Major Disappointment: Heard my First Thorens TD124/SME 3009 Combo today
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chadbang

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Man, I thought this combo was supposed to be like icing on the cake. I came across it set up in a high-end audio salon. Forget the amp. The speakers were Wilson Watt puppies. Well, needless to say, the vintage Thoren's TD-124 and SME 3009 tonearm sounded very disappointing. Very lifeless. Thin. Damn, now I forget the cartridge, but I know it was a good one. I checked it out at the time. Maybe Tuberoller was right. Maybe it takes a lot of care to set this combination up right and requires top supporting components -- although that's kind of a drag. Like "stone soup". Tastes great once you throw in some veggies, a little meat...

And I know the supporting components were good enough, because I came back later (after some LP shopping) and there was a VPI Jr in it's place. Same rig. Damn that VPI sounded good!
 
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markl

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Hi Chadbang,
what did you make of the Watt/Puppies? I've never heard them myself, but I know from my reading that they are a VERY controversial set of speakers, a sort of love 'em or hate 'em kind of sound. A lot of people seem to think they're a rip-off given their price. Any thoughts?
 
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dhwilkin

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Well, I'm not chadbang, but I'll offer my opinion of the Watt/Puppy speakers anyways. I've heard them in a decent room (probably could've used more damping), supported upstream by high-end Audio Research components and Transparent Audio cables.

Even ignoring the price, I didn't really care for them (at least in that system). They did certain areas well, like speed, dynamics, imaging, chest-thumping bass. But, the overall sound seemed too dry and analytical. It didn't really capture the essence of the music. If the music was exciting, it was because it was being played really loud, not because inherent qualities of the music were being let through, if that makes sense. Maybe in a different system or warmer room, I might've liked them better.
 
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Canman

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I've always felt the same as dhwilkin when it comes to Wilsons. Somehow they always fail to draw me into the music. The thing is--they are always paired with Krell and Audio Research at the shops. I think perhaps if they were paired with tube audio or a more musical solid state amp like Pass Labs they might not sound so bad. The Watt Puppies do have very fast bass response. I heard the Grand Slamms in a home theater setup once and I remember the room was heavily damped--not a bad speaker for home theater in a damped room.


Love 'em or hate 'em, but they are beautifully built, that's for sure.
 
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chadbang

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Hey, Markl,
Dwilkin is right. This is the second time I've auditioned the puppies and haven't been impressed. The first time was in LA and then here in BKK. I think Dwilkin's impression that "the overall sound seemed too dry and analytical" is about right. Certainly not the kind of full-bodied musical experience I'd expect from a speaker of that size or price. Nothing "organic" about the sound at all. I think Canman is right, a serious call for tubes. He's also right about the bass dynamics, nice in that department. Mostly, though, I was bummed out about the Thorens. But next door the "analogue maestro", this guy who is just the ultimate audiophile and can tell you the exact proceedure for setting up the most exotic table, was still running his Goldmund Studio. He's told me it's the best he's had. And, brother, I'd be hard pressed to disagree with the sounds that dude mananges out of his gear. Gawd, it amazing... If you guys ever come across one of those cheap... JUMP!
 
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Tuberoller

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I won't just dump on the Wilson speakers right away but I can tell you that the Thorens is real nightmare to set-up properly and even then if you don't have the best supporting components(arm,cartridge,phono stage) you will find the Thorens to be lacking in impact and dynamics. When you add the Wilson speakers to this equation then your lack of enthusiasm for the sound is no big suprise. I make no secret of loathing all Wilson speakers and have heard them many,many times in various sytems at shows,in dealers and in private systems and have yet to hear them sound even fair to my ears. I have a very difficult time understanding how anyone could like Wilson speakers. The two former local dealers(both have since dropped Wilson)swore that they never sold a Wilson speaker system based on an audition,they were usually sold based on the name or a magazine review to a customer who was unable to come in for an audition. One dealer said he sold the same pair of Watt Puppies five times only to have them returned each time.
 
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Nightfall

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Add me to the "thoroughly unimpressed with Wilsons" team. I've listened to them several times, with some extremely fine associated equipment and I simply dont understand the positive hype at all. And I'm being kind in that assessment.


JC
 
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eyeteeth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
The thing is--they are always paired with Krell and Audio Research at the shops. I think perhaps if they were paired with tube audio or a more musical solid state amp like Pass Labs they might not sound so bad.


I have never had the pleasure/displeasure of hearing Wilsons either but in dealer print ads they often seemed paired with 'Lamm' electronics. Is it about money as Lamm can be more expensive than Pass & Krell? (without double checking I think the Lamm amps are more expensive).

It's all way, way out of my financial league anyway
.
 
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