

Getting the right equipment can be not to hard but can take a good amount of time and effort. The proper setup as the speaker gets bigger can become harder. It is so crtical for both those things to take place. That can take a Lot of time. So with bigger speakers it is harder to find ones that get those two needs met. So harder to find a good showing of them.
I would like to see that more brands are able to creat stage depth and width. In the over 18 years of time I have tested so many products. It is like an addiction.

I owned and sold 2 dimensional audio for a long time. It is not a bad thing. But I know why people prefer 3 dimensional sound far over 2 dimensional audio. The thing is that it has nothing to do with expensive audio.

By all the research I did I found out that some brands which are not that expensive are able to create it. In 2007 I started to look for products and brands what could create the same kind of exitement as the expensive systems I owned.

The positive thing about the time we live now, is that is is so much more easy to create a stunning level in sound for a lot less money compared to the past. That is why we want to give as many people possible a high level in quality for prices many people can afford.

In the past I visited different people with Wilson Audio loudspeakers. They needed cables like Transparent to tame the tweeter.

It is difficult for me to understand why they use a 23khz tweeter in the Sasha. It was clear that it had difficulties with different recordings. A speaker in this price range should own a tweeter what can handle each recording and alos Hi Res with ease. But this is not the case.

Even with MIT Oracle cables ( which tame the high fequencies like hell) the high frequencies still were not under controle.

Even a Momentum poweramp did not solve it as well. It is a cheap dome tweeter what does not cost a lot of money.

If I would create a speaker in this price range, I would use superior materials and techniques. The looks of the Wilson Audio loudspeakers are allowed in the US. But in Europe we see them as outdated in looks.

The need to restyle it soon. Maybe now his son is in charge he will change it. The response of the drivers need to be a lot faster.

"Don’t forget that over 99% of all audio systems which are being sold are 2 dimensional."

Yeah, I don't buy that. There are varying degrees of dimensionality. It is not a binary attribute. It is truly a magical experience when one's system can create a sonic hologram, but there's lots of equipment that is capable of it, given the right component matching, placement, room acoustics, AC quality, cabling, and vibration elimination, thus the word "system" vs "componentry".

"By all the research I did I found out that some brands which are not that expensive are able to create it. In 2007 I started to look for products and brands what could create the same kind of excitement as the expensive systems I owned."

Rather than repeating your same message regarding tru-fu and 3d sound for all of 2017, wouldn't it make sense to you to start a new thread where you concisely list the systems and their components that you have found create the sound you describe?  I actually think it would be a great idea to have your own thread, rather than use others.

I note that Monitor Audio use a dampening ring (similar to accuton rubber dots) to help prevent and dampen all the unwanted energy from the ringing of their rigid drivers. My ears are very sensitive to this type of coloration which is why I tend to defend old school pulp paper and damped fabric cones of the type generally preferred by Wilson. An internally damped driver (made of material that is dead and will not vibrate) will not ring like a bell and therefore it will better convey micro detail in music (timbre). So while you are dismissive of decades of engineering and proven track records as outdated, I will continue to enjoy better sound from solid designs using well understood principles that have withstood the test of time.

here is the description of how Monitor Audio reduces unwanted vibration:

"A new innovation in every driver replaces the usual rigid coupling of driver and voice coil with a pliable one. This ‘Dynamic Coupling Filter’ is a nylon ring ingeniously calibrated to be rigid up to the crossover frequency, and to act like a spring above it. In so doing the DCF helps to dampen surplus high frequency energy produced by the driver. It’s also perforated to encourage voice coil cooling and release air pressure from behind the cone for maximum driver efficiency. Result: more natural sound."

Test of time is important. A voice coil runs at over 100 centigrade - how to ensure the consistent elastic properties of that nylon ring as it is "baked" through thousands of heat cycles and also ages? No doubt Monitor have looked at this, however, time will tell. Just like Ferrofluid dries up - how robust and for how many years and how consistently can a chosen design platform perform?