Legendary high-end speaker gets major face-lift

The Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy has been one of the world's most popular high-end speakers for nearly a quarter of a century. It's finally being replaced with a new model, the $26,900 Sasha W/P, and it sounds phenomenal.

Wilson Audio's latest, the Sasha W/P speaker. Steve Guttenberg

Wilson Audio Specialties didn't invent high-end speakers , but its original WATT speaker, introduced in 1986, changed the rules of the game.

Up to that point, state-of-the-art speakers were all large beasts, but the WATT was a comparatively tiny stand-mounted speaker. Its distinctive pyramidal shape went on to spawn countless imitations.

The WATT was soon joined by the matching Puppy (woofer), and over the ensuing decades the two-piece WATT/Puppy system evolved, culminating in the WATT/Puppy 8 in 2006. Well over 15,000 WATT/Puppys have been sold since 1986, but rather than move to the W/P 9, founder David Wilson decided to start afresh, so now we have the Sasha W/P ($26,900/pair).

Wilson Audio Specialties' director of sales, Peter McGrath, came to New York City to present the Sasha W/P to the press at Wilson dealer Innovative Audio last week. The new speaker's sweeping curves and refined shape make for the best-looking Wilson speaker of all time.

It's a three-way design, with a 1-inch inverted dome tweeter, 7-inch midrange, and two 8-inch woofers elegantly housed within the 197-pound cabinet. Build quality is off-the-charts impressive, and the 12-step automotive paint job is absolutely flawless. The tweeter and midrange drivers are identical to the ones used in the $68,000 Wilson MAXX Series 3 speakers. Wilson Audio just recently expanded its factory in Provo, Utah.

The Sasha W/P is a two-piece design. Steve Guttenberg

McGrath played a mix of music styles that night, but his own high-resolution classical recordings were the ones most breathtakingly rendered by the Sasha W/P. It was one of those rare, "you are there" audio experiences where you feel transported to the musical event. The Sasha W/P's ability to unravel massive works with ease is what separates it from merely excellent high-end speakers. The Sasha W/P can unleash uninhibited dynamic contrasts that belie its modest footprint.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Nissan gives new Murano bold style (pictures)
Top great space moments in 2014 (pictures)
This is it: The Audiophiliac's top in-ear headphones of 2014 (pictures)
ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)
Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)