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Special Applications Engineering is a part of the founding DNA of Wilson Audio. The first product to fit that definition was the Wilson Audio Tiny Tot, or WATT®. Long before it became the upper module of the venerable WATT/Puppy® combo (the best-selling over $10k loudspeaker in audio history), Dave Wilson utilized the WATT as a portable location monitor for the series of audiophile-quality records he engineered in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Recordings revered to this day, and currently available on the Wilson Audiophile label.
TuneTot is the latest product from the Wilson Special Applications Engineering™ (WSAE) team. While its name pays homage to the first WSAE product, it is a modern technical tour de force designed to offer the timbral beauty, dynamic nuance, soundstage resolution, and transparency—all the hallmarks of Wilson loudspeakers design culture—but do so in environments which are hostile to all of those qualities.
TuneTot is the smallest and least expensive Wilson, but it would be a mistake to see it as an “entry-level” offering. TuneTots are lovingly fabricated and assembled by the same group of talented craftsmen who build the WAMM Master Chronosonic, using exactly the same processes and techniques. Its cabinet and driver technology are derived directly from Alexx and Sabrina. Finally, each TuneTot that emerges from Wilson is held to the same rigorous, industry-leading manufacturing tolerances as its larger siblings, ensuring each TuneTot is as technically and musically accurate as the reference prototype. You hear precisely what Daryl Wilson heard in the final design.
From the inception of the first Wilson loudspeaker, it always has been understood that the time domain is a critical factor—if musical authenticity is the goal. With TuneTot, the challenge was twofold: Isolating the active loudspeaker from its environment and providing adjustable correction in the time domain. Wilson’s engineers cleverly combined both needs into a single solution. Wilson provides precise yet simple installation setup instructions that allow TuneTot to be corrected in the time domain for each installation.
Composites have the advantage of being made up of several different constituencies, each of which can be uniquely optimized for a variety of design characteristics—such as acoustical damping and rigidity—performance factors that are mutually exclusive in single-element materials such as Aluminum or MDF. Just as is true for all Wilson’s, TuneTot’s enclosure was analyzed and reanalyzed using its state-of-the-art Laser Vibrometry system in order to optimize enclosure-wall thicknesses and the strategic implementation of the proprietary composites. With this precision instrument, WSAE engineers readily detect even the tiniest enclosure vibrations—at the level of billionths of a meter, which, in turn, reveals the ideal combination and geometry of the composites for the cabinet. TuneTot is constructed from two Wilson proprietary composites—the proven combination of Wilson’s X- and S-material.
Wilson’s engineers didn’t stop there. Perfectly rectangular enclosures are inexpensive and easy to build but suffer from music-destroying internal reflections generated by parallel walls. TuneTot’s enclosure is asymmetrical, ensuring no internal surface is parallel. Inspired by technology from the Alexia Series 2 and the WAMM, TuneTot’s cabinet additionally features a complex internal reflection management system.
Environmental music systems are increasingly part of contemporary lifestyles. Another ground-breaking Special Applications product, the Wilson Audio Duette, successfully addressed the challenges caused by near boundary placement. Placing a loudspeaker on a desktop, bookshelf, counter top, or a credenza has meant accepting serious sonic compromises. Interactions and resonances from the furniture or shelf on which the loudspeaker rests are a source of audible distortion and colorations—deleterious factors most loudspeaker designers simply accept. The Wilson Way™ demanded a new look at the problem.
The Special Applications Engineering team spent months researching the interactions between TuneTot and the surface upon which it is installed. It quickly became clear that assumptions surrounding environmental resonance control needed to be re-examined. For these installations, 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 developed specifically to address furniture-born resonances endemic to these types of installations.
TuneTot is shipped with a set of leveling spikes. These devices allow the installer to obtain an optimal, time-domain-correct baffle angle in relation to the listener, but are also designed to provide some isolation between TuneTot and the surface below. One significant step further is the TuneTot ISOBase™, an interim isolation platform which is placed between the loudspeaker and the surface below. The ISOBase offers unprecedented levels of decoupling and isolation between TuneTot and the structure upon which it rests.
More than just a loudspeaker, TuneTot is instead one element within an ecosystem populated with custom tools and accessories (purchased separately) designed to maximize its performance and cosmetic beauty in a wide variety of applications. The aforementioned ISOBase is the ideal solution for bookshelf, desktop, counter top, or credenza installations. Many Wilson owners prefer to listen without the grille attached. For these installations, Wilson designed an optional aluminum ring, which covers the mounting hardware securing the woofers. The ring is individually milled and is beautifully finished in a choice of four anodized colors. For those listeners who prefer a grille, one is available for TuneTot. Its low diffraction frame is individually milled from solid billets of ultra-low-resonance X-material. Acoustically transparent fabric (available in six colors) is meticulously hand stretched onto each composite frame.
As a part of the TuneTot Ecosystem, Wilson is introducing five new paint colors and two new hardware anodized colors (for a total of four). TuneTot owners are able to custom configure their loudspeakers with just the right combination of performance options, paint color choice, and hardware and grille colors based on their individual aesthetic desire and installation needs.