Enjoy the Music.com proudly
presents a brief history of our Lifetime Achievement Award winner Wilson Audio
David Wilson initially became interested in Hi-Fi on Christmas
of 1959. His hunger lead him to find out more about it. The above book, Sound
Reproduction by Gilbert Briggs, if filled with great wisdom and humor according
to David. Because of the wonderful communication skill of Gilbert, it brought about
an even higher interest in music reproduction within David.
The first few years of college David built kits like those
from Dyna, Heathkit and Eico. In fact the first kit David built was a Heathkit SA12.
The above Eico HF-89 was built by David Wilson back in 1963 or so. The
loudspeaker system he was using at that time was tri-amplified.
In the early 1970's he moved forward to upstream equipment
modification. He tried the then popular AR turntables but disliked the tonearms.
He therefore applied a few of his own unique modifications as seen here which allowed the SME 3009 tonearm to be correctly integrated into the AR suspension. Dave made these
while living in Illinois during 1973. A total of approximately 20 units were made by
While in Chicago, the radio station WFMT would broadcast the symphony
orchestra and David, being the great music lover, used a Marantz 10B tube tuner
which David claims produced a "tremendous sound". David later bought a Revox A77
(top center in photo above) stereo reel to reel tape recorder because it could maintain
higher sound quality versus a standard cassette deck. Revox was also well known to offer superior music recording
capability. Eventually David moved to sunny California and decided to begin recording music such as chamber and pipe organ. Therefore good
microphones were needed. The AKG 14 and the Schoeps CMC-36 were purchased which, in turn, became the music produced under the Wilson label.
Of course one also needs a very high quality microphone preamplifier.
As seen within the above photo to the bottom left is David's personally modified Audio
Research SP-3. This unit was modded with adjustments for bias optimization for
each tube. Also, a plug-in card arrangement for microphone or phono inputs was
devised. Meanwhile an external power supply was provided for to enhance the
overall sound quality of his SP-3. The Wilson Audio recordings received
critical acclaim over the years. This gave him further insight into truly understanding
the true sound of a live performance.
David wrote a few articles for The
Absolute Sound during 1978. David wisely
chose to use his master tapes to evaluate equipment. Due to Dave's ability to compare
live music to tape, he developed the Wamm. He further developed it and, to
his amazement, they were selling quite well at their very substantial $48,000
per pair pricing back in 1982. These early Wilson Audio Specialty speakers were
literally "garage built" units since David maintained his "day
job" designing medical equipment for cutter laboratories. The Watt was later
developed in August of 1975 because of his desire for a more sonically accurate sound
monitoring within the studio as compared to the then studio standard
minimonitors. Two prototypes of the Wilson Watts were shown at the WCES 1986. It was not intended to a product, as it had no usable bass, yet did
so many other things so well is was presented as a product in June CES of that same year.
Hundreds of these little minimonitors were sold! Eventually home-building speakers was no longer an option,
David needed more physical space for his speaker building business. Therefore
David Wilson rented a larger shop space, 2,400 square feet, and so it began...
David Wilson proudly holding his Enjoy the Music.com Lifetime
The Watt companion, the Puppy, was introduced in 1989. David says this is when things truly "took off".
More models were introduced and sales were going well. To Dave's surprise, 150 pair of the X/1 Grand Slamm
loudspeakers were sold the very first year! Needless to say it was time for
David to quit his "day job" in favor for his own inventions. In 1982,
to be exact, he
decided to quit his job and offer his full attention to the loudspeaker
Actual Watt/Puppy speakers used to mix many popular movies
Watch Center Loudspeaker
Watch Surround Sound Loudspeaker